Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Mountain Hike


Western Meadowlark


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.


Quite colorful.




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.


  1. Come on now. The low temperatures might keep the bugs down. We were eaten alive by huge flies last year. I'll happily put up with anything that is anti-flying-insect.

  2. We really enjoy joining in on local activities. I love the colors of those old trucks.

    Glad Sophie is back to her old crazy slef.

  3. You guys are getting there (in shape). You'll be ready for Colorado in no time :))
    Love the meadow lark photo...nice shot.

    And lastly, I love the irony of the Fire Lookout amidst all the burned up trees...
    Box Canyon Mark

  4. The fire devastation is terrible. I can see how hiking through the area would be very eerie!

    Great job hiking at that altitude! Really builds up the old lungs.

    Good to hear that Sophie is doing well.

  5. Now that you've hiked Arizona's third highest mountain..... Perhaps #1 and #2? Nice shot of the meadowlark! How I love the song of this bird! Safe travels. Maureen & Eric

  6. When we stayed in Alpine last Fall for two months, the folks were just starting to remodel the Foxfire building for the restaurant. The new owner of the property was there taking down the FOR SALE sign as we walked by, and we stopped to chat. He was really excited about opening a restaurant.

    We had recently seen the Kate Winslet version of the classic movie "Mildred Pierce", which was mostly about a restaurant start-up situation, so that added to the experience. We were really excited for him.

    We have often wondered if it got off the ground, and if it is giving The Bear Wallow some good competition. Thanks for the report.

    There are myriad photo ops in downtown Alpine. We stayed at the Alpine Village RV Park for those two months, and made many forays into town - up and down those hills.

    You're much better hikers than we are, so we didn't see as much as you did.