Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Accidental Summit
Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona, from a distance.
A few weeks ago Camber and I found ourselves, quite unintentionally, standing on top of Arizona.
How, you may ask, does one accidentally climb to the top of a 12,637-foot high mountain? I shall tell you.
It's true that we went down to Flagstaff, Arizona (Camber's home town) for the express purpose of climbing this mountain. This would have been my highest peak yet (I know, I know, it's humiliating that I've never broken 14,000 feat), so we were very excited. Sadly, on the morning of our hike, the peaks were covered in lightning storms, meaning it would have been too dangerous to climb to the top.
So instead Camber and I settled on a day-hike, on a trail someone recommended to us. It was the most beautiful aspen forest I have ever seen:
Me standing stupidly amongst beautiful aspens.
Camber in the aspens
The weather did turn foul briefly (it hailed on us for about 10 minutes; we took cover under pine trees), but began to clear up, so we just kept hiking. At one point we saw a sign that said we had 4 miles to the saddle. We were feeling good, and figured we could make it there. And we were rewarded:
A view from the saddle
Once we reached the saddle, we went ahead and hiked to the next saddle. Once we reached that, we took a trail to the next saddle. And at that point we figured, "Well, we may as well hike to the top!"
So we kept on going, not unlike our good friend the Energizer Bunny, until we reached the summit. It was a beautiful view, and there was even a nice Canadian man there to take our picture:
Camber and I at the top
So that's how it happened that a 4-hour morning hike turned into a 10-hour all-day hike. It was beautiful and worth it. If you've never been to Flagstaff, you really ought to go. Its beauty will stun you.
Here are a few more pictures:
Aspen trees. Good shot, eh?
Me standing in an aspen grove
A lichen-covered rock field