Kendrick Peak Overnighter via Pumpkin - Bull Basin - Connector Trail Loop
A Forum post by te-wa caught my attention. Needing some altitude for an upcoming assault on Mt. Whitney I committed to meeting up with the 12 other hikers ready to escape the valley heat. I got on the road Saturday morning to meet first with my daughter Hannah in Flagstaff. A late brunch of French toast and ham at "The Place", and I was off to the Pumpkin Trail Head.
Arrived at the TH a little before noon and given the number of vehicles, I knew I was at the right place! I got on the trail just in time to catch a short rain shower that made the first 1000 foot elevation gain down right pleasant.
Weather cleared up by the time I made it to the Connector Trail - Pumpkin Trail junction. Continuing along the old sheepherder's trail that followed the ridgeline was a surreal experience. The 2000 Pumpkin Fire http://hikearizona.com/dex2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4143&start=60#p40396
devastated the western and southern slopes of Kendrick Peak. It's interesting to see how nature has fought back 9 years later...
Having gained about 2000 feet of elevation, the trail follows a relatively flat saddle that approaches the conical Kendrick Peak. A dark cloud soon whipped over Kendrick and some overhead lightning coaxed me to waiting it out in a grove of aspen saplings. I dropped my pack and dived into a snack of fruit dinosaurs and bottled water. About 20 minutes later, it was all over.
Back on the trail for that final 1000 feet to the top of the peak. My body let me know when I crossed the 10,000 foot level as a head ache and burning in the lungs started to grip me. Yup - my version of altitude sickness...
The last few switchbacks were a slow slog for me, but when I looked up, I was at the look out tower. I was greeted warmly by the Manuel - the volunteer Peruvian lookout spotter. I offered Manuel one of my celebratory Boddingtons as I soaked in the stellar sights from the look out tower (10,418 ft elevation).
After hanging out in the tower for about an hour, I said I needed to join up with the others near the old cabin to set up camp. I met Al (aka Al_HikeAZ) for the first time near the look out tower and he indicated the others were back at the camp. Made my appearance into "Camp te-wa" and was greeted by our group of 11 HAZ'ers.
Clockwise around the fire starting at far left;
1. Alan aka Al_HikesAZ
2. Joe aka joe bartels
3. Bob aka rlrjamy
4. Denny aka Tortoise Hiker
5. Kurt aka hikeaz
6. Mike aka mcoulter
7. Mike aka te-wa
8. Andy aka drewboy
9. Ron aka rdavisiii
10. Ed aka whereveriroam
11. Randal aka Randal Schulhauser (behind camera because he lost his tripod camera mount on the trail...)
Sunday morning back on the trail, everyone was making a mad dash back to the trail head. Stopped to take some photos and everyone disappeared from sight. I passed by 3 Rangers on their way to conduct some trail maintenance - hopefully to cut down some of the recent windfall blocking the trail.
I caught up with most of the group back at the trail head and broke out the cooler before we all said our good-byes...
Gave this hike a "4" rating, mostly due to the company!