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Friday, April 10, 2009

WOODS CANYON LAKE

WOODS CANYON LAKE Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest In September of 1993, an unsuspecting hiker went into the thicket surrounding Woods Canyon Lake to answer nature’s call and got more than relief. Lurking in the brush was, as she described it, a very large, hairy, human-like creature who left footprints the size of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus. She did not get a photo, nor did the many other people who claim to have sighted the elusive beast in the Mogollon Rim’s lake country. Known in legend as Bigfoot, it’s not surprising that the shy missing-link would feel at home at the lake. After all, who wouldn’t want to live where wild roses and ferns embellish the shores of a lake teeming with fish, cranes and beavers while a canopy of Douglas firs filters the sunlight and provides cozy, secluded alcoves? More a stroll than a hike, the trail hugs the water’s edge as it skirts dense grasses, woods and dells. Although usually busy, this popular recreation area is so quiet; you can hear fish jumping and the soporific sound of canoes bobbing on the water. There are lots of places along the trail to stop and enjoy the sights, and when nature calls, remember to bring your camera. LENGTH: 3 miles RATING: Easy ELEVATION: 7,500 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 87 north to Payson. In Payson, connect to AZ 260 and drive east for 30 miles to just past milepost 282 and turn left onto Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) at the Woods Canyon Lake sign and go 4 miles to the lake. Park by the store and pick up the trail at either end of the parking lot.

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