Hey Wayne - What's the final verdict on the Kenda Cortez for McCall's loose/soft soil and rocks?
The jury's still out at the moment. I liked the Cortez last fall and I'm looking forward to riding it again this year. It was on the front of my singlespeed hardtail and handled everything from singletrack to skatepark easily. It rubbed the fork sometimes on the old Judy, so this year its on front of the Saber. IMHO the knobs are just right. They're not too flexy and not too small for traction. They're similar size to the Panaracer Fire XC 2.1 (which I still really like). The tire has nice round profile for predictable corners and its relatively light weight. I rode in Boise a few weeks ago with it on front and it was great. It's just a great all-around tire.
That having been said, the Weirwolf is probably the better tire for backcountry up here, where the ground is relatively soft and loose, but with jagged rocks. The tall weirwolf knobs flex like crazy on anything hard, but they bite up here.
Currently, I'm running the Cortez on front and Weirwolf on back. I'm not sure how that will work because I can really feel the rolling resistance of the WW.