Mt Humphreys…

This weekend, a group of friends were planning to go on a short hike in Flagstaff to honor the memory of Galen Yoder, a good friend and avid hiker, who died last Fall.  Since it was a short hike and I’m training to run our challenge in November, I didn’t know how I could drive up, do the little hike, drive back down AND still do my 8 mile run scheduled for today.  I had an idea!

Flagstaff = Mt. Humphreys!  How could I go to Flagstaff and NOT hike up the mountain?  It’s the tallest point in Arizona, reaching 12,500 ft in elevation and reaches beyond the treeline!

I checked with Jan (my running coach) to see what impact it would have on my training schedule… I checked with Brad to see whether he would be interested in going with me and stay overnight so we could do both events…

Jan was easier to convince than Brad.  But he’s such a good sport, he relented and made reservations DESPITE it being the weekend parents were bringing their kids back to NAU. (packed hotels)

The next obstacle was the actual hike.  I was planning to go alone.  No big deal!  I hadn’t gotten lost since the first time!  What could go wrong?  Again, Brad was harder to convince.  So, since some friends were dropping their daughter off and Jim is a runner, I checked to see whether he would be interested in hiking with me.  Being the good sport he is, he chose hiking over shopping!

Brad dropped us off at the trail head at 9:15 a.m. Last minute I decided to take my jacket just in case it was cold at the top.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It was warm (for 9,500 ft).  We were about an hour into the hike.  It wasn’t easy.  It’s all uphill! And it was getting colder.  I put my jacket on.  Jim put his long sleeve T-shirt on.  We kept going.  The exertion kept us warm.

The rain started gently. We kept going.  It increased in intensity.  We were determined. It hailed along with the rain.  Good thing they were only tiny pellets.  It poured.  We met people coming down.  We kept going because… the rain would stop.  After all, there was only a 20% chance of rain, and that was for later in the afternoon!  Another couple came down.  They had been at the top.  They cautioned us, saying it was even more slippery on the shale beyond the tree line.

We decided to turn around at the 3 hour mark.  No matter how far we made it.  By this time, the rain had lessened and it was just cold.  We were wet.  But we met someone saying the saddle was at the 3.8 mile mark.  We were at 3.2 miles.  We couldn’t be THAT close to the saddle and not go on, right?

We made it! It wasn’t raining at that point.  But it was muddy, slippery and wet.  We confirmed our decision not to summit; it was just too dangerous.

Breathing was a lot easier going down.  It DID rain some more, but not as hard as it had while trekking up!  There were puddles on the trail making it as treacherous hiking down as it had been difficult going up.

Elevation gain: 3,261 ft.

Miles hiked: 7.95 mi.

Time: 3.57.44

Average pace – 29.54 min/mi

The meadow at the base was as welcoming as was seeing Brad coming to meet us!

And Galen would have laughed, had he been there.  It would have been another story to add to his repertoire of mishaps and calamities while hiking that we would laugh about too – once we were warm and dry.


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