I could have signed up for this hike at either HAZ or ABC, but ended up as as sort of a wild card since I didn't camp with the others, opting for 2 nights in a motel instead. I was out at the Snow Bowl about 720am Saturday, but waited a long time for the other hikers to arrive. While waiting for Wendy's group to show up, Joe, Preston, and Liz drove up, so I knew this was going to be an interesting day! Then I saw Fan from the Take a Hike group roll in. By golly we have a convergence happening!
Finally all the pieces of the puzzle were in place, and I hitched a ride over to Schultz Tank to start this shuttle hike. Some of us were going to hike up to Humphreys Peak via the Weatherford Trail, then go back to Snow Bowl on the Humphreys Peak Trail. I knew this was going to be challenging, compared with the more conventional way up to the state high point, but was fired up to do a new trail.
The old Weatherford Road has long switchbacks and a pretty mellow gradient. It's just a long walk, but has moments where the scenery is top shelf. After 6 miles, you finally reach Doyle Saddle, and that is where the expansive views set in. Now you get a glimpse of Humphreys, and the other peaks, plus the inner basin. It can be a little intimidating here, when you realize how much more hiking is left.
Eventually our group made it over to the traditional saddle to take an extended break before the final push to Humphreys. We encountered Joe, Preston, and Liz again in this zone. I lost my mojo after the long break, and it took awhile to get back in the groove for the final push to the peak. On the way up, we passed Angela and Wendy, still on their way up, who opted for the shorter more direct hike. We also passed Cindy, who was headed down. Once on top with all the people, we lingered and waited for Wendy and Angela. Of course once Wendy arrived, it was picture time, with as many people as possible doing the Wendy! As I was about to head back down, up walks Joe, Preston, and Liz (for the third encounter of the day)! This resulted in more Wendys and introductions.
Down the mountain I went, tired but making the best time I could. When I got to the sign in box near the beginning of the trail, Patricia from the Take a Hike group caught up with me. I knew she was going to be here today, but didn't expect to run into her. What a cool surprise! Turns out she did an even longer loop, but not the peak. We decided to try the shortcut back to the cars, and it shaved 0.6 mile from the hike. Robert and Rose were ahead of me, and were quite surprised when I arrived at the parking lot at the same time!
This was my 6th ascent of Humphreys and the weather was absolutely perfect this time!
Some folks were still on the trail, but those of us who got back early shared beer and snacks. After about half an hour, I drove some people over to the Schultz Tank trailhead to fetch their vehicles. I then headed back to Flagstaff to my motel. A little while later, some of us got together at Beaver Street for dinner and conversation!