Former RVers and friends from Tucson now have a park model in the Pinetop-Lakeside area of the Mogollon Rim. Last year they stayed in their RV in one of the parks. They liked it so much, they decided to purchase a park model and sell the RV.
Lots of people from Phoenix and Tucson spend time up here in the summer to escape the heat. Many stay for the whole summer, in RVs, park models and houses. As a result the Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside area have grown. Many of the big-box stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes are here plus the usual chain retail stores as well as restaurants and motels to serve visitors. Our friends have found plenty to keep them busy.
With all this development, there are still wonderful hiking trails all through the area. When I visited, first on the agenda was checking out their new home, but then we headed out for a hike. Another RV friend staying in a cabin for a week joined us. Our pick was the Country Club hike with a turnoff to the Huff 'n Puff trail and back.
Country Club is fairly flat but the Huff 'n Puff does take you to the top of a hill with expansive views, particularly towards the Rim. About halfway up the hill, we came across this huge alligator juniper with all sorts of gnomes and trolls tucked in and around the tree.
It was actually chillier than we expected and we got a few sprinkles on the way back. However, we were rewarded afterwards with hot tea and a delicious meal at Mountain Thai at 2741 W White Mountain Blvd, Lakeside, AZ. Two more joined us. Newly opened, it was understaffed that day (one waiter did not show up), but it gave us more opportunity to talk and the food was amazing.
It is easy to think of Arizona as a large desert - and maybe you remember it also has the Grand Canyon- but Arizona has a variety of topography including mountains that stay cool even in the summer. There are many RV parks to choose from in the Heber-Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside area plus national forest. You don't have to travel to the far north to stay cool, just go up in elevation! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak