Time has come for us to move into our winter location for 2015 and start our volunteering again. We are really both looking forward to it as it has been a while since we did any volunteering. We are in Bensen, so our trip will be short as Bensen is just north of where we are heading. The weather is horrible, windy and cold but onward and forward.
Back to I-10 to Hwy 191 North takes up to Safford and Roper Lake is about 5 miles south of the City of Safford and across from Mount Graham. Mount Graham reaches 10,720 feet in height and is the highest peak of the Pinaleno Mountains in the Coronado National Forest.
As we were traveling to the park it starting snowing on us. This was our first time traveling in the coach in the “snow”. It was snow but it was wet and not sticking to the ground as it was just not cold enough at the elevation we were at to stick. For us it was exciting and another first in our adventures in our coach. It only lasted a few minutes but it was exciting while it did.
Roper Lake State Park is about 30 miles off of I-10 so it really did not take us long to get there once we turned on to Hwy 191. When we got here everything was ready for us and we were welcomes with open arms. We came a couple of days early as we had changed our plans due to the weather so we had so time to get set up and to look around.
The park is really nice with 3 camp areas; one for primitive camping and two with water and electric hook ups. There is even a natural hot springs hot tub located on the park available for use. It is really cool as it is all natural, the hot spring mineral water is constantly flowing in and the tub area is all natural rock. It is not very big but is nice. The lake is really nice and is being stocked each month currently so by the time we leave here the fishing will be great. Fred is really looking forward to that. There is a lot of hiking trails all around the park; up mesas and on flat land. There are also cabins that will sleep 4-8 people available with beds, outdoor kitchens and AC/Heaters around the lake for rent.
Fred and I hiked up the mesa and this is where I took that picture from. As you can see there is an island in the middle in the middle of the lake that serves as a swimming/day use area that is very popular. Really nice as one side you can fish from and the other side is swimming with lots of covered area for picnicking. There also is a lot of birds around the area so is a great place for birding
Our volunteer time here will primarily consist of working the entrance gate/visitor center. We are registering guest as the check in for the day and/or the campers as they come in plus handling sales in the visitor center. It has been really fun and we are getting to meet a lot of different people.
Three miles south of Lake Roper is a sub-unit of the lake called Dankworth Pond. We also at times will be working the entrance gate. Dankworth is a day use area with a playground, picnicking area and fishing. There are trails around the lake and even a trail to a re-created Native American Village. Of course there is a lot of wildlife around the area to watch in the area.
The views around the area are something as the sunrises/sunsets are specular. Mt. Graham is across the street is really neat and I tell you when that sun goes behind that mountain in the evening the temperature can drop fast, but the view of the sunsets are just unreal. We are going to be here until the end of April and are looking forward to exploring the area and volunteering at Lake Roper.