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Humphreys Summit Trail #151
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mini location map2020-09-03
9 by photographer avatarJim_H
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Humphreys Summit Trail #151Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 03 2020
Hiking10.25 Miles 3,313 AEG
Hiking10.25 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   2.05 mph
3,313 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
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The mostly-from-California-smoke filled skies seem to have cleared out over the weekend and air quality and visibility have greatly improved. Late on the 2nd, I looked at the forecast for the Peaks. It was incredible! June temperatures with an Autumn wind forecast (nothing) and yet the sun is now weaker (so less UV) and despite it being dry again, there has been recent rain so it wouldn't be a dust fest. No storm chances and a low dew point, too? Near failure of the monsoon aside, a forecast like this in early September is just phenomenal. I couldn't have designed better hiking weather or conditions!

I didn't get to Utah this summer thanks mostly to the nasty smoke in August, but it was nice to have that sort of dry summer weather typical of the region. Actually, stopping in the aspen on my way down I felt a little like I was on one of the plateaus in south-central Utah. It was nice.

Yes, the appearance of herbaceous plants on the mountain is indicative of a dry summer, but there is some green in the lower slope grasses. I did observe some soil moisture, and there was no powdery June dust on the trail. I didn't notice any early leaf change in the aspen, but for the 3rd day of September the Alpine Avens shows more red than I would have expected. In fact, tundra color likely will peak in the next week. Most don't care about tundra color. Sennecio didn't grow much this summer, but there were some small ones with flowers in a few spots. Most aren't into that, either.

Hermit Thrush are gone or silent, but being a Thursday with few hikers out, the forest was still quiet enough to enjoy the year round bird sounds; chick-a-dees, Clark's Nutcrackers, Ravens, Robins in the aspen, and in the tundra where there was a rare wind and moisture free day in summer with few humans, the sounds of birds flapping their wings as I approached. It reminded me of an October hike, but far warmer and nicer.

I spent almost 90 minutes soaking in a very pleasant 117th summit with only 2 or 3 other men, all enjoying an exceptionally rare 1st summit. I'm pretty happy I waited to come back, as long range visibility was great. There were no annoying June gnats, and yet it was almost calm on top, too. I was actually in a T-shirt for most of my time, too.

Expect crowds for the holiday weekend if you hike this. Traffic was already up driving north yesterday morning. I guess with 113 forecast for Phoenix the next few days, even crowds here are worth enduring for conditions such as I had.
I await my deprogramming, my master.
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