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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34, AZ

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Guide 70 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
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4.1 of 5 by 14
 
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 35.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,024 feet
Elevation Gain -1,756 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,734 feet
Avg Time One Way 11-18 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 44.71
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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65  2019-08-31
AZT South Rim GC to Gooseberry TH
BiFrost
15  2018-10-13 Sredfield
18  2018-09-06 azbackpackr
50  2018-09-03 tibber
10  2018-09-03 desertgirl
22  2018-09-02 tibber
21  2017-10-14 garyc57
1  2017-08-12 toddak
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Sep, Jun
Sun  6:14am - 6:24pm
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13 Alternative
 
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Likely In-Season!
Overview: From the Schultz Tank parking lot the route proceeds north on the Weatherford/Kachina trail for a short distance and then turns left (west) on new single-track trail. It works its way west-northwest across the Fort Valley Experimental Forest for about 7.4 miles to the Snowbowl Road. After crossing Snowbowl Road it climbs steeply for the next 4 miles, gaining about 1,400 ft to the bottom end of the Aspen Loop connector trail. From here the trail passes Lew Tank, and the junction with the Bismarck Lake TH access trail, and Bismarck Lake. The trail then trends northward down the slope, across several two-track roads and through an aspen grove to FR-418. It heads north-northwest around the base of the White Horse Hills, joins a two-track for a short distance, and then leaves the road and works its way northeast up to FR 514 and Kelly Tank. The trail parallels FR 514 and then continues to the north when FR 514 turns to the east. The route crosses FR 523 and begins following FR 416. It passes Badger Tank and Bonita Tank, and then the route turns to the northwest and travels to Missouri Bill Hill. It skirts around the west side of this hill, heads northwest to FR 417 and then west over to Cedar Ranch.

Southern Trailhead: Schultz Pass Sunset TH

Northern Trailhead: Cedar Ranch - FR 417

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Stagecoach Line 55k
I ran the Stagecoach Line 55k trail run in Flagstaff on what would be a stellar weather day.

This wasn't quite last minute, but close. I got in off the wait list and only had saturday off, meaning i had to work a full friday, drive up friday night, run saturday and immediately drive home to work a full day sunday morning. i have also had other things happening lately. but such is life. seldom is there a perfect time for anything, so we make do!

this route follows a good chunk of the AZT and i had many fond memories of a great day out there with the boys years ago, as i made my way along.

most of he uphill was in the first 12-13 miles and i ran most of that pretty well. i knew the long gradual downhill was going to be pretty painful but i did my best to dig in, keep moving and just embrace the hurt. i learned during this run that sometimes you just go to a painful place for a while and stay there. and that's ok. you come out the other side just fine (mostly). i love doing these for reasons like this.

i had a great day out there. i feel like i actually performed somewhere near where my potential lies at the moment and that makes me happy. i will never be very competitive in these races, and i don't care, but it is nice to at least be at the party, so to speak. really happy about it!
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Humphreys - Philomena - Walker Lake
Parking Lot to Humphreys Saddle
4.05 miles, 2545 AEG

The lot was probable 1/3 full at our 8:10 start when Ray dropped us off. The trail was not as crowded as expected. Met HAZ members @mr14ner, @DallinW & @adrenna on the way up. Great to meet you all! Temps were perfect.

Humphreys Saddle to The Top of Arizona,12,633'
1.07 miles, 819 AEG

A 200' patch of snow to get to the peak, 72 degree temps and gnatty when the wind stopped. Two fires could be seen north of Kendrick, close to each other and two more in what I'm guessing to be the Pivot Rock areas. The Inner Basin has a bit of snow and the Aspens are greening up nicely

Top of Arizona 12,633' to Philomena Spring
.57 miles, -972 AEG

Not as bad as feared

Philomena Spring to Hot Tub Time Machine
.26 miles, -358 AEG

Dodged some snow to get here.
Time Machine has not changed in 3 years since we'd been here.

Hot Tub Time Machine to AZT#34
2.76 miles, -2333 AEG

We had to get off the unofficial trail because of snow. We Jigsawed around the snow and downfall to get back to the trail. Once out to the meadow area, we ran into the couple who unofficially take care of the trail. They said they did not get to any maintenance last year. They gave us some great info about the area and Philomena Spring. There used to be a trough system that ran over to the old ranch carrying water from Philomena Spring. My rough estimate shows that to be more that 3 miles of trough! The trough has been replaced by pipe and the pipe no longer works. There are remnants of both in the area.

