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Marshall Lake to Fisher Point
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mini location map2017-09-28
16 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Marshall Lake to Fisher PointFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2017
kingsnake
Hiking14.58 Miles 1,220 AEG
Hiking14.58 Miles   5 Hrs   4 Mns   2.88 mph
1,220 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was me & my wife’s third annual Flagstaff fall colors romantic getaway weekend. The past two years, I’ve done a shorter hike the Thursday we arrive in in town. Last year, I hiked Colton Crater. A month ago, hiking Sandy Canyon, I had skipped climbing to the top of Fisher Point — which overlooks the intersection of Sandy Canyon, Walnut Canyon and Skunk Canyon — due to being wore out from too much bushwhacking. Eventually, I settled on hiking from Marshall Lake to the Flagstaff Sam’s Club, via Fisher Point, on Arizona Trail passage’s #31 and #33. For some reason, I thought a twelve mile hike would be a good ‘warmup’. :?

At the Arizona Trail trailhead on the southwest ‘shore’ of dry Marshall Lake, my wife spotted several used tampons. Eww! ‘Leave no trace’ would never have been so appreciated. :o

It was an easy walk across Anderson Mesa. Just before Marshall Mesa Tank, a large fallen tree blocks the trail. There is already a use trail around it. Not sure if it is scheduled for removal?

The ‘descent’ to the tank is only 200 ft., and the ‘climb’ back out only 100 ft., so it seemed a bit fussy to me for it to have something like 10 switchbacks. The odd number of switchbacks would be a theme all the next four miles to the rim of Sandy Canyon. The switchbacks add unnecessary, and unexpected, distance to Arizona Trail #31. (A trail sign at Marshall Lake says it is 5.7 miles to the base of Fisher Point: It is now actually 7.4 miles.) Nonetheless, it is a pleasant stroll.

On the descent to Sandy Canyon, I narrowly avoided squishing a tarantula. I hate spiders. They scare me. But for some reason, tarantulas don’t bother me near as much. Maybe because they look like furry, eight-legged, puppies?

Atop Fisher Point, I couldn’t see much to the north, but could see for miles south, including Mormon Mountain. I took more photos & video at Fisher Point than anywhere else on my hike, but I never felt like I quite ‘got’ the feel of the area. After the photogasm, I took a twenty minute break for lunch, relaxing in the shade, enjoying the views.

After descending back to the canyon floor, I headed up AZT #33 towards Flagstaff. Like Sandy Canyon — if you are not bushwhacking! ;-) — Skunk Canyon is a narrow, but grassy-bottomed terrain feature. Arizona Trail #33 very gradually heads up 1.75 miles to the Flagstaff Loop Trail. Only 200 yds. further, the trail turns east through an ungated fence unto an old forest road.

The next 1.5 miles, to the Rio de Flag — yes, that is its name — wetlands, is also on old jeep trail, through the same grassy terrain with plenty of shade trees that typified the first 12.5 miles of my hike.

Just after my final break, with about 1.5 miles to go, I heard something over my shoulder. I looked back to see a toothless, woolen-capped, homeless guy riding a mountain bike out of a trailless draw. We exchanged greetings, and off he peddled towards town. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for supplies, and he was wild camping up that draw.

At the Rio de Flag wet lands, the Arizona Trail #33 turns to pavement, heading under I-40, past the Rio de Flag Reclamation Facility, to the Sam’s Club parking lot, where my patient wife was waiting for me.

Rather than continue sidewalk hiking, we headed off to check in at The Inn at 410 on Leroux, before heading downtown for a (literally) steaming hot post-hike feast at Na-D-Li Korean on San Francisco St. :y:

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation None
Mostly pine & evergreen along AZT #31 and AZT #33.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Not much left, not even Sandy Canyon, which was awash in blooms only a month ago.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Marshall Mesa Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Entire catchment area not full, but the main / fenced sink looked close to full.
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