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, June 13, 2015

Rain Forest Running in Williams, Arizona?

Normally I would never call this run in June. Fire danger is often extreme, and the Bill Williams Mountain watershed is always the first area the Kaibab National Forest closes to the public to reduce the risk of human caused forest fires. Not this June.

Ten NATRA runners began the slow 2400 foot ascent, most "yogging" by mile 0.2 miles. Yup, it was a shuffle of walking, jogging, and leaping over 13 downed trees to the top. Along the way, the dark conifter forest was still drenched from an overnight soaking. It felt more like we were in the middle of the northwest rain forest! I questioned whether we had entered another dimension in the Twilight Zone.
For the first time, (mostly because I have never made it to the top), the entire group completed the full round-trip of 8 miles in just over two hours.  We had plenty of fun climbing the lookout tower and enjoying the magnificent 360 degree views. The lookout tower also provided the perfect backdrop for the largest NATRA group selfie ever.

The fast and furious descent was reminiscent of scenes from Return of the Jedi where speeder bikes thrashed through the forest. A couple of encounters with downed trees and rocks did not result in exploding runners, just a few bruises.

While most of the run was quite cool, the sun was shining brightly on the last section of trail and many runners were parched. The solution of course was to pay a visit to Cafe 326 where iced drinks replenished the dehydrated runners. Next week meet at 7:40 AM at the base of Snowbowl Road and Highway 180 and we will run the Arizona Trail from Aspen Corner to Bismarck Lake, about 8 miles round trip. See ya there!