AZT#34 to Walker Lake
6.42 miles, -1059 AEG (+252)

Nice to be back on a trail, and the AZT to boot!
Ray was waiting at Walker Lake when we got there.

We took a quick spin to the lake to check it out.
Walker Lake Video :next: https://youtube.com ... DkTc

Thanks for driving Ray!
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Humphreys - Philomena - Walker Lake
Nice to be in the cool pines. Much cooler than 2 days ago heading up from Lockett. Didn't seem as busy as expected. We've had to park in the nose bleed section of the Kachina lot in June many times in years past. The main lot was about 70% full at 8am. Friendly hikers throughout with several HAZ hellos! Great to meet @mr14ner, @DallinW & @adrenna! The monster gnats were fairly tame until the breeze died at the summit.

Hit up Philomena Spring and the Hot Tub Time Machine down to AZT 34. Kinna warm for 9k feet. Met some nice resourceful locals just before the AZT, then the friendliest mountain bikers on earth along the AZT to Walker Lake. The lake albeit dry turned out to be a nice gander.

Thx Ray for driving & shuttling the chariot

Wildflowers
1 Indian Paintbrush along AZT
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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AZT: Mormon Lake to Utah
I'm not even sure how to approach a trip log of this magnitude, so I'll try to keep it short and focus on the highlights/lowlights.

The hike took place between May 31st and June 16th. We had 2 zero days (one in Flagstaff, one in Tusayan), and one "nero" out of Tusayan. We averaged 25 - 30 miles a day, except for in the Grand Canyon. This trip started out with a few hiccups (feet, gear, fires, heat...) but after Tusayan we had the kinks worked out and I felt like a well oiled long distance hiking machine.

Hightlights

Humphrey's Summit Side Trip
We decided to include a side trip to Humphrey's Peak. It was a great way to escape the hottest part of the first weekend and let things cool down below 9000ft, even if the summit was swarming with gnats and people. :) On the way back down, I met @joebartels and @the_eagle. Very cool! Nice to have met you both!

Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim was AMAZING. The scenery had my jaw on the ground nearly the entire time! I was extremely nervous about doing this passage in June and thought it was nearly impossible to score walk-in permits, but the stars aligned and we had no issues grabbing permits for both campgrounds.

We did it over 3 days to beat the heat, camping at Bright Angel and Cottonwood campgrounds, moving only between the hours of 5am - 9am. Soaking in Bright Angel Creek made the heat tolerable, and it was a nice change of pace compared to the 25 - 30 mile days we were doing above the rims.

One of the rangers issuing the permits gave us some dire warnings about "130 degrees in the sun", and how "nobody has fun down there this time of year." I even asked him about soaking in the creek to ward off the heat and he made it sound like it was only mildly effective. Contrary to what he said, it probably never got above 105 in the sun and sitting in the creek was actually extremely relaxing.

We took the short side trip to Ribbon Falls and it was totally worth it. What a neat little oasis in the canyon! We saw a beaver in the creek between Bright Angel and Cottonwood campgrounds, I never expected to see that.

The climb out of the Canyon from Cottonwood to the North Rim was well graded, and we topped out in about 2 hours 45 mins.

There is definitely a lot more Grand Canyon hiking in my future come fall/winter/spring.

North Rim + Kaibab Plateau
It was so nice to get a break from the hot temperatures when we topped out on the North Rim. They didn't last for long, though. As soon as we were back down around 7000 ft it was getting warm again.

The aspen and fir lined meadows were also a nice change of scenery. Easy going, dreamy hiking. It was also cool starting the day at Cottonwood and within a few hours being in a drastically different environment.

We ran out of food just before highway 89A, so we went in to Jacob Lake for a small resupply and also had a great breakfast at the restaurant. We probably had less than 2000 calories per day from the North Rim to Jacob Lake, needless to say the hiker hunger was strong when we reached Jacob Lake.

