Sunday, August 16, 2009

An almost Mt. Humphreys summit

I went to Flagstaff this weekend for a conference and decided to do Mt. Humphreys with a little spare time I had on Sunday morning. Mt. Humphreys is the highest peak in Arizona at 12,633 feet. Crackster and I started at around 7:30am at the trailhead at 9,261 feet elevation. It is a fairly 'rooty and rocky' trail, but very pretty forest. We were making pretty good time, but the usually confident Crackinator was frightened of all the people coming down, which was causing some problems. So, I made the decision to turn around near the 4 mile mark (the summit is at 4.8 miles). Here I am almost at our turnaround point - not sure if that is Mt. Humphreys behind me?
It wasn't that hard to turn around. I'm just not a summit kind of person. I'm okay with turning around when it doesn't feel right. I just didn't want to haul a skiddish dog up the last bit of a pretty steep summit. So, we made it to 11,623 feet, which was good for me. I'll have to save the summit for another day. The good news is that I dealt with the higher elevation pretty well. I do think I'm starting to get more used to it.

We headed back down doing a little running here and there and in the last mile, ran into my friend Wayne from Tucson with his two little dogs! What a small world. We visited for a bit and then Cracker and I finished the hike off with a total of 8.25 miles.
I'm not sure on the elevation gain (my GPS got really weird in the end), but I would guess we did about 3,500 feet cumulative. Cracker Dog won the admiration of a lot of passing hikers. Well, some people looked at me like they thought I was crazy for bringing such a small dog up a big mountain, but they don't know the Cracker Dog! She loves the outdoors as much as I do and loves to run.

It was nice and cool up there - kept my jacket on the whole time. Flagstaff is a good place to go to avoid Tucson heat. I'll be back.
We were out about 3.5 hours, including our long break with Wayne, and other small stops along the way for pictures and chatting with other hikers. Cracker slowed things up a bit, so I think I could do it a little quicker next time (and make it to the top).
I thought it would be good training for the S.A.M., which, by the way, got low registration, and is now a no-fee fun run this year - they are accepting donations for the local school sports program instead! Come up to Silverton, Colorado next weekend on August 29th and enjoy a free marathon (or 50k!) in the San Juan mountains, complete with stocked aid stations and t-shirts!
I'll do some hiking and a little running this weekend, and then rest up for the big mountain marathon next week!

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