Whitney W.
Mesa, AZ
Joined August 2019
Ranger Review: Banner and Oak Neck Gaiter at Pumphouse Wash

Campground Review:

Couple things to say about this campground… it's dispersed but in numbered lots and unless you have a high clearance 4x4 you must enter from West (89A). The road continues through to I-17 but crosses a few washes that would be rough for anything shorter than a stock 4runner. (Mine has a 3 inch lift). No big rocks to climb; just big tire swallowing ruts.

Product Review:

First time owning or using a neck gaiter. I'm on the bigger side so is not likely I'll wear it when I'm not actually using it. When I was using it for dust control it was great. Out on the trails I get passed by side-by-sides all the time. My 4runner can go almost anywhere but on the slower side. So I'm frequently sucking side-by-side dust. I'm not upset enough by it to roll up my windows. (Can't miss out on the smell of the mountains.) The neck gaiter helped me cut down on the dust I inhaled while still enjoying the crisp air.

Currently Closed due to flood rush

I wanted to stay down by the lake but the washes are closed due to the flash flood risk. The recent fire much of the vegetation that stems the flow of water. I would imagine that the campground will open back up after monsoon season but might periodically close based on the weather patterns. At least until the vegetation regrows.

I ended up staying on the south side if Davis Wash just off Apache Trail in a dispersed campground. I was the only one out there which was nice and spooky. Being that it was Friday the 13th. I figured it would be better to be with the four legged creatures than the two legged. Better behaved. Nice night that cooled off enough to sleep at midnight.

Loosely named a "Resort"

This place is not the type of resort you "girl's trip" to. It's the kind of resort where you plan to spend all day on the lake and come back to a shower and a real bed. You can choose to camp in your tent/RV or start in the motel.

The resort offers:

  • breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • watercraft rentals
  • two boat ramps
  • convenience store

There is a $10 fee to use any of their land. Even if you're just launching your boat. Emergency personnel have a base on the property which is comforting. Cell service is scarce on the lake but works great close to the resort. Only gave the resort 4 stars because I prefer camping around less people.

Ranger Review: Primus Essential Pot Set at Crabtree Wash

Campground Review:

Crabtree Wash is a small campground next to the Apache Lake Marina and Resort. There are two ways down to the wash: one fun dirt road to take your 4x4 vehicle or service road 79. Service road 79 is the same road you take to the resort and is paved all the way down. Crabtree is run by the Tonto National Forest so you must have a Tonto Pass to enjoy the day or night. Passes can be purchased at any Tonto Ranger station, Canyon Lake or most gas stations on the way down Apache Trail. 

The campground itself is fairly small and first come/first serve. This campground is unique because it is next to the “resort”. The campground has toilets and trash pickup. The resort offers many things for sale (firewood, ice, lunch…) so it’s like camping out in the desert next to a convenience store. 

When planning a trip to Apache lake plan accordingly as this is a desert campground. In September I sweat bullets until about midnight when the temperature dropped. The lake the next day made it all better. 

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt (what I refer lovingly to as a Dyrt Ranger), I get the privilege to test products. At Crabtree Wash, I tested Primus’ Essential Pot Set 1.3L. I have been in need of specific camping pots as the kitchen pots I was using were not getting the job done. These pots were impressive. 

The set comes with two 1.3L pots, one frying pan, a pot gripper and a carrying bag. First impressions: love the carrying bag, pans look well made and perfect size to cook for my one or two person camping trips. 

I was able to throw my plate and silverware into the carrying bag with the pots so everything is self contained. The flying is nonstick and doubles as a lid to the pots.  The pot gripper is okay, the design is akin to scissors. I’m planning on upgrading to the Primus Crimp Pot Gripper as I fully expect to drop a pan of boiling water because I loosen my grip on the gripper. Overall I am completely stoked to add the Primus pots to my camping gear. 

Lots of dispersed camping

I didn't stay at the campground because I prefer to camp alone. There are lots of dispersed camping along the first road 295 (which leads up to Knoll Lake). Coconino National Forest allows camping up to 300ft from the road. According to the rangers, bears are active in the area so it's important to follow the safety protocols. Spent the day on the lake which is well worth the extra drive to avoid the crowds at Woods Canyon. Found one spot with cell service where you turn off fr300 towards Knoll Lake.

Day Site Only

No camping at this site. Only for day recreation. There is a fun offroading trail just east here.

Beautiful Views

Beautiful view of the backside of the Superstition Mountains. Most of the way to Roosevelt Lake is a dirt road. All vehicles can drive this trail. Few different lookout points with picnic tables and restrooms.

Beautiful Lake

Willow Creek Canyon Lake is a peaceful lake with gas motor restriction. I parked on the Northeast side and walked the quarter mile to the lake. Not overcrowded like the boat ramp. Few people fishing, swimming and just relaxing.

Peaceful

Camped up here in November. Got a little cold at night but well worth the recharge I received by being up there. Actually camped on fr 208s but there is no review for it. It will take you right up to the edge of the rim for your own personal view. Picture 3 will show you how cold it got by these ice formed in the tide tracks that were not frozen the day before.

Wallace Canyon Rd

Started in Parump on Wheeler Pass Road and headed up Northeast until the Wallace Canyon Road turnoff. Beautiful desert drive that ends in pines. Saw close to ten mule deer off the road. Could probably make it was 2wd but better off having 4x4 with decent clearance.

Love this place!

Easy to get a permit from the ranger station. Just email your name, address, phone number and driver's license number to sm.fs.mesa_ohs@usda.gov and you'll get your permit within 2 days for free. I love that it's not far out of town but an easy place to forget you live in town. I've seen all types of vehicles out there. Better to have a 4 wheel drive with decent clearance for some of the trails. Most camp spots aren't too deep in so it's easiest to access.