Tonto National Forest & Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Last week, I was on  a west coast swing. After visiting Horst Engineering de Mexico in Guaymas, Sonora, I met up with Debbie in Phoenix, Arizona. We headed to Payson for the Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance Run. On the way to Payson, we stopped to spend a night with friends in Mesa. On Friday morning, we headed north, stopping to take in some views in Tonto National Forest. I’ve become a big fan of Arizona’s wildness.

We had time to kill in Payson before checking in, so we visited the Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin (replica). There was a great juice bar in Payson cat a natural foods store called Back to Basics. Our motel was right on the main strip. Before Friday evening registration, I drove Debbie 13 miles north to Pine to check out the trailhead for the Highline Trail where the race was due to start at 5:00 A.M. on Saturday. We walked around, and then drove south again, stopping at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.

The park is at the bottom of a deep valley between Pine and Payson. The road down to the bridge was loaded with steep switchbacks and had a gradient of 16%. I was wishing I had a bicycle!

The bridge is 183 feet high and 400 feet long. It is the largest natural bridge in the country and is a geologic wonder. Debbie and I did a short hike/run on the Pine Canyon Trail that ran along the creek bed and led to the bridge. Passing through the bridge was really sketchy. The rock was super soft and slippery, and it was wet in spots. It was a beautiful sight.

We had a fantastic time during our short trip to Payson and the surrounding area. Rim country gets its name from the Mogollan Rim is a 200 mile long ridge that cuts across Arizona. The 50 mile Highline Trail is in the shadow of the rim between Pine and Christopher Creek. There is a lot of outdoor adventure opportunities in this part of Arizona.

1 Response to “Tonto National Forest & Tonto Natural Bridge State Park”

  1. 1 Barbara Schieffer 29 April 2012 at 10:19 am

    That is really neat. I would love to see things like that.

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Little D passed her second of three #taekwondo #blackbelt tests. The third, and biggest, is in October. #tkd #sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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