|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Left Abq right after Kali’s B-day party at ITZ and hit I-40 for a grueling 4+45 hour drive to Flagstaff. As I was nearing Flagstaff around the meteor crater, the sun was setting behind some thunderstorms on the mountain. Stopped by the grocery store to get some Cliff Bars and other goodies to keep me happy. Also grabbed a gourmet sandwich to eat for dinner. Got up to the Snowbowl parking lot and it was still raining and a little lightning. Once there talked on the phone for a while to Lea Lea to make the time go by as it was only 9 and didn’t feel like getting out to set the tent up in the rain. Got situated in the car seat to rack in my bag (sts). There were about 3 elk buggling all night – pretty cool. Wish I had won that lottery for hunting this year, oh well. Alarm went off at 0550 and got up and started getting ready for the hike. Got started around 0630 and had a couple dudes hiking behind me. I was going to take a shortcut up the ski trail, but grass was really wet from the nights rain so just decided to stick to the trail. Very thick forest for the 1st part and finally ended up at the saddle after about 3 hours. got some good pics here and then pressed up above the treeline. Weather was still looking good and the summit was in sight. Made it up to the top around 1030 and began taking multiple pics. Visibility was not too bad and could see the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Pretty sweet!! Stayed up there about an hour and then decided to head down. The guys that were behind me were starting down too as we could see a thunderstorm in the distance to the west. Got down past the saddle and adjacent to the ski area. I decided to take a shortcut to one of the downhill trails and made it down with no problems and being careful not to disturb the vegetation to prevent erosion. Got to the trail and took some more pics. Passed a couple traveling up gasping for O2 and made it down in minimal time. I think I cut out about an hour of time thru the zig zag cutbacks on the trial. 1+50 hours to make it down. Got to the car and quickly threw everything in and began the 4.5 hour trip home. Must say, this was the quickest hike I have done yet as far as time away from home. Uneventful trip back to the house and made it just at dark.