About NATRA Blog

This page is meant for folks to post their thoughts on the Saturday group run. I (Neil) will post a blurb about who showed up and where it was held. From there, I hope that other runners will share their thoughts since we often have different experiences on the same run. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kendrick Mountain Run, Into the Fog

(Joe's first NATRA run and he's thinking what am I getting myself into!)

I always get excited for the end of August as this is when I usually post the Kendrick Mountain run. The trail's nearly 3000 foot ascent and 8.5 to 9 mile round trip usually seems daunting, especially after its first oxygen deprived uphill two miles. However, after those first two humbling miles a break is reached at the saddle at the base of the switch backs.

(One of the many wildflower filled meadows brought to you by the Pumpkin Fire!)
Heading up, each relatively low grade switchback offers different views and at the end of August the openings created by the Pumpkin Fire in 2000 are chock full of the most brilliant wildflowers, a sea of purples, yellows and reds.  As we passed through these small meadows, the fog billowed in from the southwest. We could see the moist air rising towards the mountain top and as we hit the moisture plume the temperatures quickly dropped into the 50s. Joe threw his wool running cap on!

(The fog rolled in)
The real treat for me is arriving at the Kendrick Lookout cabin built in 1911 that served as the home for the fire tower lookout.  It is one of 41 sites the Kaibab National Forest has listed on the National Register of Historic Places. My friends and long time co-workers Teri Cleeland, Larry Lesko, and John Hanson stabilized the cabin and placed it on the National Register in 1988 two years before they hired me.

(Last week the Kaibab gang had a much anticipated reunion when Larry and Teri visited from Tallahassee, Florida)

Now as an archeologist for the Kaibab, it is part of my job to make sure these places are kept in a stable condition for the public to enjoy. Kendrick Cabin is certainly one of the most difficult to access at more than 10000 feet above sea level!  The log book was filled with many recent happy visitors and bear sightings and on this northwest like morning. On the run, we encountered about 30 hikers and several runners probably training for Imogene Pass! 

(welcome to our house)

For the past few years I have gotten side tracked collecting mushrooms below and had not made it up to monitor the cabin. As most of my favorite edible mushrooms were past their prime and maggot filled, I concentrated on pushing my way to the cabin. I was thrilled to see that the broken window pane 5 years ago had been fixed. I did notice a hole in the roof that we need to get fixed up before the snows start falling in the next month.

(Inside of the 1911 cabin - not much has changed)

As we reached the top, Christina Bauer appeared running out of the fog behind the cabin. In less than two weeks, Christina is running the Wasatch 100 miler, her first 100 ever. She had made the epic clockwise Kendrick Mountain loop, leaving from the trailhead, running to the Pumpkin Trail and then connecting to the Bull Basin Trail, thus explaining her mysterious appearance out of the fog! 

(Neil surprised to see Christina)
The ascent took about an hour and 20 minutes, and that included a lot of power walking. The descent of course is thrilling and fast (about 35 minutes). Luckily, we were enshrouded in the clouds so all of our attention was on the trail (as opposed to the expansive views of the Kaibab National Forest) and there were no death defying stumbles, this time. Of course I know that the aftermath of pounding down the trail will take its toll and I will ache all over on Sunday, a small price to pay.

(Sasquatch sighting..kind of)
Back at the trailhead we mused about a Sasquatch bumper sticker and figured today would have been a great day for a sighting, but no such luck!  We were luckier that a fresh crop of brilliant orange lobster mushrooms were emerging from the soils in the parking area. When I got home I sautéed one perfect lobster in butter, olive oil, and more than a dash of salt. This more than satisfied my craving for lost electrolytes and led to a well deserved afternoon nap!

(For all you relocated east coasters here is Flagstaff's native lobster)