Thursday, March 26, 2015

Drive up Mt. Graham

Overlooking Roper Lake at Mt. Graham

Across from Hwy 191 from Roper Lake sits the Pinaleño Mountains and Mt. Graham.  Mt. Graham is the highest peak in the mountains  sitting at 10,750 fee and is also a part of the CoronadoDSCN9151 National Forest.  It is really relaxing site to look out the front of our coach and see this site.  There is a 32 miles road up the mountain and a number of picnic areas and campgrounds.  The campgrounds are really for tent camping as the road up has numerous switchbacks; anything over 24 feel long would have a hard trip up. 

At the base of the mountain is a store so you can get water and/or snack as you make the drive up and then back down if you would Base of the mountain and the road uplike as there is nothing up the mountain.  The road up was once a wagon road that led up Mt Graham but has been improved and is now call Swift Trail .

 First pull off is a sign that has the center taken out and it make a neat frame for the Gila Valley below. 

About seven miles up you come to the Noon Creek Picnic Area which is 5200 feet up.  This area got its name because when people years ago use to travel up the mountain with horse and wagon, they would reach this point about noon if they left early in the morning.  This is where they would stop and have their mid-day meal.

Looking back down over the road was really neat.  The road now is having numerous switch backs and is becoming winding.  At times it can get really scary but yet very interesting.  We are also starting to have a weather change and the temperature is dropping.

About 10 miles up is the Wet Canyon Picnic Area at an elevation of 6000 fee.  There is a stream here that flows year round and the water was cold.  We had the dogs with us as we made this drive and they wanted to play in the water real bad so we had to let them get their feet wet.

The bridge over the creek was unique as it was curved and was built in 1936 by the CCC. 

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Eleven miles up is the first of three campground that is located on the mountain.  This is the Arcadia Campground and is at an elevation of 6700 feet.  They say trailers up to 22 feet can reach this point.  There is an upper area of the campground that is a group are for large groups and reservation have to made for this area.  During horse and wagon days it would take a full day to reach this point.

Views down the mountain from here are breath-taking.

This is as high as we got as it started to get cold and we had not brought jackets with us.  Hopefully as it get warmer we can make another trip up and see the rest of the area.  There is a summer home resident area, more campgrounds, number of ponds, area with Ft. Grant had their hospital located during summer months and a lake to see yet.  Also there is an area called Ladybug Saddle because during the summer there is a large number of ladybugs.  At about 23 miles up is an area that is called Treasure Park.  This is an area where legend has it a pack of 19 loads of stolen gold and silver was buried by Mexican bandits.  Just hope our time does not run out before we leave – so much to see and just a little time to see it all.