Saturday, April 14, 2012

Black Canyon Trail - Section 3

Black Canyon Trail Run
Black Canyon City, AZ
Mileage - 30.1
Time - 4:45
AEG - 2,504ft

One word: Done!

No, I'm not talking about my legs, although they are a little fatigued after logging over 80 miles this week in just five days! What I am referring to is the Black Canyon Trail. One of my goals for 2012 was to complete the entire BCT from North to South, all 68.5 miles of it (based on my Garmin). Jamil and I checked off the first 40 back in January when the weather was cool, and with summer approaching, I was nervous we weren't going to get it finished before the 100-degree temps overtook the valley. Then a cold front moved in. Perfect! This appeared to be our last opportunity until late fall, and since the mileage tied into both of our training schedules rather nicely, we went for it.

Jamil and I started the run on a cold morning (by our standards) at the Black Canyon trailhead near Rock Springs, AZ. From there we ventured South for 13 miles to our first destination (Table Mesa trailhead) where a jug of water was stashed to refill our bottles. As cool as the temperatures were today, it was almost unnecessary. For some reason we thought these 30 miles were going to be easy, that proved not to be the case. Those first 13 miles had the most climbing of any other section of the BCT! So with 17 miles to go we're both tired, yet we managed to press onward. Jamil said that after 20 miles he would start to "warm up." He was right. Around mile 21 we had a stretch of dirt road to follow and the two of us were easily running sub 7-minute miles until picking up the main trail again.

This area has an interesting mix of recreational activities from ATV to horseback riding, 4-wheeling, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and several shooting ranges. At times it felt like we were running through a gun fight. It really is the wild west out there! Clouds loomed overhead all day, and the forecast called for a 60% chance of rain, though it wasn't until we passed the New River trailhead that any precipitation began to fall. It came in the form of hail! We donned our rain jackets and ran for about a mile while being pelted by BB-sized hail. All part of the adventure I guess. The run came to an end when we reached our vehicle near Pioneer campground, and the two of us were excited to have finished the entire BCT. The celebration didn't last long, as both Jamil and I were talking about what we were going to eat when we got home, and wanted to make that a reality as soon as possible.

-Boone at the Aqua Fria river crossing on the Black Canyon Trail

A glimpse of the well established (older) section of the Black Canyon Trail

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