Realty Executives of Flagstaff

Serving Flagstaff, Arizona since 1977

Realty Executives of Flagstaff


6 Month Flagstaff Housing Review & Hiking the Colorado Chicago Basin

(Published on - 7/23/2021 4:59:05 PM)

In the days before the internet, when people were looking for a professional – a contractor, for example – they would often ask a friend or neighbor, “Do you know a good Plumber?”

Well, guess what? The same thing still happens today! It’s just done a little differently. These days, people often ask for recommendations online, such as on their community’s Facebook page.

However it’s done, the intention is obvious. People prefer to work with professionals who are recommended. That definitely includes real estate professionals.

In our business, we work hard to be the kind of trusted real estate professionals that clients rely on to help sell their property, find their next home, and make the entire process go smoothly. In addition, we stay in touch long-term to be an ongoing resource of information and advice.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons we send you this informative e-newsletter.

So, if friends or neighbors ask for a real estate agent recommendation, we hope you’ll feel comfortable giving them our names. We’d really appreciate your support!

Renee and Jeff


Strong Home Sales in 2021 - 6 Month Housing Review

The below data was pulled on July 21st and as expected the strong 2020 market has carried through to 2021. 

We have sold 9.7% more homes this year than the year prior.  Flagstaff's Median Sales Price jumped from $413,459 to $515,000, an increase of 24.6%.  Number of new listings is up 5% but one of the most drastic data points and what fuels the misconception of fewer homes available is the decrease in Days on Market.  The average Days on Market in 2020 was 107 and with a decrease of 40.2% that puts the average Days on Market in 2021 at only 64. 

The Absorption Rate currently sits at 1.68% which means we have less than a 2 months supply of homes available.  As we have mentioned in previous updates the Real Estate experts say that a 6 month supply is ideal, any less indicates a Seller's Market, any more indicates a Buyer's Market.  



Hiking into the Chicago Basin outside of Durango Colorado

What an adventure we had planned as we head up to Durango Colorado, spending 7 days in the vast Weminuche Wilderness. At 499,771 acres, the Weminuche Wilderness isthe largest wilderness area in Colorado, and as a comparison,  ¾ the size of Rhode Island.
After talking to many locals, the general thought is leave the ‘E’ off the end when you pronounce the Weminuche(whem-a-nooch).
The trip started months ahead of time, with planning the route, the timing when we wanted to get into Chicago Basin, preparing the meals for every day, doing some dehydrating of assorted things, and of course picking up the first mornings Breakfast and that evening’s dinner, which I cover more later.

Once we finally got started on Sunday morning, the 5 plus hour drive up was uneventful, we got to Durango midafternoon, giving us time to explore the downtown.

Our first Day

Up early today, we car camped last night at the end of Vallecito Lake, wanted to be on the trail by 7. 
For Breakfast, out of the cooler before we started our hike, I had the traditional Flagstaff Best Breakfast Burro from the Dog Haus, a great way to start this adventure. 

The overall plan, we will hike up the Vallecito River, to Johnson Creek, over Columbine Pass (12,665ft) to the eastern edge of Chicago Basin, then west out through the basin to the Animas River and back to Durango.
This is the seldom taken route into Chicago Basin and when I say seldom, we saw no one for the first 3 ½ days.
Most will come in on the west side riding the Silverton-Durango Railway up the Animus River to a spot the train lets off at times over 50 hikers a day, so they can scramble as fast as they can into Chicago Basin to find camp sites. We chose not to be in that race up into the basin, so came in the longer, harder, better route from the East.

We knew that the Train let hikers off at 11:00 every morning and will take those hikers at least 2 hours to get into the basin. So our plan was to get into the Eastern edge of the Basin by 1:00 on Wednesday Day 3, just in case it was hard to find a great camp spot. 

The days started out nice, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Trail conditions were excellent all day as we hike along the Vallecito River gently climbed from 7900 feet to our camp spot at Deadhorse Creek at 9,100 feet. 
The treat of the hike, we did not have to carry gallon+ of water which would have added 8.32 lbs. of weight to our pack. Instead, as we crossed little creeks and such, I got out my BeFree Water Filter I would highly recommend for any hikes. 

Throughout the day we passed through meadows of flowers, Jack and Rob stopped to fish, though not successfully I might add.
Close to camp we had to navigate an approximate 100 ft river crossing of the Vallecito River. We are in the wilderness now and when that bridge was washed out a few years back, since in the wilderness it could not be rebuilt. 
Was a sketchy crossing but with hiking poles to help braced against the current we made it safe, though a little wet
Exciting way to end the day, shortly after the crossing we found a great level spot to camp for the night. Tonight, for me was the Pizza I mentioned above, traditionally I take 4-5 piece of NiMarcos Pizza I get the day before our hike, cool, wrap and put in the top of my pack. Pretty hard to smash cold pizza any more than it already is, and gosh, was a treat out on the trail??

Our Second Day,

Once again it was a nice casual hike all the way to the Johnson Creek trail junction, fortunately the trail Bridge was still up and a good place to fish, both Jack and Rob were successful. From that point it was a steady climb to 11,069 feet. The trail maintenance of this section was not as good, seemed like every time we turned around, we were climbing over downed trees, this section did not appear to have much use. This was the second day we have not seen a single other person on the trail. 
We arrived early afternoon into Crystal Valley at 11,600 ft., the last possible camp before tackling Columbine Pass at 12,665 ft tomorrow.

