Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Flagstaff fun

We spent a couple wonderful weeks in Flagstaff and I'm already plotting how to get back.  In addition to the FKT on the loop trail, there was running, hiking, exploring, learning about volcanoes, and wildlife watching.  All at a nice "high and dry" elevation that made me happy.

Some random photos from our time there earlier in June...

Enjoying an occasional glimpse of the Arizona Trail, this one during a run around Mount Elden:

Desert flora:

Desert trail, so fun for running:

Some of the tallest brush piles I've seen, plus Mount Humphreys in the background:

The fork in the AZT road, where it diverges to go either through or around Flagstaff:

A look at Mount Elden, and since I didn't get to the top this time, obviously we need to go back:

Every time I passed this rock I was tempted to take a picture.  How did this come to be this way?  I would love to know.

Hello, local fauna (or "fawn-a"):

The Elden grave site:

Pretty pond near I-40, where the AZT reaches the south side of town:

A great blue heron, always impressive:

I've been meaning to ask John what he thinks about this:

Also, John...

We have a longer backpack trip planned in July, so we did an overnight outing near Flagstaff as practice.  I haven't done enough of it in my life, and my lists still aren't finalized, plus training with weight on my back is always helpful.  So we walked out of our RV park and followed trails around to Schultz Tank where we found a spot off in the woods to set up a tent.

The next morning we took daypacks and started up the Weatherford Trail for Mount Humphreys.  It just seemed like a neat idea to walk from Howie to the top of the mountain and back.  So we decided to try.


It's hard to imagine at the moment wearing this many clothes, but apparently it was a chilly start to the day, and I might not have been fully awake yet:

John is fond of being in the wilderness:

King of the Rock at the boundary to Kachina Peaks Wilderness!  The lighting could have been a lot better, but I was enjoying the shade in the "lowlands":

Ah, now we're getting some views - good morning Mr. Humphreys!

Looking down into the valley, which John recently realized looks like a giant ancient crater - yes, that makes sense.  We learned something about this at Lassen and now it's fun recognizing them in other places:

Snow!  Must be summertime  :)

More shaded north-facing snow:

Fun trail along the side of the hill:

Higher up on the one big snowfield, where the snow was in decent shape (not slippery and not too post hole-y):

It's about impossible to see, but there were a gazillion ravens on the snow field, all flying around and landing everywhere.  We had no idea what they were doing there, but we spent plenty of minutes watching them.  Love the ravens!

On the approach to the top of Arizona, back in lava rock country:


... on the tundra (tundra) (John started singing this and now I can't help but include it; after I watch the video a couple of times...)

Anyhoo!  Back to the mountain, on a beautiful day:

Super enjoying the views and all the interesting volcano-related features that we probably missed the last time we were here:

I didn't take any summit pictures, I guess other things were more interesting:

Heading back down, with John on the way to one of his higher mileage days in recent memory:

Back to the lovely Ponderosa pines!

Eventually we made it back to the tent, took a break, then schlepped everything back to Howie.  A 2-night outing might have been smarter.  Next time!

Next up - still moving west, still favoring mountains.

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