Thirty miles north of Sedona
lives the summer homes
of most desert dwellers, and the shadow
of Arizona’s highest peak.
We’d come to ‘Flag’ to climb Mt. Humpheys
the day of rest before
found us lolly-gagging around
easily paved tourist attractions that left
us feeling empty.
We ate across the tracks before the train
bisected the city again
a hipster town, complete with
a university from the
old hotels where New Years Eve
parties were spent watching
the pine cone drop
outside the Weatherford Hotel.
Humphreys began at the low pine spread
easy, slow switch-backs in the Aspen forest
a bright green fern floor before the tall
Careful steps climb for two-thirds of the way
watching roots and rock trip your feet
until knee lifts climb you the
last tired third to the top
the sand and lava rock tundra
of a volcano we can make out
at the peak, over the rock scramble
blew one million years ago.
A live hive by the top
small hungry flies at 12,000 feet
mountains south of us were draped in pines
a soft carpet of Aspen lies in the valley
crooks below the mountain.