I desperately wanted to get in a training hike before that big 13.5 miler to Sperry Chalet next Saturday. We chickened out last weekend due to the 60% threat of rain but I was bound and determined to get something done to keep my hiking legs in shape other than the gym again.
The nice thing about hiking up in the Flag area is I didn't need to worry about an early start so I didn't re-set the alarm clock. I just got up and started getting ready when the alarm went off rather than dozing for another ten.
The drive up there went pretty well and around 9 I was at the TH gearing up. Now the drive back was another story. It took us 2 miles to get to one lane traffic that lasted for less than a mile (1/2 hour backup). Anyway, as I hit the trail I seemed to be in a good mood so I wouldn't have a repeat of the Groom Creek Loop experience. I had forgotten how lovely it is to hike with a bunch of aspens rustling
in the breeze. And thank goodness for a little breeze now and again as it was humid! I remembered the trail most of the way until the last mile or so when I forgot you came in and out of the forest before reaching the bottom trailhead.
There were quite a few people on the trail both coming and going. My favorite part of the trail, other than the fern-covered floor with the aspens rising above and around you, is when you reach the clearings with the wide open meadows and a visual of the peaks. Just makes me happy
. I grew up a "plains" girl and it's just something I can't seem to shake.
I was hoping to get to the bottom around 11:15 - 11:30 but since the trail is really 5.25, not 5 miles plus it's quite a roller coaster hike even going down, it was 11:40ish before I arrived at the trail sign. A couple folks from a 3H MeetUp joined me for a few minutes before I decided to head back up. I was curious how my journey would be going UP since there would be around 500 ft elev gain. Surprisingly enough, I think this trail was easier to go up then down. It is indeed quite the up and down, up and down.
I enjoyed going back the way I came as you get great views of the mountains. One time just before I visited with some other hikers on the trail there was this big kaboom that nearly had me pass out
. There was no warning. You know how sometimes thunder rolls before it roars; not this time. From there on the thunder would rattle once in awhile but no rain despite ominous clouds to the NW and SE.
When I got to the 9.2 mile mark I thot to myself, in one week at this mileage, I will hopefully be standing at the top of Gunsight Pass in GNP after climbing 1,686 feet in 3 miles. The views on that climb will be sensational so hopefully I won't notice the elev gain
. I ran into quite a few more hikers in the last mile and 1/2. It's funny, as I thot I should finally be getting to the end but wasn't at the end, I pulled out Scout where it showed I should be at the end. And within less than 5 minutes, it was THE END.
I felt pretty good at the end of the hike. Everything seemed to go well other than my toes crashing into the elevated tree roots
. I definitely felt like I would have the 3 miles left in me to make it to the Chalet in time for the 6PM dinner bell. Ya I know, the Gunsight Trail has about 2000 feet more in elev along the way but here, at least I was hiking in elevation and still made decent time. Plus I was still able to take nearly 200 pics
and manage 20 min in video
. Heaven only knows what the photo count will be on the Gunsight. I'm thinking double that.
The Kachina Trail is really a beautiful trail especially as the light dances around you. It offers a little bit of everything for your viewing pleasure. Now if it just had a little creek or cascading water....
Part I of video - http://youtu.be/htrmvjRAMzQ
Part II of video - http://youtu.be/VqowbxUjWsw