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Hot Shots Memorial Hike
Yarnell
October 5, 2019
by Debbie Rowray
group
Trailblazers ready to hike. [photo by Quy]
Ramona, Janet, Michael, Heather K., Bettye, Debbie, Terry, Chris, Ian, Heather O., Quy
group
Trailblazers at the Tribute Wall. [photo by Quy]
front:  Chris, Quy, Heather K., Bettye
back: Ian, Terry, Janet, Ramona, Heather O., Michael

In honor of the nineteen men who gave their lives fighting to save people, land, animals and history from wildfires; this hike is one I have always wanted to lead.

It was a very emotional and humbling experience. In writing this trip report it is hard, even as a writer to know how to express the most respectful, tactful and honorable words needed. This hike was not about adventure, miles or competition against one's own body and mind. It was about the true grit and bravery of these men.

There are plaques in memory of each man, with words of love and respect from family and friends. The climb to the top of Granite Mountain is a gradual and steep reminiscence of valor and selflessness.

sign
Thank You. [photo by Quy]
map
The map shows where we’re going, [photo by Debbie]
statue
Statue. [photo by Debbie]
picture
Pictures. [photo by Debbie]
group
Group. [photo by Debbie]
white
Flower. [photo by Debbie]
lizard
Lizard. [photo by Debbie]
hikers
Hikers. [photo by Debbie]
sign
The Hotshots. [photo by Quy]
sign
The Yarnell Hill Fire. [photo by Quy]
sign
The Final Journey. [photo by Quy]
trial
Trailblazers get started. [photo by Quy]
look
Overlooking the memorial. [photo by Quy]
memorial
This is where it ended. [photo by Quy]

After the hike, at the trailhead, I spoke to a gentleman that is now a retired firefighter, who knew and worked with some of the Hot Shots, knowing them very well. He stated he retired after this incident, and has yet to feel comfortable travelling the memorial trail. The trailhead, where I conversed with this specific gentleman, has much education and history, as well as the entire experience on this mountain.

After the hike a portion of us wandered to Congress, AZ to dine and drink at Nichols West. The owner hit it off directly with Ian; both from England, and a bit of trivia: the owner knows Paul McCartney!

sign
Nichols West. [photo by Debbie]
pair
Ian and I have a lot in common. [photo by Debbie]

I want to thank my fellow hiking buddies for sharing this experience with me. This hike is truly beautiful, set in the midst of the Bradshaw Mountains. I am elated to have been a part of it. Let us always remember and respect the meaning of this place.

FYI for future adventures: There is a shuttle from Yarnell to the trailhead if need be, for there is limited parking at the trailhead.

I love the wilderness, the challenge, and the plight to push through whatever it takes to climb and hike. After this day, I feel even more energy toward the notion that each day is a blessing, and so were these men.

7.3 miles RT/ +-2000 ft elevation change/hearts abound

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated October 12, 2019