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Another Mountain Biker is Born April 26, 2011

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, orienteering.
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One of the biggest thrills I get from my job is taking people to places that they would normally never see, and seeing their face light up from the experience.

My second favorite thrill is when I see that someone is hooked, whether it be on mountain biking (like this great story), hiking, orienteering, adventure racing, or climbing.  To turn someone onto something that will perhaps change their life for the better is really, really cool.

Regarding the story that I linked to above; I do not know this girl at all, but her story is all too familiar to me…..and I love it!

New Trail 317 September 3, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I just got back from an evening ride with Hal, Steve, and Robert that included a new trail that just opened this week.  Trail 317

We started out in The Pines, and then took 332 from the Fireplace up to where White Rock Trail crosses it.  From here we headed east on White Rock and followed it past the junction with that knarly Fireplace Connector Trail and on down toward the Thumb Butte Park.  When we hit the next intersection, we took a left as if we were going to go down the Longs Canyon Trail, but instead, took a left onto the brand new Trail 317 (no local name yet).

This new trail is a real blast!  It follows the contours and very slowly descends along the west side of Longs Canyon, then tops the ridge and takes a more westerly heading down into the Kingswood subdivision, where it comes out at the very top end of Windy Walk Lane.  The trail is very well routed, and has a nice flow to it.  Sure, right now it has all the choppiness that new trails have due to the cutting with McLeods, but soon with just a few weeks of use, it will be fantastic!  It also offers up some wonderful views north of Granite Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks.

I highly recommend this new trail to mountain bikers of intermediate skill level, and hikers of all levels (well, except you Bodine……you know why!)

North American Rogaine Championships (Orienteering) May 27, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, extreme sports, Just Stuff, orienteering, team challenge.
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Ray and I decided at the last minute to enter the 8 hour Rogaine that was part of the North American Rogaine Championships put on by the Tucson Orienteering Club.  We raced as team GO Adventure Recreation.

This endurance orienteering event was held up on the Mogillion Rim northeast of Payson, Arizona.  Along with the 8 hour competition, there were also 12 and 24 hour events.

We arrived at about 8:30am and had just enough time to set out our gear and double check our supplies before maps were handed out at 9:00.  The course would open at 11:00am. This gave us 2 hours to plan our best route in order to maximize our score and still make it back by the 8 hour cut off.  We decided to stay primarily on the east side of the map in the area of Wildcat Canyon.  In looking at the topo map, we could could see that the terrain was steep, and would be slow going in some areas.  There were so many tall ponderosa pines, that we also knew that navigating would not be done by landmarks, but by bearing and distance.

When the course opened we started out to the south at a good brisk hiking pace of 6km/hr.  I had fairly new shoes, but I figured they would be fine.  We found our first control right away, then headed for the second.  On the way to it, I could already feel a little hot spot developing on my heel…..darn.

We got the second control then headed for the third.  On the way to it, I decided I had better change socks and put on a thicker pair. Too late!!  My heel already had a nickel sized blister on it.  Bummer, we were only 3 miles in, and I was already having issues.  I put on my thicker wool socks and tightened up my shoe and off we went.

For the first 3 hours, our navigation was spot-on.  We walked right to every control, until we tried to find the dreaded number 45!  We figured it to be exactly 90° and 500 meters from the intersection of two forest roads on the map, so after we found the intersection, we followed our compasses east for about 500 meters…..nothing!  We walked in big circles….nothing!  We went back up to the center of the ridge and followed it down according to the topography…..still nothing!!  We eventually decided to move on to the next control. Dang it, we had just wasted 30 minutes and missed out on 40 points!

We hiked into a very steep walled canyon that was the main part of Wildcat Canyon toward an 80 point control.  Once in the bottom, we made good time and found the control without any problem.  Our fiasco with #45 now required that we re-evaluate our proposed route.  We would not have enough time to get as many controls as we had originally planned.  So we modified (code for shortened) our intended route.

Somewhere on the way to the next control, my heel blister burst with an agonizing burning feeling and I could feel the liquid in my sock. Yuck!  Oh well, nothing I could do about it now!  And on we went.  Now you might be asking yourself, “Doesn’t he know about moleskin?”  The answer is yes, I do, however, my feet sweat so profusely when I hike that nothing, and I mean nothing will stick to them.  So moleskin is a no-go for me, neither is duct tape, or band-aids, or anything else.

In order to try and shorten this story, I will tell you that we navigated very well the remainder of our day and made it back to the Start/Finish with under five minutes to spare, having scored 790 points and hiked over 21 miles in 8 hours.

