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Walnut Canyon - AZT #31
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mini location map2014-08-31
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Walnut Canyon - AZT #31Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 31 2014
Hiking17.70 Miles 1,660 AEG
Hiking17.70 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   3.44 mph
1,660 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
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Walnut Canyon - AZT #31 Sandy to FR 303 DRAT! blisters :tt: . But let me give it a shot anyway. If they don't get worse; I should be fine right? Luckily for us, Shawn's truck seats 6 so we were able to set up a 3 car shuttle... figure that one out, ha! After not wanting to run thru town from our campsite to get to Lake Mary Rd, we took the airport exit and came back to it on I-17. Karl figured out where the turn to Marshall Lake was and we made it to drop them off; expecting to run into them at the Sandy Cany Trail junction.... except that their trek was a mile and 1/2 or so longer than we thot.

We arrived at the Canyon Vista hikers parking lot and geared up for the day. It was expected to be a nice trail with one hill and minimal elevation gain after that. I thot I would give myself to the junction or Fisher Point as the bail out option if my edge of the heal blisters gave me too much grief. They bothered me some but I thot I could tough it out. The trail was not nearly as sandy due to the recent rains I presume. We arrived at the junction and put out 3 Ts (Tibber) to let them know we had passed. We would end up doing this about 3 more times at various junctions until they caught us.

This is such a lovely hike and the hill up and around toward Fisher Point is not bad at all. It has the steep/level/catch your breath pattern that I am very fond of :) . Once we finally finished off the second part of the climb and rounded the last bend, we made it to the junction with the Fisher Point Overlook. I had just been there earlier this year so I just rested while the others went to check it out. After they returned we fully expected to see K&K come up the hill but after awhile we decided to T the intersection and get back on the trail.

After reviewing the printout I had with me, it looked like at each point they mentioned the elevation got lower so I announced it was all downhill from here to which Shawn promptly remarked, "I've heard that before" ;) . Well it was almost all downhill with just a bit of a climb out of Walnut Canyon. We hiked thru the forest and into open meadow-like areas. It was quite green and as I said before, the trail was really nice. But it didn't seem to matter anymore to my blistered heals. I was starting to drag now anxiously awaiting the lunch break so that I could put on a couple more band-aids and change to a thicker sock instead of the liners under my regular hiking socks.

Finally around 12:30, we stopped. And about 10 minutes or so later K&K arrived. This time, we would get to hike with them instead of going our separate ways. We all looked forward to that. I tended to my blisters and then it was back on the trail again. I told Kathy to go ahead as I was going to be straggling :stretch: the rest of the day. She would go ahead for awhile and then wait and hike with me from time to time. And then it was up and out of the Canyon for good as we passed a most interesting water cache for the animals.

I started lagging even more now and my heals were starting to burn. I could probably finish off this hike but we had the Keet Seel backpack coming up in 4 days (which was later canceled :( as the person's vehicle we were going with got rear-ended and Dr. told her no heavy pack due to neck issues). Everyone regrouped at another intersection and it was here that I threw in the towel and told them I would probably have to stop at the next easiest access point. Lucky for me, that was only 1/2 mile away at FR 303. So they dropped me there and would pick me up after they finished out the last 4 miles. I was so looking forward to banging out my biggest back to back mileages but it just wasn't meant to be.

1:55 PM So I laid down in the shade and spooked a few people that walked by. Another fella with a bike saw me laying there, put his bike in this truck and fired up the truck but didn't move for a few minutes so I thot he might think I'm dead or something so I popped up my head. He then drove away and said goodbye as he continued down the road (I should have asked him to give me a ride to the end of the road :doh: ). Well after about an hour I couldn't take it anymore so I got myself together and decided to walk down the road to the intersection with Old Walnut Canyon Rd... or at least as far as I could go.

Well I guess Karl put on the afterburners and before I knew it, I saw him coming down the road around 3:15. I had walked about 1/2 mile. Karl on the other hand had hiked those last 4 miles in a little over an hour :o
We drove back to the TH and the others toodled in about 10 minutes later. And then it was back to camp to pick up the packages of wood and for me to tear down my tent and load my stuff into Ambika's vehicle. Everyone helped me :gun: so the tent was down and folded in like 5 minutes and the car was loaded in 15. Awesome.

We parted ways after completing another good weekend of the Arizona Trail.

9-3-2014 And I have one video for this hike; not nearly as colorful as the previous day. It's produced, just not uploaded yet. 9-22-2014 finally published the video: [ youtube video ] ...
Named place
Named place
Agassiz Peak Walnut Canyon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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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