Yesterday we finally made it over to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. I've been wanting to go here for a while now. The first time we went to Payson it was on our to do list but ran out of time. It's actually a good thing we didn't try to squeeze it in that day because it takes more than just a couple hours to really enjoy this place. The last couple weeks I've been planning to go but we had a rainy day, sick kids, and I've been unable to do anything. Finally got my stitches removed this week though so we went for it.
Yesterday we got up early and took I-17 up to Payson. Normally we go up the 87 but Google told me to take this route, probably to avoid the traffic hell we experienced going through Scottsdale on the way home. When we got to the park there were two white tail deer blocking the entrance. I've seen deer on the road a couple times in Payson and Sedona but Natalie and Adri are too slow to catch it when I yell out. Well these deer froze up so everyone got a good look at them. Adri was talking all day about how delicious they looked. We parked next to a sign with A.R.S (Arizona Revised Statutes) warning people it's illegal to leave your kids in the car. I can't believe how far we have to go in society to eliminate natural selection. Perhaps instead of making these statutes we should teach people with room temperature IQ's how to put on a rain coat.
Anyways, there's quite a few trails at this park. We decided to go to the Pine View trail first which goes down a canyon to the natural bridge. It's only half a mile so I was laughing when they said it normally takes an hour. On my own I probably could have done it in 20 minutes. With 2 kids it actually took us an hour. There was a lot of rock climbing and we did good until we got under the bridge. At this point I decided we couldn't go any further with the kids because if we slipped it was a long fall down. So we turned around, went back a couple hundred yards, and took a different trail up to view point two. We had to cross a stream at this point which was one of the trickiest parts of the hike. Natalie was carrying Zach so I had to get Adri across and then go back to make sure she didn't slip on a loose rock. We all made it across thought with dry feet. From here we were able to walk back to the car in just a few minutes.
After having some burgers we moved the car and decided to see the other side of the bridge. I forget if it was viewpoint 3 or 4 but we started at one, took pictures, then hiked down the other side. From the top to bottom is vertical 200 feet, I think 183 down the waterfall. The trail had warnings about it being strenuous and needing to be in good health to hike it. This was funny because it was actually a pretty easy hike down. About ten minutes to hike down and we were at the bridge. Natalie stayed on a platform with Zach while I took another 10 minutes to go about 50-75 yards with Adri. The rocks were slippery so it was a really slow process.
After that we headed back up the hill and had a nice long drive home. Took the 87 down this time which is supposed to be shorter but got caught in Friday afternoon Scottsdale traffic. At one point when we got off the freeway I was rubbing my eyes and they teared up like crazy and I couldn't see. I told Natalie I'm going to need her to drive and then was struggling to see for the next 2 minutes while I find somewhere to pull over. When I pulled over I wiped them with paper towels and I was find after that. I think the sun screen got in my eyes. Note to self, if not swimming or playing in water wash sunscreen off face before attempting to drive. Lucky that didn't happen on the highway.
At the parking lot