CANYON LAKE, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) -- East of the Superstitions, up the winding Apache Trail is Canyon Lake, an oasis in the desert.

Canyon Lake steamboat captain

Capt. Jeff Grimh is an expert on the canyon.

"I came on board and started piloting about 24 years ago," he said.

He steers his family's Dolly Steamboat through the colorful canyon walls year-round.

"It was built in 1983 and it's been refurbished a couple times," Grimh said of the boat. "The paddlewheel on back, as much as I'd like to say it is what's driving it, is actually just for show."

[WATCH: Arizona's Canyon Lake is perfect day-trip getaway]

The passengers don't seem to mind, include Tammy Brenner's dog, Buster.

"He's a therapy dog," Brenner said. "So, he goes to hospitals and hospices and nursing homes. So, he's now relaxing; this is his turn to relax."

Canyon Lake Dolly Steamboat

Having toured this 10-mile long lake for years, Grimh knows every nook and cranny -- where to camp, and where to see the wildlife.

"We have desert bighorn sheep. We have mule deer, whitetail deer," he said. "One time we even seen (sic) a black bear here."

And when there aren't any animals in sight, he uses his imagination.

Canyon Lake Bach

"Look to our right, at the skyline. You can see the profile today of Johann. At first, this profile may appear to you to be that of a girl looking left up into the sky, or an angel praying up into the heavens," Grimh tells his passengers.

He insists that if you flip your perspective, it's famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach at the organ pipe piano.

There is something about cruising these beautiful waters aboard the Dolly that you just can't take for granted.

"This is really ... wow!" passenger Ijeoma Amako exclaimed. "I was even telling my husband like, 'I didn't know something like this was in the United States.'"

Nigerian transplants Ijeoma and her husband, Nugisi, are enjoying a rare break from their hectic careers in New Jersey.

Canyon Lake

"We travel a lot, and we've seen so many, and this is like breathtaking and relaxing," she said.

"It's like cut off from civilization, all like the hustle and bustle of the city, which is what we're very accustomed to," Nugisi agreed. "It's like in a world of its own. It's perched somewhere in the wilderness, but it's a very beautiful world on this earth."

It's why Captain Jeff loves his job aboard the Dolly. And it shows!

"People say, 'How do you do this every day?' and I say' 'What better office would you want?' You know?"

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(1) comment

JustinP

Nice story!

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