Realty Executives of Flagstaff

Serving Flagstaff, Arizona since 1977

Realty Executives of Flagstaff


Advanced Academics Propel Learning

(Published on - 9/30/2021 3:54:20 PM)

A focus on educational success is a top priority in Flagstaff. A variety of schools in the area, from elementary to higher education, public and charter schools, offer many options for youth and families.

Northland Preparatory Academy

Northland Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free, nationally ranked public charter school in Flagstaff. The national ranking is based on the academic success of its students and preparation for college readiness. Academic rigor, delivered through over 12 Advanced Placement courses and seven dual enrollment courses, creates the initial foundational pillar of Northland Preparatory Academy’s academic excellence.

            NPA students excel academically, socially, and emotionally, so that NPA Spartans don’t just get admitted to the colleges they covet, but thrive when they get there. The balance of the NPA foundation of success is the vibrant Arts Education programs, which animate the learning community and foster the creativity of our students enabling them to be well rounded.

            The final pillar that stabilizes the school’s comprehensive college preparatory program is competitive and comprehensive high school and middle school athletic programs. The values instilled by participating in a competitive sport create the understanding of the need for teamwork, sacrifice and commitment to the greater good.

            These three pillars of academics, arts & athletics make Northland Preparatory Academy the premiere choice for post-secondary success.

For more information, visit .

 Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University, a high research university with a $500 million operating budget, 4,600 faculty and staff, and 31,000 students, maintains a national reputation for thriving in the changing world of higher education and for the high quality educational experience provided to all students. More than 23,000 students attend the Flagstaff campus, with more than 8,000 students enrolled online and at Extended Campus sites statewide.

            The university is dedicated to the economic success of our region and our state. The Alliance Bank Economic Policy Institute economic impact study, estimates that NAU contributes more than $2.6 billion to Arizona’s economy each year. NAU’s big economic impact comes from more than 22,000 jobs supported by NAU throughout Arizona. It comes from the growing percentage of Arizona students who choose NAU for the education, and the increasing number of those Lumberjacks who live and work in Arizona after their graduation. NAU graduates are the heart of many Arizona businesses and communities.

            NAU’s research remains strategic and focused in critical areas that align with great strengths and statewide needs. Complementing undergraduate and graduate education, research at NAU is integrated into our mission of providing a high quality education and service to the State. Northern Arizona University is recognized as one of the top 100 research universities without a medical school by the National Science Foundation and is ranked as 201 for all universities in the United States.

            NAU focuses on building Arizona’s workforce, enhancing academic achievement, and creating new possibilities for students, the university and state. NAU stands on a strong foundation that allows to answer the challenges of a constantly changing landscape.

            Because of Northern Arizona University’s rich educational contributions, Flagstaff is recognized as the third-best college town in the nation. The university is also a gateway to world-class attractions, outdoor adventure, Route 66 history and Native American Heritage and culture.

Flagstaff Unified School District

Flagstaff Unified School District has a long history of offering a well-rounded and rigorous  educational experience for all students. Home to more than 9,600 students and 15 comprehensive school sites, the school district works to implement the best practices and innovative education techniques to meet the needs of students in Northern Arizona.

            Students discover their path at the 15 comprehensive school sites that include three elementary magnet schools, four middle school academies and four high school academies. Students can also take advantage of Advanced Placement, technology and engineering, expeditionary/place based education and modern language while high school students have opportunities to take high school dual-enrollment classes for college credit, career and technical education, music, fine art, drama, foreign language and online courses. Middle school students enjoy a variety of elective classes, clubs, sports and after-school programs, multi-age classroom opportunities, artists in residence as well as intervention and enrichment opportunities for every student.

            With high expectations, FUSD employs teachers, counselors, librarians, bus drivers, administrators and support staff to ensure students can focus on their education. FUSD is proud that collaboration has led to students consistently scoring above state and national averages on standardized achievement tests and dropout rates being lower than the state average.

            Community support is vital to making education successful across the district every day. FUSD is grateful for the continuing support of Team FUSD, the community partners, families and students. Flagstaff is a special place because of the ongoing community support.

Coconino Community College

Coconino Community College has served residents across 18,000 square miles of Coconino County since 1991. The college’s goal is to improve the lives of residents through workforce development and higher education.

            Coconino Community Collee provides affordable tuition and offers certificate programs and two-year associate degrees in academic and career fields. The CCC2 university mission eases student transition to any of the three state universities, with the award-winning CCC2 NAU advisors housed on the Coconino campus. The CCC2 work mission focuses on getting students the training and skills they need to step into the current job market. The CCC2 community mission stresses lifelong learning through credit and noncredit courses that enrich the lives of county residents, including summer art workshops, artist demonstrations at the Comet Art Gallery and career camps for children.