Finishing the AZT
Damn did it feel good. :)


Lowlights

Feet Issues
On day one I had a nasty blister form on the bottom of my foot due to AZ rocks tearing up the tread on my one month old Altra shoes. When we reached Flagstaff I initially tried to remedy the problem by buying thicker insoles (SuperFeet) for my shoes and taping up my foot with climbing tape. I was apprehensive about getting new shoes because I've always had issues with breaking in new shoes, even trail runners. The tape and thicker insoles worked for about half of a day. I think the tape actually might have made matters worse. I decided the next day after leaving Flag to hitch back into town from Snowbowl Rd in order to pop the blister and let it heal with a zero day. We got a ride by the first vehicle that I thumbed!

Popping the blister and staying off of it for a day helped, but after our Humphrey Summit and a couple more days of hiking the blister was back with a vengeance by the time we reached the Babbit Ranch passage. I was very nervous about going forward from Babbit Ranch because it would mean committing to about 60 miles before any relief in Tusayan. I nearly walked out to the highway from the TH and called for pickup. But after sleeping on it, I sucked it up and continued. Eventually, after hiking on it for another 40 miles, it stopped hurting so much.

When we reached Tusayan I decided to bite the bullet and take a shuttle back to Flagstaff to get some new shoes. I bought some Brooks Cascadia 11's, swapped out the insoles with the SuperFeet I bought, and never had a single foot issue the rest of the trip. :)

Gear Issues
Sleeping pad got punctured and I lost my sunglasses the very first night. These items were replaced on the first visit to REI in Flag. Somewhere along the way, the "stay bar" in my backpack ripped through the bottom of my pack again and went missing.

Fires
The nearby fires on the rim made the miles into Flagstaff smokey. It was particularly bad on the second day when we woke up at the Horse Mesa Trailhead with thick smoke to hike through til Marshall Lake. Those were some lightheaded, oxygen deprived miles.

Heat
When I planned this trip, I expected the highs to be in the high 70s to low 80s, actual highs were in the high 80s to low 90s for the entire trip, expect for the North Rim and Kaibab Plateau South & Central passages. As expected, it reached low triple digits in the Grand Canyon. We combated the heat by taking a long 2 hour break during the hottest part of the day under a cedar or pine. If there was a good enough breeze, usually we could still hike in the heat. We were also consuming up to 2 gallons of water a day.

Final AZT Thoughts

In my opinion, the Grand Canyon takes the cake for the most scenic passage of the trail. That being said, I believe that below the Mogollon Rim the AZT is way more scenic per-mile than on top of the plateau. It's easy to keep motivated below the Rim when you're getting drowned in gorgeous wide open views in every direction, and hard to keep motivated above the Rim when all you're seeing most of the day is the next ponderosa or ceder 10 yards ahead of you. Just my opinion, though.

AZ rocks with eat up your shoes.

If I was to ever attempt a thru-hike of the trail, I would most likely start in the early fall and head south. The terminus in Utah isn't a terrible place to end, but Miller Peak and Mexico would have been a much grander ending.
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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We hope you enjoy our Housholder Family adventure hiking the 800 mile Arizona Trail from Sonora Mexico to the Utah state-line. We are hiking it together as a family attempting to finish 20 to 30 miles each month; normally taking a two truck shuttle and usually camping overnight for free along the way in our RV trailer (Boondocking).

Our 4th segment is in the Beautiful "San Francisco Peaks AZT #34!" We had a fantastic time over the Labor Day Weekend Holiday camping out Boondocking Style along the Bismarck Trailhead Road #627. Our camping spot on the south side of the road even had a rock wall for the kids to climb and was large enough for our South African friends to park their rigs also!

DAY 1: Total Miles 6.5

We used the Bismarck Lake trail-head access point and first made the trek with friends to the "Cow Puddle" of a Lake? After snapping a few pics around Bismarck Lake we headed out to join the AZT section 34 going north from the Bismarck Junction where a cool sign points the way to Mexico and Utah! From there it was all downhill to Forest Service Road 418 near White Horse Hills. This part of the trail was fantastic and had numerous gentle switchbacks leading into a GIANT stand of Aspen Trees near the end! We enjoyed this ending section very much and were looking forward to the next day's adventure!

