Remember my ridiculous mishaps with hiking “Mt. Humphreys” a year ago…?
Well life update: we found the real thing!
It’s been difficult to find enough time to put together blog posts this past week, with such a busy start to senior year. I swear my to-do list grows faster than I can cross things off!
One MAJOR life event I was able to “cross off” was hiking up Mt. Humphreys this weekend. My university is nestled in the forest in a mountain town, which gives us gorgeous views of the tallest peaks in the state. My cross country teammates and I have been talking about a group hike to the tallest peak in Arizona since freshman year.I absolutely could NOT let graduation come and go before making it to the top of that damn mountain. I look at the thing every single day!
Weather here is completely unpredictable with monsoons, blizzards, wind storms. Labor Day weekend and September weather = prime opportunity.
If we rewind 10 hours earlier….
My friends and I had a bit of a *rocky* start to senior year. Not that we aren’t LOVING our new schedules with classes, work, internships and athletics…but I think we were all ready for Country Night at our favorite local bar. We had a blast at the line dancing lessons, but a little liquid courage was helpful. ;) A night with a couple drinks + a 10-mile hike on the agenda the next morning = hydration!!!
The next morning began with coffee, water, and a trip to Sprout’s for hiking sustenance:
- Clif Mojo Mountain Mix Bar
- Raw Almonds
- Dried Apricots
- Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels
- Justin’s Almond Butter Packet
- Water Bottle x 3
The base of the mountain starts between 8,000-9,000 ft. elevation. The hike climbs to 12,633 ft. and the steep mountain trail is really challenging in the thin air, even for altitude-adjusted cross country runners.
Kerri’s boyfriend Jeff had me anxious from the beginning when he casually mentioned another hiker being bitten by a brown recluse earlier this year. ?!?! If I had known this information prior to driving to the base, I may have reconsidered.
I will say…
Making it to the top was worth it.
Not going to lie, the last hour of the hike up was a STRUGGLE. The trail practically disappeared and we were climbing massive rocks and navigating through slippery gravel. Our calves and butts were burning. The altitude made it noticeably more difficult to breathe. But like anything in life, the experience is more about the people you are with. We were all in such a great mood to be tackling such a big goal, and I’m so happy to have had these three crazies to climb with :)
We occupied ourselves on the 5 mile journey back down with impromptu performances of everything from Michael Jackson to Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Drake, and everything in between. Our fellow hikers were thoroughly annoyed entertained ;)
No animal sightings either, unless birds count. Fortunately, Brenna served as the”bird expert” for our little group ;) Not sure if her observations were as accurate as they were funny, but I love being among curious people.
If this past 24 hours is any indication of how the rest of senior year will play out…I think it’s gonna be a good one. <3
Veteran’s Day also happens to be my friend Alyssa’s birthday & for her 21st, she decided to hike the tallest peak in Arizona – Mt. Humphrey’s. It reaches 12,500ft elevation, and is currently covered in fresh-fallen snow from Friday and Saturday’s storms. Of course I was excited to join her, her mom, her brother and friend on the birthday hike!
Unfortunately, we had some direction mishaps…..Map Quest and someone’s smart phone navigation didn’t match up. We were driving down a desolate dirt road that warned “Not Maintained for Passenger Vehicles.”
It was nearing 11am, and I was worried that if we didn’t get started on the 8+ mile hike soon, we would be finishing after sunset. We decided to park our car on a random dirt road, and just start walking in the direction of the largest mountain we could see, which was covered in snow and trees. It was not Mt. Humphrey’s.
It started out with a semi “trail” which disappeared after about ten minutes.
*Okay, I am a very LOGICAL person and sometimes this can work to my disadvantage. I usually go over the worst-case scenario’s in my head, and I immediately envisioned us trapped in the deep forest with no light, food, or cell phone service. As soon as we deviated from the trail and started weed-whacking trees to create our own path, a red flag went off in my mind – “How are we going to find our way back to the car without a trail to follow when everything out here looks the same?!” Luckily, the snow allowed us to make pretty noticeable foot prints. We would just have to trace our footsteps all the way back.
After almost 2.5 hours, we could see the summit of the mountain. The last stretch had been so steep, we literally grabbed onto trees and pulled ourselves up. I was so relieved to see the end in sight!
And in honor of Veteran’s Day:
And in honor of Alyssa’s 21st Birthday:
Time to head back down! At first, it was pretty treacherous. Because it was so steep and covered in fresh snow, we were slipping and sliding our way down for a few minutes. But the hike down was definitely quicker than the hike up! We had to track our own footprints back down, which wasn’t too difficult seeing as how we were the only people on that mountain. We never passed a single person, and thankfully no wildlife either.
We saw animal tracks and “business” and knowing deer/foxes/potentially-very-hungry-mountain-goats were near us kept me alert. (I’m picturing Meredith on the camping trip from Parent Trap right now ;) )
But it really was total wilderness, and the day brought another “first” for me…
When the “trail” started to flatten out and things became familiar, I was able to breathe easy and actually enjoy the moment knowing we would not be eaten/starve/freeze to death. (Dramatic? Perhaps.) Our “exhausted” face:
Haha too much? Just kidding :)
Definitely an unforgettable experience. Now we have to do some Google Maps research and figure out where the heck we were all day!