High Country

Yesterday I solo hiked a section of the Arizona Trail that I hadn't done before. The first thing I did was make a wrong turn, having not understood where I was on the map when I started. It wasn't terrible, with semi-desert vegetation, huge granitic basalt rocks, and distant views of the crags on the front (southern) side of Little Mount Elden, but I wanted the other side of it so I turned around. After a long, steady climb, I found myself at the junction with the Little Bear Trail and entering the burn scar from the Schultz Fire. It's recovered into verdant meadow, a beautiful place covered with grass, low bushes, and wildflowers. Insects and birds flitted in all directions. Loud grasshoppers buzzed the air. Looking downhill provided sweeping views of the San Francisco Peaks. Unfortunately my wrong turn meant that I was running out of steam and impatient to pick up early supper from a local steakhouse so I turned back after getting a few photos.

I'm going back to make it to the top of Little Elden. A horseback rider advised me that it's beautiful up there. I'm sure he's right.


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