|4,672 ft AEG|
|With the Coconino NF reopening after a fire closure, I decided to hike up to Humphreys Peak from the Inner Basin. On the way back home I stopped off to hike to the Buck Mountain LO, off of Lake Mary Road.|
Humphreys Peak via Inner Basin
I enjoy hiking Humphreys from the Inner Basin much better than from Snowbowl. Except for the upper section of the Inner Basin Trail, the tread is pretty good on this hike until you get up to Agassiz Saddle.
It was a warm day, but I started early so it wasn't TOO bad. On the way I up I stopped for a break at please-don't-call-me-Doyle Saddle, and I saw someone coming down the Weatherford Trail on his way to Fremont Peak. He was the only person that I saw on the way up until I got to Agassiz Saddle. Even then, there were far fewer people than normal between the saddle and the summit. Maybe people didn't realize that the forest had reopened. On the way back there were a few people on the lower section of the Inner Basin Trail.
Buck Mountain LO
I drove up to the barrier on the road that is about 0.7 miles below the summit, and then just walked the road up to the LO. There was a rocky section on the drive up that might deter non-4WD vehicles, but other than that the road on the drive is in pretty good shape.
On the way up I saw several wild turkeys. The area looks like a good place to spot elk or bear if you time it right.
There is a lookout tower on top, but it is not in use. There were some new looking composite steps on the LO, so I climbed up as far as I could and checked out the views.
Below are a couple of anecdotes that suggest that there have been issues with the safety of the tower in the past.
July 31, 1953: "Attached you will find a bill of materials and a sketch of our proposal to make the Buck Mountain Lookout a safe place in which to work and live.
As you know the steps are steep, the tread is narrow, and considered to be dangerous. This was substantiated by the accident of July 1, 1953 in which William F. Langenbruner injured his right shoulder. Langenbruner is an excellent carpenter and with a little help can complete the job on contributed time.
Your prompt consideration of this request will be appreciated."(To Forest Supervisor from District Ranger)
The mileage and elevation gain for the hikes is below. Stats above are the sum of the two.
October 17, 1967: "On September 28, 1967, Ron Barger, Wood Technologist for the Rocky Mtn. Forest and Range Expt, Sta., and myself inspected the treated timbers on the Buck Mtn. Lookout tower. We could find no evidence of rotting or deterioration of these timbers.
As a result of the inspection we feel that the basic structure and treated timbers in the tower to be sound. In view of this inspection the District will plan to go ahead and catch-up with the maintenance work on the tower." Memo - Buildings - Coconino National Forest Archives)
Humphreys: 16.5 miles with 4,416 feet of AEG
Buck: 1.4 miles with 256 feet of AEG
|May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey|