AZ – Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park

This was another pin on my map of places to hike if my travels were in close proximity. So having traveled 66 to Kingman I wasn’t far from Yarnell.

This park opened in 2016 in honor of the 19 Hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The trail is split into two sections. The Hotshots Trail is 2.5 miles, the Journey Trail is 1 mile.

Along the trail are individual memorial plaques with a photo and story. It’s hard not the grieve for these young men and their families.

There is also interpretative signage about wildland fires and firefighting.

The benches give you time to reflect.

At the top there is what they call the Observation Deck with more information about the fire as well as a view down to the Fatality Site and the town of Yarnell. It’s a miracle the town survived.

There is also a Tribute Wall with lots of memorabilia.

I found a couple stickers that originated near my home base.

The circle is the Fatality Site where the Hotshots made their last stand. Encircling the site are 19 gabions, one for each Hotshot, united by chains representing their eternal bond. Inside 19 steel markers show the position where each Hotshot was found.

Can you imagine being the sole survivor?

This is a very busy place. I was there on a weekday and yet I met at least 5 hotshots/firefighters and crossed paths with probably near 100 hikers. I was grateful for my early start so I could mourn as I walked this sobering path in silence. Once it got busier, normal group hiking chitter chatter detracted from the ambience.

Of course there was beauty to be found along the way including first of the season Claret Cups.

Verbena

Adventure Date(s):

  • March 9, 2020

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