Now you may think that Arizona is just dust ,desert and dry land, not to mention all the saguaros and other cactus plants, but there is a part of the state that can make you feel like you’re in a totally different place, especially in the winter!
It was near the end of January 2017 and I kept thinking that it would be nice to get some winter shots, but it is hard to predict in Arizona. Well it just so happened that a big snow storm came raging through the Payson area and along the Mogollon Rim. The Mogollon Rim is a large plateau consisting of high cliffs made of sandstone and limestone that extends approximately 200 miles starting in Northern Yavapai County and running Eastward along the border with New Mexico. On top of the rim, there are lakes and the Sitgreaves National Forest. The trees in this Forest are really tall Ponderosa pine, Spruce , Fir and Aspen. It is actually a beautiful area and you can go right to the edge of the rim and look out to the amazing views of the valley below.
I thought that it would be a good idea to check the road conditions before I headed up in the morning. Well the road conditions did turn out to be okay and I decided to go forward with my plan! Payson is approximately 90 minutes from my house and the drive is pretty easy. As I headed up to Payson and on to the rim, it was clear how much snow came through this area the night before. The trees were completely Frozen with ice and snow which was an amazing sight to see. I even pulled to the side of the road to get some difficult shots of the red cliff with the frozen trees on top. I headed a little farther north and came across a road plowed a mile in and decided to go that way. I pulled over and got out. I was in awe! The snow was at least 2 feet deep and the trees were simply amazing. The blue sky was just revealing itself a little bit of light from the sun which added to the crystal look of the Forest. I felt like I was in the land of Frozen!
There were a couple of other people out there enjoying the scene and everything was so still and quiet. I snapped away and got as many photos as possible without having to tread through too much snow. I even saw a beautiful blue jay jumping from tree to tree and I was completely determined to capture him. I managed to get a decent shot considering those birds are really hard to to get to hold still for any amount of time.
After a couple hours of being out there, I forced myself to leave knowing that this type of scene doesn’t happen too often, and I was just feeling grateful that I got to experience it! Of course this past January 2018 I was hoping for a repeat, but our state has not had a lot of snow this winter, and I’m thinking there’s always next year!