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Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail
16 Photosets

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mini location map2016-12-08
2 by photographer avatarkingsnake
photographer avatar
 
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial TrailPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2016
kingsnake
Hiking8.24 Miles 1,817 AEG
Hiking8.24 Miles   3 Hrs   58 Mns   2.08 mph
1,817 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I have not been much on Haz in almost year, as I've been mostly doing my own thing -- link at bottom, stop by and say hello! -- but I felt this might be an appropriate moment for a brief return.

I first passed through Yarnell, that I remember, a week before the fire. Afterwards, I thought about hiking the burn area, to try to get a better understanding about the events of June 30, 2013. Eventually, I decided it wasn't my place to do so. Then, earlier this year, I heard about the nascent Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, and made plans to hike it soon after it opened.

PrescottStyle and I did the hike together, him lugging his large format camera the whole way.

The trail is well laid out, with many switchbacks, and the surface is perfect. The volunteer trail crew did a magnificent job constructing it.

Every 600 feet or so, there is polished granite plaque honoring one of the fallen hotshots. They are placed in order of seniority, from superintendent Eric Marsh, above the trailhead, to Sean Misner, near the observation deck. Each plaque has a laser-etched photo and a family-written memorial message. The attached GPS file gives the exact location of each memorial.

Informational displays, and rest benches, are scattered along the trail. There is also a bench, as well as shade, at the observation deck. (It will be quite hot on the memorial trail during the summer months.)

The deployment site is surrounded by 19 gabions (a rock-filled cage), connected by chains, symbolizing the hotshots’ eternal bond. Inside the ring of gabions, there is one cross for each hotshot, placed where he fell. A bit off to the side is a flag pole, at the base of which visitors are allowed to leave mementos.

Physically, I could have hiked the trail quicker, but I wanted to honor the hotshots, and so took my time, taking a moment to reflect and read each memorial. I got teary-eyed a few times. Like Paul said, the hike was tough, but not physically.

Of course I made a video ( youtu.be/sWGAw1uTAdI ). It is long, but I think it would be worth your time to watch, pausing frequently to reflect, as Paul and I did, upon the sacrifice the Granite Mountain Hotshots made.

To paraphrase Grant McKee’s memorial: Their bright light will forever shine upon us.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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kingsnake's
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