The route we took at the Rogaine

The route we took at the Rogaine

We weren’t sure where that ranked us, but have since discovered that 790 points was good enough for 5 place overall, and 1st place in the team division.  That’s right, we are the North American Rogaine Champions (in the 8 hour team event).

The profile of our 8 hour Rogaine

The profile of our 8 hour Rogaine

Willow Dells Trail and Beyond! March 9, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, trails.
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On Sunday afternoon, I met Tracie at Willow Lake after we had each gone on seperate mountain bike rides.

We set out for an afternoon day hike on the newly complete Willow Dells Trail.  It is a 2 mile loop that meanders through, over and around part of the infamous Granite Dells area adjacent to Willow Lake.

We followed the trail in a counterclockwise direction, enjoying the scenery and marvelling at how some very good technical mountain bikers actually ride the trail.  There are all kinds of places that are hard enough to hike let alone bike!

Somewhere along the way we decided to follow what looked like a game trail almost directly east toward Willow Creek.  We hiked down a narrow drainage and eventually came out at the creek, but quite a ways below the dam.  We crossed over and walked out on the newly created paved road that is part of a new development (though there are no houses in this part of it yet).  We walked out to  Hwy 89 and followed it south about 200 yards then headed back toward the west on an existing road that turns to dirt and leads to an small section of private property right at the big bend in Willow Creek.

We then walked up to the base of the dam and then over below the spillway.  We followed the drainage from the spillway down to where the high dirt wall had been eroded away by years of spillway overflow.

From here we headed back in a northwest direction until we found another trail that led up and over some giant granite formations and dropped us back down into the Willow Dells Trail loop.  From there we just completed the loop and ended up back at our trucks.

It was a very nice afternoon spent hiking with my wife and our faithful pooch.

Day Hike on the GORD course March 5, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Events, Trail Running.
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This afternoon Tracie and I took our youngest granddaughter, Brynn on a hike.

Yes, it was only a mile and a half, but for her little 5 year old legs it was a good long way.  True to form, she was her same happy-go-lucky self the whole way.  She carried a ziplock of goldfish crackers, and tried to identify all the tracks on the trail; horses, bikes and shoes.

The three (actually four, counting our dog Gypsy) of us had a nice walk.    We walked the first running leg of the Go! Off Road Duathlon, which is a nice mix of smooth wide track and a twisty single track.

I think those of you that are going to race in the GORD next week will really like the variety of trails on the course.

Du Course is Drying Out Finally February 24, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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This afternoon I went to Pioneer Park and hiked the two different trail running legs for the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon.

The sun was out and it was a beautiful 73 degrees.  In the next few days, I hope to get to the mountain biking leg as well.  It has more north facing slopes, so it is probably not as dry as the running legs are.  I just hope that equestrians have stayed off of it during the very wet last couple of weeks, as the horses put huge holes into the trail so it feels like washboard to ride.

Hard Core Not-Quite-Slick Rock in Prescott February 8, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Check out this helmet cam video by Ken Bennett.  It is of the hiking / biking trail that has been constructed at Willow Lake.

Riding the Firebird Prototype in Prescott

This is rowdy stuff, I have been on it on foot, but have not had my bike out there yet.

Biking Becomes Hiking December 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking, trails.
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In the cold and snowy parts of the year, mountain biking gives way to hiking for my adventure recreation.

Most of the trails that I ride for 10 months of the year are now covered in snow and ice.  This makes for poor mountain biking conditions (for me at least).

So, in order to get outside and make an attempt to stay in shape, hiking is the order of the day.  Well, that and riding the spin bike at home.

Even in the snow, most every trail around Prescott is still hiking friendly.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s not concentrate on them.

Within a 15 minute drive from downtown are miles and miles of great day hike trails.  And now with snow on the ground in the mountains, all the little creeks and drainages are running with crystal clear and icy cold water.  This makes for some great photographs and nice sound effects too.

So bundle up, put on your hiking shoes and get out there!  Its a winter wonderland.

Orienteering Meet at Coon Bluff October 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Events, orienteering.
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Yesterday Tracie and I went to the Coon Bluff Score-O that the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club hosted.

I have only ever been to one O-meet, and Tracie had never done it before.  We got there and saw our friends Rick and Kim were there too, so were Jonea (my AR teammate) and her son Brock.  Tracie and I got our map and headed out with thoughts of trying to get to some of the 50 pointers as quickly as possible while picking up some others on the way.  We got the first 10 pointer in about 2 minutes, then headed up a steep gully toward another control on the top of a ridge overlooking the Salt River.  We hadn’t done anything to warm up, so the sudden load of intense cardio was tough as we trudged up the steep gully.  One we got the next point, we realized that it had already been 20 minutes (we were only allowed to be out on the course for 2 hours), so we modified our plan and decided to stay a little closer to the start/finish.

