So, Nick here…I have an awesome wife, and for Father’s Day she let me go fulfill one of my Bucket List accomplishments. I love hiking and the sense of nature I get from hiking. An added bonus is that you will meet some very nice people. We live in Arizona and I have always wanted to hike Mount Humphrey’s, which is the highest point in Arizona, and is about 2-1/2 hours from where we live.
Most fathers would want to relax and do nothing for Father’s Day, but not this father. So I wake up and 2:30 AM, drive to the trailhead, and arrive at 5:20 AM. I set out on an awesome journey, not fully aware just how long this day will be and how exhausted I will be at the end.
After about 30 minutes of hiking, I miss a trail sign and begin going in the wrong direction. I go in the wrong direction for maybe 20-30 minutes and realize how lost I am. Luckily upon turning around I see a person waving me down, but she was not back in the normal direction either, so she must have been lost.
After a couple minutes deciding what to do as we are both lost at this point, we know the general direction of where we are heading, and as I had read about Humphrey’s, always head up because you will eventually re-locate the trail. After about 2 hours of us heading through the forest without knowing where we are, we eventually find the trail.
From this point, we head up the trail and reach The Saddle, which I would say is roughly 65% of the way, but maybe more. After a quick break and some food and water we continue on. Before another hour passes, she tells me the altitude is starting to bother her, as we were roughly at 11,500 feet elevation. She had altitude sickness before but realized it was not in the cards for her to reach the summit that day. I agree that she should turn back if it is indeed bothering her.
Again by myself I continue on, about 1,100 feet from the top. It was very shortly after this that I starting feeling the oxygen levels as well. After having to stop every 100 yards or so, I reach the summit finally around 11:30 (6 hours after starting). It was an awesome 360 degree view of other peaks and more snow then I would have imagined. There were literally thousands of bugs, and it was rather disgusting, so I took a few pictures and video to head back down to The Saddle for lunch.
About this time I start realizing just how tired I have gotten. My legs are getting wobbly and it feels like my knees are about to fall off. I persevere as I really have no other choice. I luckily run into a group that is heading down right in front of me. Having been lost once, I did not want this already long day to get even longer. I ask if I can climb down with them are they are more than gracious. I am telling you that climbers and hikers are some of the most generous people you will meet.
This trail back down to the parking lot takes forever and by the time we get to where I got lost my legs were about to collapse. After that point we get back to the cars and I extend my gratitude towards them and get to my car as soon as possible so I can sit down and relax my legs, and this was at 3:24 PM (10 hours after starting).
In summation, we all have dreams and goals we strive for. This was one of mine. Everyone likes the easy path that is not full of potholes they may be afraid to deviate off that path. There are examples where this is true and to get to your goal is easy. Every now and then you will have to accept the fact that it will not be as easy as you expected and you will have to that extra mile to get to where you really want. For me to accomplish something I have wanted for the longest time took the mental and physical toughness I was not expecting.
A day later now, I am extremely grateful to the people I met and to my wife for letting me have the day to go take on this mountain and to the people that helped me on my trip. It may have been harder but it was wall worth it!