SHOW LOW, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) -- The latest edition of Arizona Highways TV took host Robin Sewell to Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low. One of Robin’s favorite things about Arizona Highways TV is that she gets to experience things she’s never done before, including camping. This is her first time.
Ellen Billbrieg, who has been camping since she was 14, helped her out. Fool Hollow Lake is one of her favorite places.
“Why do people like to camp?” Robin asked.
“Because of this!” Ellen answered, looking around. “It's gorgeous. You sit up in that camp, drink your glass of wine, look over at this lake, the sun goes down. You can't beat it!”
One of the first activities on this camping trip – fishing.
Ellen showed Robin how to bait a hook with a worm.
Robin said touching a worm was not on her bucket list, but being at Fool Hollow Lake, she was game.
“You always have to try something when you're out, new,” Ellen said.
It took a little practice, but Robin stuck with it and even learned to kind of like it.
Unfortunately, the fish did not cooperate, and it did not stop raining.
“But any time you can spend a couple of hours out in this pine-packed paradise, it's worth it,” Robin said. “Especially if you're just a short walk to something warm.”
Robin said she’d heard that campfire coffee is the best, but she wasn’t sure why.
“Because you are cold and wet and you are just lusting after that coffee,” Ellen answered with a laugh.
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“One of the things you promised me out here was that we're going to see some elk,” Robin said to Ellen.
“Well, you've gotta call 'em in, so let’s try it, give it a blow! … Just bite right down on there and give it a blow!” she said handing her the device.
Robin gave it a shot.
“Where's the elk?” Robin asked
Well, I think you need a few more lessons before the elk will come in,” Ellen said.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute what did I do wrong?”
Apparently, all that got caught was someone's attention.
“Our ranger would love to present you with this special item here,” Ellen said. You’re a junior ranger for Arizona State Parks ….”
Fool Hollow Lake is really is a camper's paradise, and it’s the perfect place for a novice camper to learn.
“So, on behalf of the Fool Hollow Recreation Area, you are now given your official junior ranger badge,” the ranger said. “We want you to wear that proudly.”
Campfire coffee deserves a side of s'mores
Robin’s campfire coffee was perfect and delicious. But you know what coffee needs? Dessert. And what’s the quintessential camp dessert? S’mores.
Or in this case S’moreos.
Tricia Arce of Toasted Mallow in Gilbert put Robin to work. With a blowtorch.
“I feel so powerful right now,” Robin said as she fired it up. “My camera guy is getting very nervous.”
"Nothing burned down; we didn't have to call the fire department," Robin said.
And it looks fantastic!
A little homemade vanilla frosting, some crushed Oreos, and you have a decadent dessert.
The card game that gave Show Low its name
Every city has a name, and often a story behind it. Show low is no different.
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Show Low’s story involves two men and a card game played back in the 1870s.
“The card game was called Seven Up,” Melanie Hefner of the Show Low Museum explained. “Now I don't play cards and I really don't understand it, but I understand who shows low wins the game.”
Corden Cooley won and this town got its name, Show Low.
“And the story's gone around and around,” Melanie said. “Our town named the main street Deuce of Clubs because that's the lowest card in the deck.”
The town has seen a lot in the years since then, but it hasn't forgotten its past. In fact, a good bit of history can be found inside the Show Low Museum.
“Early Show Low was really nothing but a crossroads where the early farmers and ranchers came in and they either freighted to make money, or they sold goods to Fort Apache,” Melanie said.
The museum gives visitors a window into the town when it was just getting started.
You can see pictures and postcards from a simpler time, even part of the old post office where people would go to send and pick up mail.
“After they closed down that post office and built a brand new one, of course, this stuff got kind of carried away, and the Historical Society found these actual post office boxes and this actual counter in a barn,” Melanie explained.
The old items now make up one of the more popular rooms in the museum. But the favorite is probably the old jail cell and booking room.
Before this was built, officers would actually handcuff the bad guys to a tree and an overnight stay was, well, not all that bad.
“They would also put them in motel rooms,” Melanie said. “The police have told me that they used to put the people that were arrested in motel rooms and they found out that the guys were having a better night's rest than they were, and they decided something had to be done about that. So right here, they built a small jail cell.”
Visitors can see pictures of the lawmen who roamed the street and the actual booking cards of the bad guys.
“It's one of the favorite rooms around here,” she said. “I have so many people that come in and they look at the old pictures of the former police and they say ‘Oh, I know that guy. I know that guy. He caught me doing this,’ so that kind of thing. So, it’s kind of neat to have the old police department here, or the booking room.”
The museum is also home to some pictures and items from one of the most frightening times in Show Low's history.
“Back in 2002, that Rodeo-Chediski Fire started coming in on us. I remember going out and looking at the smoke above our trees and it was quite frightening.”
Luckily the fire was stopped, and the city was saved.
These days, Show Low has become a vacation destination. The city on the mountain certainly has plenty to offer.
So, what are you waiting for?
Come on up, walk around and enjoy the crisp mountain air!