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Not running, but a trip (almost) up a mountain (Read 928 times)

    A short story about a hike, and why I need to get a massage so that I can start walking/running again: Mt Humphreys is the highest point in Arizona, at 12670 ft. Z and I decided we were going to try climbing it, without too much thought or preparation (we've both done our fair share of climbing up mountains), a few days ago. We ended up leaving town pretty late (thanks to hangovers and sleeping in) and grabbing breakfast at Le Grande Orange, where we met a few astounded hikers - "you're trying Humphreys? Today? You're not even there yet?" Then they started asking about crampons and snowshoes, which we reassured them we had in the car but probably wouldn't need. Global warming! I realized as we were leaving town that I forgot my poles, which I wasn't happy about but they're not a total necessity for me. We got to the trailhead around 12:30pm. There didn't appear to be any snow at the top, and the temperature was a balmy 45-ish degrees, so we left the snowshoes and most of our winter gear in the car. We set off at 12:45pm, through a pretty meadow into an aspen forest. You could see the peak from our start point. The switchbacks through the forest got steeper and steeper as the trail got higher, and some shaded parts were actually snowed/iced over, making what would have been easy sections with some exposure sketchy sections with exposure. I could feel the altitude pretty quickly, and while I wasn't getting loopy or anything as we got higher, I definitely had to take a break after every ten steps or so because of how steep it was and the lack of oxygen. We got to Doyle Saddle at 11800 ft. At this point, we decided to turn around so that we would have light coming down - you don't want to get stuck there with that amount of snow/ice on the trail (or stuck on a trail after dark anyway - if you're curious you can ask me about Utah sometime). Z started hauling down and I tried to keep his pace but my ankles and knees were not happy with me (I'm used to using poles for descending), so I found some sturdy broken branches and used those. We got out the forest just as the sun went down, and used the last ten minutes of dusk to walk through the meadow to the car. Perfect timing! Notes for next time: poles will help a lot, hiking boots are probably better because of how rocky it is and all the scree in the tundra section at the top (I wore trail running shoes this time), and staying overnight in Flagstaff would definitely have helped with altitude acclimatization. If we had started earlier we probably could have made it. Also, we saw fresh mountain bike tire tracks along the whole trail - someone is doing something illegal and also completely off their rocker - that shit is steep. Good recon hike though, and I bet I am going to be sore as hell as my legs were already stiffening up on the drive home. On the other hand, man, there's a lot of oxygen down here in Phoenix.


    Finished!

      wow. We usually do that one in the summer - but usally go up from the Weatherford Tral head. Great photos Smile Did you head up from Snowbowl? How is the trail at the lower end? Still lots and lots of deadwood in there or no?
      Walk + Jog = wog.
      I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
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      Needs more cowbell!

        Oh, those photos are beautiful! I wish I lived near some mountains. The only mountain hiking I have ever done was in Scotland, and it was basically a big, treeless bump in the ground. No wonder you are so tired and sore--that looks pretty rugged. k

        I shoot pretty things! ~

        '14 Goals:

        • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


        Prophet!

          I did this hike in high school...i think we came up from Snow Bowl side, don't quite remember...i'd like to go back and do this again, i remember how pretty it was...i also hiked up Kendrick Peak around the same time, very nice as well. I love northern AZ.


          Finished!

            I did this hike in high school...i think we came up from Snow Bowl side, don't quite remember...
            Oh you;d remember if you did it the other way it's a lot longer of a hike from weatherford - which is why we do it in the summer - need all the daylight we can get Smile
            Walk + Jog = wog.
            I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
            I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry
              Did you head up from Snowbowl? How is the trail at the lower end? Still lots and lots of deadwood in there or no?
              Yeah, we went up from the Snowbowl side. The trail at the lower end still does have a lot of deadwood - there are fallen trees over the trail at 4-5 points. The first 3/4 mile isn't bad, and then it also starts getting really steep. Weatherford sounds like an epic haul, though I bet it'd be much nicer to descend than the Humphreys Trail. Car shuttling time!


              Finished!

                I really like the Weatherford Trail side - it would make for a good backpack too, certainly has enough mileage for it LOL. I prefer it over snowbowl because it doesn't seem to have all that deadwood and it also sees a lot less traffic. We usually just go for the "day" but we camp out the night before so we can get up and just get moving on the trail.
                Walk + Jog = wog.
                I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
                I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry


                Now that was a bath...

                  Breathtaking pics! That was certainly a beautiful place to go for a hike! Have you managed that massage yet? Cool Claire xxx
                • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
                • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.
                    Yep, got a massage over my lunch break. So happy that my insurance covers them as "physical therapy" ... Big grin Legs are feeling much better though I'm going to hold off running on them for one more day and go swimming instead.