Monday, August 10, 2009

Mt Humphreys 12,633'

Mt Humphreys volcano is the tallest point in Arizona and some co-workers recommended that I go hike it. It's last erupted a hundred years or so ago. Its in Flagstaff where the weather is considerably cooler. The trail head is at 9,300' and it was a pleasant 68 degrees. As soon as I stepped out of the car I knew I was in trouble. I got lightheaded just putting the backpack on. I haven't really been hiking in the last year (other than this trip) so I am not in good shape. This was going to be tough.

4.8 miles to the summit and the weather is perfect.

Mt Humphreys sure is a long ways away, lets go!
The trees are starting to thin out. Now I can see the other side of the crater.

This is the saddle. At 11,800 feet its a nice place to stop. There were at least 30 people here.

This is a view of the center of the volcano that blew out millions of years ago. Whats left of the rim continues on up the left side of the picture.

Almost there...? This hike had several false summits. Just when I thought I was at the top I get there and look in the distance to find I have another half mile to go!

Finally. I (and many others here) are very lightheaded. With no time to acclimate its hard to breathe. Did I mention how cold it was. I was freezing. It must have been 45 degrees and the wind was blowing hard.

This guy was taking a nap sheltered from the wind. There were a few rock windbreaks to sit in and warm up. Silly me for not bringing any warm clothes for the trip.

I was starting to get a bad headache on top. Its time to leave. Pound pound pound on the way down.

I was happy to be back at the parking lot. This was the highest I have hiked and felt like the toughest. I took it easy on Sunday and visited a petroglyph museum. Don't step on the rattlesnake and watch out for coyotes.


Anonymous said...

Wow, it must have been tough and you must be in better shape than you think to be able to do the hike at such altitude. We have Peruvian friends who tell us that the indians in Peru chew coca leaves and drink chicha to acclimate to the high altitude. Here in the US perhaps we should come up with a power bar with such mix for hikers doing what you did, LOL!


Fran and Steve said...

I chewed the coca leaves and drank strong coca tea when I went to Machu Picchu a few years back. It made all the difference. Other tourists were getting altitude sickness. It is not illegal, unlike the processed white stuff, since you can just pick leaves on the paths. I brought back "coca tea" in tea bags in hopes of helping Steve acclimate when he climbs mountains, but he said it really didn't help him (like the leaves would), since, like Jeff, he is already in good shape. Fran