            High school students in Coconino County are able to receive college credit, degree, and certificates even before graduating high school with CCC’s HS2CCC and concurrent enrollment programs. Additionally, Coconino partners with the Coconino Association for Vacations, Industry and Technology to prepare high school students step out of the classroom and into careers.

            Coconino reaches out to the more rural portions of the County and Tribal Lands. Instructional sites offer classes through online, in-person and Zoom video conferencing classes to meet the needs of students in rural and remote areas. Nearly 20 percent of students are Native American learners.

            For more information about Coconino Community college, visit

Basis Flagstaff

Opened in 2011 as a public charter school, BASIS Flagstaff provides a rigorous K-12 liberal arts curriculum. BASIS is built on the idea that children can achieve greatly when they are provided an opportunity to meet high expectations with effective and passionate instruction. BASIS has an engaged school community, and a strong academic support program that assists with long-term development of study skills. Students compete with the best educational systems and students from around the globe, and graduate prepared to excel in college and beyond.

            U.S. News & World Report ranked BASIS as the No. 5 best public high school in the nation in its 2018 rankings. The classrooms are led by subject-expert teachers who are knowledgeable in their craft and discipline, and who inspire students to come to class every day eager to learn. Although the focus is on academics, BASIS offers a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs to support students in becoming well-rounded individuals. The school competes in the Arizona Interscholastic Association in basketball, chess, cross country, volleyball, golf, soccer, speech and debate, swim, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

            For more information, visit


*Destination Flagstaff @7000ft, a publication from the Flagstaff Chambeer of Commerce, 2019-2020 Official Relocation & Visitor's Guide.


For Sale Signs, Are There Really That Many Homes on the Market?

(Published on - 9/7/2021 6:47:32 PM)

We hope the Summer has been treating you and your family well.

As you have read in the past, Sue and I are slowly moving toward retirement, well Sue is there, but over the next two years I will be transitioning out of Real Estate and letting Renee take the reins.
No worries though, you are not quite done with me yet. I will be here for your needs and you will be hearing from me in the coming newsletters.
Of course, both Renee and I will always be here to help with your Real Estate needs. 

As our first step moving toward retirement, Sue and I will be traveling in September. Fortunately, we have close friends that will be staying at our home and watching our precious two cats and the flowers and gardens.
During this time away, we will be biking in Albania and Greece and hope to fill you in when our October newsletter come out.
So until then….

In regard to Real Estate.
As both Renee and I take our clients around to look at homes, we inevitable get asked
‘Why we are not showing all the homes that have signs on them?’

This is such a great question, we wanted to bring to light the reasons for driving past those homes.

The first reason is that when showing our clients homes, we know what price range and features the clients are looking for and if the homes do not fit. There is no reason to both take the time of the Client to see a home that does not fit their needs, along with rearranging the homeowners schedule for a home that will not fit our clients.

In today’s market, homes are not staying active very long,
When we say ‘Active’, it means the home is available for sale and not under contract.
Once the home goes under contract, the signs will stay up for as long as 45 days. Few agents put sign riders on them saying they are under contract; they want to keep the interest up just in case the home falls out of contract.
We have a chart below that will show at the time we pulled the figures,
only 22% of the homes that have signs on them are still active and waiting for that buyer to come and view the home.
The remainder are under contract, and basically off the market.
Could they come back? It is possible, but in today’s hot real estate market, this is unlikely.

So bottom line,

As you are driving around you will see a lot of signs on homes, but only about 22% or so percent of those homes are active and waiting for that right buyer to come and see them. Then depending on the Buyers needs, only a percent of that 22% may fit.
That is where Renee and I come into play, sorting though the homes to find the ones that fit your needs, and also still active and allowing showings.

I hope this helps solve part of the mystery of your question, why not that one?

Have a great end of your summer and early fall and we will be back to you next month.

Renee and Jeff


  Total Signs Up Active homes Home signed, but under Contract
Railroad Springs 12 2 10
Presidio 17 3 14
Boulder Pointe 5 1 4
Pine Canyon 27 7 20
University Heights 8 3 5
Foxglenn general area 13 2 11
Elk Run/ Continental General area 42 13 29
Sunnyside 8 2 6
Swiss Manor and below Mt Elden 3 1 2
Ponderosa Trails 8 0 8
Doney Park, General area 74 22 52
Ft Valley/Baderville 5 4 1
Kachina/Mountainaire 23 3 20
Timber Sky 39 0 39
Pondersoa Parkway Condos 26 2 24
Total in all of Flagstaff 459 102 357
% of homes that have signs that are ACTIVE   22.22%  



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

Planes, Trains, Bikes, and the Mountain Line

(Published on - 9/3/2021 6:32:31 PM)

Soaring above Arizona’s dramatic landscape, air travelers will take note of the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest stretching out in all directions like a lush green carpet as flights pass above the Mogollon Rim, head toward the majestic San Francisco Peaks and on into Flagstaff’s Pulliam Airport.

