Mount Humphreys, Navajo Mountain, Hualpai Peak


By: Lou Brecheen


Our trip was very similar to Campy's (Sage #155) trip in June to do the same peaks - with some notable exceptions; first, we had good weather on Humphreys and encountered some splendid specimens of the genus Homo on the way back from an otherwise uneventful, straightforward climb of Arizona's highest. We did see several patches of Aspen changing to it's golden fall costume. We were also, too early for the "Steakhouse" recommended to somebody - by somebody.

Our route to Navajo Mtn. coincides with Campy's also - U S 89 to U S 160 to State 98 and many dusty miles on bumpy Indian 16. But that "canyon Country" is really something from another world. The start of the jeep road up the mountain is about one tenth mile south of the crossroad at the Navajo Mtn. Trading Post. Gene Olsen's van made it up the road to the "parking place". Except for Gene, we spread our sleeping gear under the stars. But soon the clouds overspread us and the wind picked up and it picked up parts of the desert and blew it into our bags - and hair - and mouths. We gritted sand between our teeth for three days after - but then it began to rain and Greg and Lou Brecheen jumped into the van on top of poor Gene. Larry Machleder stayed out to test his bivvy sack. The hike up the road to the summit was pleasant. Here again, we encountered groves of Aspen changing to fall colors. Here we also encountered a lady school teacher - whose car was parked there by Gene's van - and who had come out from Tuba City to spend the night alone on top of Navajo Mountain. She had no tent so when it started to rain she told us, she moved into the privy and spent the rest of the night on the 2 holer. About the time we hit the summit with it's two short wave repeater stations - one Navajo - one for the white-eyes, it started to blow a cold mist once more and we beat a hasty retreat with visions of a sumptious steak dinner at "The Steakhouse" in Flagstaff dancing in our heads. It was not to be, however; it was too early still - and the place was closed, so we went on to Williams and had an even better dinner at "Pete's", where the menu is in the shape of a fat whiteface steer.

Thoroughly sated, we felt our way through the Stygian darkness to a place 6 or 8 miles south of Kingman, Arizona called Hualapai Park. The air was surprisingly cool and clean. Next morning I found that we were at 6,000 feet and -- what a pleasant surprise Hualapai Park is, with tall pines and other mountain vegetation - no evidence of desert there. Its roughly 3 miles from the locked gate where you have to leave your vehicle to Hualapai Peak (8,268') with about 2,000 feet of gain. The only thing is: all roads are blocked and all mountain tops are covered with sophisticated relays, reflectors and antennae. Ubiquitous signs warn of the presence of armed guards, FBI agent followup and other dire consequences of trespassing.

But its a nice peak - with a 3rd class summit and clean surroundings. Gene got us back to L. A. in good time and everybody was asking, "When are we going for Wheeler and Ruby Dome?"

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