We headed up the ridge and over into a little saddle.  We went down one side of the ridge about 100 yards to aquire another point, then back and off the other side down to a deep trench where there was another control.  Tracie wanted to learn to navigate, so we spent time at each control looking at the map, orienting the map, and getting a bearing toward the next control point.  Tracie was doing well at reading the map, but having a hard time determining the bearings.  I told her to not worry about it, that I have to remind myself how to do it almost every time I am out.

We headed down a wash then around some big boulders and over into another re-entrant to the next control.  5 down with one hour to go.  We headed up to a marked trail then followed that all the way up to the highest point on Coon Bluff where we found our next point.  On the way down the other side, we crossed paths with Ron the race director who was running it solo (no, he didn’t know where the points were, as someone else set the course).

We picked up our 7th point in another re-entrant partway down the hill.  Then we crossed over into a wider flatter valley and found another control.  We now had only 40 minutes left, so we looked at how we could maximize our effort and still make it back in time.  We skirted around the side of a hill and located our 9th control in a narrow gully.  Then further yet around the same hill to get another.   We had only 22 minutes left now……oh the pressure!

From there we went up and over the next ridge to point 11. We hiked down a narrow wash that was filled with big boulders to get our last control point, we now had only 8 minutes to make it back without incurring any penalties.  We made it down to the wash that paralleled the road and followed it down until we could cross the fence and get onto the roadway. We jogged across the parking area and made it back to the timing station with 37 seconds to spare!

We ended up with 300 total points out of 750 possible, but felt good about the experience.  We had a nice hike together, and Tracie got to see what navigation and orienteering is all about.  It was a great way to spend a day with the one I love.

Rocks Lurk Below September 15, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, orienteering.
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Kent and I were joined by our buddy Pat yesterday as we vetted the freestyle navigation portion of the GAR.  It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. The sky was a bright blue doom from horizon to horizon and the temperature was about 75°F.

The grass and weeds that have grown so well this year due to all our monsoon rains are now turning from green to yellow-brown.  What looks like a nice smooth hillside as you approach it is really a rock strewn, ankle-twisting nightmare masked by the grass.  Not only are there rocks lurking below the “surface”, but there are also shin high catclaw bushes that grab at your legs, ankles and shoes with every step.

Now that I am done whining about the hiking conditions, I can tell you that despite a few scratches and pokes, we had a great time on our walkabout.  We spent the better part of the afternoon on hilltops, in canyons and amongst the trees, spotting several deer and other creatures as we hiked.

It will be interesting to see if any teams can actually clear the freestyle nav. portion of this course.  It will require someone that is good with a topo map and compass. It is pretty spread out, and in some tough terrain.  We will know on Saturday!

Mud and Catclaw August 28, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Because my mountain bike is still at the bike hospital, I had to fore go my usual Wednesday evening ride.

Instead, Kent joined me on a day hike.  We started up a drainage that before long became a canyon.  The sides of the canyon got steeper and steeper.  One side appeared to be a layered volcanic rock, and the other side looked sedimentary….very odd.  The trees grew thicker as the canyon narrowed into a serpentine chasm.  We rounded a hairpin bend and there in front of us was a waterfall….sans water.  It was a place where the water course fell about 15 feet in about 10 linear feet.  It must be really beautiful when water is tumbling over the surface.

We exited the canyon as it began to open back up into a valley again.  We then struck out toward a cone shaped mountain about a mile distant.  Because we were headed up the south-facing slope, it was filled with catclaw (or wait-a-minute bushes).  Good thing we were both wearing full length pants instead of shorts!  Catclaw is to human skin like a Bass-o-matic is to fish!

At the top of the mountain, we got to witness an amazing sunset.  Of course I didn’t have my camera with me!  The sky was mostly cloud covered except right at the western horizon.  The sky there was brilliant orange, and the sun rays shone up and across the bottom of the clouds just like we always drew them as children.  I expected to hear a Holy choir singing.

We headed down and across a valley in the direction of our vehicle.  The ground on the flats was muddy.  When we got back to the edge of the drainage, we were on the top of a rock face looking down into the canyon.  We climbed down the rock, and there in front of us were some petroglyphs!  I am always fascinated by the writings and drawings of the ancients of Arizona.

We continued into the canyon, and got back to the car right at last light.  It was only about a three and a half mile hike, but it was through some very pretty country!