Day 2: Total Miles 5.5

What an exciting day! The plans were to hike from Snow Bowl Ski Resort along the Aspen Loop Access trail north towards our Boondocking spot along the Bismarck Lake Road. Some awesome friends from South Africa were our trail support crew and taxi drivers setting us down at the Snow Bowl ski area while they went off to hike the Lava River Tube. There were fantastic photo opps from the parking lot where we got a huge group picture of our three families and then set out for the Aspen Loop Access Trail right next to the Humphrey's Peak trail-head. A ranger was there with displays and stickers for the kids and we hit the trail running downhill through some beautiful Aspen Trees until we junction-ed with the AZT #34 once more. I loved seeing as far as the eye can see west towards Bill Williams Mountain and Kendrick Peak! The trail was gentle and enjoyable. Once on the Arizona Trail we could see back towards the Snow Bowl ski lifts and after a mile or so north of the Aspen Loop junction there was THE VERY BEST STAND OF ASPENS EVER! We ate our snacks and took plenty of family pictures, I feel when the entire 800 mile hike is finished this will rank right up there as the best of the best gems. The kids and Karolien loved this section as much as I did to! After the Aspen Adventure a little further north were those sweeping views westward across Hart Prairie and Fern Mountain underneath us where I shot some landscape panorama pictures. A short mile or so after that the trail crossed a nice meadow and then joined up with the Bismarck Lake Trail at the Utah/Mexico sign. It was an enjoyable mile and a half back to our camp from there.

Day 3: Total Miles 6 - Saturday October 10, 2015 - Snow Bowl Ski Resort to Snow Bowl Road:

We started the day taking some more family pictures with both of our Grandma's in them, they make for the best Trail Support Team! From the Snow Bowl parking lot at 9400 FT. we hit the trail, there were beautiful changing leaves all around especially as we made our way along the Aspen Loop Trail. In no time at all we were once again at the AZT Junction roughly 9000 FT. this time we turned left and left the crowds behind as we hiked downhill to the south, our end destination was the Snow Bowl Road crossing 6 miles from the parking lot and roughly 1,600 Feet elevation decline.

It was still very, very, very busy with the swift moving mountain bikers but we only had one near run in with Ben listening to his headphones too loud when a biker closed in from behind! Around one and a half miles we came upon a fantastic grove of Aspens in Golden Fall mode at the Alfa Fla Tank junction. This grove was not as good as the one a mile or so north of the AZT / Aspen Loop junction but never the less it was impressive, and just after entering the stand there were logs downed inviting us to rest upon them, it made for the perfect snack stop.

After scarfing down some yummy GORP we made our way in no time to a 2 mile junction where hikers were coming up from the 151 road and down from the Snowbowl Road. There were great views out across Hart Prairie just before the stand of Aspens and at this trail junction. After a few quick pics we headed further away from the crowds of Leaf Chasers into what was the thickest and shadiest part of the forest. Contouring along at 8600 to 8400 feet this made for a relaxing stroll. A couple miles further we started hiking slightly uphill before coming around the corner and then sharply downtown we went starting at MP 606 to 604 we declined some 1100 feet! This ridge line had some nice views below of Fort Valley our eventual destination. Our brakes were worn out by the time we arrived at the power-lines and we made out way another half mile to the Snow Bowl road while listening to the mobs of Fall Leaf Chasers driving home! All in all the kids had fun but our breaks were so worn out by the steep decline in elevation from 9400 to 7600 ft. that we decided to rest it easy the next day planning on hiking our close the gap segment from the Snow Bowl Road to Schultz Creek AZT 33 junction some 4 more miles away the next time!

Day 4 Snow Bowl Road to Schultz Creek July 7, 2016

A year later we were back in Flagstaff take on this missing middle segment from the Snow Bowl Road towards Schultz Creek that would connect us to the Flagstaff Resupply Route which we had already finished!

