After taking a day off for Labor Day, the Phoenix Field School crew arrived rested and ready for their first big adventure. We headed north out of Phoenix to the Sedona area to backpack for three days in the Wet Beaver Wilderness in Coconino National Forest. The cooler air was a treat for us Phoenicians after months of temps in the 110s.
We had some excitement the first day, as a menacing cloud tried to scare us with loud thunder and bright lightening. As the storm passed, we finally got started backpacking, many of us for the first time. We hiked in about four miles and set up our first camp. We enjoyed a delicious burrito dinner by headlamp light and went to bed looking forward to the days ahead.
Day two included moving camp, hiking up to a mesa and setting up camp again. We hiked back downhill to the awesome Wet Beaver Creek, a gorgeous watering hole with plenty of pools to jump into and swim around in. All of the crew members had time to teach a lesson on one of the Leave No Trace principles to the rest of the group. Everyone learned a great deal about how to have a minimal impact on the land. We had another great night at our campsite, with a beautiful view of the stars.
Day three began for several of the crew members with a before dawn hike up to the very top of the mesa to watch the sunrise. The sleepier members woke up in time to greet the hikers as they returned to camp in time for stretch circle. We packed up camp again and began our hike out to the trailhead. Our day ended at the BLM office where we unpacked and cleaned up and took a quiz on the Leave No Trace principles – which everyone passed with flying colors!!
After a night at home, on Friday we all went on a field trip to the Biosphere outside of Tucson. We had a fascinating tour of the facility and enjoyed seeing a rainforest growing inside the building and hearing about the people who lived there when it was sealed in.
All in all, week two of the Phoenix Field School was an overwhelming success. Next up, WFR!!