With a strong desire to hike above tree line overcoming my morning laziness, I left home at 5:30 am, bound for Flagstaff. I hit the Humphreys Peak Trail at 7:40, hoping to summit before the storms built. Clouds had started to form as I hiked along the rim of the collapsed volcano, where I ran into John (johnlp), who was on his way down. Nice to see you again, John!
I reached the summit in 2 hours 12 minutes, where I stopped to enjoy the view in the refreshingly cool weather. With a dark cloud building over the summit, I cut my visit short and began the hike back down.
I contemplated my return hike options back at the saddle. With no imminent bad weather threatening, I turned onto the Weatherford Trail. Once again I was blown away by the most beautiful place in Arizona. At Doyle Saddle I stopped to eat lunch in the old log corral. Fond memories of an exciting night at Hurricane Camp with Randal and Clark came flooding back.
Summer wildflowers were out in full force as I descended the south side of the Peaks. I passed a few other hikers on the way down. Not paying attention, I walked right past the Kachina Trail, my intended return route, and had to backtrack a bit. This would be my first time on the eastern end of the Kachina Trail. Kachina seemed to go on and on and on, but it sure was pretty!
I finally reached the Kachina Trailhead during the 4:00 hour, tired from a full day in the mountains. To my surprise, I discovered that I had broken my one day mileage record by about a mile. I roamed around for a bit among Snowbowl's wildflowers before I left. Took I-40 home, driving past Bill Williams Mountain bathed in golden sunset light. Perfect day, perfect weather, perfect memories made.