We started out staging our truck at Schultz Creek where the AZT Resupply Route passes over the backroad. There is enough space to park a couple cars there. After staging our truck we headed out towards the Snow Bowl Road. We last hiked to where our vehicle was staged cross country off Forest Road 6051 at Forrest Valley. To get there slow down just before arriving at the Snow Bowl Road and take a right onto FS 6051. There are some good Boondocking spots perhaps two or three on this road for camping at large. The 6051 ends in about a mile at a large spot as there is a T Junction. This is where we parked and hiked due north until reaching the AZT at near Milepost 603 marked Rocky Moto. From here we hiked east towards our truck and Schultz Creek. This hike covers the segment between Milepost 603 to 600 and a bit more towards Schultz Creek, only 4 miles from where we staged vehicles. This was an extremely enjoying segment completely flat the entire distance, with views of the Peaks looking over the tops of pine trees. Ben read a book, Bryce and Bianka enjoyed finding a friendly lizard and we had some great family pictures taken at sunset before arriving at the junction with the Equestrian Route and the Resupply Route. From there it is downhill all the way rather sharply back to the Schultz Creek Backroad, and our snacks.

Day 5 Schultz Tank to Schultz Creek July 8, 2016

Our next hike was to start segment 34 and complete Milepost 596 to 599 at the Resupply Route another easy hike this time we treated our visiting relatives Bob and Chase from Alaska. The start of Passage 34 was easy going by Schultz Tank, there were logging operations happening along the first half mile or so, then the trail started heading downhill with great views along the way. We were following above the Schultz Backroad in and out of some side drainage or two then alongside a ridge towards the junction with the Equestrian Bypass Signage and Flagstaff Resupply Route, and easy sunset three and a half miles!



Day 6 Forest Road 418 White Horse Hills to Kelly Tank 7/9/16 Total Miles 3.25

This segment was awesome! Well I love the Aspens so for me it was top notch! There is nearby camping at White Horse Hills for our Trailer so this makes the location all the more better!

We started by driving our truck up to Kendrick Park then out east a few miles to Kelly Tank. Then we drove back to the 418 and hiked it together as a family. Another option would have been to drive up to Kelly and swap keys in the middle. All in all this hike was downhill from the 418 almost all the way. There were fantastic views of the San Francisco Peaks and thousands of Aspens in the beginning! Hardly any others out here as well, we saw only a couple other mountain bikers and that was it, compared to the trails around the Peaks where the mountain bikers are running rampant! This trail heads due north past Walker Lake's Cinder Cone Mountain and joins a double track for awhile, then climbs gently up on a ridge line where you look west towards Kendrick Peak and NW towards Saddle Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, before it curves NE towards Kelly Tank. There were some off road campers with a prime location we found along the way. Their views towards the San Francisco Peaks was fantastic. We might have to find out how they got out there, but it must have been accessed via Kelly Tank somehow????

The next time back to this area we will start at Kelly Tank and continue north!
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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I've been going through some serious withdrawals since leaving Colorado earlier this month. I had to get out of the heat in the valley, and get my tundra fix. I need more alpine tundra in my life! Naturally, it was going to be Humphrey + some AZT. :D The plan was to start at Schultz Pass, camp just below the summit trail, then summit Humphrey on Sunday.

Day 1

After dropping off the Jeep at Snowbowl, we drove the truck to Schultz Pass where we would start.

The AZT was extremely busy. I don't think we went for more than 30 minutes without seeing a biker or day hiker. I'm not one to complain about seeing the occasional warm body every few hours while out backpacking, but this was a little much. I knew Humphrey's Summit Trail would be extremely busy, but I was hoping we would find just a little bit of solitude on the first night along the AZT.

About 5 minutes after starting, my trail runners were causing me problems. It felt like either my feet had miraculously gone through some kind of grown spurt or my runners had shrunk. They fit just fine 3 weeks ago on the CT... Instead of being a Debbie Downer and asking my buddies to wait, and because I wanted to avoid expending an extra 10 minutes worth of energy to go back to the truck to get my backup pair, I decided to keep going. When will I ever learn? ](*,)

We cruised along the easy grade and excellent tread of the AZT, enjoying the excellent views of Agassi Peak with little glints of the prairie land below. After reaching Snowbowl Road, the crowds really picked up and there were constantly cars paralleling the trail. Looking at the Trails Illustrated map of the area, it looks like the AZT used to use the Kachina Trail, staying higher and more isolated from the roads below. Why was it rerouted?

Near the top of the climb from the bottom of Snowbowl Road, my feet were screaming. The backs of the shoes had rubbed my heals raw, and my toes felt like they were being squeezed tight by a vice. One of my partners was also having some footwear malfunctioning at this point too. His boots were literally coming apart. I announced that Humphrey would be a no go for me tomorrow unless I could get a hold of my backup pair at the truck. My buddy's boots also wouldn't survive a summit attempt.

