The Inner Basin hike has been my favorite thing since moving to Phoenix, so much that it has inspired me to dust off my Word Press control panel to write a personal blog post about it. I first discovered Inner Basin on a “Top Ten Hikes Near Flagstaff” listing and it definitely deserves to be on that list.
Length: 3.4 Miles (out and back)
Difficulty: Moderate-to-Difficult, especially if you’re new to high altitude hiking (the hike starts at around 9,000 feet and has a total elevation gain of 600 feet)
This is actually one of the most beautiful parts of the hike itself – If you’re using Google just set the directions to the Lockett Meadow Campground (which is someplace I need to spend a night or two in the future). You will turn off of US-Highway 89 onto Forest Road 552 and eventually start a three mile climb up Sugarloaf Mountain. The road is barely two cars wide and drops precipitously down but provides awe-inspiring views of the Forest and endless desert of Navajo Country out to the horizon.
The Hike itself starts in the Lockett Medow Campground which is a primitive camping location run by the Forest Service. Closer to the Inner Basin the sites require a fee (not sure where/how it is paid as the sites are first-come-first-serve). I also saw people camping outside of the Lockett Medow area however I’m not sure if that is allowed or not. There are toilets in the free parking area but no running water.
The hike starts off in the thick Pine groves, full of the scent from the trees and the sounds of birds. Soon however the trail enters an Aspen Forest (something this life long New Englander has never seen). During the right weeks in the autumn the forest must be a sea of gold, I also imagine that if you visit on the right weekend in spring the meadows are full of wild flowers. The trail soon begins to switchback up the side of the mountain. While you can see where the trail goes it is illegal to cut across the forest and with good reason – Keeping other hikers safe and protecting the mountain side from erosion! KEEP TO THE PATH!
After 1.2 miles the path will level out again and you’ll reach the closed “Waterline Road”. As I understood it this road provides access to several underground springs and tunnels that provide drinking water to the City of Flagstaff. If you turn right on the road you’ll continue for half a mile on the Inner Basin trail which will lead you to the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks. The basin itself is the long dormant crater of a volcano which is what formed the mountains in the time before time. At the entrance to the Basin (at the end of the trail) is an old spring house that used to have a spigot to provide drinking water to hikers – however do to concerns about water quality it has been shut off while a solution is worked out.
The ‘end’ of the Inner Basin Trail is a gateway to the rest of the Basin and there are several trails which you can continue along to fully explore this beautiful part of the Coconino National Forest. I’m already looking at the rest of the trail system for my next visit.
I do not blog regularly, or often (and not at all since the last iteration of my website was hacked) but I suppose I will do a review of 2016 even if it is only for my own fading memory.
The year started with a new job, Network Operations and Engineering – A lot to learn but I have been very happy to finally move out of the realm of customer care and focus on engineering most of the time. February brought the start of a new hobby as I attended the Rhode Island Bee Keepers Association’s annual Bee School, a month long course on the basic of what I would need to know to keep a Bee Hive. Much of the winter was uneventful and hardly worth mentioning.
As spring rolled around I was able build my hive and on that day in early April I got my bees:
Bee Keeping has been an interesting hobby, mich more work than one would assume but I have toughly enjoyed it (when haven’t been stressing about it).
In June and July we had a number of problems with the swimming pool, though a new motor seemed to have helped smooth things along. We had a nice evening of mini-golf on Tim’s birthday in June.
July had our annual trip to Maine, a few days alone before the full family arrived and it was fun. Immediately after Maine I flew to Atlanta for a week of training for work, it was a wonderful time and Atlanta (or I should say Sandy Springs) was much nicer than I had imagined.
Then came Toronto! We loaded up the car, dropped the dogs off at their respective sitters and drove! The drive itself was nice, if not long, but the trip itself was better! We stayed at this nifty hotel in Chinetown right smack in the middle of the city – the hotel itself was inside a mall!
We did all the touristy things: CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, and a lot of shopping. Time had a lot of fun as he browsed the many fabric shops in the fabric district. The weather was very warm, and nice every day. Our drive home took us through the Thousand Islands and it has sparked the idea to spend a week in a House Boat cruising around the water ways. Full photo album here!
Bears at the Toronto Zoo!
View of the city from Casa Loma.
I loved the streetcars, we need much better public transit here in the USA!
September rolled around and Tim started school back up. In October we visited New Hampshire, Tori let us stay in her wonderful timeshare and then we visited Maine again for a long weekend.
Some Bob Ross lookin’ stuff in Maine.
My most favorite spot in all the world.
The winter has been uneventful but now we’re starting to plan for this year’s adventures!