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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kayaking in the Desert...?

Water sports generally don't come to mind when people think of Arizona.  I'll be the first to admit, upon moving out here in 2008, I had no idea how many rivers, lakes, streams, hot springs and slot canyons existed in the Sonoran Desert.  I'll let the pictures do the talking here, check out a recent trip down the lower Salt River in Northeast Mesa. It's amazing what you might see so close to home!



Matt found a local guy renting canoes and kayaks so we decided to make a half day trip down the stretch of river familiar to those "tubing" the lower salt.  A relaxing two-hour paddle downstream offered great views of the surrounding mountains, a little bird watching, and some excitement rafting down the rapids.  We talked about taking on the upper Salt river next spring, which is thought to have some of the best white water rafting in the country.


Then there was the return to Watson Lake.

This lake became an instant favorite of mine after one visit last summer.  The location and easy access to the town of Prescott, incredible scenery, and uniqueness of the lake itself make Watson the perfect summer kayaking destination.  My co-workers were trying to decide on our annual team builder so I pitched the idea to them and could only talk it up so much.  They needed to see for themselves!  It's hard to describe the surroundings, if I had to I would say it is a lake in the middle of a boulder field. 

On Saturday morning, the six of us trainers piled into Megan's Explorer and drove up North to the lake where we had kayaks waiting for us, pre-arranged by Prescott Outdoors.  Off we went, cruising in and out of massive formations jutting from the water.  We couldn't have asked for a nicer day, by 10:00am the sun began to heat up and it was time for a quick splash.  My boss Thad led the charge as we climbed out of the kayaks and up the steep rocks for a 10-foot jump.  When that wasn't enough, we went higher.  How about 30 feet to get the adrenaline going?  After paddling around for a couple hours we decided to call it a day and head into town for lunch at the Prescott Brewing Company (best food I've had in town!).




Monday, August 13, 2012

Horton Creek Loop

Horton Creek/Derrick Trail Hike
Tonto National Forest
Christopher Creek, AZ
Mileage - 9.1
Time - 3:28
AEG - 1,970ft


After taking nearly ten days off my feet (running/hiking), I had to get out and do something before I went completely stir-crazy.  This nagging calf injury has really put a damper on my summer training and recreation for the past 5 weeks, so I was very excited to be outdoors and stretch my legs.  Ben and I made a last minute trip up to Payson on Sunday now that the fire ban has been lifted along the base of the Mogollon Rim.


Horton Creek is a very popular summer hiking destination because of the cool weather, great scenery, and a constant flowing stream that creates a microclimate below the rim.  Today we had it all to ourselves.  The only sounds came from nature; running water, birds, and the wind blowing through the trees.  Ahh, how nice! What a way to de-stress. 

A section of our loop crossed paths with the Highline trail #31, the same trail that the Zane Grey 50 mile endurance run is held on in April.  I had a few painful flashbacks from the 2011 race.  Click here for a recap.