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!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Refrigerator Gulch Run


With the temperature hovering around 20 degrees, snowflakes from the cloud over Elden pelting us, and a howling wind that made the wind chill well below zero, 9 NATRA runners ran 5 miles on the Flagstaff Loop Trail. As a result of the season, their outfits looked more like a Christmas light display than anything else; today NATRA left no color behind. After ascending "Refrigerator Gulch" the frozen snot icicles beneath their noses began melting on the Flagstaff Loop Trail. Once off the mesa and back on the Urban Trail, the winds pushed us all the way to the KickStand where we all successfully defrosted over coffee and easily won the where is Abe on sabbatical now game. Don't forget to kick of the New Year with NATRA at 9 AM Thursday at the Marshall School parking lot for a tour of the Urban Trail and a run through neighborhoods along it!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

"White" Christmas Day Run

 The snow began just before our Buffalo Park jog. Cold, but very pretty, as five humans and two dogs jogged or walked a lap or two. Coffee was at the only known open place - the Cedar Safeway Starbucks, where the dogs attracted the attention. Merry white Christmas! (Thanks to bruce higgins for the post.)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2nd Annual Mayan Apocalypse Survivors Run

We had a nice 2nd reunion of Mayan Apocalypse survivors celebrating the Winter Solstice. Runners came from as far away as Sedona. What was the Mayan Apocalypse run? Here is some history: https://www.facebook.com/events/225524970913930/
This group outing looked more like a Thursday evening run with the Flagstaff Trail Divas outnumbering the men and dogs 10 to 8. Despite the balmy winter and lack of snow for the first time since we started celebrating the shortest day of the year, the winds kicked into high gear reminding us that we still had a chance for a real winter. After 3 miles the Solstice runners said goodbye to each other and disappeared in the golden late afternoon light. Happy Winter Solstice to all and Join us at 9 AM Thursday in Buffalo Park to celebrate Christmas! Ramble Brothers, you get a free pass...I realized what game was on...... #wintersolstice

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Slim Shady to Made in the Shade

Seven NATRA runners ran a mix of trails around Yavapai Vista west of Bell Rock, mostly the ones called Slim Shady and Made in the Shade. As a result of bumping into Sedona running icons Adam and Lindsey of the Sedona Running Company, I fell behind the gang and missed the Made in the Shade turn. Eventually I ran into the rest of the gang and figured to stick with them for the rest of the run. When I asked Betsy how far her runkeeper app tracked us she said 2.6 miles. Since we were about an hour into the run, we were both happy just to make it back to the trailhead and wait for the rest of the group to finish the double loop. For me, the run felt like 8 neils. 10 for those that did all 5 miles! Exhausted and hungry we relaxed at the Blue Moon Café in the Village of Oak Creek. I found some interesting reading which helped me better understand the group surrounding me. The picture says it all..... Don't forget we celebrate the Winter Solstice with a 3 mile run in Buffalo Park at 4:30 PM sharp tomorrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Railroaded by Snow



The blizzard was a bust but the slick skiff of snow created some nice wintry running scenes for about 7 miles of slipping and sliding at Fort Tuthill. Instead of running the Soldiers Trail, Neil, David, Betsy, Bruce, and Susan decided that running the old railroad grades would be less muddy than the traditional route.

Having been absent from the runs for a while, I realized how quickly one can lose the altitude advantage. Having been at sea level on both coasts for most of the past 3 weeks, I struggled with my breathing. Thankfully Betsy, Bruce, and David took lots of breaks and I slowly was able to build into a rhythm, feeling better after each stop.


We were not sure that proved true as the 7 miles of slipping, sliding, and sinking felt more like 10. We warmed up at the Campus Coffee Bean which was packed with NAU's December graduates. Next week we return to the warmer confines of Sedona's Yavapai Double Vista Loop. Meet at Fort Tuthill at 8 AM sharp. http://www.dblanchard.net/TrailRuns/YavapaiVistaLoop.html

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Return of Marj's Trail Brunch Run


The temperature was just right for our first Sedona run this season. Our 8 am departure from Flagstaff included only 3 of us, but Marj and newcomers to NATRA, Elisa and Alain also joined us. Trail conditions were perfect, two days after the heavy rains, with soft, supportive sand and ground that gave slightly elsewhere.

