Sunday, October 4, 2015

Humphrey's Peak

Jacob and I headed out Saturday and took off out of Snowbowl on a cool fall morning.  As we headed up there was little frost but it wasn't too cold.  We passed a few people starting the climb up to Humphreys then ran into a guy name Chip who we started talking to.  Turns out Chip is an ultra runner so we ended up talking to him about ultra running, hiking, and climbing all the way up Humphrey's.
At the saddle about 1 mile below the summit

Chip and I at the saddle
Once we got up Humphrey's, Chip had to head back down and Jacob and I took off to explore the other side of the mountain.  We headed over the top of Humphrey's and took the ridge leading down to the left.  If we had stayed right we would have followed a ridge to a few more peaks.  Instead we headed left, planning to cut thought the trees back to Snowbowl.
Looking back up at the summit

Starting to angle back toward Snowbowl

Looking out over the valley
We headed down the ridge until the rock gave way to trees and then started angling left.  We had two ridges to cross before we got back so we tried to plan our route which took us through a couple descents and climbs before we reached the trail again.  Of course, as we had no trail, there was a little route finding and it took us a while.
Looking over toward the Grand Canyon
Making our way through the trees.  We made good time until we found this awesome pipe.
The path through the trees was surprisingly easy.  I was a little worried we would get on some steep loose stuff hiking though the trees because that can be a real pain in the butt to go down.  Fortunately it was all pretty solid ground and the trees were spread out enough it was easy going.  Part way up to the first ridge, we were hiking along and came across this old metal pipe leading up the the hill.  We had to crest the ridge anyway so we followed the pipe.  Heading up we were speculating there would be a spring as there was no apparent reason to pipe water up the hill.  So after some steep uphill hiking, we crested the ridge and continued up at a more gentle grade, where we came upon an old water tank!
The pipe changed here but kept going

The old water tank

The pipe kept going though so kept on heading up the mountain.  We eventually broke out of the trees and saw the pipe continuing up.  There was a grassy area that lead up to the end of a boulder field and thats were we followed the pipe to its end.   The pipe ended in a small hole in the boulder field where some cement was to contain the water and feed it into the pipe.  This was dry so we followed the other less defined pipe a little higher and found water!  There was a nice little spring coming out of the rock and on the shady side there was even ice.  (About 2:30 when we got there)  That was pretty amazing as there is very little water in Arizona and ice was the last thing we expected to see.
The first pipe

Ice on the water

Following the pipeline

Standing near the spring
After the spring, we made our way back down the pipeline to where we crested the ridge and took off toward Snowbowl.  The walking was pretty easy although the trees got thicker as we lost elevation.  After a while we were following elk trails through the trees which would pick up and peter out every hundred feet or so.  We didn't see any elk, but there were two big grouse we came upon in a small draw.  After the grouse, we crossed a couple rock fields, then got into the aspen where there was quite a few down trees.  Not a lot of limbs though, so they were good for walking.  Eventually we hooked up with the Humphrey's Peak trail and made our way down to the car.  We were out for about 9 hours which was a pretty awesome day in the mountains.
Some elk up here all right

Moving along through the forest

The grouse is pretty much int he center of the picture

Looking down the first rock-field

Looking up

Rock-field number two

A single aspen catching the sun's rays

Walking the logs

Almost done

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