Walter and Sara on the road to who knows where


We spent our last night of the ‘winter season’ in Sahuarita AZ on April 30th. It was in the 90’s and we were very happy to be heading up in elevation to our new house in Show Low AZ in the White Mountains. Mother Nature was kind enough to give us a send off on April 30th with a lovely sunset. Off to the east it was pink and purple.


And to the northwest we had more color.


May 1st, we buttoned up the house, hooked up the Airstream and headed northeast 220 miles to our house at Juniper Ridge Resort in Show Low, AZ. We got the trailer parked in it’s new storage spot and then drove the ½ a block to our house. I sure was glad that we’d made the two trips up to Show Low during April so the house was ready for us to settle into.

By May 3rd, we were settled in enough to take a stroll around the lake. We stopped along the way to take a photo of our new house from the far side of the lake. This year we have a neighbor on the north side which was empty most of last year. Some folks rented that spot for a full year and have a big 5th wheel parked in it.

JRR lake view

Here’s a close up shot of the new house with our truck parked in the area where our addition will go.

Park model at JRR

We were self-quarantining having changed locations from one county to another so we stayed close to home for 2 weeks. May is still very quiet at Juniper Ridge and all activities were shut down so it wasn’t hard to stay home. We brought 2 weeks of food with us so we didn’t need to grocery shop either.

May 6th the full Flower Super Moon rose up out of the junipers on the east end of the lake.  

Full moon rising

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve gotten to take photos of the full moon, it’s still a thrill to get a good shot that shows the moon’s ‘face’.

Full moon over junipers

This time I really won the prize. The lake was super still and I managed to get a photo of the moon reflected in the lake too.

Full moon reflected in lake

May 7th we did an outing to nearby Pintail Lake. This is on Forest Service land just a few miles south of Juniper Ridge. It’s a joint project between the Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish and the city of Show Low to create and maintain a wetland environment using the waste water from the city of Show Low. It has a nice paved pathway out towards the wetlands. Along the way I spied a lot of Tidy Fleabane (Erigeron concinnus).

Tidy Fleabane (Erigeron concinnus)

And the first of the Dakota Mock-Vervain (Glandularia bipinnatifida). Last summer this lovely little purple flower was still in bloom in August.

 Dakota Mock-Vervain (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

The trail comes to a Y and we took the left fork out to a viewing blind. Along the way I took this photo of how green everything was. This is rangeland where they run cattle. So it’s fenced to keep the cattle out of the wetlands.

Pintail Lake area

The blind itself is a covered concrete structure with slit windows so you can watch the birds. There’s information about the birds that inhabit the area but there wasn’t much water in this part of the lake.

Pintail Lake

We sat and watched the yellow-headed blackbirds and the killdeer peck around in the mud.

Yellow-headed blackbird, killdeer

We strolled on back to the Y and took the other fork in the path out towards the viewing platform. On the way we spied a lizard.


There was plenty of water in this end of Pintail Lake and that meant there were lots more birds too. There were Canada geese out swimming with their goslings.

Canada Geese

Down on the south end of the lake there were a few American Coots and a great deal of honking so there were probably geese we couldn’t see.

Pintail Lake   

Straight ahead to the east there were geese and more coots.

Pintail Lake

This was a nice low key outing. We didn’t see a soul until we stopped at the gas station in town to get gas. Whoppee.

Friday May 8th, while I was doing the laundry I took a walk northward through the resort and out the the main road where I’d seen wildflowers in bloom the day before. But of course there were flowers in bloom along the way that I couldn’t pass up.

There were these burnt orange bearded iris.

Bearded Iris

And Dutch Blue Bearded Iris.

Dutch Blue Bearded Iris.

There was an enitre row of light blue bearded iris between some houses.

Bearded Iris

There were white bearded iris

 white bearded iris.

And more blue bearded iris.

 blue bearded iris.

And there were lilacs!


Out on the verge along White Mountain Lake Rd there were all sorts of things in bloom including Wooly Milkvetch (Astragalus mollissimus).   

Wooly Milkvetch (Astragalus mollissimus)

Scarlet Gaura (Oenothera suffrutescens) which is a member of the evening primrose family.

Scarlet Gaura (Oenothera suffrutescens)

Fine-leaved Hymenopappus (Hymenopappus filifolius)

Fine-leaved Hymenopappus (Hymenopappus filifolius)

And a wonderful green and brown butterfly too.

Green butterfly on Hymenopappus

There was even the first of the Desert Paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa).  

Desert Paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa)

And I nearly stepped on the couple of Winding Mariposa Lily (Calochortus flexuosus).

Winding Mariposa Lily (Calochortus flexuosus)

On my way back, I walked through a different neighborhood and found more bearded iris, this time in purple.

Bearded iris

And the first of the Showy Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciose).  

Showy Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciose)

And some Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) too.

Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha)

And yet more lovely blue bearded iris.

blue bearded iris

That evening Mother Nature celebrated Walter’s 84th birthday with a lovely sunset over the lake complete with the ‘dancing waters’ which is what we call the sprinklers that come on each day at dinner time.


May 10th we took another walk around the lake stopping over at the 14th green to have a look at the fairway. The elk hang out here early early in the morning, though at this point they weren’t back yet from wherever they go in the early spring.

14th fairway JRR

There’s a little park that runs along the back boundary of the resort in this area called Back Forty Park. Residents developed it and tend it.

The shrubby cinquefoil was just starting to bloom.

shrubby cinquefoil

And the European Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus) was in full bloom.   

European Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus)

There are lots of bearded irises in the park and they were blooming up a storm. Deep blue.

Deep blue bearded iris

Light blue

Light blue bearded iris


Burgundy bearded iris

And lavender.

lavender bearded iris

The white irises were in bloom when we arrived on May 1st. Now a little more than a week later they were nearly all done blooming.

White bearded iris

But the mats of Showy Evening Primrose were only just beginning to bloom.

Showy Evening Primrose

Later that afternoon I looked out our sliding glass door to see a little bunny sheltering behind the front tire of the truck. Not to worry. This little guy is so skittish he’d never stick around long enough to be in danger from the truck.

Bunny under truck

On May 12th, the Great Blue Heron came to visit again. Folks say that she used to come with a mate but the last few years she’s been alone.       

Great Blue Heron

This time the black birds spent a great deal of time pecking on her tail feathers (which she ignored). That’s what the black smudge near her tail is in this photo.

Great Blue Heron

She found something to stalk back in among the rocks. We’ve got bullfrogs so it might have been one of them that she was after.

Great Blue Heron

She’s not as big as the great blue herons in Washington but she’s plenty big enough for us.

Great Blue Heron

Eventually she took off and the black birds followed her for a while until she left the area.

May 13th, the bunny was back nibbling on the weeds near the edge of the lake.


He/she runs under our house or into the bushes next door even when a bird flies by.

May 14th we drove south from Show Low to the Pinetop/Lakeside area to stroll the Rim Trail that takes you along part of the Mogollon Rim.

The trail has numbered information signs (it’s a Forest Service trail) and we ended up taking it backwards this time.

There was a wee bit of Longleaf Phlox (Phlox longifolia) in bloom.

Longleaf Phlox (Phlox longifolia)

And a few patches of Lobeleaf Groundsel (Packera multilobate).

Lobeleaf Groundsel (Packera multilobate)

And a close relative, New Mexico Groundsel (Packera neomexicana).

New Mexico Groundsel (Packera neomexicana)

There was bit of Foothill Paintbrush (Castilleja integra).

Foothill Paintbrush (Castilleja integra)

And some Running Fleabane (Erigeron tracyi).

 Running Fleabane (Erigeron tracyi)

We crossed the little irrigation ditch that runs through the area several times.

Creek panorama

And passed some Tawny Catseye (Cryptantha fulvocanescens).  

Tawny Catseye (Cryptantha fulvocanescens)

We came out onto the edge of the Mogollon Rim and Walter found a nice batch of rocks to sit on.

Walter Cooke

After a little rest we followed the trail out along the rim. Here’s a view of part of the longest continuous stand of Ponderosa Pines in the world.

Mogollon Rim

And here’s a pair of lovely Ponderosas along the trail.

Ponderosa Pines

This part of the trail (which is technically the beginning but for us was the end) is paved.

Rim Trail

In the shade of the Ponderosas we found a patch of Showy Phlox (Phlox speciosa).    

Showy Phlox (Phlox speciosa)

We had a picnic lunch with us so we drove just a ways further south to Rainbow Lake where we got a lakeside spot for our lunch.

Rainbow Lake

Complete with ducks.


That evening we had lovely pink sunset.


May 15th, I took a bit of a stroll while I was doing laundry. The first of the roses in the neighborhood had come into bloom.

Rugosa rose

And there were a few peonies too.


There were still a few bearded iris in bloom. I really like this purple and white combo.

bearded iris

We are both well. Arizona has opened up (a bit prematurely but so far so good). Juniper Ridge has opened up the pool and the buildings so that clubs are starting their activities but not big group activities are scheduled. We’ve decided that there is really no way that we can safely social distance and have our Song Circle. Singing turns out to be one of the great ways you can spread the virus—it’s equivalent to continuously coughing for the entire time you’re singing. So you need to space out really far (more than 10 feet perhaps) and then you can’t hear each other. So in the name of common sense and caution we’ve canceled it for now. It’s sad and we miss singing with people but we do sing together a while most evenings.

We wear masks when we go out and mostly stay out of town as much as we can. Our outings usually involve seeing no one at all (though there were a few folks we passed on the Rim Trail). So we are managing to mostly isolate in the name of social distancing.