Kachina Trail – a Delight
October 30, 2015
by Linda Warren
A late September hike on the Kachina Trail in Flagstaff was the right decision for the Sedona Westerner Dogies. That is, of course, if you enjoy gorgeous views, crisp temperatures, light breezes, and good company, while you hike.
Starting the seven mile hike at approximately 9,000 feet of elevation, the group started descending immediately into a mature mixed forest. Under the lofty pines the trail was covered in needles which offered wonderful soft and quiet footing. One did have to watch the trail for exposed tree roots which were quite sizeable and stuck up into the trail. (These tended to be more of an obstacle on the return trip when the hikers’ feet and legs were heavier).
The hikers soon progressed to an area where they observed the first display of ferns. They were growing in profusion, and the color varied from green to gold and rust. The moist spring had resulted in the ferns being twice their normal size. This color palette and the light that was filtering through the aspens created a stunning scene. The Doggie hike leader called this trail the “Green Bay Packers Trail” because of the gold and green color combinations that recurred in the ferns and in the leaves of the aspens.
The group took a morning break after one and half miles. Perched on a boulder overlook, they enjoyed the breezy site and pondered just how long a twisted Arizona dead tree could remain standing. Leaving the break spot, they descended through a steeply sloped field of immense weathered boulders, remnants of a volcanic eruption that occurred some 600,000 years ago. The power of Mother Nature was clearly on display as stately old trees grew up through and split the gigantic rocks.
The Sedona Westerners Dogies hiking group head to Flagstaff's Kachina Trail, which was easy to follow, offered fantastic views and served as a good test of hikers ability to hike at altitude
Again, the hikers left the cover of the forest of some immense Ponderosa pines, and traversed a sloping meadow of ferns in green, gold, caramel, bronze, and rust. These ferns were shoulder high, but they could still identify areas where the elk had bedded down in the ferns. Looking toward Flag, one could see both the Lowell Observatory and the new Discovery Observatory.
Lunch was at the three and half mile point, and after a welcomed break the group returned via the same route. The temperature had heated up a bit, but there was a very thin cloud cover, which kept the group from having to deal with intense sunshine. The hiker made several stops to recover from the altitude, and hiked back to the starting point at an easy pace. The Kachina Trail was easy to follow, offered fantastic views, and served as a good test of one’s ability to hike at altitude. It was well worth the trip north for the day.