We hobbled up the last bit of the hill then took a small side trail to join up with Snowbowl Road. We road walked the last mile to the parking lot. We jumped in the Jeep, drove to Schultz Pass in order to retrieve my backup trail runners, and drove to Flagstaff to get some new boots for my friend. After some dinner, we headed back up Snowbowl Road and decided to setup along NF-522. We carried all that weight for nothing. But hey, that extra weight builds more character, right? :lol:

Day 2

My alarm rang around 6:00 am, we quickly threw everything in the truck and headed up to the parking lot for Humphrey's Summit Trail. When we arrived there were about 8 or 9 other vehicles there and a few groups about to get started. After parking, we prepared our summit packs and hit the trail. The sky was mostly clear and it looked like it was going to be a nice for a summit.

My feet were quick to reminded me how much they disliked me after ignoring them yesterday. After entering Kachina Wilderness, we all started tackling the trail at difference paces. The trail is graded pretty gradual in my opinion up until just before the saddle when the trail turns to mostly rock (think stairmaster). My feet progressively got worse as I continued the ascent, slowing my progress, but not deterring me from my goal of reaching the top. In fact, because of my feet, my Humphrey summit time actually ended up being about 30 minutes worse than my Elbert summit time. :?

Once I reached the saddle, the sky was noticeably darker, but the clouds looked pretty "isolated" to me and I didn't really feel threatened by them at the time. After slowly working my way across the ridge, I reached the summit and joined the party. We took pictures of each other, and enjoyed some summit herbs. ;) That's state high point number 2!

About 10 minutes later it started to hail. Everyone at the summit quickly gathered their stuff and started to "boogie down" the ridge. About half way down the ridge we heard our first clap of thunder and picked up the pace. Some people were continuing up to the summit, some where stopped and deciding if they wanted to go on. We saw a few bolts hit over near Agassiz and near the road up to the top of the ski lift. One guy heading up the mountain just looked at us, shook his head, and said "this sucks..."

Relieved to make it back below treeline, the adrenaline faded and I remembered how much my feet hurt. I fell behind my partners again and slowly made my way down the mountain. The storm continued to gain strength as we descended, with the lightning strikes and heavy rain becoming more frequent. Boy would I hate to have had been up on that ridge right then.

By the time I reached the parking lot the storm had moved on.

Great trip, save the foot issues.

Next time, I'm thinking Inner Basin and/or Weatherford for (hopefully) more solitude.
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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AZT #34 San Francisco Peaks - Snow to Schultz
Southbound: Snow Bowl to Schultz TH We had originally planned doing FR 300 down to Geronimo (a piece of Passage 27) but decided it might be a bit toasty for that so Shawn came up with the idea of doing the southern part of AZT 34 SF Peaks (Snowbowl to Schultz). So they came up from Pine and we came up from Phx to meet at Schultz TH at 9 AM to shuttle to Snowbowl.

We were on the trail at 9:45 and squiggled our way over to AZT 34 via the Aspen Trail. The views on the open part of the trail are really quite nice. Also along the way we saw what I thot was Prairie Smoke that had bloomed, one of my very favorite wildflowers [ photo ]0 so I made everyone come and look just to make sure. Next you hike by Alfa Fia Tank [ photoset ] which Kathy and I had hiked to last summer. Once past the tank instead of going up to the road like Kathy and I did, you keep going straight on the AZT and continue through the forest of aspen and firs and lots of fallen trees to the sides of the trail. Some were rather large.

The light kind of sucked for most of this hike as far as taking pictures and filming but I made my best effort anyway. It was from here that we started encountering bike riders; well actually they started encountering us because many of them wouldn't even let us know they were there. The first encounter was the worst and the guy was a jerk [-X as he didn't even apologize for almost rolling over us. These encounters continued most of the day but I am assuming most of these bikers aren't used to running over, I mean running into hikers and/or they don't know that technically THEY are supposed to yield to us. However, we always yielded to them.