Broken Bike Blues August 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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Bummer!  I went out to load my trusty Specialized FSR XC Pro and head out for a ride and felt an odd “looseness” when I grabbed the back of the seat.  I thought to myself, “Oh no, not my new BG2 Sport Saddle!”

Nope, not the seat.  The bottom bolt for my rear shock seemed to be loose.  I grabbed a hex wrench and tried to tighten it…..it just kept spinning around and around!

So I did load my bike up, but it wasn’t for a ride, it was to take it to the LBS so they could get me out on the trails again.  The shock bolt was actually sheared, so I left it with them thinking I would pick it up later.

Later is right!  When I went back to the shop, they had some bad news for me.  Not only are they having a hard time getting the broken bolt out, but it seems I also had trashed the bearings in the top pivot to the rear end (I don’t know the technical term for it in a Horst Link Suspension).

They said they had to order a new rear end re-build kit, and they would have my bike for about 2 weeks.

2 WEEKS!

What am I gonna do!?  I guess I will do a lot of day hikes in the next 14 days.  Well, I guess I can take some solace in knowing that there is hardly any better place to do that then right here in Prescott.

I miss my bike already!

Afternoon In Arizona August 22, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, trails.
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Tracie and I put the dog in the pick-up and headed out to do a short hike on a trail we had never been on before.  We waited until the temperature dipped below 90° and then took the 20 minute drive to the trail.

The trail had not been used in a long while it appeared, because in the flats near the beginning, there were wild sunflowers growing eight feet tall right in the middle of the trail.  As we began to climb into the trees, the trail got very rocky and looked like the only thing that had been on it recently was runoff from the recent heavy rains.

When we got up near the top end, we had a stunning view of Granite Mountain and the surrounding area.  The trail got better as we went, I think partly because hikers usually come in to see the view from the end we were going out.  In other words, it is the more travelled half of the loop.

We made it back down to the flats, then hiked along the dirt road towards the truck.  Here’s something gross, there were literately hundreds of huge grasshoppers squished in the roadway…..and to make matters worse, other grasshoppers were cannibalizing them!

We took this hike at a very leisurely pace, and finished the 3 mile loop in a little over an hour and a half.

It is really nice that the days are long enough to get out in the hills at the end of the day for a short day hike.

Walk with the Dog August 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Tracie and I took our dog out on a day hike yesterday afternoon.  Because we were checking points for the upcoming Gilmore Adventure Race, I can’t divulge the location of our hike yet.

It was still pretty warm at 84° with a bright blue sky littered with big fluffy clouds that caused the humidity to be fairly high as well.  The temp and humidity made the sweat factor pretty high.

Oddly enough, we didn’t see anyone on the trails.  We did see a large tarantula though!

We didn’t go all that far, including the out-and-back that I did to one of the points while Tracie relaxed under a tree with the book she is currently reading, the total was only about 3.5 miles.

What a great way to spend an afternoon with the one you love!

Overgrown Trails July 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking, Just Stuff.
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Tracie and I took the dog out in the mountains yesterday, and found that all the recent rain has encouraged weeds aplenty to grow all over some of the less travelled social trails.  Next time we go out there, I will carry a small shovel and some clippers, and help it look like a trail again!

Day Hike on Maverick Mountain July 15, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Tracie and I took the dog out on Sunday afternoon for a little bit of a hike along the Hassayampa River and up the north slope of Maverick Mountain.  First we drove in on FR 79 to Trail 284.  We walked down to the swimming hole I used to frequent as a little boy.  It amazes me that even such a high traffic area (relatively speaking) remains unchanged over the last 35 years.  We had a picnic lunch on the rocks around the swimming hole while the dog played in the water.  I spent a while building a small dam in order to redirect some of the water flow down a natural slide in the rocks.  Tracie watched a water beetle repeatedly try to scale the vertical rock wall next to the small waterfall.  I say repeatedly, because that darned beetle was persistant!  It would get part way up, only to loose its grip on the water-smoothed rock and fall back into the water.  She watched this happen about a dozen times while I played with the water flow.

Later, we headed up Maverick Mountain to Kendall Camp.  On the way we saw a young doe.  She was alone, and just watched us as we watched her.  Finally she sauntered off into the trees as we made our way uphill toward the old abandoned mining camp.  The apple trees in the old orchard are loaded, and will make good picking in about a month.  While we were there, the monsoons started to kick up, and we decided to head back down the mountain before we got too wet.

Though pretty steep, FR 79A and Trail 65 make for some great hiking.

Half Day Hike June 21, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Josh and I left early this morning to get some trail hiking in.  We ended up driving some Forest Service roads and exploring quite a bit too.

