Sunday, November 27, 2011

Groom Creek Loop

Groom Creek Trail #307 - Hike
Prescott National Forest
Prescott, Arizona
Mileage - 9.84
Time - 3:22
AEG - 1771ft

Today's trek wasn't so much about the hike itself, more so about reconnecting with friends and enjoying what we like to do best. That would be getting out on the trail for a little exercise, enjoying the scenery, and sharing a few good stories (and laughs) along the way. Brian, Anne, Duane and myself met in Phoenix in the morning, stopped for coffee and headed North towards Prescott to find the trailhead for Groom Creek.

This particular trail was new to everyone, so we had no expectations going into the day. It really turned out to be a nice hike, and with weather this good in Arizona, you really can't have a bad day. The summit offers an incredible view of Prescott and Grantie Mountain (below), and good signage makes travel through the forest relatively carefree. There is a neat collection of boulders to climb on near the trailhead, so be on the lookout within the first mile if heading in a clockwise direction. After a couple hours we were back at the car and drove into town for a late lunch at the Prescott Brewing Company. If you're in the area, go check this place out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ford Canyon Trail

Mesquite/Ford Canyon Trail Run
White Tank Regional Park
Waddell, Arizona
Mileage - 9.4
Time - 1:36
AEG - 1540ft

Here's a question for all my Phoenix trail running friends; "Why hasn't anyone taken me out to run this trail before?" Nick, Jamil, Michael, this question is aimed in your direction. Seriously, this has to be one of the most exciting routes to run in the entire valley!

I had two choices this morning, go shopping on Black Friday or get out for a run in the mountains. I think the choice was clear, and so glad I did. There's nothing like discovering a new trail this close to home. With the Mesquite Canyon 50K still a few months away, I wanted to start familiarizing myself with the course before race day. If anyone needs a good reason to run 30+miles in early March, this section will make your effort well worth it. No spoiler alert here though, you're going to have to see it for yourself! Sign up for this event and get ready for a few surprises, along with some of the best singletrack in Arizona.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's new?

Well, in case anyone was wondering... I've been partially sidelined with this hip injury for about 5 weeks now, which is the reason for the lack of posts. This has given me some time to think; mainly about the upcoming year and what I would like to check off the ever-expanding list. Next year is sure to be full of new adventures. There are several more peaks to summit, trails to explore, and plenty of marathons and ultras to run across Arizona and the Western United States.

Right now the list looks like this:

Winter Ascent of Mt Humphreys - Arizona
Grand Canyon Trail Running Expeditions - Arizona
Mesquite Canyon 50K Ultra - Arizona
Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance Race - Arizona
Zion National Park Excursion - Utah
Keet Seel Ruins, Navajo Nation - Arizona
Pikes Peak Marathon - Colorado
Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile Ultra - Nevada
Mount Lemmon Marathon - Arizona
Death Valley to Telescope Peak Trek - California
Mount Wheeler Summit - New Mexico
Mount Baldy Summit - Arizona
Tucson Marathon - Arizona

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ballantine Trail

Ballantine Trail - Hike
Mazatzal Wilderness, AZ
Mileage - 10.17
Time - 4:11
AEG - 2,207ft

Now that the cross country season is over, I have the freedom to get out and hike at my leisure, which is something I really missed doing over the last few months. Matt and I drove East on Highway 87 towards Payson with hopes of summiting Mount Peely on the Western side of the Mazatzal Mountains. A freak winter storm passed through Phoenix Friday night and lingered in the mountains this morning. Conditions worsened as we gained elevation driving up toward the trailhead, and by 4,000ft, low visibility and freezing rain made our decision to turn back pretty easy to make.

Plan B; the Ballantine trail. We had no idea what was in store for us just a few miles away from the Highway. A landscape so unique, Matt called it a "Suburb of Mars." Not sure exactly what he meant, but we had a good laugh about that one. The best way I can describe this area would be something along the lines of a rock forest. Heavy cloud cover allowed us to hike comfortably through this totally exposed area and and enjoy the scenery without the intense rays of the sun that are normally present. Matt and I hiked up past Boulder Flat in search of a cabin, though I don't believe we went far enough to find it.

There are certain times when you're out in the mountains and you just know your chances of seeing wildlife are much greater than usual. I can't explain it, but today was one of those days. We saw Javelinas on our way into Boulder Flat, and several more on the way out (in the exact same area). Then, just a mile from the trailhead, I spotted a fox across a ravine from where we were hiking. We watched as he cautiously disappeared into the hills, and we pressed on to put an end to a great hike.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

and just like that...

The season is over.

My hip injury (resulting from the Mt SAC race) prevented me from running the Mesa Classic and the Regional meet this morning. Not racing at regionals meant no chance at Nationals, and just like that...the season is over. As of now, I'm not quite sure how long it will take until I am healthy enough to run again, although my sights are still set on a few personal bests come 2012.