Show Low: Playtime in the Woods

Playtime in the mountains! Yes please!

My good friend invited a few of us running buddies + our families up to her cabin in the pines in Show Low, Arizona for Memorial weekend to have some fun at altitude. As with most anytime we all get together, let the shenanigans begin!

Day One

Upon arrival in Show Low, Matt, Becky, and I went for a run. We decided to check out some four-wheeler trails near Becky’s place. As we were in the process of strapping our packs on and getting ourselves adjusted, we saw a very cool carcass of an elk!

Elk Carcas

Elk Carcas

I don’t know if you are acquainted with “runner’s issues” or not, but there were a few on this run, including but not limited to:

  • Pooping
  • Peeing
  • Gut aches
  • Whining
  • More peeing

If it’s one thing that trail running will do, it’s make you more aware of your friends bodily functions than you ever thought you’d be. As weird as it sounds, I actually have a lot of fun with this. I mean, in what other activity is it completely acceptable, even EXPECTED that you will crap in public? Can you think of anywhere else where you will be commended on the magnitude of your snot rockets or gaseous movements (either up or down)? Trail running is you in nature, as natural as you come.

In between the pit stops, we took a side spur, just to see where it went. We got some extra climbing and elk tracks.

Upon exiting the spur and re-entering the main trail, I found an antler. I was very excited by this, so I decided to carry it home; for another, uh, eight miles or so? If you ever have the chance to carry a bone, a spear, or even a stick while running, I highly recommend it. Why you ask? Well, first and foremost, it’s fun. How often do you get to run like a caveman? Secondly, well, I don’t believe I need any more reason than the first one.

Channeling of the deer

Channeling of the deer

After a few more pit stops, we ran across a tree that begged to be climbed. I mean LITERALLY begged! I could hear it and everything. And honestly, who am I to deny the begging of a tree? Take a deep look inside yourself; if a tree were to plead with you to climb it, could you turn it down? I didn’t think so. After all the oxygen they provide for us, I don’t know how anyone could turn a deaf ear on a tree.


Once we exited the four-wheeler trail, we were on a road (blech), but the scenery was nice. I also found…. A BONE!!!! YES! And do you know what I did with it? I ran with it.

There was a wild cave woman in the woods

There was a wild cave woman in the woods

We watched some horses run across their field to meet us. I miss having a horse, so it was nice that these were so friendly and let me pet them.

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Upon arrival back at the cabin, we found everyone playing a rousing game of horseshoes! It turns out my husband has a unique throwing method, but it works very well for him. My kids, being the true suburbanites that they are, were sitting around inside, not realizing there was a whole outdoors to play in. I sent them out and told them to go find some sticks or something. They did, and had a great time!

That night there was a campfire and good company. I love campfires. They create the perfect atmosphere to just sit and relax in one another’s company. I enjoyed getting to know everyone a little bit better.

How cute are Steve and Michelle?

How cute are Steve and Michelle?

Day Two

The next day found us on the road heading toward Paradise Creek on the reservation for fishing or running. We had to stop at an anglers shop on the way to buy passes- that was annoying. We kept getting different information on what pass we needed and who needed a pass. Eventually, we got our passes and headed on to the creek.

Matt, Becky, Michelle, and I decided to go for a run, and everyone else decided to fish. The four of us left the fishers and headed up the gravel road in search of… you guessed it! Adventure!

Maybe half a mile to a mile into our run, we saw a trail on the side of the road that looked little used, but was signed. As with the pleadings of the tree on the previous day, I found myself, once again, unable to resist a siren’s call; this time beckoning to me, singing to me of possibility, of untold sights, and exploits to be had. Picture yourself standing at this crossroads: there is the clear gravel road in front of you, and a grown over path to the side. Both of them are new to you. Which do you choose? I really can’t help myself, I always choose the path. I suppose I’m predictable that way. Thankfully, I have friends to go with me! That makes every adventure all the more fun. Is an adventure epic if it’s accomplished alone?


That trail was wonderful. The soft dirt and pine needles underfoot were soft and cushioning. I was embraced by forest. Stop to think about that for a moment- take a quick mental journey with me. Picture the forest around you; the trees above, the grasses below. Smell the aromas gifted to you by the flora all around. Each one is a tease at the pleasure centers of your soul. Listen to the sweet singing (real songs!) of the birds. Feel the coolness of gentle breeze kissing your skin and hear it as it whispers in the treetops. Open your mouth to taste the wind as it brings the flavors of faraway places to you, here, in these woods. Relax there for a bit. Amazing, right? What a gift.

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We explored this trail. We played in the woods. We looked at critter poop and tracks. We accidentally scared some cows. We ran in the rain as the cool breeze turned icy. Eventually the trail brought us back to the road we’d entered on. We ran with some cows for a bit. And eventually we made it back to the rest of the group, who’d had adventures of their own.

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Matt & Becky!

Matt & Becky!

Later that Day…

No fish were caught in the creek, so we headed to a lake for everyone to try their hand there. My husband caught the first fish! The kids tried their hand at fishing. Matt gave them fishing lessons. After watching for a little while, I was freezing and went back to the car to eat a snack and ended up falling asleep. And drooling on myself. Because that’s how I roll.

Andy's fish!

Andy’s fish!

We ate good food at Moose Henri’s on the way home. The atmosphere was very laid back here, and it is known for having good beers! I had the Drunk’n Chicken Sandwich. The waitress cautioned me that the pepper jack cheese was made with ghost peppers and was hotter than normal pepper jack cheese. That sounded good to me, and it was!

That evening we enjoyed more campfire time together. There were Fireball shots, talk of whispers, stories, beer, looking at the stars, poker, and general tomfoolery.

Day Three

Before heading back home, Jeff and Becky, Matt, and my family met for breakfast at Darbi’s. I had the Breakfast Burrito, Enchilada Style. It was delicious! The portion sizes were incredible, and I was unable to finish, but my son dug right in.

It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend full of incredible friends and memories!

As with all of my posts, most, if not all of the pictures belong to someone else. Most of these are Matt’s or Becky’s. I think one might be mine?


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