Sunday, June 19, 2011
Humphreys Peak via Inner Basin
Mt Humphreys Peak - Hike
Inner Basin/Weatherford Trail
Time - 8:56
AEG - 5600ft
A "big mileage" weekend was in order after logging only 3.1 miles last Sunday at the Arizona Road Racer's 5K, and what better place to do it than Flagstaff? Mark and I chose to begin the extended trek to the summit from the Inner Basin Trail because Locket Meadow is closed, meaning we would have this side of the mountain to ourselves. A true wilderness experience, so to speak.
A new trail into the Inner Basin took us through the healthiest (and greenest) aspen forest I have literally ever seen. Mark and I kept commenting to each other about how impressed we were with this incredible section of trees. Sadly, our hike through this area came to an end as we gained elevation and intersected the Weatherford Trail. Beyond Doyle saddle, we climbed several switchbacks, crossed the snow fields, and made our way to the Humphreys saddle. Along this stretch of trail, we picked up another hiker/runner named Justin. Come to find out, he finished the Zane Grey 50 back in April, although we didn't cross paths at the race.
The three of us reached a crowded summit (hikers from the Snowbowl Resort side), and met up with a handful of people from our hiking group. They were huddled among the rocks to block the wind while taking a lunch break, everyone appeared to be in good spirits despite the blistering gusts. We chatted a bit, talked about the hike, and a few minutes later Justin went his own way and the two of us were ready to make the lengthy return trip.
Nine hours and almost 23 miles later, the car was in sight. It felt so good to be off my feet for the moment. On the way down, I noticed a small dirt road leading to a meadow on a nearby mountain. "That is where I want to camp" I told Mark. A few minutes later we found the way up to what would become one of my all time favorite campsites. This is the third camping trip with Mark in 2011, so we have a pretty good system down as far as setting up, cooking food, clean up, etc. So before long, we were enjoying a hot bowl of chili and watching the sun go down over the mountains and Grand Canyon in the distance.
-Aspens in what we considered to be the enchanted forest
-A glimpse of Doyle Peak from the Inner Basin
-Our campsite on a plateau just East of Forest Road 418