We accessed the trail by driving south of Parks on Forest Road 141. This drive through Garland Prairie affords some of the most spectacular sweeping vistas of Northern Arizona. The San Francisco Peaks to the east and Bill Williams Mountain to the west frame the expanse, with Sitgeaves, Volunteer and Kendrick Mountains filling in the rest of the view. Every low spot along the way was filled with water that had drained off these nearby mountains. Tina and David (from Phoenix), Sara, Neil, Bruce, Tzeidle and Jeff plodded onto the slick trails, carefully planting every foot fall, savoring this 7.5 mile out and back run.
Along the way, I gave my usual history spiel, however this time I was proud to display our recent efforts that had made the Dow Springs site much more visible. A little over a month ago I worked with our Williams Youth Conservation Corps and Coconino Rural Environmental Corps to remove nearly 100 years of accumulated pine needles and weeds from the historic logging railroad and cabin foundations. This simple but time consuming and tiring work made the interpreted historic site even more visible for the public to enjoy. It also gave a bunch of local kids some ownership in protecting the history of Kaibab National Forest that surrounds Williams and Parks.
Due to the high humidity and cool temperatures, none of us carried water. By runs end we were dehydrated yet one more treat awaited us - the icy clear cold water of Dow Springs. I kicked myself for not bringing a large water bottle, so we drank straight from the spring.
We all marveled at the waterfalls, however with raindrops getting larger and thunder getting louder, the exposed overlooks with every single ponderosa donning multiple lightning scars signaled we needed to get back to the safety of the vehicles. What a day!