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Dry Lake Hills Overlook
September 16, 2017
by Ted Tenny
Ted’s    GPS Map 
Lance’s  GPS Map
Lance’s  Statistics
April, Lance, Marilyn, Chris, Shelby

Six sagacious Trailblazers set out from Sunset Trailhead on a cool, sunny morning. We hiked the Schultz Loop Trail and the Little Gnarly Trail up to the meadow in the Dry Lake Hills, and kept going south to the overlook.

There are many unmarked junctions where trails and roads branch off. Two are noteworthy:

1.  The thin trail leading east across the meadow and down to the Brookbank Trail. Fortunately a bicyclist was riding on the trail when we first saw it.
2. The two-track trail leading northwest and probably down to join the Arizona Trail at Schultz Creek. When Ted was scouting this hike he walked a half mile down that trail, then turned around and came back.
We’ve found an interesting plant on the way up.
A trail goes southwest over the Dry Lake Hills toward the overlook. [photo by April]
Horned toad. [photo by April]
What kind of critter was this? [photo by Lance]
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia - Tansyaster [April]
Yes, we’re going this way. [photo by April]

The overlook is on top of the Rocky Ridge. It provides a panoramic view of the western part of Flagstaff and of Mt. Elden. The Rocky Ridge Trail is down below us.

Lance, Shelby, Chris, Marilyn, and Ted at the overlook. [photo by April]
Trailblazers enjoy the overlook: Marilyn, April, Shelby, Lance, Chris
Trailblazers enjoy the overlook: Ted, April, Shelby, Marilyn, Lance [photo by Chris]
“You see, it’s this way,” Shelby explains to Lance.
What a view! [photo by Marilyn]
Mt. Elden is off to the east.
No, I don’t bite. I’m a cloud.

After leaving the overlook, I took everyone back to the unmarked junction with the trail going east across the meadow. After explaining the route again, I enjoyed a leisurely walk back to Sunset Trailhead, stopping to snap pictures here and there.

Agassiz Peak rises above the forest.
Bashful baby elephant.
Penstemon barbatus - Beardlip Penstemon
Lupinus sparsiflorus - Coulter’s Lupine
Amauriopsis Dissecta - Ragleaf Bahia
Verbascum thapsus - Common Mullein
Symphyotrichum falcatum var. commutatum -
White Aster
Senicio flaccidus var. douglasii -
Threadleaf Groundsel
Erigeron divergens - Spreading Fleabane

Special thanks to Lance Ware for leading the longer portion of this hike!

Supplemental Report
by Lance Ware

As they say, not everything goes according to plan. This was true in the case of our hike. After a lovely morning walking through pine and aspen forests, across open meadows, and up to a point overlooking the Flagstaff area, the five of us parted company with Ted and set out to hike the Brookbank and Sunset Trails. Ted had given us maps and detailed instructions and sent us on our way. However we all somehow missed the first turnoff for the Brookbank Trail.

Helianthus annuus - Sunflower [photo by Lance]
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia - Tansyaster [Lance]
Here’s the sign. [photo by Marilyn]
After a while I realized we may have gone past it and backtracked a ways for a second look. I must not have gone quite far enough because I still did not spot it. We continued on down the steep rocky trail, thinking maybe the junction was farther along. After about a half mile it became apparent that we were heading the wrong way, taking the lower portion of the Brookbank Trail when we needed to be on the upper.

We turned back, and coming up from that direction the sign for the trail turnoff was very easy to see. How we all had missed it we didn’t know, but it was probably because we were so intently concentrating on our feet during the slippery descent.

At that point we decided we had used up too much time on our unintended detour to go forward with the original route, so we backtracked, taking a slightly different way to a tank out in the meadow.

Yes, there’s water in the pond. [photo by Lance]
These dogs like to chase sticks in the water. [photo by Chris]
Axl and Kooky. [photo by Lance]
Ferns and rocks. [photo by Lance]

There was a man sitting beside the pond with two dogs, Axl and Kooky. We took a break on the shore, snacking and playing with the dogs, who would eagerly chase a stick thrown into the water. Then we found our way back to the main trail and arrived at the trailhead where Ted was waiting for us. It was a beautiful day and a fun hike even though it didn’t turn out completely as intended.


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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 17, 2017