Mar 27, 2018

Explore Where You Live: Water Wheel, Payson, AZ

With Cameron off for Spring Break and the weather beginning to warm up, we decided that it was time to get back out to explore where we live! We’ve been hunkering down for winter and only really got out to explore once.

Which makes me realize I never blogged that fun trip!! For Christmas Morning we went up on the rim to decorate a tree with bird friendly ornaments and threw rocks on a frozen lake! Such a fun Christmas memory…would it be weird to share now that it’s Spring? I think I’ll put it on the schedule for the next hole I have!

But anyway!

We decided that we wanted to hike a little ways up Water Wheel before it’s packed full on hot weekends. This little hike is just about 20 minutes from our house, and we LOVED it!

Darrow alternated walking and riding in the hiking pack, but I was impressed with how much he did do on his own. And boy he sure does love being right at the edge of the water!

Cameron was in botanist heaven with various species of agave growing next to each other, desert plants mixing with mountain plants, and plants he hasn’t’ been able to identify yet (okay…that part might be botanist hell…but he’ll figure it out once it blooms!).

Darrow loved sliding and jumping off rocks, and was super tough when he jumped into an agave by accident and stabbed his leg.

Overall, the kids just wanted to throw rocks in the water!

Their faces here crack me up! He got some good splashes on a few of those!  And once my camera nearly got pulverized whens the rock bounced and flew at me!

It really was such a beautiful day and a gorgeous hike. We didn’t make the full trip all the way up to the falls where everyone swims (carrying 30+ extra pounds on your back over rocks is hard! Man we’re out of shape!), but we loved seeing what we did of it.

This was one of the last photos I took that day as we headed out. Such a gorgeous area! You can actually see this photo featured in a recent post put together by Territory Supply Co. highlighting some of the waterfall hikes in Arizona!


Cameron and I want to go back up with his kayak sometime (or just a floaty…because I’m not a confident swimmer) and go up the little canyon there and check out the pools higher up! This place is too cool!

The “Explore Where You Live” series began back in Tucson, AZ when Cameron and I were poor college students. As in selling our belongings to Bookmans so we could eat beans poor. Armed with our student bus pass and water, we’d hop on the bus outside our apartment and go check out parks and places around the city. It was free, and it was exactly what we needed to break up the homework and the worrying about how we were going to make it. Those trips exploring where we live brought us close together and helped us fall in love with where we lived.

Since then, exploring where we live has become our thing.  Everywhere Cameron and I have lived (7 towns now), we have had people tell us the same thing. “You guys know all the places to see around here!” We’ve only lived here in Payson for 8 months now and we’ve heard that a few times from people! We don’t feel like we’re out scouring town every night, or off on adventures every week, but somehow we do tend to know the funky little hikes around, the delicious Mom and Pop restaurants, the festivals, and the sites to see. Most are free or cheap (because that’s how we roll).

We encourage you to get out and explore where you live!

Enjoyed seeing our Water Wheel, Payson, AZ hike
and want to see more of our “Explore Where You Live” adventures?

Picking Wild Blackberries: Payson, AZ

Arizona’s Waterfall that’s Taller than Niagara Falls: Grand Falls, Leupp, AZ

NPS: Tuzigoot and Montezuma


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  1. Kate Gansneder

    March 27th, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Such a beautiful day of exploration and adventure! So cool to have an area like that near your home. I’ll definitely have to check out Water Wheel at some point!

  2. Marquette LaRee

    March 27th, 2018 at 11:00 am

    We miss the desert, but it’s really fun to get to explore mountain areas now!

  3. Misty

    March 27th, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I love that you guys explore so much! And I bet your kiddos have a blast when you do! 🙂

  4. Marquette LaRee

    March 27th, 2018 at 11:01 am

    They have more fun when they explore just with Dad…Mom won’t let them get as close to the edge or jump in the creek first thing, bahahaha.

  5. Ashley Ziegler

    March 27th, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    What a beautiful location!! That is one of my goals now that I’m here in Idaho… explore, explore, explore!! 🙂

  6. Karen Shoufler

    March 27th, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I love this! We don’t do this enough around where we live. We need to get out and explore more. 🙂