With five to six commercial flights a day on 70-seat CRJ700s – one to two to Denver on United Airlines as United Express, two to three to Phoenix and two to Dallas on American Airlines as American Eagle – air travel for business or pleasure has significantly increased in recent years, nearly doubling from 140,000 passengers in 2018 to 250,000 in 2019. Air travel in and out of the Flagstaff Airport was on another record-setting path in early 2020, and despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, finished the year above the national average for year-over-year passenger boarding at the airport.

“This tells us our market continues to value the service, as many travelers prefer to fly rather than drive to major cities, especially Phoenix, where they can make further connections,” said City of Flagstaff Economic Vitality Director Heidi Hansen.

In an effort to keep Flagstaff’s dark skies dark, exterior lighting around the outlying buildings is being retrofitted for dark-sky standards. “Our runway lights are on a control system,” said Pulliam Airport Director Barney Helmick. “If there’s no one talking on the radio after sundown, the lights remain off until a pilot approaches.”

“One of the reasons why people choose to visit, discover and grow in Flagstaff is because of the abundant accessibility to outlying areas,” Hansen said. “You feel like you can get away from it all while you’re here, but through our many transportation options, it’s easy to connect to your next destination when you’re ready to go.”

Highway travel to and from Flagstaff, located at the intersection of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17, is convenient for businesses and travelers within the state and beyond.

The romance of the rails has added to the adventure of the West since the late 1880s and Amtrak continues the scenic tradition with service from Los Angeles to Chicago aboard the Amtrak Chief, which stops in Flagstaff three times a week from both directions. The Flagstaff Train Depot in the center of town includes an Amtrak ticket office, the Flagstaff Visitor Center and a well-stocked gift shop with one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

The BNSF Flagstaff railway provides an important transportation system for businesses shipping products and cargo out of the area.

Groome Transportation is a family-owned shuttle business that prides itself on easy, safe, comfortable, economical and reliable airport-to-city service on board 10- and 14- passenger vans. The shuttle service is popular among business travelers, vacationers and students from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix. Complimentary parking is available for Groome customers for up to two weeks at 2646 E. Huntington Dr. For reservations, pickup sites and more information, call (928) 350-8466.

FlixBus, providing traditional coach buses, Wi-Fi and power outlets at every seat, meets passengers at the Flagstaff Visitor Center and provides service to Phoenix, Tempe and Kingman. Buses run two times a day, five days a week, including stops at or near the three state universities.

“We work with wonderful local bus partners,” said FlixBus Public Relations Manager Albert Aydin. “In Arizona, it’s Gray Line out of Tucson, a family-owned business that’s been operating for 100 years.”

For schedules, reservations, safety guidelines and more information, visit

For commuting around town, Flagstaff’s state and national award-winning public transportation system, Mountain Line, operates 29 hybrid-electric buses serving 164 stops across nine routes every day. Residents, visitors and students enjoy the convenience of catching a ride for running errands, exploring local attractions or getting to and from educational institutions like Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College.

Mountain Express – a free shuttle service sponsored by Arizona Snowbowl – takes skiers and snowboarders to the mountain resort on winter weekends and through the holiday break from pickup locations at the Mountain Line Downtown Connection Center on Phoenix Avenue and the park-n-ride stop at Flagstaff High School. For more information call (928) 779-6624 or visit

Greyhound Lines operates bus service out of the Flagstaff Bus Station at 880 E. Butler Ave., with travel to and from Phoenix three times a day. For more information, call (928) 774-4573.

On The Path to Carbon Neutrality

With $29 million earmarked for pedestrian and bike projects, the City of Flagstaff Master Plan is calling for a future with less reliance on gasoline-fueled vehicles. Included in the roll-out are more bike lanes, sidewalks, foot trails and crossings to facilitate the movement of people around town. The popular Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS or “foots”) offers a network of 56 miles of non-motorized pathways that connect the community while rewarding cyclists, runners, walkers and hikers with stunning natural areas and scenic views.

