An amazing turnout of 24 runners for the 5.7 mile loop of Flagstaff Urban Trail on Observatory Mesa. We had 4 newbies, including a native New Yorker passing through Flag. Having avoided the good old Urban Trail hill on our last few Observatory Mesa runs, it seemed that the hill turned up its slope. Perhaps it was upset that we now often abandon it in favor of the much gentler loop connector trail. Either way, the hill was steeper and the 1.6 miles to the gate seemed longer.
Once we topped out at the gate it was a pretty fast run back to Lower Coconino, aka, Old Town Flagstaff. Yup, the original townsite is not where downtown is today, but just to the west off Lower Coconino Avenue. I brought along a mid-1880s photo that shows the bars along the main drag.
We then made a stop at Old Town Springs where there is a small park today with water dribbling out of the town's orginal watering hole. Evidently, it was never very reliable. Our resident springs expert Abe Springer recounted its history as captured in Platt Cline's They Came to the Mountain. "Old Man Ramsey used to spend the night drowsing beside it, holding a dipper to catch its dribble, pouring his catch into a bucket as its weight every so often awoke him." (P.127)
We even found some ghosts of Flagstaff's past who tried to re-create the historic photo in front of the bars.
As we returned to the pavement and modern day Flagstaff, the large NATRA crowd took over the streets of the historic neighborhood. We then packed the Kickstand and replenished our dehydrated bodies.
There will not be a run for the next two weeks as Machine Solutions 10/5K and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff Half Marathon/5K kick off the second half of the Run Flagstaff Summer Series. Registration is available at http://www.runflagstaff.com - and don't forget, today at 4 PM head down to Hops on Birch for the BBBSF fundraiser!