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Humphrey’s Peak Day Hike
June 19, 2021
by Vicki Reddick
  Trail Map 
Hannah, Vicki, Mohammed, and Janet

What an incredible day! We met at the Snowbowl parking lot at the agreed time of 5:30 AM. Most of us drove up the day before and either camped or stayed in Flagstaff.

The day started a little cool at 38 degrees with an expected high of 86 degrees and 20% chance of rain. I don’t think the temperature actually reached 86 degrees at Snowbowl, because it clouded up around 11:30 and some rain fell around 1:00 PM.

We learned a few things from the rangers while waiting for some of the other hikers to return. I noticed that quite a few people were leaving to climb the peak as it started to rain. So, I asked the ranger if they should stop them from climbing in the rain. They told us that they can suggest that people not attempt the hike in the rain and lightning but they can’t stop them. I find that a bit crazy!

We started our hike around 5:45 with Ken and Daniel starting before everyone else. The four of us introduced ourselves and took a pre-hike photo. As we entered the forest and began our climb, Mohammed hiked ahead of us and the three women hiked together.

We eventually caught up with Daniel. We stayed back and hiked with him for about a mile. Eventually, he decided to sign out of our group and go on his own, because he wasn’t sure how far he was going to go. His goal was the summit, but he eventually made it to the saddle. Ken’s goal was also to hike to the saddle, and back down.

Hannah and Vicki [photo by Janet]
Ken [photo by Janet]

As we hiked we enjoyed the beautiful surrounding and the nice cool temperatures. We noticed all the beautiful flowers and the many bugs that were out on the trail.

Wildflowers [photos by Mohammed]
Insects on the trail. [photos by Mohammed]

As we continued on I started to feel sick to my stomach and decided to just hike to the saddle. We hiked as far as the 11,400 feet marker together, and I told the other two I would meet them at the saddle. My stomach was upset probably from the previous night’s dinner. I continued on and met Ken on his way down.

The saddle. [photos by Janet]

I waited at the saddle for the three hikers who hiked the rest of the way up. While I waited for my fellow hikers, I met two other hikers who were having stomach issues and also waiting for their friends. We chatted and took in the view, which was shrouded with smoke haze from the surrounding fires. I had hiked Humphreys the previous weekend and the view on that day was completely clear. It was sad to see so much smoke all around the peak.

As we descended on our previous hike, I told Mohammed that I needed to rest on my lounge chair at the saddle.

He responded with “A lounge chair? There isn’t a lounge chair at the saddle.” I told him there most definitely was lounge chair at the saddle. I showed him my lounge chair and on this trip he took a photo of himself enjoying the lounge chair. He sent us the photo as we were hiking up. It gave us all a chuckle!

Vicki [photo by Mohammed]
Mohammed [photo by Mohammed]

The previous week, Mohammed and I hiked to the summit and found that the Humphrey’s sign was gone. We took our photo with a piece of paper that said “Humphreys Peak, 12,633 ft.” which was taped to the post with red tape

I felt bad for all the people who hiked to the summit and didn’t get to take a photo of themselves with the nice sign that is usually up there. So I decided to do something about it and brought a sign I painted. My pack was full, so Mohammed volunteered to carry it for me. When he got to the summit he found that the rangers had replaced the sign. He left the sign anyway for others to enjoy. When we got back to the parking lot we met the ranger who replaced the sign and he told us the sign was stolen Friday, June 11th, the week before our hike, and that it is stolen quite often.

We showed him a photo of our sign and he said it was very nice and thought it was very visible. He even showed the photo to the other rangers. He told us that the official sign can’t have paint, stain, or varnish on it. Mohammed told him he should post our sign up next to the official one because our sign is very visible. The ranger said he might do that if it’s still there the next time he hikes up.

The sign on June 12, 2021.
[photo by Mohammed]
Our sign held on top of the official sign.
[photo by Mohammed]

Success for three of our hikers who made it to the summit. Mohammed was first to summit the peak, then met Janet and Hannah on his way down.

Janet, Mohammed, and Hannah. [photo by Mohammed]
Mohammed [photo by Mohammed]
Janet and Hannah [photo by Janet]

It turned out to be a beautiful day to hike Humphrey’s. We met many friendly people and enjoyed the cool temperatures. Mohammed descended first, so I hiked back to the parking lot with him and waited for Janet and Hannah. Janet and Hannah made back to the parking lot before the rain started, so we called it a success.

At the trailhead the sign says Humphreys Peak 4.8 miles. which would make it 9.6 miles round trip, but our GPS says it was just over 4 miles to the saddle and another 1.8 miles to the peak. Ken and my GPS showed 10.5 miles round trip to the saddle and back and the rest of our group showed they had 13.2 miles. We’re not sure what the exact miles is but we decided the sign at the trailhead is deceiving.

→   More pictures, by Vicki

Supplemental Report

It turns out the sign was still there on Sunday, June 20th and being very much appreciated. This is a visitor who climbed the peak on Sunday and said the sign was “beautiful and very visible“.

She also said that there was a line to take photos with our small sign. It made me feel good that it was being used and enjoyed. I also appreciate this visitor for letting us use her photo in our report.

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updated June 23, 2021