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Elden - Oldham - Sunset Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-06-19
15 by photographer avatarjoebartels
photographer avatar
 
Elden - Oldham - Sunset Loop, AZ 
Elden - Oldham - Sunset Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 19 2021
joebartels
Hiking17.02 Miles 4,957 AEG
Hiking17.02 Miles   8 Hrs   10 Mns   2.41 mph
4,957 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Bruce had an unexpecting opening, so I checked quick feasible options. Temps of northern staple options were not looking great. The base of Elden 90, Weatherford 85, Kendrick & Sitgreaves 87, Wilson 105. The top of Mingus 88, Wilson & Casner 100. In the words of the famous Fraley... yikes. I pitched a nice Humphreys out-n-back via Weatherford with 67 temps in the upper stretch. The_give me heat or give me death_Eagle opted for whatever on Elden. I held back on suggesting Humphreys via Lookout Trail #4 and went with this seemingly sensible loop.

Due to wildfire smoke haze, we couldn't make out the iconic San Francisco Peaks until close to Flagstaff. It looked like the smoke ceiling was about 300 feet above Elden. We got a spot at the full TH as one left as we arrived.

The ascent up Elden is typically one of my favorite stretches of the loop. Not so much this round with temps that resembled Piestewa in May. Bruce requested a few mini-breaks heading up, so we didn't run out of sweat too quick.

Heading down the lookout road on the flipside was lined with incredibly fragrant Cliff Wood's Rose.

Noticed several isolated [ Yellow Columbine ] on Sunset Trail and some smaller species on Oldham. It seemed odd, scattered away from its typical perennial water source habitat.

Saw three [ Mule Deer ] along Oldham Trail #1. Then a large patch of [ Indian Paintbrush ] near Schultz Tank; old man eagle eye said he saw a few patches earlier too.

There is a fair amount of burn areas; most are mixed with healthy pines. The exception is a half-mile annihilated stretch north of Heart Trail #103.

We continued to see scattered Columbine. One species of wildflower seems to thrive each year. Two years ago, owl clover was everywhere. I would never have guessed Columbine to be widespread without a major water source, but it is lightly scattered for several miles.

The other oddity was the lack of hikers anywhere except the initial ascent up Elden, one group on Oldham, a family of three doing a Snowbowl-to-Elden shuttle run, and maybe two isolated hikers. The upper trails were 95+% mtn bike tracks, hiker footprints were rare. Wild savers pretending to be hikers were absent.

The hike eased into afternoon sprinkles and refreshing breezes!
Flora
Flora
Wood's Rose
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
perhaps moderate to some; heavy side of light fits better
_____________________
- joe
HAZ Member
joebartels'
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