Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kendrick Peak & The Lava River Cave

Kendrick Peak Trail #22
Kaibab National Forest
Flagstaff, Arizona
Mileage - 9.1
Time - 3:32
AEG - 2719ft

Following our Grand Canyon hike, the three of us camped at Mather Campground and overnight temps at the canyon were brisk (high 30's I believe), so getting started in the morning is always a little slow going. Hey, nothing a little coffee can't take of, right? Saturday was a total riot, the fun wasn't over yet by any means though, we still had two more hikes left on Sunday in Flagstaff. First order of business was Kendrick Peak. I came out here last summer and was familiar with the trail, Mark and Bob on the other hand, were in for a surprise. This has to be one of the nicest and most well maintained trails in the area. Not only that, the trail gives way to some impressive scenery of the surrounding Kaibab National Forest and the famous San Francisco Peaks.

The temperature yo-yoed all the way up and down the mountain as we traveled in and out of tree cover, along the ridgelines, and eventually to an exposed summit where the wind and snow whipped across the peak...and our faces. We fast hiked off the mountain to warm up our bodies, jumped into the jeep and made the short drive over to the Lava Tubes. This was our final destination for the weekend (unless you count Starbucks), a 3/4 mile underground tunnel formed over 600,000 years ago by sub-surface lava flows. We ventured into the cave by way of headlamp and climbed over rocks and black ice patches, which made travel a bit slow, although somewhat interesting. If you're in the area, it's definitely something worth exploring, just bring a flashlight!

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