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Kendrick Peak Day Hike
Flagstaff
August 20, 2016
by Dave French
  GPS Map 
DSC02426
Trailblazers ready to take on Kendrick Peak.
L to R: Janet, Scott, Dave, Carol, Chris, Kenneth, Wendy, Ralph, Diva, Jim, Jen, Darren
Up top: Asher, Ethan

Seven hikers left Phoenix at 6:30 and convened with seven more hikers at Target in Flagstaff about 8:30. We got into three cars and drove north on US 180 to FR 245, where we turned left and then followed the directions to the Kendrick Peak trailhead. After the usual group picture and introductions, we started up the almost 5 mile trail with 2700' elevation gain to the fire lookout tower at the top of the peak. At an elevation of over 10,400 feet, it is the highest lookout tower in Arizona.

p01_Jen
Fields of summer wildflowers grace the meadows near Flagstaff. [photo by Jen]
p02_sign
Yes, this is the wilderness.
p01_up
Up we go!
p03_Nice
Nice view on the way up.
p05_Carol
Narrow path. [photo by Carol]
p04_Fern
Fern jungle.
p06_Wendy
Another great view. [photo by Wendy]

Given the steep unrelenting climb, the group quickly got spread out. The trail is easy to follow and there are no intersecting trails until you get very near the top, so the hikers went at their own pace. It is a long tough climb and for some of us it was difficult to get our legs to do their job.

p07_tower
Hey, I see it! The tower! Onward, brave hearts!
p08_view
One more great view on the way up.
p09_cabin
Log cabin provided shelter for the pioneers.
p10_clouds
Oh oh. I think there’s a storm brewing.
p10a_Wendy
Sure looks like rain to me. [photo by Wendy]
p12_SF
San Francisco Peaks from Kendrick Mountain.
p12_almost
Finally, we’re almost there.
p13_top
The view from the top.

The temperature was in the 60s and 70s the whole way and there was ample shade along the trail. The views from the trail were spectacular. Lots of wildflowers and ferns mixed in with the mostly pine forest.

p11_Wendy
by Wendy
p12_Carol
by Carol
p13_Wendy
by Wendy
p17_Wendy
by Wendy
p13b_Wendy p13c_Wendy
No, I won’t bug you. [photos by Wendy]
p17_Diva
by Diva

As we approached the top we could see scattered rain showers developing in the distance, but no thunder or lighting yet. We passed two fire lookout volunteers who were carrying heavy packs to sustain them during their shift in the tower. We learned that they were the crew to open the tower for the day. The fast hikers reached the top, had lunch and started down before the tower crew arrived. The slower hikers arrived just before the crew, so after a much-needed lunch snack, we got a nice tour of the tower by two very friendly and knowledgeable volunteers.

p14_Jen
Trailblazers get a tour of the lookout tower. [photo by Jen]
p15_Diva p16_Diva
This is how we locate forest fires. [photos by Diva]

After the tour, us slower hikers started down and found it much easier. The clouds thickened, and when we were within a mile of the trailhead we heard our first thunder. Just as we reached our cars, it started to rain lightly. We packed up and headed back to Flagstaff and did not encounter any more rain. Some of the group left earlier so the rest of us decided to not stop as a group for eats and drinks.

It was a challenging but satisfying hike of 9.8 miles and over 2700 feet elevation gain. It took us between 5 and 6 hours to do the hike. Note: we drove out on FR 193, that intersects US 180 at MP 233. This route avoided about 3 miles of unpaved road, so the trip description will be undated accordingly.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 22, 2016