Blue Ridge Reservoir

During our time along the Mogollon Rim we used more water than normal because of the hot, dry conditions and because we were going into Strawberry or Pine several times a week for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and I was taking frequent solar bag showers as I needed to smell better than my dog. Our normal capacity is about 30 gallons which can last upwards of three weeks unless we need to do a load of laundry in the middle of nowhere (usually socks) or fill up the 5 gallon solar shower bag and get back into my dog’s good graces or be seen (and not smelled) in public. When our reserves were under 10 gallons we needed to go get some water and decided to use this outing to explore some of the additional Forest Service Roads in the area. We headed towards Happy Jack since we knew there were two developed campgrounds that had water available just past that area. We turned off on FR751 and headed down the nicely maintained dirt road towards the Rock Crossing campground.

On our way we happened upon a turnout with a large plaque and turned in to see what it was all about.

Arizona Trail sign with an Arizona Trail Ale
It Doesn’t Get More Local Than This

Arizona Trail01Back out on Forest Road 751 we arrived at Rock Crossing Campground mere minutes later and made a quick stop to fill up our water storage tank and a 20 liter MWC. We talked to the volunteer campground host about the what he thought was the best campsite (for future reference) and if there had been bear activity in the area (not yet).

This was during a heat wave with temperatures down in the Phoenix area upwards of 120 degrees. Up here at 7000 feet or so it was still in the 90s and so that was a great excuse to take the time and extra effort to give my girl the opportunity for a cooling dip. When we had entered the campground and again as we exited we had seen the sign letting us know that the Blue Ridge Reservoir was just a few miles further down the Forest Road and decided that, if given a chance to let my girl take a twirl in some water we would take it and so turned right out of the campground and headed in that direction. Apparently the vast majority of people who drive down FR751 only go as far at the campground because as soon as we made that turn to the right the road devolved into a rocky and wash-boarded mess and those 4 miles were an exercise in slow, patient annoyance that we had not taken the time to air down. About 20 minutes later we finally arrived at the boat launch area and then continued up the small hill there to the main parking area.

Willow in front of the Blue Ridge Reservoir informational sign
Soon, Baby…Soon You Can Go Swimming But First, This Picture

To the right of the sign was a steep, narrow, slippery dirt path winding down towards the reservoir itself. We carefully picked our way downwards until the water itself came into view and then Willow enthusiastically engaged her 4-Foot Drive and I was left in her dust.

Willow being a world-class wader as I am still making my way down the rocks
She Easily Beat Me Down The Rocky Shoreline

Since this was originally going to be a relatively quick water run we did not have any of Willow’s floating retrieving toys and so she soon got bored. Had there been some waterfowl to swim after or some other distraction we might have stayed longer but at least she had a swim, cooled down and rinsed off some of the red dust that had coated her for days.

So now with our water storage filled back up and my girl having taken a cool dip we headed back out the poorly maintained road until we got back to Highway 87 and turned back towards our campsite.

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