All of a sudden we were out of the aspen and just in a fir tree section. The forest floor was extremely clean. In one area, for a fleeting moment you could see Elden and then you were in the trees again. We did see a few marked trees in two different sections of the hike. They had signs on them regarding preservation; in this section it was a preservation for wildlife. In two other sections the bikers had built ramps over some rough areas using tree limbs.

We had lunch not too far from where you cross the road at about the 6.25 mile area. Just before we got to the road, Tracy took a tumble :stretch: but fortunately just had a couple scrapes on her knee which we bandaged up. She was able to continue on and didn't even complain once the rest of the way. I'm sure it had to hurt. We still had 7 miles left per the sign on the other side of the road.

We criss-crossed some MOTO Trails (Secret which goes quite a ways as we would cross it again and Rocky). We would also cross a few forest roads too. We were pretty much on the flat now and made decent time altho it was definitely a bit warmer at the 7600 foot level. We had descended about 1600 feet from where we started. While the trail was nice throughout, many times we would stumble as you couldn't make out the rocks sticking up thru the dust or shade.

We did go through a couple low areas where there were lots of Rocky Mountain Iris, though waning. And of course the light was pretty awful so it was hard to get a decent picture. Anyway, you come in and out of thin forests and occasionally young ponderosa forests. Once again the forest floor was pretty clean. Thru a bouldery section Shawn pointed out that they had to move the bigger ones aside for the trail. He had not hiked this trail yet, just worked on it.

We came to the crossroads (at about mile 11) with Flagstaff proper and had a quick discussion as Shawn was looking at the GPS to decide we needed to take the Horse Bypass to the left (NE). This walks you up a drainage and then back toward Schultz Road (though you can't see it or hear it) except for another drainage that you end up walking around. With about 2 miles left, we decided to have one more rest stop before that last push. Shawn says these types of hikes are about 10% too long and as usual, he was right. It's always hard to finish off that last little bit as you just want to get it done. My shins were starting to hurt and I could feel a blister starting on the left side of my left foot :-({|= . Today I'm still a little sore and my back was sore on Sunday, not sure why really.

From here you could see remnants of the burn area and the back side of Elden off in a distance and an occasional glimpse of Agassiz. We weren't sure of the mileage but it ended up being about a mile further than we thot. The last part was shaded so that was nice.

We finally made it back to Tonto Jr, enjoyed a beverage and then headed up to go get the AZT vehicle. We wanted to have Thai food but ended up messed up in traffic so just went to Beaver Street Brewery. I had a watermelon margarita (don't get this) and salmon cakes (don't get them either) but the sampler dessert was great.

While driving back, I did finally get to see some live elk south of Flagstaff (though in low light). Thx gang for another great day on the AZT. Glad you opted for cooler temps.

Here are 3 videos, I mostly like video 1. If you like walking in and out of thinned forests, you will also enjoy the other two:

[ youtube video ] to Mile 3.7
[ youtube video ] to about Mile 8
[ youtube video ]

Wildflowers
lots of waning Rocky Mountain Iris throughout
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Was hoping to make it to HAZfest last weekend but the schedule didn't allow for it so we made our trip up to Flagstaff this past weekend.

Arrived at the TH a little after 8 AM when Ryan realized he forgot his pack :o OK, no problem, at least he had his water and lunch, so, hand it over and I will stuff it into my pack; heck what's another 5-6 lbs, let's do this.

We headed out on the Aspen Nature Loop and connected with the AZT, heading for an out and back to FR418. Took a side trip to check out Bismarck Lake which was nothing more than a small puddle. Beautiful area and we were fortunate enough to see 5 deer. Once we got to our destination we had lunch, chatted for a bit about where to have dinner (Salsa Brava) and which brewery to visit (Mother Road, the Mudslide was outstanding!!) and then made for the return hike. There was a little thunder and lighting but nothing more than a sprinkle.

Great hike, but then again, even a not so good hike is a great hike, IMO.
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Northbound: Snowbowl to FR 418 Trip log written 7-11-2013. What a great Plan B this turned out to be :) . Plan A involved Philomena Springs; it would have been dicey for our group to make it up there so Tracy and Shawn came up with this gem for arizonahikers.com HOTM. A few of us decided to make a day hike out of it while a few others camped just off the 418 therefore allowing us to set up a shuttle. Thx to Shawn and Michelle for helping in that process.

