Walter and Sara on the road to who knows where


This is the second part of my missive on our adventures in October 2020. If somehow you missed the first part you can find it at:

October 19th, a little crescent moon hung over the lake at sunset.

crescent moon

If you look carefully, you can see it as a tiny dot above the lake.


October 21st a small flock of meadowlarks came to peck their way across the 15th green. It was very exciting to see them since neither of us had seen one for many years. They returned briefly on October 31st too so they haven’t finished their stopover yet.


That evening we had a peach sunset.


Which quickly morphed into a pink one.


On Thursday October 22nd, we drove the 200 mile loop from Juniper Ridge to Alpine, AZ and back to view the fall foliage and drive a route we’d not driven before past Big Lake and on to Alpine and back.

The oaks along Hwy 260 east of Hon-Dah were at peak.   

fall color

It was a beautiful day (it was in the high 70’s in Show Low). The cold nights and sunny days were doing their job to bring out the color.

fall color

Even the cattails in the wetlands were joining the celebration.

fall color

The understory plants had turned yellow and orange too.

fall color

The aspens a little farther up in elevation were putting on a show. The bracken was yellow and bronze too.

yellow aspens

There was a break in the trees and we got a view of the mountains painted in yellow.

fall color

Here’s a close up of one section.

fall color

The color just went on and on.       

fall color

I can’t help it I just love fall foliage.

fall color

Every once in a while there are aspens that turn peach or orange instead of yellow.

fall color

We turned south on Hwy 273 (towards Big Lake).

fall color

The color had really set in during the 3 weeks since we’d been this way.

fall color

3 weeks back this section had just started to turn. Now it was a riot of color.

fall color

Along the way there were smaller patches of yellow set off by Ponderosa pines.

fall color

These young aspens provided color in an old burn.

fall color

There were yellow trees on the far side of Crescent Lake.

fall color Crescent Lake

The trees at the entrance to Big Lake were pretty amazing.

fall color

As you can see Hwy 273 ends here and the road becomes Three Forks Road.

fall color

The road continues south for a while.         

fall color

Eventually it turns east.

fall color

It winds through an area that had burned not that long ago so there was little color. And then it heads through a nice expanse of Ponderosa Pines but still not color. Finally it begins to descend a bit and we picked up oaks again.

oaks fall color

Three Forks ends at Hwy 191. We turned south a few miles towards the little town of Alpine.

Three Forks and Hwy 191

This is a little 2 to 3 block long town but they have a gas station which is more than you can say of Greer. It’s ranchland and there are weekend cabins too.

We drove through town and then turned around and headed north on 191 through the little town of Nutrioso which has an Irish Pub though the rest of the town is off the highway so we missed it. When we reached Eager we turned west on Hwy 260 through rolling rangeland.

Just before the turn-off to Greer, you come back into the pines and in between Greer and the turn off back up Hwy 273 there was a bunch more fall color.

fall color

There are LOTS of snow fences in this section so clearly they have issues with blowing snow in the winter.

I pulled over to get a shot of these mountains painted with yellow by the aspens.   

fall color

We decided to have our lunch at Lake A-1 which is just off of Hwy 260.

Lake A-1

It’s been drawn down a bunch but it was still pretty. It was closed all summer since it’s on the White Mountain Apache tribal lands.

There were lovely aspens right next to us though you can see that some of them have already dropped their leaves.

Fall color

As we headed on back to Show Low I had to take one more photo.

fall color

We both marvel at the fact that we have managed to find such a beautiful place to spend our summers complete with gorgeous fall color.

Saturday October 24th it was breezy and we had a few clouds but it was still in the low 70’s.

Sunday October 25th it was really windy with gusts on our little weather station anemometer up to 35 mph. But it was still managed to reach 70.

That evening we had a very momentary sunset.


The clouds gathered and it began to rain in earnest along about midnight, with the wind blowing the rain hard against the house. I awoke in the night to what sure sounded like sleet and sure enough at 7 when we got up to look there was a dusting of something white and crusty.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. We’d expected rain on Monday that would transition to snow late in the day. Sorry, the weather man missed it. By 9:00 am the grass had disappeared on the 15th green and it was snowing pretty hard.  


By 10:15 we had 3 inches of snow on the green (I waded out to measure it) and it had even stuck on our road.


It had been 34 at 7 but by 10:30 it was 29. By 5 pm it was 25. Yikes! Baby, it’s cold outside!

It snowed off and on in the night and this time there was a bit of wind so we had snow on the deck when we got up. The golf ball Lost and Found we had on the edge of the deck had disappeared under the snow too. And the snow on the deck measured 1”.  