All in all, we probably hiked about 7 miles this morning.  We took it slow and did some trail maintenance along the way.  It got hot by about 9:00am today.  It feels like the monsoon is almost here, although I know from past experience, it is probably at least 3 weeks away.

Mapping Trails in The Pines June 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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Kent and I rode this evening in “The Pines” see this post to know why I call it that.

It carried my GPS with me so I could track the trails we rode on.  We wandered all over the trails out there, and the way I figure it we probably tracked about half of what is there.  Now all I have to do is download the track to my topo program to see what we rode.    It was another perfect evening to ride, and we only saw one other person the whole time we were out there.  He was walking his dogs up one of the singletracks near the end of the ride.

The Pines is really a great place to ride, as it is so close to Prescott and has some very friendly and pretty singletrack.  It is also a good place to take shady day hikes in the warm summer months.

One section of singletrack in The Pines

  • distance 9.45 miles
  • riding time 1 hr 21 min.
  • avg. speed 6.9 mph

Day Hike on 392 March 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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I am always scouting the local trails for my Adventure Recreation business, so I took a short hike up trail 392 from Thumb Butte this afternoon.  Man is it great to see all the water running!  There was even one spot along the trail that was like a seep or slow spring, water was just coming out of the ground and running down hill to another small creek.  For anyone that is riding in the Whiskey in April, this part of the trail actually looks really good (did a little trail maintenance with my foot as I hiked along).  There are, however, several places where (right now anyway) you cross water.  That’s cool though, you always look a little more extreme if your bike is muddy!

Anyway, it was nice to get out for a quick hike, even if it was for only an hour or so.

A Memorable Hike up the Peaks March 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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The San Francisco Peaks a mountain that had its center blown out over a thousand years ago in similar fashion as what happened to Mount St. Helens back in 1980, but BIGGER.

The Peaks are on the rim of the volcano, and include Doyle Peak, Fremont Peak, Agassiz Peak, and the highest point in Arizona, at 12,633′ Mt. Humphreys.
This hike is only doable as a day hike if you are in very good shape, and can carry a lot of water. We did this hike in the first week of October before the snow came, but after the threat of summer lightning storms.  This requires leaving one car at the snowbowl recreation area so you can get back to the other car that you will leave at the trailhead.

The trail #102 trailhead is at Schultz Pass on Forest Road 42o, just a few minutes north of Flagstaff. The thing that I really love about this hike is the amazing scenery changes that you encounter as you hike up and up and up through different layers of flora until you suddenly emerge at Doyle Saddle to the incredible view across the inner basin to the towering Mt. Humphreys Peak.  The hike along the inside edge of the ancient volcano where rocks have tumbled like water down the steep interior slope is quiet and peaceful. Then the trail turns and takes you up into Fremont Saddle, where you encounter the view of Flagstaff and points south.  Another reason to stop and just enjoy.  From Fremont Saddle, the hike immediately goes above the tree line as you zig-zag up the east side of the pyramid like Agassiz Peak.  After almost 9 miles and 4000 feet of climbing, you come to the unnamed saddle that sits between Agassiz and Humphreys. This is where you get two more spectacular views; one looking northeast  down into the inner basin, and the other looking west towards Williams, Ash Fork and beyond.  Take the time to rest your body and your feet, assess your water supply and remaining daylight to see if there is enough time to make a summit attempt and still make it back down to the car before dark.  The hike up to the summit is not far, but is pretty tough due to the scarcity of oxygen, and the rock scrambling  that is required.  There are several false summits on the way up, you think, “there it is!”, just to find more trail leading further up the ridge when you get “there.”  Eventually, you DO actually get to the top, where you can turn 360° and everything you see is below you.  WOW!  On a clear day, you can actually see into the Grand Canyon.  Make sure you sign the log book in the ammo box!

As if you haven’t had enough for one day, now you have to beat your knees, hips and feet to a pulp as you descend back to the unnamed pass where the Humphreys Trail takes you down almost 3000′ in 4.5 miles.  Rocks and roots, roots and rocks…..that is what I remember most about this part of the hike.  You will come out of the thick forest and stroll across a meadow toward the parking lot after completing about 15 miles and seeing some of Arizona’s most beautiful sights.

When you get to the car, all you have to do is find someone in your party that can stay awake long enough to go pick up the other car!

Great Yosemite Blog February 25, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking.
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Hey I just found a great Yosemite site and added it to my blogroll it is called…..(drum roll please) Yosemite Blog. And you can find it here: http://www.yosemiteblog.com

On it is a video of the the blogger taking a day hike up Half Dome, like the one that I wrote about earlier. Note: We were there six days after the death of Hirofumi Nohara on the cables.