I have never attempted this loop of trails before, as I was always worried about getting lost. So, Kandi was my trail run guide today. I officially met Kandi a while back at a TTR run. She is super nice and a fellow accountant (Although we didn't talk shop on our run; hey, it is our day off!) She does this trail almost every week, so I trusted her to keep us from getting lost. I'm not sure I'd attempt it by myself even still - the first part is fairly sketchy in spots. Kandi and others are responsible for clearing this trail to make it much easier to navigate, though. Thank you!
The loop starts at the Sabino Canyon Visitor's Center. After heading down the road a short distance the Esperero trail picks up on the left. We took this trail until we hit Cathedral Rock trail. We took this to the West Fork trail, which passed Hutch's Pools and connected with the Sabino Canyon trail.The SC trail ends at the end of the SC tram road, which we went down and finished at the SC Visitor's Center where we started. Some of the canyon and other spots were nice and shady. Total distance: 20.8 miles
Total elevation gain/(loss): 7,853/(7,713) feet. 80% of that elevation gain is in the first 8 miles.
Total time out, including breaks: 7 hours 14 minutes. We pretty much took our time on the uphill section, with Kandi stopping to show me different things on the way, like a good tour guide.We also stopped at mile 13 at Hutch's Pools to filter some water. However, even at over 5 hours out, I had only drank about 1 of my 3 liters, so I didn't need any more water. I must have been very hydrated to start the run, but I do think I tend to conserve water too much. I'll have to watch that so I don't get in trouble one of these days.
Highest point (topout): 6,922 feet
3 of the miles uphill are over 1,000 feet elevation gain each (2 almost 1,200!) It was pretty steep on the way up. Once you top out at 8 miles, that 9th mile is over 1,000 feet downhill. Lots of slippery scree stuff. Move slow to avoid sliding off the edge! Kandi took this pic of me from uphill, so an optical illusion makes my legs look super short!
Kandi led until about mile 10 or so? and then I led us back. The downhill on the way back is super runnable and so much fun!
My quads are pretty trashed from the steep downhill. I felt like I had tons of energy today, though. I used Hammer gels and Perpetuem. I also had Cytosport drink in my pack.
Good run. Thanks, Kandi.
I ran 42 miles for the week.