Denny and I hit up our first segment of the AZT. It starts out in a storybook setting of pines near Marshall Bone Dry
Lake. The trail takes off on wheel barreled in gravel for about a quarter mile. Not sure on the purpose, perhaps to contrast the area? Luckily it's over soon and you are on soft quite pine forest dirt. The trail winds around over to Walnut Canyon and enters gently. Along the way you walk through areas where the trail is white limestone. At one section on the rim before dropping down we saw a couple Aspens so that was cool. This is a picturesque canyon with it's abrupt walls.
Down in the canyon Denny spotted a dozen ravens feeding on a baby elk or something. The trail down the center of the canyon is slightly sandy. I swear they have a truck with animal prints etched into the tires. The trail was a constant repetitive
mix of deer, elk, pronghorn, bobcat, mountain lion, squirrel, coyote and you name it prints.
Through the canyon before and just before ascending Denny found a Webber type grill and other junk under a tarp. Who brings this junk all the way in? Next we headed up to Fisher Point and checked out the views. They're so so. Good to check out, but don't make a special trip for it. Here we passed three ladies chatting like there was no tomorrow so there must be a trailhead very nearby.
The trail hugs the rim before dipping once more into a smaller tributary. Denny thought this area reminded him of Pine Canyon near the town of Pine. Before the tributary we passed a guy carrying his bike to shade to fix a flat. He was nice and lived somewhere off Country Club. Said it was the furtherest he's ventured out.
We had lunch around the 9 mile point figuring it was halfway. The day was warming up but sure felt relaxing in the shade. The remainder of the trip up to Cosnino is less and less spectacular all the way to basic drab. Yet the view of the peaks with Elden stretched out in front was a first for myself.
Wildflowers: Large patches of lupine was the main attraction. Also in bloom: Claret Cup Cactus, Arizona Thistle, Iris, Mariposa Lily, several varieties of tiny yellow and white flowers & Globe Mallow on the northern stretch.
All and all a good hike. Glad to have finally knocked off a segment of the AZT ableit likely one of the easiest sections. Bob would likely run it in three hours. There must have been a hundred signs throughout, most in the lower 2/3rds.
Crackling trees http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot0DXG6KWEY