A hike on the Arizona Trail
October 9, 2015
by Terri Petrescu
A group of 14 Sedona Westerners drove through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, through Flagstaff, and ascended to about 9000 feet up Mt. Humphries for a Dogie Hike. The weather on Mt. Humphries was perfect for a hike. Temperatures in the Alpine forest found at 9000 feet are often temperate in early September.
The Westerners hike started with a descent through the dark, moss covered forest. Many remarked on the richness of the soil, and the smell of fungus amid the dense trees. Big stone outcroppings were covered by moss and lichen, beautiful displays to enjoy. A short way into the hike, the Westerners joined up with the Arizona Trail that runs from Mexico to Utah. This section of the trail was one of the most beautiful parts of the trail. Hiking to Mexico was discussed by the group, but alas, no passports, so all decided to continue on with our planned hike of about 4.5 miles.
The group went to a water tank for a quick break providing lots of green grass, some wildflowers, and lots of dragonflies to watch. One hiker even managed to dine on rose hips found along the trail. The view to the west was incredible, and to the east, the peak at over 12000 feet was visible.
A great view of the San Francisco Peaks from the Arizona Trail
As the hike progressed the scenery changed to an aspen grove. Large, beautiful trees, some young, and others very old preceded a delightful surprise around the next corner of the Snow Bowl ski lift. Then across the meadow the hikers went over grass that was recently cut, getting ready for snow! Along this path Larkspur was blooming, not ready to give up on summer yet. Then back into the trees, the hikers were able to find plenty of downed trees and shade for lunch. A squirrel joined the group, not quite begging as he came bearing his own pine cone, while some of the hikers saw a doe.
After a lunch of reconnecting with old friends, the group headed back down the mountain. The skies got darker, booming thunder could be heard in the distance, and the monsoons became the topic of conversation. One Westerner who lives in Flagstaff said it has been raining every day in the afternoon. We had a pace that we thought would take us safely back to the cars before the weather hit, and we were right. There was no rain until heading down the mountain in the cars, and that didn't last long.