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!