We were a tad late getting to the TH and we apologize. Once on the trail, it was already a great day as we weaved in and out of the grassland and the forest and the aspen areas. And of course, it was pretty much all down hill :D ; can't go too wrong with that and the grade was pleasant. We were delighted at the aspen groves we would pass through as well as the forest. There was a smattering of lupine from time to time too.

Coming out of one of the aspen groves, to your right (east) I noticed a lonesome sign in the distance. Shawn decided to check it out and we all eventually meandered up there to see old fence posts at the corner of the grove and what seemed like a makeshift bench. As we got ready to leave we also noticed some interesting carving on a couple of the trees.
But what was most fascinating :-k is that the aspen grove was lined up as in a box and we noticed that the fence posts followed the straight lines of the aspen running east west as we made our way back to the trail. There must be a story here as if the aspen were fenced in. I later saw that this is the route Joe and Bruce took up to Philomena Springs and Humphrey's Summit this very same day.

There were quite a few bikers on the trail coming and going. The temp would warm slightly as the humidity rose but nothing the least bit uncomfortable for our moderate pace. Shawn would share some of his AZT hike experience he had when coming through. We continued on the lower plains and in and out of forest. Rain was threatening and I did pull out the chrome dome off and on. In one of the forested areas, Shawn found a couple nice logs to sit on for early lunch time. Later on in the hike we found this totally cool log that all of us could sit and bounce on. It was fun! :DANCE: Yes, I'm easily amused :-$ .

We continued on thru some more forest with some sweet grassy areas below until we came to the Piece de Resistance, a beautiful aspen forest shooting out of a green base of ferns sprinkled with lupine, OH MY! :y: Ambika and me lingered here for a bit trying to find the perfect photograph to convey the beauty of this place. It certainly seemed magical for the moment under cloudy skies.

At the end of our hike, Shawn and Tracy shared some watermelon and yes, it does go good with beer :D . We chatted until the thunder and lightning and then rain came down. Seemed like time to head back to Snowbowl. Arriving at Snowbowl it was a chilly 72 degrees; not that I was complaining.

Here are a few videos from our wonderful day on the trail:

from Snowbowl; a bit of Aspen Loop and Arizona Trail 34 - [ youtube video ] ...
hike on AZT34 toward FR 418 - [ youtube video ] ...
completion of the hike on AZT34 including the incredible aspen forest - [ youtube video ] ...
San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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Philomena Spring - Humphreys Loop
My turn to pick and this ones been on our Radar for awhile.

We got to the Snowbowl Trailhead around 7am and were shocked to see the lot almost filled. Escaping the valley heat I guess. The Lemmings were lined up to climb the Humphreys Summit trail. We had plans to get to the top, but choose a different route.

We got on the pleasant and gentle grade of the Aspen Nature Loop and AZT# 34, taking them over to our off trail turn by the "No Snowmobile" sign. We followed the clearing and occasionally an obscure two track, to the end and started climbing the ridge.

I was surprised to find a cairned route that led directly to the spring. Careful though, there seem to be multiple cairned routes. These days it seems that the Elk are keeping the Trail going. It was freshly worn in most spots for us. we followed it until we found the pipe and then decide to follow it to find the spring.

On the edge of the woods, with views of Humphreys, we got to an area where there was a wooden container for storing water below the spring. This was 4' in diameter and about 6' tall and banded together.

We continued up hill .2 mile to the end of the pipe to what we thought was the spring, only to determine while we took a break there, that this was a catchment area. The actual spring can be found by following depression trough like area, NE 100' through the rocks. The water can be heard and if you check down between the rocks, < a gallon per minute flow can be seen.

Please note that this spring location is .3 mile SSE from the location on the Topo maps.

From here we made a direct assault to the Humphreys peak, 1/3 mile straight up hill. (OK, it was only 1,100 feet up, but it was loose boulders, and with the thin air, took some effort.

At 12,633', atop of Arizona, the view was Awesome as always. Thunder crackled, there was lightning in the area and the gnats were ridiculous, so we retreated down the actual trail. We did get rained on for a bit which actually felt real good.

Here's a short video, including the spring flow at Philomena Spring = :next: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGsFkEN ... YRrjYvcHUA

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