Strayhorse Campground on US 191 south of Alpine AZ
Dawn at Strayhorse Campground, March 29, 2008
Camping along US 191
In addition to the informal camping along US 191 south of Alpine, Arizona there is Strayhorse Campground in the Sitgreaves National Forest. This is a nice little primitive campground at a major trailhead on a saddle about 26 miles south of Alpine AZ, the first wide spot in the road south of Blue Vista overlook.
Mexican Gray Wolves now live here
When I visited the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad NM I seem to remember signage saying their magnificent Mexican gray wolves were among the few surviving members of the species and that all were in captivity. I'm delighted to find that is not the case. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has an active Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. It is so exciting to think they are being re-introduced into the wild. I wish them well.
Blue Vista overlook
Yikes! About 20 miles south of Alpine AZ US 191 comes right to the edge of the Mogollon Rim where, if you've got the guts, there's a narrow road out around the point to a small parking lot right on the edge of the rim to take in the view before dropping down off the rim. I'm sorry I didn't attempt it but I didn't see any good way to get a picture or two of the layer upon layer of hazy blue hills far far below. That's Blue Vista above the stop sign in the picture.
Gas up before leaving Alpine
I didn't and that little lapse in judgement kept me on edge all the way down to Clifton. I'm not sure how far it is but I'm going to guess 90 miles. Oh, and leave the big rig home - there's a sign posted to the effect that no trucks over 40 feet are allowed, the road is not plowed nights and weekends or during storms and the road is not patrolled.
- This is a primitive campground with no water or electric hookups at the sites and no dump station.
- Verizon cell phone and Broadband service are probably not available here - I don't remember.
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Nights I've camped here
The native American was forced westward by the young escaping the limits of east coast villages that had been established only a generation or two earlier by parents escaping the limits of European villages. From then on, whether seeking a whale, rafting with Huck Finn, easy riding with Peter Fonda, or next week in Cancun, there has been a strong belief in America that happiness lies somewhere else. And yet as we find freedom we also rediscover loneliness. As geographer Yi-Fu Tuan says, we require both shelter and venture. We need freedom and support, silence and cacophony, the vast and distant but also the warm and near, a voyage and a harbor, the great adventure and the hobbit hole. Much of the iconography of our times gives little sense of this. Instead, the individual is treated as a self-sufficient, self-propelled vehicle moving across a background of other things, other places, and other people.