Mileage - 11.79
Time - 1:34
AEG - 733ft
What better way to celebrate National Trails Day than to do a 12-mile trail run in the high desert surrounding Payson, Arizona! Danny and I drove up North on Saturday morning to escape the nasty air quality in the valley. A mulch fire broke out West of Phoenix dirtying up the sky earlier this week. The haze was so bad you could almost taste it (you know, that slept too close to a campfire feeling). Needless to say I didn't want to breathe that in during my long run this weekend, so the Houston Trail sounded like a great option. Upon arriving, we were a little confused at first as we thought the trail started from the Houston Mesa Campground, but soon discovered less than a mile up the road was the actual trailhead.
Danny and I dropped into the trees and ran along the rocky, undulating trail for a few miles until reaching a road that would lead us out to Highway 260. The map on my Garmin would be our guide back to the car, this would help us piece together a route on both paved and gravel roads to make a giant loop around town. The highlight of the day was definitely my first rattlesnake encounter of the year, and a unique one at that. Just before departing the Houston Loop trail for pavement, I noticed something moving on the yellow colored dirt, it was a Mojave!
Mojave Rattlesnake - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crotalus_scutulatus