It was time once again for another Birthday Bullshit Event. (Birthday what? Read this. Read this.) This time it was my friend Katie's turn. I am not sure if she had too many beers one night, or what; but she chose to run her first ultra distance as 45+ mile jaunt through the Grand Canyon twice. Ambitious. I can appreciate that. Her goal was to run down South Kaibab, up North Kaibab, then back down, across and up Bright Angel Trail. After doing a 30+ mile day in the Catalinas near Tucson, she felt her goal time of 14 hours would be accomplishable. 5:00AM on Saturday the 21st arrived and the two of us laced up for battle; pointed our head lamps towards the North Rim and began the run.
A few weeks back we did our Aravaipa Canyon Trip which hardly qualified as a backpacking trip. Between that trip and now I had been busy putting together an aggressive schedule of trips through the end of the year (and some beyond). We figured it was best to get back into backpacking shape with an easy trip on familiar trails. The weather was right so we headed North to Payson for a trip along the Historic Cabin Loop.
The loop consist of five Forest Service trails that create a system that resembles a pair of lungs. Which is ironic because the elevation on the Mogollon Rim is 7,000ft and noticable. The trail system links up a series of abandoned cabins through beautiful rolling canyons. Water is plentiful, the trails are well maintained and the trails never climb too hard. The combination creates one of the best places for new and seasoned backpackers alike.
The area is normally lightly populated with other backpackers and the roads are utilized by the hunters. Enroute we noticed a higher then normal amount of traffic in the area which turned out to be two races going on that weekend. One was in the Pine area on mountain bikes, but that had little effect on our area. The other was the Mogollon Monster 100 which is hosted by Aravaipa Running and started and ended in Pine, but also utilized the same trail system we would be on. With a hint of envy, we donned our packs and hit the trail alongside the scantily dressed runners.
Labor Day weekend was spent in the Chiricahuas were we attempted a loop hike Saturday, you can read about that one here. Sunday morning we were still sore from our adventure and were looking to do a easy exploration hike of the Raspberry Ridge Trail. With a name like that, who wouldn't want to hike and eat their way. It was also a chance for us to check out the condition of the trail we were suppose to descend Saturday.