Buster decided to sit this one out. He’s 13, and we weren’t sure he wanted to go digging around in a cave.Doesn’t look like much from here, but come closer …It goes almost straight down, into the cave.A few intrepid pups (and their companion) hiked the cave. Note the booties, which protect their paws from sharp rocks.A view down the cave. We knew to bring extra layers, since it can be cold here (32-40 degrees F). In July, isn’t that the point of this hike?Lava cave floor. My husband Bryon helped me over the rough spots. In spite of my excellent trail shoes I twisted my ankle a few times. (Luckily nothing serious.)At the split. “Stay to the right,” we were told. “It’ll be easier.”“Easier” is relative. Alex is 6’3″. (Even I had to crab-walk this.)A view of the ceiling.A second view of the ceiling. The cave changes to reflect humidity and other ambient conditions.A Rorschach test. (Not really–a view of the walls.)The sign says, “DUCK”. In case you needed the reminder.Grafitti at the turnaround point of the hike. This is supposed to be the warmest point of the hike. I couldn’t tell, since I had already taken off and tied my sweat jacket around my waist.I wasn’t sure about the significance of the boat, either.Mold growing from litter left by prior hikers.
Although Buster was probably sore from the previous day’s hike, he needed no coaxing to join us for our next outing.The trail is also known as the Lamar Haines Loop, named after a local leader in the conservation movement.Mushrooms make themselves at home here. I don’t know whether or not these are poisonous.Ferns and aspens along the way. Remains of an old cabin.Spring house near the old cabin.Note the petroglyphs on the top of the wall where the stones meet overhead.Buster, ready to go.Tree bark.One of the locals.Vintage graffiti.
The Yarnell Hill Fire burned throughout the week, and flags remained at half-staff throughout Arizona. As we hiked through Lockett Meadow, it was not hard to think about the sense of loss that will remain after the press attention subsides.The Schultz Fire, Arizona’s largest wildfire in 2010, burned over 15,000 acres. The eastern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff still show fire damage.Sunset Crater is in the distance. Monsoon clouds overhead, but not enough rain here.The trees are still fragile. The aspen grove of the Inner Basin had been spared because the firefighters worked so hard to save it.