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Inner Basin Trail #29
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mini location map2013-06-29
19 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Inner Basin Trail #29Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 29 2013
ddgrunning
Hiking9.53 Miles 2,556 AEG
Hiking9.53 Miles   5 Hrs   16 Mns   1.81 mph
2,556 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Took the family up the inner basin trail to Weatherford junction, which tops out at just under 11,000 ft. It's a bit of a shock to the lungs for those of us making a day trip up from Phoenix, but everyone in our group handled the change fine.

The trail starts out skirting the fire line from the Schultz Fire. Although it is very sad to see how much was burned, I am grateful that they were able to preserve Lockett Meadow and contain the fire at that point. After about .5 mi., all signs of the fire disappeared from view and we entered the stunning aspen grove that covers the rest of the 1.0 mi. trail to the junction with the Waterline Road. As we walked through this section of the trail, the word "wow" escaped our mouths often. Truly amazing.

A short jaunt on the Waterline road, past some water collection facilities, gets you to the "bus stop" in the inner basin proper, where we took a break to eat lunch. My kids wanted to know when the bus comes by :D

After lunch, we tackled the slightly more rugged trail up to the Weatherford Trail junction. I am always amazed at how "shy" Humphreys is. Even from the inner basin, AZ's highest peak is often shielded from view by forest trees or undulations in the basin itself.

We had hoped to continue on to either Doyle or Fremont saddle from the junction, but our youngest (9 and 10) were ready to start getting closer to our ride home, rather than continuing to hike in the other direction ;). While reaching the junction is a nice accomplishment, it doesn't have much of a "destination view." I convinced the kiddos to at least head down the trail 50 yards or so, to an opening where we could snap a few good pics with the inner basin below. Then, my wife started back down with the two younger ones, while my teenage daughter and I hiked an additional 1/2 mile towards Doyle until the forest opened up and we could get a good view of both Humphreys to the NW and the Inner Basin to the N and N/E. As always, they were stunning views. With my video camera, I was able to zoom in on Humphreys and actually see the stream of hikers making their summit push.

On the way back down, we quickly caught up with the rest of our crew and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the trailhead. The clouds rolled in and provided near perfect hiking conditions. On our return trip, we even got 10 or so minutes of rain near the bus stop. The kids though it was fun to pull out the ponchos for a bit.

There were a fair number of folks on the trail, but still lots of opportunities to enjoy a little solitude, and certainly nothing like the summit-trail-superhighway. Very sad to have missed out on the record-breaking 119 degree temps in Phoenix on Saturday (NOT!). ;)

A couple of other notes:

(1) Please be careful on FR552 to the trailhead. Some sections are pretty narrow with sheer drops, and the road was a bit wash-boardy. Plenty of room for one way traffic, but it could get a bit dicey in a few spots if you had to maneuver around another car. Most importantly, slow down. We rounded a corner on our way up to come face-to-face with a truck that was in all too much of a hurry to get down the mountain. Luckily, we were in a wider section of the road. Had we met that guy around a blind curve on the exposed section, things could have gotten ugly.

(2) Although I'm not too particular about such things, my wife and daughters found the restrooms at the Lockett Meadow campground to be some of the nicest (i.e., clean/smell) facilities we've ever experienced on our hiking adventures. Kudos to the folks that keep these ones up!
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