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Sandy’s Canyon/Fisher Point Day Hike
August 23, 2014
by Dave French
  GPS Map 
Ten hearty Trailblazers at the rim of Sandy’s Canyon.
Gary M., Sana, Mark, Heather, Gary G., Scott, Gabrielle, Monika, Linda

Ten hearty hikers arrived at the Canyon View Campground on the north side of Lake Mary Road, six miles east of I-17. The Forest Service made a change since the last time this trip leader had been there. Instead of driving through the campground to trailhead parking, we had to park in a smaller lot near the road and walk through the campground. No problem, just a change. We got started about 9:00 AM in very nice cool weather. There were clouds to the north near the San Francisco Peaks and over Flagstaff and scattered clouds all around. Given the rainy week we had statewide, the clouds always make one worry. However, on this day, the rain held off and we had perfect weather for hiking.

Mt. Elden from Canyon View.
What a gorgeous morning for a hike!
It’s been raining around here.
The Arizona Trail is that-a-way.

We started across the plateau to the canyon rim and stopped for a group photo with the rock climbing area in the background. Mount Elden was clear in the distance with clouds around it. Due to the week of rains, the trail was damp but for the most part firm and nice. No dust and no cracks in the earth. We did encounter a few muddy spots.

Dave knows the way.
    We descended into Sandy’s Canyon where we intersected the Arizona Trail, then followed the trail to the north to the meadow area where Sandy’s Canyon meets Walnut Canyon to the east.

We had planned to hike up to Fisher Point. After a brief misdirection from the trip leader, we arrived at the turnoff to Fisher Point and began the 500 foot climb to the overlook. Here we enjoyed the views looking down on the canyon we just left, and across the plateau. We stopped long enough for another group photo and a snack.

We proceeded back down the Fisher Point trail and then turned left toward Walnut Canyon. The wild flowers, green grass, spectacular rock shapes and colors made a beautiful area to hike in. We stopped briefly at the “cave” at the entrance to Walnut Canyon and then proceeded to the large cave. We explored the cave with flashlights but could not get anyone to venture into the “Quy” hole which leads to a smaller access point to the cave. Quy had lead a group of hikers through the crawl passage when we did this hike in 2011.

The canyon bottom is a flowery meadow.
Summer blossoms brighten our passage.
“Taste” this mushroom with my camera?
Lush vegetation in Walnut Canyon. [photo by Gary]
Leader points to the wrong trail. [photo by Gary]
Sandy’s Canyon from Fisher Point. [photo by Gary]
We have a grand overview above Fisher Point.
Mark, Scott, Gary M., Linda, Monika, Gabrielle, Sana, Gary G., Heather
San Francisco Peaks from Fisher Point. [photo by Gary]
Do you suppose there are any bears in the cave?
Now this bears some looking into ...
Ancient ladder for the Anasazi?

We spread out to various sitting places and had lunch. Scott and Heather decided to venture on eastward into the canyon but promised to be back by 12:30. They arrived on time and we started the trek back toward the trailhead. All ten hikers remained together throughout the hike, which makes it a lot easier on the trip leader. Thanks! We did not even have to turn on our club radios so we saved the batteries.

View to east from Fisher Point.
[photo by Gary]
Hikers approach cave at entrance to Walnut Canyon. [photo by Gary]
Trailblazers enjoy the perfect picnic.
Summer flowers cheer us in Sandy’s Canyon.
Asters add color to the canyon. [photo by Gary]
Don’t let go!

After we climbed out of Sandy’s Canyon and hiked back along the rim, the group agreed that we still had a little energy left so we took the side trip to the rock climbing area. According to the sign it was an additional 0.8 miles round trip. All in all we traveled about 9.2 miles with an elevation change of about 700 feet. We arrived where we parked the cars about 2:00 PM.

Enjoying our repast at the Taverna Greek Grill.

After the usual changing of shirts and shoes and having a drink, we proceeded to Taverna Greek Grill in Flagstaff for drinks and light meals. All in all it was a very pleasant hike and great association with great hikers. We even signed up a new member. Welcome Sana!

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 25, 2014