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Kachina Trail Day Hike
July 21, 2018
by Li Li
Jim’s   GPS Map 
Dwight’s    GPS Map 
Thirteen thriving Trailblazers. [photo by Li]
Ramona, Carol, Terry, Joseph, Victoria, Dwight, Jim, Rudy, Aaron, Tom, Sue, Dan, Chuck
behind the camera: Li

Kachina Trail #150 is one of the most beautiful trails in Flagstaff, that features wildflowers, Douglas firs, spruces, tall aspens, ponderosa pines and limber pines. This is every hiker’s dream. The trail starts at 9,300 feet elevation with some descending and ascending. The total distance was marked 10.5 miles, but as we found out, it is closer to 12 miles in and out.

Recent rains brought out the wildflowers. [photos by Dwight]
yellow blue
blue yellow
Coulter’s Lupine. [photo by Dwight]
Horned toad. [photo by Carol]

Twelve members and two guests headed to Snowbowl Road in Flagstaff for this adventure. As we pulled into the parking lot we felt the breeze, moisture and coolness of Flagstaff’s morning. Temperature in the 70s made for prefect weather to hike.

We introduced ourselves, took group pictures, and started our first mile of the trail. Soon we met two rangers who were trying to cut down the fallen trees in the middle of the trail. They used a long hand saw to clear out the path. We thanked them for their hard work and continued on our journey.

Hanging gardens. [photo by Dwight]
Intricate patterns in a fallen tree. [photo by Dwight]
Aspen forest. [photo by Carol]
Li is as tall as the ferns. [photo by Tom]
Fallen log? Hey, no problem. [photo by Tom]

Then we walked through the shaded forest, which led us to more open area that featured yellowish grasses, lush green Douglas ferns, and tall aspens in a pine forest. We were so happy to see what nature provided us after a few monsoon rains. Wildflowers alongside the trail welcomed us through the path. About 3 miles into the wilderness, Douglas firs were so dense and tall it was hard to pass through. Some of us almost disappeared on the trail. We nearly had to bushwhack our way out of this area.

Do you see what I see? [photo by Li]
Enjoy the view of Flagstaff. [photo by Li]
What a view! [photo by Li]
Our trail goes through ferns on the south slopes of the San Francisco Peaks. [photo by Li]
Now don’t just sit there like a lump on a log. [photo by Li]

We encountered several hikers and their dogs in the first three miles, then hardly anyone after that. After uphills and downhills and passing though some rocks, we reached an open area with a spectacular view of the town of Flagstaff, Lowell Observatory, and Northern Arizona University Sky Dome. There we took a snack break, caught our breath, and continued our trek through the forest.

Merrily we roll along. [photo by Li]
Let’s take a break. [photo by Li]
Rudy hugs a tree. [photo by Li]
Rudy climbs a tree. [photo by Li]
Ramona and Carol. [photo by Li]
About another mile and half in, we saw the beautiful aspen forest. Everyone was so excited. Rudy was a tree hugger. We caught a picture of him climbing an aspen. We proceeded another 0.5 miles to an open area, and from there we could see a fabulous view of Mt. Agassiz and Fremont Peak. Although the weather had been great this far, we could see dark clouds in the northern part of the sky.

We continued another mile and decided to have lunch under the cover of the trees and get the group together again. Some of us took breaks on the rocks and some stood to enjoy the conversation. One hiker decided to stop at that point and headed back, since she was afraid the storm would come soon.

Thirteen of us decided to continue until we reached the trail junction before turning back. We continued a mile and a half to the sign of the Weatherford Trail and Kachina Junction. Rudy started performing his recorder and sang a song for us. We also took another group picture and explored around a little bit before turning back.

Thirteen of us made it to the trail junction. [photo by Li]
Tom takes the perfect picture. [photo by Li]
Tom at the trail junction. [photo by Li]
I think there’s a storm brewing. [photo by Li]

As we headed out, the clouds slowly rolled in with an occasional burst of sunshine. Soon we felt some sprinkles of rain coming down at us. Then it stared pouring. We rushed to put on our rain coats and hurried through the forest. About 30 minutes into the rain, loud thunder started. A few of us gathered under a cave to try to wait for the rain to pass. Soon the rain became small hail that hit our heads and body. Small hail suddenly became big hail coming down at us at merciless speed, with thunder and lightning all together. Now we realized that we had to continue regardless of the rain, since we might not be able to wait out Mother Nature.

Hail, hail, the gang’s all here! [photo by Dwight]
We can take shelter in this cave. [photo by Tom]
Wet, but we all made it back. [photo by Tom]

We finally all made it through the trail with everyone safe and sound, albeit wet. We were all cold and shivering. Four hikers headed back home and ten of us went to Trail Crest Brewing Company for a late lunch and warming up. The food was delicious and we were hungry and weary after the long hike. We warmed up quickly after hot teas, beers and good food.

Trail Crest Brewing Company. [photo by Tom]

We will be back again next year, Kachina! Maybe in October, when the aspen leaves are changing color. We will be back to enjoy your beauty!

→   More pictures, by Li
→   More pictures, by Dwight
→   More pictures, by Tom

Jim’s Hike Statistics
Total Distance:11.1miles
Starting Time:9:51AM
Moving Time:6:02hrs:min
Stopped Time:0:17hrs:min
Finishing Time:4:11PM
Avg. Speed Moving:1.8mph
Avg. Speed Overall:1.7mph
Starting Elevation:9,271ft
Minimum Elevation:9,271ft
Maximum Elevation:9,775ft
Total Ascent:2,073ft
Starting Temperature:70°
Finishing Temperature: 55°

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated July 23, 2018