Tuesday, July 21, 2020

More Challenging

Temps in the Phoenix area have been their typical summer 110+ which meant it was time to look for more elevation. I spotted a set of six challenge caches just west of Flagstaff that looked interesting, and with elevations above 8000 feet, the weather should be somewhat cooler. I was part way done with the latest set of mods for the Subie, so it seemed a three day trip was in order.

I drove as far as the signage would let me and then started up the hill. The first portion of the trail was clearly a road, but also clearly signed such that motor vehicles weren't allowed. There had been a fire through here years ago, but the forest of pine trees was developing nicely.

There were five challenges that surrounded the rim of an old volcano, with a sixth one down in the crater.

These caches varied in age from 7 to 10 years old, but don't get much traffic.

I started with the 5th of the series and then worked clockwise around the rim while keeping an eye on the dark clouds gathering over Humphreys Peak. Between the second and third cache that I did, it opened up to good views of the lake / mudhole in the crater.

The elevation was high enough that there were still some spring flowers in the shadows.

By the time I'd finished the five caches on the rim, I was debating about the last cache in the crater, but the low point in the rim was in line with where I'd parked the Subie and the last cache didn't get visited much with only 24 finds in 10 years.

As usual, online maps aren't current. It sure looks like a road to the bottom of the crater, but the nearest legal parking is just about where that road exits the lower edge of the picture.

By the time I was getting close to the car, the black clouds over Humphreys had moved and it was starting to rain, hard!

It wasn't long and the chuck holes had turned to mud puddles and water was running down the ruts in the road. I departed the forest and headed to Williams for my boondock location. Even though I was still over 6000 feet that evening, it was toasty warm after the rain quit.

The next morning, early, I headed to Kingman for the final qualifier for another challenge cache. Kingman is way too low for a summer overnight so after the event I turned around and headed to Prescott where there are a bunch of new challenges. I didn't get them all, but I did get one for my 7,000th find (excluding lab caches.) Camp that night on Mingus Mountain put me over 8,000 feet.

Time to head home - more projects for the Subie.