On Monday morning, a handful of Arizona Highways staffers drove up the road to Escudilla Mountain, the third highest peak in Arizona. There, not long ago, the mountainside was covered in aspens. They glowed a green-gold come autumn, and countless hikers, mountain bikers and photographers journeyed to the mountain to breathe it in.
Catching just a glimpse of the peak — even from a distance — reminded two of us of Aldo Leopold: “Life in Arizona was bounded under foot by grama grass, overhead by sky, and on the horizon by Escudilla.”
Then, last summer, the Wallow Fire burned. Escudilla was destroyed. In time, the trees will return. It will take decades, generations, a hundred or more years for the Earth to replenish what the fire took away. But for now, the mountain is a reminder to everyone who enjoys the outdoors: Leave no trace. Extinguish your campfires. Protect the trees for future generations.