Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Arizona Sightseeing | Mogollon Rim with Kids

Since moving to Arizona, we kept hearing about the Mogollon Rim and how beautiful it is. Like true non-natives, we slaughtered the name for quite some time until finally taking it upon ourselves to learn the pronunciation (mug-ee-yun) and see it for ourselves. My husband had seen it from the air plenty of times, but, like all impressive geological phenomena, you have to see it up close.

visiting the Mogollon Rim
toddlers.... they always cooperate for pictures

In celebration of my husband's birthday, we decided fall would be the perfect time to go visit this mythical Mogollon Rim. Much of Arizona, especially the part where we live, hadn't gotten the memo it's fall. Pinetop-Lakeside, however, hopped on the fall train and was showing off it's beautiful leaves when we pulled into town. We enjoyed a glorious drive with two sleeping kids and arrived at our hotel just after dusk. After unpacking and getting settled, we fell asleep and woke up the next day to a lovely forest view from our second floor unit.

The cooler temperatures, quiet mountain breeze, and fresh air were just what we needed. Our first day we explored Woodland Lake. It was the perfect little hike for kids, and the paved trail worked perfectly for pushing our little one in the jogging stroller. Our two year old could easily navigate the path and loved the fishing pier and all of the ducks. I even spotted a Lewis's woodpecker and added it to my life list (nerd alert) of birds.

view from the Woodland Lake Trail

again... toddlers and pictures can be a challenge or pure entertainment

Having grown up in Michigan myself, and my husband Colorado, it's nice getting out of the desert and being surrounded by tall trees every now and then. Our two year old had a great time playing with sticks and running free. Just getting outdoors and hiking a little, we were able to unplug somewhat. We really must do this more often!

walking the Mogollon Rim Trail

Woodland Lake Trail bridge

Hiking isn't quite the same with kids. Our two year old doesn't want to ride in the hiking pack anymore, so we can only move as quickly as he does. While he's interested in every little stick, leaf, and bug, as adults we sometimes move so fast that we miss those things. Hiking with a toddler reminds you to slow down and take in the little things. Seeing the world through a two year old's eyes can be a challenge at times, but it's so fun to see the outdoors a little differently.

looking for the perfect stick

We had a really relaxing stay in Pinetop, Arizona. It's a place we'll visit again. We're thinking it will make a great summer getaway when the temperatures soar in the Valley of the Sun. I think the Mogollon Rim gets overshadowed by the ever popular Grand Canyon. There's just so much beautiful landscape to see in Arizona. You can see everything from mountains and canyons to desert and forests.

overlooking the Mogollon Rim

I hope both of our children will get enough exposure to nature as kids. It's something that both my husband and I took for granted having grown up in small towns. Getting outside is something we all need and we benefit from it. Not only can we all use a little more leg stretching, it's just good for the soul to unplug a little while taking in what was here long before us.

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Hiking with Kids in Pinetop-Lakeside
(both of these trails were jogging stroller friendly)

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