Amy and I continue our trek into the thin air above Flagstaff. The trees are becoming scarce and not much higher, we climb above the tree line.
We reach a saddle and in this exposed area, the wind is howling. We seek shelter behind a rock wall while....
....admiring the view. This is looking, I think to the northeast. As we sat and looked....
....at what was left to climb. The trail ascends the other side and you can't see the summit, just a series of false summits but I know what is coming and advise Amy not to be discouraged as we access false peaks and discover that is not THE peak.
A series of posts guide the way. Not needed now but when snow is present, no way to follow the trail without these useful items. The wind is ferocious from my left and I was always on guard when lifting one foot off the ground. A few times I was thrown off balance but lots of boulders to steady myself.
At last, we reach the final slope, a stark moonscape. I was very excited when Amy reached the peak, a goal of course, having fought through the altitude complications. An opening in one of the rock walls to protect against the wind opened so...
....she gladly laid for a few minutes to recover.
Note the small patches of snow on the north facing slope.
A guy uses binoculars. Beyond him is the Little Colorado River flowing into the Grand Canyon.
My previous two visits, I was swarmed with buts but not today. Maybe that is because the wind was 30+mph on this day. 12,633" at this peak.
If you look closely, I am almost always wearing an Ohio State item. It is rare for someone not to yell "OH" or "Go Buckeyes". We are loved all over except maybe in the state of Michigan:). After about 15 minutes, we put our backpacks back on and begin the long descent.
At the aforementioned saddle, we run into a woman with a dog carrying some supplies. Dropping below the saddle, the wind thankfully diminished as we retraced our route. Note the descent is really time consuming and requires patience to pick through all the tree roots and boulders. Finished with 10.5 miles and 3400' of climbing. That doesn't seem that difficult but couple that with the wind and elevation, quite the worthy hike!