Most time spent hiking in a day for me. To follow up last weeks longest distance I've hiked in a day. Beware of that Tough Boots guy he's a hiking slave driver. But that's just what it takes to crack the top 10 on that pesky little annual data thing that I always bump when trying to access the site from my touchscreen phone which tells me that even dogs have more miles than me after my extended work training.
On a more serious side, this is as tough as Kyle described in his triplog. The snow compounded the difficulty. I didn't do my research as well as I could have and did not realize how slow going it would be. In fairness Kyle was a great sport as I know jumping from rock to rock is not his favorite type of hiking and there was times on this hike I was starting to feel the same way. Now I realize that route finding in the dark on trails I've never been on that insist on crossing the stream over and over after doing one of my most difficult canyon hikes is my least favorite.
I swore I would never do this loop again, which may be true. I would like to explore this canyon again maybe as a multi day as I just did not have enough time to see everything I wanted to see. I second the views from White Mountain. The views from the peak were spectacular and were what I thought might be at the top of Mound Mountain when I tried to talk him into climbing that last week.
I was wowed by the clouds and wish my pictures did justice to some of the multi-colored steaks of cloud formations we saw. I'm not sure what creates these and I wish my camera would have captured them better. These alone would have been worth the hike. Then White Mountain views and finally the ruins. Small, but interesting. I can not recall keyhole doorways anywhere around here except Walnut Canyon in Flastaff which was the first interesting feature of these. It was obvious by the shovel and pan by one of the ruins that they have both been visited and probably lived in more recently. The other interesting feature was the pictographs inside that seemed to then be covered by the soot of fires making them a sheeny black. I actually saw some similar pictographs at Palatki last week.
All in all, my memory of the difficult parts and the not so fun parts are fading fast in comparison to the views and other positives I found from this hike. The company was great (I'm pretty sure a sense of humor was kept even after we both wanted the hike to be done) and although I won't be doing this again in the near future this was one of my more memorable recent hikes. Sorry to the backpacker who pitched their tent right on the trail that I practically tripped over on the way out.
Hope I didn't wake you up.