Perfect camp sight and came with two, very welcoming Marmots.
We have never seen Marmots that do not duck and hide at any sound or people. More than likely, we are the first they have seen since sometime last year.  Because of the river crossing and the miles to get into Chicago Basin, I would venture to say this little valley gets little to no other hikers thru it. These two marmots had mischievousness on their minds, trying to get into Deb’s pack with me waving a hiking pole at them, then trying to eat at Jack's hat hanging on his hiking pole, or getting into Robs stuff when he had his back turned.  They were super cute with big fluffy tails wagging back and forth when they waddled away, but soon to return. 

My tent, they stayed away from, maybe my secret deterrent from critters, Cat Hair. I brush the cats and bring some of their hair with me in the pack on each adventure, tends to work, so far??

Day 3

This is the day we head up and over Columbine pass and into the eastern edge of Chicago Basin. The first 2 miles is a steady climb up to the pass at 12,665 ft, after passing Columbine Lake. The plan was to fish at the lake, but alas, frozen over, with just a smidgen of water at the edge, but again, no success on the fishing front, but the beauty of the area was breath taking,

As we crested the pass, we ran into difficulties. A major section of the trail was still snow covered. Taking the leading we each talked about the best was to get across, then tackled each section.
Slow and smooth with poles in hand we trudged through the snow as best as we could, careful not to misstep.
As we entered into Chicago Basin, we found a super camp site at the far eastern side of the Basin. 
After hiking at elevation, having some challenging trail issues, camp was a welcome site. this will be our camp for 2 nights as we explore and fish Chicago Basin. 

What we found out was hardly anyone from the Basin comes to this end. This was a planned layover day and for the next two days, we only saw 2 couples stop by in their exploration of our side of the basin.
The History of Chicago Basin stretches back prior to 1877, it is better described in the link I attached. The Durango Herald talked about the mining claims in the area  in an article early this year. 'Mining claims in Weminuche Wilderness protected from development'

Day 4

This is a layover day in the splendor of the Chicago Basin. Today we head up to Twin Lakes, elevation 12,655 ft, to hopefully do some fishing.
Today's treat was seeing our first Mountain Goats, a small herd or family of 6. Not afraid of us one bit. They followed us as we climbed the trail, but broke off at about 12,000 ft. 
As we crested into the Twin Lakes Basin, we found the lakes were still iced over or 90% or so, we tried to fish in the few open spots with no luck. 
Instead, we explored the high mountain basin, had some lunch and circled around and back to camp some 7 hours later.
Jack stayed at camp for the day, we found when we got back, another small family of goats came to visit him. One particular mama goat, we named Gertrude, was in love with Rob and his tent, so they had a sparring match for a while.  Rob not wanting the added attention, but 'Gertrude the Goat' could not get enough of Rob, not sure what happened after we all hit the sack.

Day 5

As we headed out of Chicago basin, we realized how fortunate we were to have come into the Basin from the east,

Today we head out after our 2-day layover in Chicago Basin, and what a treat it has been. We did discover that our camp site at the very far Eastern end of the Basin was by far the best in all of Chicago Basin for a couple reasons; by far better views, closer access to water and over the 2 days, only 2 other couples walked by. 
We had our end of the Basin to ourselves and the goats of course.

As we hiked down and out of the basin, we passed many hikers coming up from the train, along with that, a lot of this trail had not been cleared of log fall, so up and over fallen trees was the norm for the day.
As we headed out, a storm was brewing in the Basin and found out later that inch size hail hit most of those left camping.
But that was behind us, tonight we are camping on the bank of the Animas River.

Day 6

As we left our first night on the Animas River, we realize that our timing for this trip was the best. So far, our camp sites have been the very best, only one camp site did we see others. 
The hike down the river was uneventful, pretty level, very lush in some areas and at times could see and hear the Silverton-Durango Train as it passed on the other side of the river. We tried fishing in a few spots, but with no luck. 
This is a short day on the trail, our goal today is to enjoy the river, hike 6 miles or so to the confluence of the Animas River and Crescent Creek.

Got in to camp early found a great camp site right by the bridge that will take us over the Animas since at this point it is a fully fledge river, and not possible to wade across.
Before dinner, we all tried our fishing on Crescent Creek, everyone caught something, but that was about it. This was not the best fishing trip,

Day 7

Up early today, this is our last day on the trail. The trail out was gentle uphill, through the Crescent Creek canyon, with the creek falling further and further below us. The closer we got to our takeout point and vehicle, the more folks we started to see,
The last 2 miles or so of our adventure was obviously a popular spot for day hiking. We saw more and more hikers the closer we got to the trailhead. Most that wanted to talk were amazed we started our trip way over at the Vallecito River Trail Head and came as far as we had and more to the point, spent 7 days out hiking and camping. To some this was not on the bucket list to do, but with that said, they were out in the open air doing the day hike and that is a positive.

We are back to the takeout spot mid-morning, cleaned up some, then had to go pick up Robs vehicle. This was not a loop, so took two vehicles, maybe 1+ hour drive time between start point to where we ended the adventure.

We had heard that Chicago Basin was a must-see adventure to take, and we proved that right. We took a chance going in from the Vallecito Creek Trail head and it paid off in huge dividends; in the sights we got to see, the serene wilderness, the lack of other hikers’ day after day, and the quality of camp sites as a group were as good as we have ever had.
The only thing missing was good fishing, but all the others make up for this in Spades.

An adventure above most others we have done, and one for the books.


Jeff Ross * Renee Gaun
Your 1st Choice in Real Estate®
Your Team for Success

928-607-5556  Jeff
928-606-6232 Renee


15 E. Cherry Ave
Flagstaff, AZ. 86001





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