Arizona High

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Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. Photo by Richard F. Fleck

Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. Photo by Richard F. Fleck

Thin gray cirrus clouds

streak the sky as we amble

through a meadow of purple

lupine and black-eyed susans

with dark and pyramidic

Humphreys Peak rising

upward another 3000 feet.

We enter sweet pine forest

floors springing forth with

mushrooms of every shape

and color, white columbines

and purple penstemon.

A chickaree squirrel busily

shreds pine cones in search

of nuts as a sapsucker

jackhammers a tree trunk

high above in gentle winds.

Our trail twists and turns

at a steeper angle lined

with spruce roots and lumpy

rocks all the way to the

saddle where we discern

three or four false summits

obscuring Humphreys Peak.

Three hundred feet shy of

our goal I jam my boot on

a pointy rock to bruise my

arch, but I must, pain or not,

hobble to the highest point

in Arizona where the distant

Grand Canyon’s North Rim

spreads red on the horizon.

I can almost hear the corn

prayers for rain coming

from Hopi lands far beyond.