Pond below Tonto Natural Bridge
Sometimes the backup plan can turn out better than the original. Or, at least it can seem that way when you find a hidden treasure of a destination only because your “Plan A” washed out.
That was the case when a friend and I set off for a day trip to Fossil Creek in central Arizona this past weekend. For years, I had wanted to take the steep hike down to the stunning falls at Fossil Creek. I had heard rave reviews about the place from friends, and I had seen beautiful photos online. But for some reason, I never made it to the place.
Well, I decided that that was going to change, and we planned a Sunday trip to the Camp Verde-area attraction. As luck would have it, though, I was not destined to get to Fossil Creek. As we approached the turn-off along Highway 260, we began to notice an unusual amount of traffic. Then, a large sign at Forest Road 708 announced the bad news: The Fossil Creek parking area was full, and the road to the trail was closed.
Not to be deterred, we immediately decided to try to get to the trail from the other end – near Strawberry, Arizona. Even though it was a 30-mile detour, we decided it was worth it.
But again – no luck. That trail was also closed. When we questioned the Forest Service employees manning the road closure near Strawberry, we learned that the Camp Verde side had been closed since about 7:30 a.m., and the Strawberry side closed down at 9 a.m. Much too early for our 11 a.m. arrival.
We were forced to regroup again. Based on a recommendation from the Forest Service workers, we decided to check out the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park near Strawberry.