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
I remembered hearing of a backcountry Park Service ranger who was cleaning up after dinner one evening when he heard a chilling scream. He ran out of his cabin in time to see a mountain lion standing with a dead deer next to her. The lion saw the ranger and bounded off. The ranger realized this might be a rare opportunity to closely observe a mountain lion, so he stationed himself a short distance away from the deer carcase. He sat in absolute silence, and listened closely as night deepened. After sitting in darkness for well over an hour, he gave up hope of the lion's returning and stood up. In the powerful beam of his flashlight, he could clearly see that the dead deer was no longer there. ...
Caught in Fading Light: Mountain Lions, Zen Masters, and Wild Nature by Gary Thorp