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Inner Basin Day Hike
October 6, 2019
by Lin Chao

Autumn is here and Aspen trees are calling.

On the morning of October 6, eight Arizona Trailblazer hikers woke up very early in the morning, with strong coffee in their hands, met at Bell & I-17 at 5:30 AM. We got into two cars and left on time to head to Lockett Meadow campground, our Inner Basin trailhead.

Early morning on I-17. [photo by Lin]
A view before the Lockett Meadow. [photo by Lin]

Summer is finally over, and fall colors are arriving in Coconino National Forest. And Lockett Meadow is one of the primary destinations for viewing fall colors with large stands of aspen. For last three years we have done this hike, but this time we went about one week later (the first weekend in October) which is considered the prime time for the fall colors of aspens in this area.

After driving for about three hours we arrived at Lockett Meadow Campground about 8 AM. We were very lucky to find two of the last available spots for parking. WOW! What relief that we had parking, so grateful and so appreciated. Everyone was able to agree to meet earlier (at oh dark thirty).

Carl found his parking spot. [photo by Lin]

The air was clean, the temperature was cool, and after quick restroom break, we put on our jackets and were ready to hit the trail. Since it was small group and we all knew each other, we just did a quick group photo and we were ready to go.

Happy and wild wake. [photo by Quy]
Carl, Debbie, Chris, Heather, Li, Lin, Tom, Quy

The trail was easy and straightforward. After we hiked less than mile, we were welcomed by the Golden yellow Aspen trees. What a view, what sunlight, what crispy clean morning air...

Can we take one more group picture? [photo by Lin]
Carl, Quy, Lin, Heather, Chris, Debbie, Li, Tom
Chris and Debbie. [photo by Debbie]
Fast and Red jacket, Tom. [photo by Debbie]
Li enjoys the autumn leaves. [photo by Tom]
Best friends forever. [photo by Debbie]
Ladies and autumn leaves. [photo by Tom]
Blue sky and Golden leaves. [photo by Lin]
A relaxing time. [photo by Lin]
A happy family. [photo by Lin]
Now listen, everyone is coming to visit us, so we need to put up the best for everyone. [photo by Lin]
Waiting for the order to change color. [photo by Lin]
Guiding the mountain. [photo by Lin]

At a junction, Li found a perfect spot for a group picture. We all smiled and struck a pose and then continued our Inner Basin Trail hike.

A group picture at the junction. [photo by Li]
Debbie, Chris, Heather, Tom, Li, Lin, Carl
The Inner Basin is this-a-way. [photo by Lin]
Chris and Debbie. [photo by Lin]
The old green house. [photo by Lin]
Chris, Debbie, Carl, Heather. [photo by Lin]
Red leaf on the ground. [photo by Lin]
Carl is leading. [photo by Lin]
Pumping station at the Inner Basin Trail.  Quy is patiently waiting for us to come back. [photo by Carl]

This was a higher elevation hike, ending at almost 10000 feet. As such, it did take more energy to hike this section of trail. Since we were up so early we were all hungry and ready to refuel our bodies. We got to our usual lunch spot and we all enjoyed a quiet and beautiful snack break. In the meantime, Tom and Li, two energizer bunnies, continued to hike to check out the back side of Humphrey’s peak and Agassiz Peak.

Our lunch spot. [photo by Debbie]
After lunch. [photo by Debbie]

After a relaxing break, we are ready to hit the trail again. Wait, we must take few more scenery pictures and group pictures.

One more group picture, please! [photo by Lin]
Heather, Carl, Lin, Debbie, Chris, Li, Tom, Quy
Lucky Chris! [photo by Debbie]
Li is carefully setting up her phone to take a picture. [photo by Tom]
Pumping station. [photo by Carl]
Happy hikers: Quy, Carl, Li, Tom, and Heather. [photo by Lin]
Two best buddies, Debbie and Heather.
[photo by Lin]
Please turn here, we need to go back to Lockett
Meadow Campground. [photo by Lin]

Going back to the trailhead is the easy part of the hike, because it is all downhill from the here. But it still took many of us long time to get back to the cars. There were just too many pictures we had to take. It is tough job; but we must do it.

Heather is marching on. [photo by Lin]
Quy is leading, Tom and Li are following. [Lin]
Stripes and Aspen. [photo by Lin]
Stop and look up.  Lin Called. [photo by Lin]
Three best friends. [photo by Lin]
Time to celebrate. [photo by Debbie]

We found a perfect restaurant in Flagstaff; on weekends, it is always hard to find a restaurant for larger groups. However, we had small group, and everyone was very much on easy going of the choice of food. So as Tom suggested, we went to Taverna for our late lunch. The restaurant was not very busy, Lucky us. The food was yummy, and service was good. Thanks, Tom!

Full tummy and happy me. [photo by Tom]
Tom, Li, Carl, Lin, Quy, Chris, Debbie, Heather
Watch out for Heather, she can make a 180° turn.
The dish looks so yummy. [photo by Lin]
Salad and Steak, healthy & yummy. [photo by Lin]

It was a very relaxing and rewarding day for all of us. The weather was perfect, the fall colors were gorgeous, the view of autumn was breathtaking. Thanks to everyone who joined me to spend the day at such beautiful Inner Basin Trail. Take care, and see you soon.

→   More pictures, by Li
→   More pictures, by Debbie
→   More pictures, by Tom
→   More pictures, by Lin
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated October 17, 2019