Even parked under cover our truck got a coating of snow.


It was 22 degrees but the streets were wet and all the concrete pads were clear—they all had lots of residual heat in them—remember, it was 70 on Sunday.

When I waded out to measure the snow on the green it still read 3”. Clearly it had settled even though we’d added over an inch more.


Our weather station was buried in snow. It had read 34 degrees all day the day before as the snow piled up and the temperature dropped. It still thought it was 34 when the actual temperature was 22. Bless it’s little heart.

snow on weather station

My pot of flowers were well buried too.

snow on flower pot

There were icicles hanging on the edge of the deck.

icicles on deck edge

Along about lunch time, Walter noticed that there were a pair of diving ducks in the lake. I took a set of photos and they turned out to be female buffleheads.


They’d stay on the surface for maybe 10 seconds and leap up and disappear underwater. I was lucky to catch one going splash. The other dove under a moment later.

diving buffleheads

The snow stopped at about noon and the temperature maybe got up to 36 that afternoon. Then that night it got down to 18 degrees.

But Wednesday morning the sun was out! It was cold but the sun was warm!     
snow in sunshine

I’d made a little snowman with the snow on the deck so he could guard the golf balls under the snow.

little snowman

We had icicles hanging off the roof of the addition.


The metal roof seems to hold them really nicely.


We went off to town to do a little grocery shopping and get some gas for our drive back to Sahuarita at the end of the week. And when we came back the snow was nearly all gone off the green. Why you could have played golf if you wanted!

melting snow

And all the rock pathways were melted off too.

melted snow

The golf ball Lost and Found had reappeared and my snow man guard was fast disappearing.

golf balls and melted snowman

By the end of the day, all the snow was gone from the green and my snow man was nearly gone. We’d gotten up into the mid 40’s and it sure was nice not to be so cold. I love snow but two days of dark really cold days were more than enough for me. You won’t find me spending the winter in Show Low any time soon!

There are several herds of elk who call the resort home. Mostly they feed on the golf course at night and in the early morning and then bed down under the junipers on the government land adjacent to the resort. Folks have game cameras pointed out onto the golf course and we get regular photos posted on the Facebook page. All fall you could hear the elk bugling in the night. I’d not heard them last year but this year I heard them regularly. It’s an amazing sound. And while personally I’ve not seen any elk here at the resort I thought you’d enjoy a photo of one of our big bulls that got posted recently. Isn’t he grand? Someone posted a video of him bugling to get his harem to move along and the ladies were answering too. They sound like a pack of coyotes with deep undertones and super high notes.      

bugling elk

Here's a photo from earlier this month.

bull elk

On October 29th, it was sunny and got up to nearly 58! The buffleheads were back but this time they weren’t diving. They were taking a bath instead.


That evening the almost full moon rose at sunset with nice color to the northeast.

full moon rising sunset  

Here’s a panorama shot with the moon reflected in the lake.


Here you get a better view of the moon and it’s reflection.

full moon reflected

And here’s the almost full moon hanging in the pink sky.

full moon

To the southwest, the sunset started out golden.


With a bit of fire in the west.


And then shifted to pink and gold.


Friday it was warmer still and we made it into the mid 60’s. The golfers were back (we’d had 2 on Thursday) and it was a simply gorgeous day. Walter even managed to fish another 10 golf balls out of the lake Friday and Saturday.

That evening, we had a 360 degree sunset.

During the early stages I walked across the street and got a shot of the color to the north on the 16th fairway.


Then things turned BRIGHT pink to the northeast.


If you look carefully you can see a white spot on the top of the roofs on the left of this picture. That’s the full moon rising. The clouds were thick enough that it disappeared into them pretty quickly and I didn’t see the whole thing until it came out of the clouds later that night.

To the southwest, it was orange and yellow—nicely reflected in the lake.   

This 180 degree panorama shot (from north to south) shows you how far the color stretched.

sunset panorama

You can even see color reflected in the left hand section of the lake.

Saturday we spent the day packing up the truck with everything that needed to go back to Sahuarita with us.

In the morning, we’ll pack up the food from the refrigerator, blow the water out of our pipes, pour some RV antifreeze (it’s potable) in all the drains (and the dishwasher and washer) and lock the place up for the winter. We hope to hit the road between 10 and noon to make the 220 mile drive home to Sahuarita—where it’s supposed to be 91 tomorrow!

Covid-19 cases are rising again in Arizona. There’s been a 52% increase in the last week statewide. We continue to stay home as much as possible (though as you can see we do get out for a drive most weeks). We’ll be staying home for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year to stay safe.