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Lynda Green | Published on 2/14/2024

The first hike of 2024 for five SaddleBrooke hikers began on the crisp morning of January 3 at the American Flag Trailhead off Mt. Lemmon Road.  The guide team of Bruce and Carol Olson took three others, Arlene Daigle, Jason Noffsinger, and Lynda Green to this 6.7-mile section of the Arizona Trail, Passage 12. 

Hikers Lynda Green, Carol Olson, Jason Noffsinger and Arlene Daigle.  (Guide Bruce Olson avoided the camera.)

The path climbs upslope past the historically interesting High Jinks Ranch, which they visited on the way down.


First, though, they continued upward to the junction with the Oracle Ridge Trail.  This spot offered a place to rest, have snacks, and witness great views of (among other things) the backside of Samaniego Ridge, the Biosphere II, and even a swatch of distant SaddleBrooke.  By this time, though the temperature had risen to a level comfortable for hiking, it still felt cool.  The lack of wind helped the hikers enjoy this short respite on the high ridge.

However, the surprise of this whole venture came after the group had returned to the trailhead and shed their packs.  They strolled over to view the American Flag Ranch House, situated just steps from the parking area. 

Front Door of the American Flag Ranch House       Photo by Lynda Green

This structure is ‘believed to be the oldest Territorial Post Office building still standing in Arizona,’ according to the Oracle Historical Society website. 

Many SaddleBrooke hikers have seen this building from the outside, but this day caretaker ‘Don’ strolled over to the gate, unlocked it, and invited the group to enter and view the insides.

Although the place looks like a tiny two-room house from the front, several more rooms spread rearward - including a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and even a schoolroom.  All areas contained artifacts and information pertaining to life in Arizona’s past.

The Historical Society advertises that tours of American Flag Ranch House must be arranged by appointment, but these hikers were lucky that his dog alerted Don of potential visitors approached.  And graciously, he let them in.