Hike # 24 – Forest Road 151 / 418 – 26 miles

Yes…. you read that correctly….. 26 miles…. ouch…. This hike starts at the Forest Road 151 turn off, “the second FR151” heading north out of Flagstaff toward the Grand Canyon on Highway 180. Not the first FR151… This one turns into FR418 and we actually splintered off of 418 to the left to a group of car camp spots. Parked the Tahoe about 5 yards from the AZT…. nice. So this hike was actually a overnight trip that from trail start to turn around was 13.4 miles and we camped at about mile 24.5, just a couple miles north of the Tahoe. There are many options to cut this hike distance around if you want. Up the highway from our trail intercept there is Kendrick Park Road, right off of the 180. You can easily access the trail from a virtual AZT trailhead from Kendrick. Nice easy road and marked sign and AZT iron cattle gate. We wanted an over night campout and a second day hike that was shorter than the first so we opted to chop it slightly differently. For Day hiking, I would have done the Kendrick Park Road and hiked north 20 miles. South 20 miles from Kendrick would have put you back at Snowbowl where we left off at Hike #21. On our second day we hiked south back to Snowbowl but it was only 15 miles due to the way planned it. Either way, heading north from FR418 or Kendrick Park Road, you will go from Pines, to Pinon Pines, to shrubs and finally to high plains desert. This hike had all the terrain all packed into 20 miles… or 26… whatever… The hike heading north was another fishbowl elevation hike. Down down down and then up up up. Basically you’re coming off of the San Francisco Mountains hiking all the way into the high plains between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. It was a nice hike out but we did get chased back up the hill by a nasty lightening storm. Luckily it was only moving at 2.9 miles per hour so we out ran it. Close to the turn we ran smack into the largest bull we have yet seen on trail. This guy was huge and would not move an inch. We gave him a wide berth and hike out a little more to the turn. Noticing the clouds forming and knowing we were out a good distance, we ate quickly and headed back up hill. This being our longest hike yet and loaded with overnight packs of 32 pounds, we started feeling the miles pretty bad. The uphill fishbowl did not help things either. Like dummies we did not pack enough water and thank god…. and thank the trail angels… we found a water box cash. I have no idea what kind, nice person is possessed to leave hikers water out in the middle of nowhere… but boy, it was appreciated very much. Continuing on back into the forest and with Humphrey’s peak covering most of the horizon, we found a perfect set of trees and soft pine needles to pitch tents. A quick mountain house, a couple photos of the amazing sunset and then the rain came in. Sealed up in our tents, sleep came quickly. A very hard hike but a nice day.

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