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Walnut Canyon - AZT #31
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Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking Jun 25 2011
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,053 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   4 Hrs      2.67 mph
1,053 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
1st trip
Partners partners
It's funny in that as I was walking back from the mailbox I was going to go ahead and post this report I had written a couple days ago. I had been waiting to see where Wendy would post hers, ha!

I think we had originally planned to hike Kendrick while Mr. Wendy fished somewhere. We ended up hiking Marshall Lake to Sandy Canyon and Gary attempted a try at fishing on a very windy day at Ashurst Lake. After a longer than expected drive :roll: to Flagstaff and getting stuff for the evening, we finally set up camp just east of the AZ Trail TH by Prime-Vail Lake/Observatory. Gary helped us set up a shuttle at Canyon Vista campground (which seemed a long way away and I was wondering how long a hike Wendy was REALLY taking me on 8-[ )and then took us back up to the TH above Marshall Lake.

At 2:15 we started this hike which begins on the Anderson Mesa and takes you down a little elevation to the roads at Marshall Lake where you continue west a bit on the road before heading south on the gravelled trail. You go several miles through what I would call wide open forest with occasional glimpses of the SF Peaks. We encountered 4 people with 5 horses on this part of the trail. Wendy kept promising we would get to Walnut Canyon and I was looking forward to that.

We finally got to the Canyon and would start heading down on a pretty rough old jeep road. We found some of the rocks quite interesting. We are hoping someone can identify this: (see photo And of course, Wendy reminds me we gotta come up the other side :STP:; she loves teasing me about that "up" stuff.

As we're getting ready to make a swing to the north, Wendy decides we should check out a faint trail we can see that is heading south. So over we go where we can finally look into Walnut Canyon :DANCE: . Surprisingly, we saw two sets of climbers on each side of the view point we had come out on. Across the way we could see some RVs and Wendy said that was probably the campground we had left Tonto at... I thot "no way". Well soon we would discover "way".

We also noticed the crumbled volcanic rock across from us which was pretty neat looking. After watching the climbers for a bit. The gal seemed to attack that wall (see photos when I post them) and came over what looked like an impossible ledge before gracefully rapelling back down (see video). We took a photo of each other :D and then it was off to see what else awaited us.

Not too far from there and just a little off the trail Wendy spotted some aspens shooting out of the canyon along with a rock fall so we scooted over there to observe and also get some photos of the aspen framing the SF Peaks. It didn't take long to get to the bottom and soon we came across the meadow between the canyons. The east side of the canyon in this particular section had some of the most beautiful rock I had ever seen with extreme hues of gold, pink, red, and grey...magnificent.

Eventually we would get to the center of the canyon floor where we come to the intersection with the trail to Sandy's Canyon to the south and Fisher Point (2 miles) to the north. We decided we weren't inclined nor had the time to make the 4 mile round trip to Fisher Pt so we just walked up about 1/3 of a mile, give or take, before turning back and heading down the Sandy's Canyon trail. It was a little past the trail sign that we took our first and only break.

The canyon was all in shade now as we continued our way south along the "blue line" (creek bed) and eventually west toward the road (Lake Mary road). We kept expecting to have a good climb out but it was nice and gradual and thru a pretty area. Shortly we would encounter the AZ Trail intersection where you can continue to the road or to the south and east on the Sandy's Cany trail to the Canyon Vista campground. This is where we started encountering additional hikers.

Eventually we would discover that we were directly across from where we had been not more than an hour or so ago and that, in fact, the climbers were in an area designated for them as there is a trail sign for that. We also were impressed by the volcanic rock area we had seen from the other side and again by the climbers on the other side of the canyon as they seemed so small from this vista.

Before you knew it, we were back at Tonto and on our way back up to camp. It hardly seemed an 8 mile hike but Wendy and I had a lot of catching up to do :-$ so maybe that's why.

We got the rest of our camp set up including a lesson in setting up and getting in and out of a hammock (Thx Wendy), had a beer and then started getting serious about making dinner. I was glad the wind died down for the evening too as it had been gusting pretty heavy all day. Wendy and Gary got to try out their new Kelly Kettle; it's quite the contraption. And while Wendy was making our mac and cheese and grilling the dogs, we also embibed in some white wine :) .

Soon it was time to give the hammock a :zzz: test. Other than being slightly chilled now and again (even with the underquilt), it was much better than I anticipated; especially since I'm a "cat napper" when sleeping in the wild. It was great to be able to look up at the star-lit sky and watch the moon come up :y: in-between tossing and turning and being almost wide awake at times. I had plenty of room and could shift pretty easy. I felt great in the AM :whistle: . So we'll give this one more test using my new slightly inflated 4 R-value Exped mat at the bottom of the hammock.

Great day, great hike, great dinner and great company... :A1:

This is a somewhat long video but I didn't want to make two separate videos. You can always watch it in sections but I think it flows fairly quickly:
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.

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