Thirdeyemom

A Hike along Mount Baldy Trail

“The mountains are calling and I must go”. – John Muir

The White Mountains of northeast Arizona are home to the largest freestanding Ponderosa Pines in the world, a dramatic difference to the lunar landscapes, canyons and cactus desert that covers much of the state. The White Mountains are breathtakingly beautiful with air so fresh that is makes your lungs sing. Peace, serenity and connecting with nature are the main pastimes here and there are many fabulous hiking trails to find it.

The most well-known and beloved hike in the area is the 14-mile roundtrip hike to the sacred Mount Baldy. At 11,4000 feet, Mount Baldy is home to some of the oldest, most beautiful Douglas Firs in the world. Some of them are over 350 years old. Three years ago, my dad, my son Max and I did a three generational hike along the Mount Baldy Trail. Yesterday, we decided to repeat history and do it again. There was no way we could do the entire hike with a nine-year old but we were able to hike to the first lookout with a magnificent view of the forest and horizon.

We rose early to the morning sun lighting up the pine tree tops lining the White Mountains. The morning sky was a magnificent blue with not a single cloud in the sky. That would surely come later. In late August, the White Mountains are at the tail end of monsoon season where the magical clouds slowly appear, form and become bigger, whiter, brighter and then darker before they release their angry water.

We took the White Mountain Scenic Byway for a little over an hour, driving through some of the other small towns along the way. We passed through meadows, fields of wildflowers and lots of Ponderosa Pines (some dating over 700 years old!). It was a beautiful ride that took us through some unbelievable scenery. I had to pinch myself to remember that we were in Arizona as we had left the desert and cactus long ago.

We arrived at the start of the trail around half past nine. The sky was brilliant and the gentle breeze smelled of pines. It was completely still and quiet save for a few birds chirping off in the distance. It was a beautiful day for a hike.

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

Max at 9 years old.

Mount Baldy Arizona

I kept thinking about my favorite John Muir quotes and realizing how fortunate we are to have had such an amazing advocate for protecting our natural forests. What a gift these forests and parks have given to so many people.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean”.  – John Muir

Mount Baldy Arizona

Field of wildflowers which bloom in late Summer.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. – John Muir

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness”. – John Muir

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy ArizonaIt was fun to see how much my son has grown since the last time we were here three years ago and grabbed the same shot below.

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

This tree is old! Look at how massive it is.

Mount Baldy Arizona

Looking up….

Mount Baldy Arizona

The view on top at first peak. To do the entire hike, it is a few more miles.

 “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” – John Muir 

Mount Baldy Arizona

On top of the world

Mount Baldy Arizona

Me and my boy

Mount Baldy Arizona

The mountainside is covered in green.

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”. – John Muir

P1050488The afternoon monsoon clouds quickly rolled in. In an hour or so, the sky turned as black as night and dangerous thunder and lightning began.

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

Mount Baldy Arizona

Leaving just in time…

The hike was just as spectacular as I remembered. I hope it isn’t another three years until we do it again.

 

12 comments

  1. Thankls for sharing. Reminds me of my Mt. Timpanogas hike (11,700 feet, I think) in Utah many years ago. Now I’m surrounded by hills, lots of hills, but no mountains closer than the Rockies, Appalachians and I think there might be some small mountains in Arkansas. I miss hiking (walking, actually, never backpacking) in the Wasatch Range. While it’s plenty green around here, if one counts GMO corn and GMO soybeans, there’s nothing like the greenery of the Rocky Mountains. 🙂

  2. Amy

    Great quotes by John Muir! Fantastic mountain views. The young boy is growing fast, love the photo of your and your son. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. What a beautiful place to go hiking! I love the idea of a ‘three generation hike’, Nicole. Max certainly has grown a lot, and he looks so proud of himself, standing on top of that first peak. Great photo of the two of you. 🙂 Love all of your pics, and the Muir quotes. .

  4. A generational hike! I love it. It’s great to see your dad. How is he Nicole? The John Muir quotes mesh with your beautiful photos perfectly. We’re headed to Yosemite National Park in September to visit our son who works there. No matter how many times we hike through Yosemite, there is always something new to see. Thanks for taking us on your hike.

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