Arizona Trail Is A Treasure In Our Own Back Yard


Rick Henry, from West Plains, Mo., was on the 32nd day of his trek from the Mexico border to Utah — covering the entire 800-mile stretch of the Arizona Trail.

Rick Henry, from West Plains, Mo., was on the 32nd day of his trek from the Mexico border to Utah — covering the entire 800-mile stretch of the Arizona Trail. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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While hikers were brushing off llamas Abigail, Amber and Sierra from Fossil Creek Creamery in preparation for a llama hike at the Pine Trailhead, a bearded and seasoned long-distance hiker arrived at the location and approached the group. The hiker descending from the trail introduced himself as Rick Henry, from West Plains, Mo., aka Backpack Guy.

He said he earned the nickname hiking eight of the country’s most rugged trails and was on the 32nd day making his way from the Mexico border to Utah — the entire 800-mile stretch of the Arizona Trail.

The llama hikers and long-distance hikers like Rick Henry represent just a few of the hundreds of individuals who derive enjoyment each year from the Arizona Trail. Shawn Feliciano Garber, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, completed the Arizona Trail in 2012 to raise money and awareness for the debilitating disease. Others, like Stan Clark and Fred Gaudet, hiked the trail in celebration of their retirement or a milestone like turning 60. All professed a newfound appreciation for the scenic wonders and amazing people of Arizona and considered it an inspiring or major lifetime achievement.

“The people of Arizona are spectacular,” exclaimed Henry, who had researched trails online and chose the Arizona Trail because it seemed interesting.

“It is the toughest trail I have hiked,” he said, citing the eroded trail in the rocky burn area as, “particularly challenging” and added, “it is well worth it because of the beautiful scenery and amazing people along the way.” Henry had rested just one night of the long journey at Payson’s L F Ranch where the people were “cordial and really great,” he said.

In P/S we can enjoy all the Arizona Trail has to offer from hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding or skiing a portion of it or something more challenging to participating in trail building workshops and more.

The non-motorized Arizona Trail is a positive recreation experience that contributes to the well-being of society, enjoyment of its visitors and preservation of the land and sites.

It is a vision inspired by hundreds of trail enthusiasts who put their heart, soul and toil into it, and a tribute to our state, community and people. Best of all, it is a treasure in our own back yard.

Scott Stoval, who hiked the Arizona Trail in 2007/08 prior to its completion said, “For all of you contemplating doing the walk, my suggestion is to go to the trailhead, place one foot in front of the other and start your journey. You won’t regret it.”

The trail can be accessed at the Pine Trailhead at the south end of Pine off Highway. 87.

Thanks to a local group, P/S Fuel Reduction, Inc. (the ones with the firewise trailer), there are some wonderful opportunities locally to become involved in trail building efforts and innovations that contribute to making our area a safer place to live. Meetings of the P/S Fuel Reduction Inc. are at 6 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month in the Pine Senior Center Dining Room. The next meeting is Wednesday, May 29. For information, visit the Web site at http://psfuelreduction.org.

P/S Fuel Reduction Inc. will be working on the Pine Strawberry Trail from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, May 12 and on the new trail in Pine from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 18. Lunch will be provided on the trail for both workdays. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hiking/work boots, hats and gloves are required. Tools will be available. Be sure you have adequate water for the trail.

The meeting place for the Pine Strawberry Trail workday on May 12 will be FR 428 at or near the turnout for Walnut/Oak Springs Trail.

The Forest Road to the meeting place for the new trail on May 18 requires a high-clearance vehicle. If you need help getting there, meet in the parking area behind the Pine Community Center between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. and a shuttle will get you out to the trail or show you the way.

RSVP to brandt329@hotmail.com as soon as you know you’ll be attending so that they know how many lunches to prepare and also let them know if you have any dietary restrictions.

Other bring-your-own-lunch opportunities to work on the trails are posted on the PSFR Web site at www.psfuelreduction.org.

The Ranch at Fossil Creek

Felting classes with Nancy Bollard begin Saturday, May 11 at the Ranch. Come visit Strawberry and learn how to felt and work with llama and sheep wool in a three-hour purse making class.

Cooking classes are also being held in May. Experience the many uses of goat cheese in appetizers, entrees and desserts or learn the basics of cheese making from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 1 and June 29.

For further information, visit www.ranchatfossilcreek.com.

Mother’s Day celebration

Area eating and drinking establishments, such as Sidewinders Saloon in Pine, are planning great specials for moms this Sunday, May 12.

Start the fun on Friday, May 10 with barbecue and blues with John Scott Band; and at 6:15 p.m., Saturday, May 11 there is Texas Hold ’em; and all day long Sunday, May 12, there will be Mother’s Day specials. 

Pine Public Library

The Pine Public Library Summer Reading Program kicks off on June 5 with “Dig into Dirt,” followed by “Dig into Art: on June 12, “Dig into Honey & Bees” on June 19 and “Dig into Treasure & Food” on June 26. Youngsters can “Dig into Reading” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays in June in the Library Activity Room at 6124 N. Randall Place, Pine.

Rim Country Riders ATV Club

The Rim Country Riders ATV Club is having its 2013 Membership Drive during the month of May. The club works with various agencies to promote the creation of authorized OHV trails in and around the Rim Country. Get membership forms at the Ponderosa Market in Pine, Big 5 Sporting Goods in Payson, Rim Country Power Sports in Star Valley and Four Seasons Motor Sports in Rye. Join the club for rides, events and fun. For more information, contact Linda at (928) 476-2626 or Dave at (858) 722-5500.

Naked Yard Sale

“Naked” Yard Sale means no clothing for sale or donation. The Riff Raff Club is in the process of accepting donations for this year’s Naked Yard Sale and Bishop Storage Sheds has again this year donated the use of two sheds. The sheds are located on the west side of Highway 87, behind Bishop Realty and the Ice Cream/Fudge Shop. The club has sheds No. 11 and 12 and will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the sale on June 15, during the Strawberry Festival.

Remember all the money raised goes to the group’s holiday project for the Pine/Strawberry area, so let’s fill those sheds.

Volunteer Award Nominations

For the 10th year, the Take Pride Project is now accepting applications for the “Volunteer of the Year” 2013 award. To nominate someone deserving, please write up a paragraph or two about their contributions in the community and why you think they deserve this honor. Send the information to P.O. Box 1204, Pine, AZ 85544. Applications for the award must be received by June 1.

Got any other events coming up? E-mail me at haffordjoy1@gmail.com or call (928) 310-0884.

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