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San Francisco Peaks - AZT #34
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mini location map2014-06-07
29 by photographer avatartibber
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AZT #34 San Francisco Peaks - Snow to Schultz, AZ 
AZT #34 San Francisco Peaks - Snow to Schultz, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 07 2014
tibber
Hiking14.09 Miles 817 AEG
Hiking14.09 Miles   6 Hrs   56 Mns   2.55 mph
817 ft AEG   1 Hour   24 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
desertgirl
Paintninaz
Sredfield
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 ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
lots of waning Rocky Mountain Iris throughout
_____________________
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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