~Destination Flagstaff @7000ft, 2021 Official Relocation & Visitor’s Guide, A Publication of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.

Run, Climb, Bike or Golf in This Mecca For Movement

(Published on - 8/5/2021 4:12:07 PM)

Flagstaff offers four-season fun and boundless opportunities for exploration. It’s no wonder the city has been recognized among the best places to visit with your dog! It’s also no surprise the world’s top runners, cyclists and swimmers may well be sharing urban pathways, forest trails and Olympic-sized pools with you.

If running is your activity, Run Flagstaff provides everything you need. “So many people are drawn to Flagstaff for the altitude and relatively flat terrain,” said owner Vince Sherry.

“An elevation of 7,000 feet is the magic number for oxygen density. For more recreational athletes, it’s the beauty of the trails and the terrain and the community that has everything you need without a big drive or congestion.” Hence, in June 2020, listed Flagstaff No. 5 for best running owns to live in.

                Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 Mile, sponsored by Babbitt Ranches, follows the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line route that carried tourists in the late 1800s. Today, runners and mountain bike enthusiasts can explore a wide variety of ecosystems in this popular September race.

                Navajo Run is the only Navajo-owned ultramarathon. It takes runners through 34 miles of sacred land deep into Canyon de Chelly, past spectacular red sandstone formations.

                Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS or “foots”) is a citywide 56-mile network of trails where recreationists can run, bike or walk. The trails wind through busy streets as well as canyons, grasslands, meadows and forests. The pathway connects users o shops, neighborhoods, parks, schools and wide-open spaces.

                Flagstaff E-Bike Tours owner Todd Davis envisions a future where electric bikes are a primary mode of transportation. If you’re thinking of investing in an e-bike, Davis suggests you rent one first. “Our goal is to introduce riders to recreation alternatives with our pedal-assist e-bikes,” he said.

                Arizona Nordic Village offers yurts and cabins, bike and foot races, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It is also popular for family reunions, destination weddings and meetings. Try a yurt-to-yurt skiing adventure just 15 miles away on Highway 180.

                Arizona Snowbowl delivers year-round fun. The new Arizona Gondola combination lift whisks skiers to black diamond slopes in the winter and sightseers to expansive Northern Arizona views in the summer. With experienced instructors, the Southwest’s large beginning area and free skiing for kids 10 and under, the mountain resort invites all to enjoy the snow!

                Flagstaff Snow Park celebrates Flagstaff’s reputation as one of the snowiest cities in the United States. This winter playground provides exceptional snow-play opportunities from groomed tubing runs to snowball fights and a special area for little ones. For ticket information, visit

                Flagstaff Climbing Center offers two climbing gyms – that’s more than 9,000 square feet of top rope, lead climbing and bouldering terrain making this operation the largest climbing gym in Northern Arizona. Flagstaff Climbing also is a local source for climbing guide service and gear.

                Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course will help you get over your fear of heights when you play in the trees with friends and family. The course at Fort Tuthill County Park offers a variety of ziplines and obstacles for kids and adults to test their limits in a fun, physical and unique outdoor experience.

                Grand Canyon Deer Farm will delight animal lovers of all ages at this 10-acre park. Take the path around the park for a look at llamas, elk, bison, peacocks and wallabies. The rangers here encourage you to pet and feed the deer and even kiss the camel!

                Golf is king in summer months when desert-dwellers seek relief from triple-digit heat. Flagstaff offers private and public courses including Continental Country Club, Flagstaff Ranch, Forest Highlands and Pine Canyon. Every May, the Flagstaff Chamber hosts the Golf Classic at Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club.

                International Kadampa Retreat Center offers streamed meditation classes, courses in healing and kindness, temple tours, events, a bookstore, gift shop and the World Peace Café. The retreat center is located in Williams. For information, visit

                Navajo Blue Travel Center is more than just a gas stop along Interstate 40. This travel center also features Navajo Beef and Navajo Fizz soda. Near Twin Arrows Casino Resort, about a 30-minute drive east from Flagstaff, Navajo Blue offers a convenience store, shower and laundry facilities, dining and a taste of Navajo culture.

                North Pole Experience brings out the holiday season magic with elves, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Book your stay at Little America and a trolley will take you on an unforgettable journey to the North Pole. Pajamas are encouraged!

                Starlight 66 Lanes on Route 66 is the place to go for family entertainment. Enjoy bowling on one of 16 lanes, test your skills in the arcade or grab some refreshments at the snack bar. Lively music and colorful lighting add to the party atmosphere!


Source: Destination Flagstaff @7000ft. 2021 Official Relocation & Visitor’s Guide, a publication of the greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.


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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