My latest hiking travel started with a crisp forty degree morning in Flagstaff Arizona. Upon finishing a six mile drive along a dirt road off the 180, I found myself upon dense forest at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. I would be hiking a total of fourteen miles along the Arizona Trail through vast plains and dense woodlands alike. After a mile the trail opened up into an immense plain emphasizing the magnitude of Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,637 feet. Rolling clouds covered the summit, obscuring my view as I hiked across the open field.
Continuing along the thoroughly worn trail, patches of Aspens came and went. Although about a month late for peak fall colors, select denser pockets of Aspens still held golden leaves in defiance of the recent snow dusting. Beneath the greener canopies I traveled, thin layers of snow blanketed the pathway. As the snow crunched beneath my feet I wondered about how long the weather would permit such pleasureful hiking at this elevation. I had earlier planned on climbing to the summit of Humphreys Peak this year, although the visible snow indicated I would have to wait till spring. Thankfully this gives me another excuse to escape Phoenix for the dream hiking weather Flagstaff faithfully provides.