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Kendrick Peak Trail #22
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mini location map2017-09-29
20 by photographer avatartoddak
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Kendrick Peak Trail #22Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2017
Hiking22.00 Miles 5,500 AEG
Hiking22.00 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   2.10 mph
5,500 ft AEG
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I had to go check out the damage caused by the Boundary Fire in June on Kendrick Mountain, home to one of my very favorite loop hikes. I went counter clockwise from the Kendrick trail head, with side out-and-backs to the Bull Basin and Pumpkin trail heads.

Heading up Kendrick Trail it looks like there's a few fresh burn areas in the lower and middle sections, but this area has burned before so its hard to be sure. As you approach the Lookout Cabin saddle there's clearly some recent burn areas along the ridge.

Continuing past the Lookout Cabin and heading down Bull Basin Trail, you soon reach an area of utter devastation. What used to be some of the most mature pines on the mountain have been reduced to charred matchsticks, many of them on the ground. The trail is non-existent, and even the soil looks like it has been sterilized by the heat. At one point I just stood there and cried. Fortunately the worst damage extends only a few hundred yards, and then the trail continues down through stands of young aspen that survived. There are dozens of old downed trees across the trail among the aspens. Further down and on towards Bull Basin trail head is now a patchwork of mostly low-intensity burn zones among surviving forest.

The Connector Trail was never in very good condition before the fire, and its worse now with lots of erosion from post-fire monsoon rains. Lupine and a few other plants look like they're thriving in the ash-enriched soil, and they are overgrowing the trail in places. Still, there's lots of cairns to help keep on track.

The first mile of the Pumpkin Trail is now among mostly burned pines, all they way up to the ridge. Up higher the trail goes through a large stand of young aspens that did not survive. Further up used to be a beautiful mix of thick pine, aspen and grassy meadows as you climb to the summit. It is now a patchwork of around 50/50 burned/untouched.

In terms of the trails themselves, Kendrick had no significant fire damage, and some work has recently been done clearing downed trees on upper Pumpkin, so apparently those will be maintained. I can't imagine anyone investing any money trying to clear and restore the Bull Basin or Connector trails.

So overall a pretty depressing day. It seems that the few areas that survived the 2000 Pumpkin Fire have now been mostly lost. But fire is a part of wilderness, and I will keep coming back and watching how the mountain slowly but surely recovers.

Nice to meet HAZ member mt98dew doing the same loop in the opposite direction. He passed me on the climb up Kendrick, we crossed paths at the Pumpkin/Connector junction, and we met again going back down Kendrick and hiked the last couple miles together. I'm pretty sure that qualifies him as a hiking partner.
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