Yesterday the small town of Alpine, AZ (population 145 from the 2010 census) had a “Blast From the Past” car show. Since we had to go through town on our way to the trailhead, we stopped to check it out.
Jim found us the perfect vehicle for off roading.
And it was for sale.
Alpine is a cute little town, which consists mostly of vacation cabins and several RV parks. There is one gas station/convenience store, post office, an auto mechanic, a hardware store, and a small grocery/deli/you name it store.
There are also several restaurants, and the other night we had a very good pizza at the recently opened Foxfire. Nice place to eat if you’re in the area.
Now onto the hike.
About 5 miles north of Alpine is a forest service road (8056) that leads to Hulsey Lake. A few miles past the lake is the trailhead for the Escudilla National Recreation Trail. Much of this area was burned in the 2011 fire, which gave some of the trail a surreal feeling.
The last half mile or so was the worst.
But we made it about 3.5 miles to the top of Arizona’s third highest mountain, climbing from 9,500’ at the trailhead. Debbie doesn’t care for hiking as much as we do, but she persevered and hiked the entire trail, mostly due to the cool temperatures at that elevation. We all did have a little trouble breathing on the climb up.
View at the summit, 10,900’. The fire tower is closed.
This trail has a variety of scenery, from aspen groves to meadows, and climbs quite gently most of the way. This was nothing like some of the hikes Box Canyon Mark and Bobbie took us on in Ouray, CO last summer!
At around a mile and a half, the meadow gives way to great views, actually better than at the summit. So for a shorter hike, this is a good place to turn back.
We saw scratch marks on many of the trees. Bear or elk?
The only wildlife we saw were birds and butterflies.
We were tired last night, but it was a good tired, the way I always feel after a long hike. With endless miles of trails and pleasant summer temperatures, we would definitely return to this area. Well, getting down in the 30’s at night is a bit cooler than we care for, but you can’t have everything.
Addendum: Sophie is fine and back to her crazy self, and the campground is very quiet even though it’s a holiday weekend. Life is good.