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Stories from the Guardian of the Santa Ritas: Elizabeth Bayless

We are excited to launch a new storytelling series featuring you, the faithful Guardians of the Santa Ritas.

First up, you’ll meet Elisabeth Bayless, who shares her story and love for our beloved mountains. Then find out how you can share your story, join the fight, and get the latest updates on action we’re watching.


“At dawn last May, I hit the Old Baldy Trail in the Santa Rita Mountains. En route to Mt. Wrightson, I left my sixties and entered my seventies. Before my seventieth birthday, I had become worried about aging, so I picked apart what bothered me about growing old. I found that, besides dealing with those who presume gray-haired people only have a few working neurons left, losing touch with what I love stood out as my greatest bother.

I love the highs that come with immersing myself in a zone where humans don't run the place. I've dwelt in such places and found true peace there. These days, however, I fear losing the stamina and strength needed to reach forests and the high hills. Thus, I marched up ever steeper trails until my birth date arrived and on that day, I climbed. As I walked, I felt the oak trees laughing their acorns off at my ageist angst as jay birds mocked the absurdity of counting years. (I kept my sense of humor.) At last, I made it to the top, not gracefully, but wobbly… still, I made it. Once there, I looked out over the valleys and planes surrounding the magnificent Santa Rita sky island. A rush of gratitude flooded my wrinkled self and thoughts of being old simply slipped my mind.

Oh, how I love this land!”

-Elizabeth Bayless

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