Here's some pics.
Pretty typical scenery along fossil creek road.. It's a little over 26 miles from 260 to Strawberry.
This is a great time of year to ride.. not hot, not cold, the ocotillos were leafed out, flowers were blooming, birds singing, no traffic.. it was a great day. The temps started in the 60's, got into the 70's later, then plummeted into the 40 in the mountains late in the day..
He men riders like me & Kim hardly ever stop to notice flowers & pretty rocks..
Me on left, Kim on right. Kim's drz. My drz took the picture..
Lots of indian paintbrush.. i don't know if the indians really used it as a paintbrush.. don't really see how.. :/ The grass was green on the hills & starting to come out because we had a wet winter.
Yes, there really is a fossil creek... it actually is a water source for a couple of early hydroelectric power plants in Az. Arizona Public Service is in the process of decommissioning them. There was a little more water than usual in the creek.. spring melt.. yet the water was crystal clear.
Starting up the hill to strawberry. Here the road starts to climb & we get into the 6k range.
It was a nice clear day, with beautiful vistas..
Finally we get to the main destination.. LUNCH!!
After lunch, we got gas in pine, then had about 5 miles to the control road.. a fire road below the mogollon rim (pronounced moggy-on) That went for another 25 miles to hwy 260.
The control road is just below the rim road.. maybe another 1-2000 ft higher. It's still in the pines, but not nearly as cold as the rim.. which is why it was open in March.
You can see the rim above.. we went on a ride last year on the rim.. will probably go again sometime this summer. the views are spectacular on the rim road.. probably one of the most scenic roads in Az.. especially for a dirt road.
We took the paved 260 back to payson, then 87 back toward Strawberry. We took a short detour to Pine Creek, which is a very scenic area between Payson & Pine.
This is at a spot where the creek had eroded & formed a tunnel or bridge over the creek.. It's in the tonto national forest, so they call it tonto natural bridge, kimosabe..
It's about a 200' drop from the top to the bottom of the creek.
There's a spring that flows over the edge & makes a sprinkley mist down to the creek.. the wind blows it all around. Birds swoop through it & ride the updraft.
The view along the creek, to the south.
It was starting to get late.. after 4pm, so we decided to take the pavement back. But that meant climbing up over the rim then back down toward the verde valley. We would go up to about 7k ft, with lots of snow all around.. it was cold!
Once we started back down, it warmed up. We were back in the open, in chaparral vegetation.. you can even see the Sedona red rocks in the distance.
Off the pavement, back on fr618, heading to Sedona.
We totaled about 185 miles, went from 3k to 7k elevation. I actually did the whole ride on one tank of fuel. The roads were probably too easy for hardcore bikers like us, but we'll do a more gnarly route next time.