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Weatherford Trail #102
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mini location map2009-07-25
25 by photographer avatarRandal_Schulhauser
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Weatherford Trail #102Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 25 2009
Randal_Schulhauser
Backpack17.40 Miles 4,609 AEG
Backpack17.40 Miles2 Days         
4,609 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Weatherford Trail - Part 2

Last weekend I "discovered" the Weatherford Trail for the first time - http://hikearizona.com/TL.php?ID=44838 A mental seed was planted;

"Thinking about doing this trail over again, but as an over night back pack with an early morning assault of Mt. Humphrey's Summit..."

A couple of friends expressed interest about joining the trek, but come Saturday morning when it was time to depart, the number of trekkers stood at one. Oh well, I was packed, had some HAZ Forum tips about choice camping spots viewtopic.php?t=4280 and lightning viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4291 - time to hit the road for a solo trek - the peaks are calling!

On the road at dawn and soon met up with Hannah for a hearty breakfast at the Flagstaff Galaxy Diner on Route 66. Dropped Hannah off at her condo and I could see some ominous clouds starting to assemble over the peaks. Parked the F-150 at the Weatherford TH and hoisted my pack onto my back and was on my way. The odd rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance, but nothing directly in my vicinity.

The stretch from the TH to the Kachina Trail junction worked up a good sweat (and started debating the wisdom of wearing long pants). Took a break at the junction where I encountered about a dozen mountain bikers doing the same.

Back on the trail and passed the Kachina Wilderness sign and the trail register. A dozen seems to be the magic numbers as a dozen horses pass me heading up the trail to Doyle Saddle. I find the trail along the Weatherford Canyon has a remarkable similarity to Escudilla Mountain Trail.

I arrive at Doyle Saddle mid afternoon. I scout around for a suitable camp site and spot a makeshift corral/windbreak. Evidence of past campers having used this site cinched the deal as I parked my pack into the makeshift corral/windbreak and grabbed my camera to check out the area. The view is just stunning and hard to believe this is Arizona!

A light rain began to fall late afternoon and I decided to head back to set up camp. I got to test out my new Giga-Stove whipping up some Mountain House Lasagna. There is nobody else but me on the saddle tonight. The lights of Flagstaff began to appear along with an odd star and a moon trying to break through the clouds. I took advantage of the stone "fireplace" within the corral and as the last coals burned out, I crawled into my tent and dozed off immediately.

Sunday morning began with the steady singing of birds before the sunrise. I got up and readied myself for an attempt to summit Mount Humphrey's. Passed Freemont Peak in dawn's first light, passed the Inner Basin Trail junction, and hit the switchbacks up to Freemont Saddle. As I pass Agassi Peak I find myself gassed and running out of water.

I take a long break pondering my next move. A jogger breezes by (evil thoughts pass through my mind, but I let it go...) - he must have started from the Weatherford TH this morning! A dark cloud passes over Doyle and Freemont Peak convincing me to head back to camp - Mount Humphrey's will get tackled another day.

Amazing that the downhill sprint back to camp at Doyle Saddle doesn't even increase my breathing - maybe there is something true about that high altitude acclimation having spent the past 15 hours at +10,000 feet. Break out the Giga-Stove again to whip up some Mountain House Beef Stroganoff for breakfast.

Break camp and arrive back at the Weatherford TH and the F-150 by noon just as the skies begin dropping a heavy rain...

Thanks again for the HAZ Forum tips on campsites along the trail and to Coconino National Forest Ranger Brian for the phone call last week giving me the "scoop" on Weatherford Trail backpacking. :)
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Randal_Schulhau's
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