Arizona: Kenrick Mountain, Coconino County (August 15, 2015)

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 believe this a female broad-tailed hummingbird.

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.

A storm cloud that appears to be pretty close. The haze was actually in the distance quite a bit.

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.

It was a beautiful morning on Kendrick Mountain.
Kendrick Mountain is located in the Kaibab National Forest about 15 miles north of Flagstaff, AZ.
Grand Canyon in the distance from the lookout tower at the peak of Kendrick Mountain.
May or may not be the San Francisco Peaks; Humpries Peak has an elevation over 12,000 feet.
Looking out.

Until next time….  🙂


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