On the way, we stopped off at Petrified Forest National Park to buy our yearly parks pass (everyone should have one of these, and go see your national parks!) and to see what exactly petrified wood looks like.
Turns out it's pretty scary...
After our petrifying experience, we were on our way to Flagstaff. Brandon and PP were most gracious of hosts and put us up for a couple of nights. They are busy periodontists and had a full schedule, so we adventured about the next day and caught up with them over dinner. PP is a killer cook and fixed us some home cooked Thai food that was to die for, and the perfect post-mountain run fuel.
Brandon suggested some trails to try out, and after some coffee and hanging out with their kids, Braden and McLane, we packed 'er up and drove up to the Snow Bowl to begin our ascent of the highest peak in Arizona: Humphreys Peak, in the San Francisco Peaks.
Turns out I was operating on a bit of a caloric deficit so it was rough going for me most of the climb. Good character building :) The trail was relatively easy to follow on the way up and quite technical most of the way. There were a few points where we weren't sure which way to go due to a lot of brush and fallen trees. But, we managed. It was pretty warm and I was having trouble finding my groove (probably because I was starving and didn't realize it). We were climbing about 3,300 feet in less than 5 miles, starting around 9,000ish feet up. I wanted to run but just couldn't crank it out. So, I plodded along and Geof waited for me at points :)
After a short while (that felt like FOREVER) we reached the top, and were greeted by a GAZILLION flies. It was a really, insanely cool view up there at 12,633 feet; we could see the Grand Canyon from up there! A nice gal offered to take our picture...
And, Geof signed the summit register for us...
After a few minutes and munching on some trail grub (a stale Clif Mojo bar, yum), we headed down.
Things got kinda fuzzy here as it became increasingly difficult to follow the trail. Not once but TWICE we managed to go completely off trail and found ourselves sliding down the side of the mountain on a thick layer of scree... I decided it seemed odd as I didn't recall having to scramble up that stuff on the way up. I glanced around, gripped by a sudden bout of acrophobia, and noticed a trail sign maybe 200 yards up. I let Geof know and we began scrambling back up. I was nearly frozen I was so terrified (I let myself look down; bad idea). It wouldn't have been a terribly awful tumble, but the thought of falling down a mountainside was somewhat fear-inducing. I grabbed everything in reach, slowly pulling upwards. One step up caused you to slide three steps back down. By the time we reached the actual trail I was pretty exhausted from being so scared and my shoes were filled with trail debris.
Not 10 or 15 minutes later a fairly identical scene played out. I was a happy camper.
But, we survived :) And the descent managed to take the same amount of time as the ascent. That was a tough climb, but well worth it. Summiting was very rewarding...and so was getting back to the truck.
We spent the afternoon walking around downtown Flagstaff, checking out local shops and hunting for the best local beer on tap. A guy at Peace Surplus said Beaver Street Brewery was hands down the best. Off we went! The beer was fantastic, and we arrived during their happy hour so it was also a great deal :) Four thumbs up.
I was exhausted from the day but was happy to wolf down PP's thai cooking, dance around the living room with the kids while we watched Footloose, and then pull Braden around in his sleeping bag (he was pretending it was a race car) until bedtime. It was fantastic fun :)
The next morning we bid the Bailey's farewell, packed our bags back in the truck and began the long ride home. We were finally going to have a few days at home to do some laundry, take care of some business, get our new Utah licenses, register the truck, meet with my school advisor, and take care of Lucy while R & R headed out of town.
I was pumped to get home!!