I hiked to the top of Kendrick Mountain on Saturday, August 15. Kendrick Mountain is the tallest mountain that I have hiked so far with an elevation of 10, 418 feet at it’s peak. In Arizona the environments change as your elevation changes and I could see this on the hike. I began hiking at an elevation of around 8,000 – 9,000 feet and the dominant tree was Ponderosa Pine and the soil was a red-brown, rocky medium. About half way up the mountain, 4.5 miles up/4.5miles down, the soil changed to a gray and rocky soil (it almost looked like the east) and the tree species began to change. At higher elevations there were aspen, fir, and spruce present. I saw a few new species of birds including two new hummingbird species: hermit warbler, rufous hummingbird,and broad-tailed hummingbird. The broad-tailed hummingbirds were definitely the birds of the day. They were zipping around all over the place and at one point I thought I was going to get hit by one as it flew by my head. Other interesting observations were that the dark-eyed juncos were more of the brown and/or Oregon variety and I saw several house wrens on the mountain.
I did have a bit of a scare on this hike. As I approached the top of the mountain it was thundering in the distance. I stopped for several minutes to contemplate turning around or continuing to the top. It was raining a bit and I didn’t have plastic bags to put electronics in. The sky looked pretty clear around me and the thunder seemed to be in the distance so I decided to keep going to the top, my bag repels water pretty well and I had a long-sleeved shirt that I could wrap my camera in. On the way down I was a little too close for comfort in a thunder and lightning storm. Again, I contemplated my options and hunkered down for a minute but it looked that if I stayed there I might have been out there all night so I decided to high tail it to the car. I thank God I made it without getting struck.
I did see some other hikers during the storm and they weren’t in as much of a hurry as I was. I wasn’t prepared for the rain/thunder/lightning storm. First of all I probably should have turned around when I heard the first signs of thunder. Second, I need to bring plastic bags to put electronics in if it does start to rain. Third, I should get a rain cover for my bag. Fourth, I believe I should have began the hike earlier than I did to avoid the storms. It might also be a good idea to hike with other people sometimes.
Overall, this was a good hike. It was a bit on the overwhelming side due to the sheer size of the mountain and the storm. I hadn’t slept well the night before and drove three hours to get to the location of the hike.
Until next time…. 🙂