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4 Mountains Down, 46 To Go
July 4, 2017
Elevation: 12,633 feet
Starting Point: Humphrey’s Peak Trailhead at the ski area
Total Miles: 9.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,421 feet
After attempting Mount Whitney, I spent three days in Bishop, California. Usually I am not one to complain about hot weather, but when you live in a metal box (aka, a van) you really pay attention to these things. Let’s just say by the end of the three days I became skilled in the art of staying cool while living in extreme heat with no option of air conditioning or shade. The trick is to leave all of your doors and windows open whenever possible and to use a crash pad as a couch, which needs to be strategically placed in the shade of your car’s shadow (or under a boulder if you can find one). The other trick is to find local pools and parks that have trees, to hike in areas that are above 8,000 feet elevation and to wear a bathing suit at camp where you can douse yourself with water that you can steal from a nearby creek.
Regardless, I was so relieved to get to Flagstaff, Arizona. With an elevation above 6,900 feet, the temperatures usually do not sore as high as they do in Southern California. Since my hike started at about 8,000 feet of elevation, the temperatures never reached above 72 degrees. In fact, at the summit I had to wear a coat. I don’t have much to say about this hike except for that it was very pleasant and beautiful. The incline up to the saddle was gradual and in a shaded forest. At about 4 miles in, you reach a saddle and are graced with some amazing views. After the saddle you have to hike a rocky ridge for almost a mile to the summit. The ridge awards you with fantastic views of the surrounding area and mountains.
All and all, it was the perfect hike. Most of it was in the shade, the temperatures were just right. The last mile gets a little strenuous (especially with the high elevation), but the views make it worth it. Also, it was the perfect distance. I came back into the parking lot relieved to see my car again, but not absolutely exhausted. Most of all, I am glad to break my losing streak and to have spent six hours hiking in nature. I was starting to feel a little down after two failed mountain attempts. Well, four mountains down, 46 to go. Here goes nothing.
Food: After spending multiple days eating trail food, I was craving greens when I came down from the mountain. I stopped at Flagstaff Brewing Company and got a Greek salad with chicken. It was delicious and I devoured the entire thing in minutes. I plan to be in Arizona another day and hope to get some local food that is less safe than a salad.