Last summer, I told my brother that I was in the best physical condition that I'd been in for many years. Like maybe more than 30 years ago when I got out of the Navy! What I didn't say was that I was still in woefully poor shape. Well, if I were really physically fit I could have hiked more trails in the Chisos Mountains but I was happy with what I was able to do.
Once piece of advice: Don't take anyone's word on whether a trail is “easy” or not! Based on the advice of one of the people working in the Visitors Center, the first trail I hiked was the Lost Mine Trail. She said it was relatively easy. Let me just say that her idea of easy and mine certainly don't coincide! It was not easy. I later read a trail guide that described it as “somewhat strenuous” which to me was more accurate, but still not quite right. Let's just say it was challenging.
In shape or out, I huffed and puffed nearly all the way on the outbound stretch. The description that I read later said that the Lost Mine Trail “rises to 1100 feet over 2.4 miles” and “provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains and desert” and what that really means is that it was uphill most of the way! Oh yeah, lots of huffing and puffing! But it was a gorgeous day. Blue skies, sunshine, and warm temperatures. Not hot. Not cold. Comfortable.
Casa Grande Peak, looking back on the trail, about a quarter of the way in. This was one of the easier stretches. Thank goodness it wasn't all uphill all of the time!
From the halfway point, looking south. Views like this is what made the trek worthwhile!
And this! The view from the top! Casa Grande on the left. The “v” shaped area is called the window, for reasons I'll explain later. The Basin is the low area in the center and is where the campground was located. The white ribbon streaking through the center is the road leading to the Basin and the Lodge. The Lost Mine Trail began about where the road disappears in the center going toward the Basin.
Heading down. Again, this is one of the easier sections of the trail. Lots of switchbacks. Lots of rocks. Going down took almost as long as going up. It was also harder on the legs, but much, much easier on the heart and lungs! After 4.8 miles and 3 hours I felt tired, for sure, but also exhilerated. It was my first “long” hike, and I made it back safe and sound.
Photographs taken February 21, 2010.