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Butterfield Gadsen Flycatcher Loop, AZ
mini location map2023-02-24
44 by photographer avatartibber
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Butterfield Gadsen Flycatcher Loop, AZ 
Butterfield Gadsen Flycatcher Loop, AZ
Hiking7.28 Miles 645 AEG
Hiking7.28 Miles   3 Hrs   24 Mns   2.31 mph
645 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout | Pop | Map | Popup | MapDEX
I had heard there was quite the wildflower show on this loop (Coldwater to Butterfield - Gadsen - Flycatcher (NOT marked on the park map, it is a shortcut to the other southeast side of Gadsen) - Gadsen - Butterfield to Coldwater) so I decided to make the 45 minute drive. I was surprised how busy the traffic was for 1 in the afternoon on a Thursday. Another side note, I was surprised to see several large new home build areas.
I had hoped for filtered skies but I got that big blue mass. Google maps tried to take me to the Arena area without going into the park. You have to go into the Park and then drive to the parking area just as you turn toward the Arena. There is a plastic outhouse next to the TH.

I reveiwed the map and took off on the Coldwater Trail but when I got to the Butterfield Trail that crosses over the Coldwater, I went the wrong way. As I neared the Arena I realized my error but since I decided I wanted to use the restroom, it worked out well. I started over and this time turned east on the Butterfield Trail. One of the first flowers you see enmasse is the Bladderpod; especially on the hillside to your front and right. I initially saw it as I entered the park and thot it was Stinknet but thankfully, it is not. The Bladderpod was mostly on this part of the Butterfield and once you hit the Gadsen, it subsided. Interspersed within the areas of Bladderpod were tall Scorpionweed and Lupine.

Once I turned on to Gadsen Trail the poppy show began :) . It too had co-stars of Scorpionweed and Lupine. And once again, there was another hillside covered with the Poppies. T there was also large patches of the co-stars, although I did a terrible job of photographing them. I think I may have my focus box set too bright so my pictures suffered from this which is a shame. Nonetheless, I did take a lot of movies. Eventually the trail goes south around a long wash before you cross down and over to the other side to continue. At the south end of the wash the trail you reach an intersection where you can take the fairly new Flycatcher Trail and you start veering to the south and east.

I would encounter about four bike riders along this stretch. I haven't seen another hiker since near the beginning of the Butterfield Trail and I wouldn't encounter another for most of the hike until I got near the other side of the Butterfield. This little stretch going up along a hillside is filled with flowers but what astonished me were the London Rocket. They were huge and covered part of the side of the hill. It looks awful. I continued slightly upward, not really confident of where I was going but knew that I could still turn around.

Once I got to the saddle I started heading down a slightly curved trail and it kept going down and down and I'm thinking, I sure hope the trail goes both ways (east-west) when I get to the bottom so I don't have to come back up this hill. Alas, it did just that as the Gadsen then goes both ways and I headed west. Here you get to walk in and out of a wash for awhile which was pretty cool. I would encounter some nice poppy displays and more Scorpionweed too so that was fun. Eventually I made it to the junction with the Butterfield where the Gadsen continues to the southwest and later has juctions with a couple other trails so it's easy to extend this hike from here. I, however, was on a wildflower hike.

The Butterfield Trail continues west for a bit before switching north after the junction with the Dysart Trail. So once again, you can extend this hike as Dysart hooks up with Tooth Haker and still gets you back to the TH at Coldwater. There were still smatterings of wildflowers but just not to the "enmasse" level. Goodyear Airport appears to be pretty busy as I heard and saw lots of small aircraft. As I headed north I wasn't sure which saddle I would be heading toward. It would be the saddle to the west. You have a slight incline and for me, it was in the shade. The shade really made Lupine Corner stand out, WOW was that something.

Heading over the hill and down I encountered the only other hiker I would see. There were patches of wildflowers here and there. I once again, tried to figure out where the trail was going and I did figure correctly that we would meet up with the Gadsen on the other side of the hill. As I got closer to the start of the Butterfield Trail, the late afternoon sun made this area with Bladderpod really stand out. It grows on both sides of the trail so it was really fun. By this time I had Huckleberry Beer on my mind so I just wanted to get back to Tonto. The hike took longer than I thot because of all the photo and movie taking. Videos are pending.

HAZel 3:24/15 min break/2.31MPH
WATCH 1:44-5:08PM/3:24/1014-1385 elevation. 127 avg bpm/152 max burning 1226 calories. Temp was a lovely 62.5 sunny and 39% humidity.

I last hiked this Park in March 2008. It was an interesting read for me fourteen years later
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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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