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Weatherford Trail #102
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mini location map2010-09-03
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Weatherford Trail #102Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 03 2010
big_load
Backpack22.50 Miles 5,989 AEG
Backpack22.50 Miles2 Days         
5,989 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 1
Coming from home at ~1,000 feet, I wanted to acclimate a day in Flagstaff before heading up, but two good days are forecast and I'd kick myself for wasting one to let the weather deteriorate. Beating the Labor Day crowds was another concern, so I hit the TH 12 hours after landing in AZ and started going up. And up. Fortunately, it didn't seem to bother me, except for having to breathe up half the air on the Colorado Plateau.

The weather is perfect. Wildflowers, berries, and mushrooms were all past their peak, but still plentiful enough to afford plenty of photo/oxygenation breaks. A few day hikers and a trail runner were the only others I saw before collapsing at Doyle Saddle for lunch. I don't think those two gallons of water properly appreciated the free ride.

Doyle Saddle was my original goal, but it wasn't even 2:00 pm and knocking off some of tomorrow's miles seemed like a great idea - until about the intersection with the Inner Basin Trail. Suddenly I was out of gas. Somehow I slogged up the remaining switchbacks to Fremont Saddle a couple hundred yards at a time, puffing like steam engine.

I had no idea what to expect at Fremont Saddle (except wind and some Weatherford artifacts), and was overjoyed to find a choice of nice campsites. I took a nap, ate a snack, watched the clouds, pawed through obsidian pebbles and flakes, took pictures, and finally set up camp. Then I took another nap, ate dinner, and watched the clouds in sunset. I still couldn't believe that nobody else is here.

Day 2
What a beautiful sunrise! I packed up a little earlier and stashed much of my gear. After oatmeal and coffee, I crunched off into the cool morning air, not suffering as I had feared. I was just hitting my stride when the Humphreys Trail intersection snuck up on me. It was around 8:00 am, but a few of the ants had already crawled up this far. The prospect of crowds was all I needed to push up the rest of the way as fast as I could find footing.

At the top, I found 20 members of a high school swim team and their coach, along with a few smaller groups. After more pictures and some savoring, it was time to start down. The ant stream was now going against me, but it still wasn't too thick. Turning off onto the Weatherford Trail earned me some strange looks from the dayhikers now massed on the saddle.

It's all downhill after that. I ate a quick lunch back at Fremont Saddle, where I picked up my stashed gear. Clouds were building. I still felt OK at Doyle Saddle, but it was getting warm. Another mile and I was ready to be done, but there were still five and half more to go. My second camera battery croaked. A few dayhikers passed, and eventually three backpackers, the first I'd seen. Finally, I reached the hot dusty TH, glassy-eyed and relieved for an excuse to stop hiking.

Notes
  • Mileage and AEG based on wallyfrack's trip, which corresponded well to my partial GPS data
  • There are a couple lithological mysteries in my pictures
  • I haven't figured out all the flowers and berries yet, either
Geology
Geology
Obsidian
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