Afterward, we all congregated at Marj's home where she and her husband fed us hot soup, tasty muffins and even tastier grits - all with good coffee, of course! (Thanks to Bruce for the post)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

33rd Annual FRATC Turkey Predictor Run

One of the Flagstaff running community's great events - The annual FREE Flagstaff Road and Track Club (FRATC) Turkey Predictor Run. 33 years strong and it just keeps growing! Thanks to Sara Wagner for the photos.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fort Valley or Easter Island Trail Run?

It's getting late in November and even the 9 a.m. starts are cold. With that in mind, we made one minor adjustment to the Fort Valley run: instead of running up the shady and cold Shultz Creek trail and drainage, we ran up the sunny Schultz Pass Road until we intersected the Fort Valley trail system.

Seven runners (Bruce, Betsy, Ryan, Jim, Nick, Susan, and David) headed up the road, turned left onto Fort Valley and then reconvened at the intersection with the Chimney Springs trail. Half the group went downhill to the Forest Road 164B trailhead and returned on the double loops. The other half went up Chimney Springs to Lower Moto and then descended on Easter Island. (Why that name, you ask? Well, there is one very large boulder and if you look at it from the right angle it might just remind you of the rocks on Easter Island. Or not.)

Both groups reconvened at the "Y" and reported similar mileages (6.1 to 6.3 miles) and then headed over to Kickstand for coffee and food. (Thanks to David Blanchard for this post.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Trail Run across the Ages

17 runners were treated to an interpretive tour of the Rio De Flag's Picture Canyon. Led by David McKee, runners scrambled around monitoring 1000 year old petroglyphs, waterfalls, and restored stream channels that have come back to life as a result of decades of restoration work by the Picture Canyon Working group. To take an amazing virtual tour of the petroglyphs, check out Robert Mark's gigapan photo.  In all we covered about 7 miles which in the cinders seemed all uphill. Afterwards many warmed up with coffee and treats at Wildflower Bakery. To learn more about the decade long effort to save Picture Canyon, visit http://flagstafftrailrunning.blogspot.com/2011/11/picture-canyon-time-line.html

Channel Restoration: Where once there were invasive species, native grasses have repopulated their home.

David McKee explains the challenges of the bridge over the Rio that the water released from Wildcat treatment plant is A+ quality, or the same as the water quality in San Diego.

Runners monitor condition of 1000 year old Sinagua petroglyphs. 

A big hug celebrating Tzeidle's new title....Dr. Wasserman! 

True Dat!  Celia Barotz loudly supported the city of Flagstaff's purchase of Picture Canyon and true to the statement on David's shirt, she was re-elected to another term on City Council. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Arizona Trail North

Ten NATRA runners enjoyed perfect fall conditions and light breezes to head north on the Arizona Trail towards I-40. The peaks were magnificent in the late fall early morning light, but did not help illuminate the rocks that many caught themselves stumbling on. By the end all survived, a bit bruised and recovered at Wildflower for breakfast. With the lengthening shadows we decided to move next week's start time to 9 AM at the Sandy Seep Trailhead. We will run to Picture Canyon and back!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eat My Aspen Dust

Ten NATRA runners and Baxter set out on the Arizona Trail at 9000 feet with a strong tail wind pushing them towards Bismarck Lake. As most of the aspen leaves had fallen, the trail through many of the groves was well padded with pulverized aspen dust. We enjoyed views of the Grand Canyon now that the Hart Prairie Meadow Restoration project has helped open up the grand views. After battling the chilly winds on the return trip, all warmed up at the Kickstand. Bring on winter! Next week Arizona Trail off Old Walnut Canyon Road. We will choose which way to run depending on the winds....bring on the snow!

Early morning light.

 Though some saw the Heart Prairie Meadow Restoration as a clear cut, that was not the case. As a result of historic overgrazing and fire suppression, trees encroached upon Hart Prairie, with devastating effects to water sources and the rare Bebb's Willows growing in the Prairie. See the above historic photo for the striking evidence.

The cutting has also created dramatic views from the trail and heading north, you get a beautiful view of the Grand Canyon.