We make the 4 hour drive to Flagstaff with a plan to climb Humphrey's Peak, the high point in the state at 12,600'. The timing of the trip was not random, had to choose a time when there is 0 chance of rain because up there, above the tree line, in a storm....yikes.
Of course, while Flagstaff is at 7000' elevation, the start of our hike is at the Snow Bowl at 9000', despite being just a few miles out of the city limits. Temperature is a consideration so we wait until about 8:30am to begin where it is in the low 60s here and by the time we reach the peak, in the low 50s. Lots of Aspen mixed in the pine forest.
We arrive at the large parking area and I take a pic of the moon. We gear up and walk to the.....
....trail head. Round trip, the hike is 10.5 miles from where we parked.
Such a benign start to our adventure. Many wild flowers blooming as we cross the ski slope and head to the.....
....forest. This area receives an average of 260" of snow so plenty of water to support the giant trees. The trail is not smooth. Between the roots and boulders, it is a head down kind of hike. The average grade is 12% so not as steep as Mount Wrightson in my neck of the woods. But, where it is steep, it is really steep.
Early, all we see are tree trunks and a canopy that keeps us in the shade. Eventually, we reach a point in the trail, maybe at mile 2ish, where the views open.
We reach a broad swatch of rock fall. Above this point, a WWII era plane crashed and you can visit the site and see relics.
Another of the peaks in the San Francisco Peaks area is seen across a valley. We continue to climb but Amy lets me know she is starting to feel the effects of the altitude. That is normal for most people and I hope that.....
....with another 1000' of elevation gain to go, the condition does not worsen. Amy pauses at a prominent sign and as always, smiling despite some dizziness. My first visit, the altitude was a problem for me but on my 2nd visit, I did not notice it. I assumed I too would have an issue since I've not done much higher elevation hiking with the fire forced closure of Mount Lemmon. We shall see in the next installment.