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.

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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.

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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.

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

Until next time….  🙂

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