Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mt. Humphreys loop

This is an approximately 24 mile loop starting at Schultz Tank TH up in Flagstaff. You have to travel 6 miles of the rockiest road ever to get there! We ran part of this with Honey 2 years ago and couldn't wait to get back there again. With my injury last Summer, we had to wait.

We started on Weatherford trail shortly after 7am, but several miles in, veered off on Kachina trail. We took that to Snowbowl and refilled our water (about 7 miles in). The morning was nice and cool. This is a very pretty section, with lots of aspens and ferns.

I think I have this pose down.

From there, we started at Humphreys TH, which was packed with cars for Labor Day weekend. We trudged up the rooty and rocky trail and reached the saddle at about 11 miles in, feeling good. We heard a storm rumbling off in the distance, but hoped we could make the summit before it hit, so off we went.

At the saddle - love running with my best friend

The last mile from the saddle to the summit of Humphreys Peak, the highest in Arizona at 12,633 feet, is a slog. Lot of rocks, very difficult. Not much oxygen!

Dallas on the final climb

View off of one side of the peak

We did it! 12,633 feet!

Looking off the other direction from the peak

It is cool to get to the summit; however, the mile each way from the saddle is so difficult, that if I did this route again, I would probably bypass it. I've got to the summit of Humphreys twice; no need to do it again. I told Dallas I'd wait for him at the saddle next time! 

We made it back to the saddle with the sky rumbling pretty loud. You can see the storm right next to us in this picture...

No sooner had we left the saddle heading back on Weatherford trail when the storm hit. We were pelted with tiny hail along an exposed ridge at about 11,000 feet for approximately 30 minutes. I had a pretty good jacket, but Dallas' rain jacket had seen better days. He was pretty cold and wet. We pressed on, running as much as we could to outrun the storm. 

Finally! It stopped raining and hailing.

Weatherford is about 11 miles long, and is really pretty.  I am not sure how this vehicle got up at 10-11,000 feet, but there it was.

This was down below off of the trail. Weird.

Total time: 8:23 - beat our time last time of 8:43. We were happy about that.

Total distance: Around 24 miles. My Garmin died permanently before the run, but the last time we did it, it showed about 24.5 miles. This is a challenging loop!

We treated ourselves to Five Guys hamburgers and fries and went back to Ft. Tuthill to spend the night. Last time we did this run, we drove right home afterwards, which was exhausting.

I recovered well from this run. Not much soreness and I feel in better shape than ever. If I play things smart, I just might be in great shape by the time OP50 and ZG50 roll around next year.

If those races go well and I stay injury free, I will probably do the Javelina 100 a year from now. Maybe. Doesn't hurt to dream a little. I'm so tired of being injured. I'm working on shin exercises and just in general, watching my mileage and intensity. Playing it safe. It is easy to get excited when I start getting in shape again. Patience. Feels good to feel good about trail running again.

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