Blue Ridge Reservoir – Rim Country, AZ

Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith


KumaThe last time we were up in Rim Country, my mommy and daddy got some kind of stomach bug. All I know is we were stopping…a lot…and our trip was cut short. We all decided we should give it another try, and we headed up to higher ground. This time we drove out to Blue Ridge Reservoir to check it out. We passed the Mogollon Rim Road on AZ 87 and turned southeast on FR 751 (look for the sign for the lake and follow it). At some point, the road turned to dirt, but we saw lots of cars on it. Of course, our four-wheel drive vehicle did it easy peasy.

Overlooking rimWe were all healthy and ready to explore! First stop was the C.C. Cragin Dam built in 1965 by Phelps Dodge as part of the Salt River water project to help the Payson area. We took a stroll over and across the actual lake, which looked like a river to me. Apparently, the lake was really low. How sad. When it is full, the dam creates a huge waterfall.  We were up pretty high and hiked on the rim for a bit before deciding to head down to the actual lake. The trail from the dam parking lot is steep and not well marked. Folks were swimming, but we really didn’t see any flat shore line to hang out. If you plan to take a plunge, you’ll be sitting on hot rocks so come prepared. I took a quick dip before we headed back up the slope.

View of lake I guess the original plan was for my folks to hang hammocks from trees and relax at high elevation. Since down by the lake was nothing but rocks, that didn’t work. Plan B was to hike more, so we drove near the campground and connected to the Arizona Trail. Apparently, this 800-mile trail starts in Mexico, goes through the entire state of Arizona, and ends in Utah. I got a little nervous when my mom read the sign. I’m not good at math, but 800 sounds like a huge number to me! I mean, I’m sure I would be up for it, but we were smelling smoke from a nearby fire. Yeah, that was it. I just figured inhaling smoke that long couldn’t be good for any of us. We hiked to a nice view point of the Mongollon Rim and saw the smoke from the fire. Clouds rolled in, and we heard thunder. Saved by Mother Nature! We turned around and probably clocked 2 ½ miles total.

Although things didn’t go as planned, we enjoyed the cooler temps of higher elevation and always love the sight of pine trees. Rim Country has so much to offer, and we have only scratched the surface. No matter what you decide to do up there, you won’t be disappointed.

Mr. ChipmunkKumaito (Kuma for short) is a multi-tan Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan, who was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, and now calls Phoenix, Arizona home. He enjoys running almost every day with his mom, chasing rabbits out of his yard, playing with toys, pestering his brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, Kuma loves about everything and everyone! His mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help him tell his story. She is the Founder of the F.I.T. Leader Formula and a certified professional behavior analyst (CPBA) who has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs across the country. She is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books who helps companies rewire their business for success and inspires people toward a healthier, more balanced life. You can reach Kuma through Lorraine’s website: Be sure to visit Kuma Dog’s Facebook page at

You  never know what he’ll be up to next!