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Schultz Creek Loop Day Hike
Flagstaff
August 8, 2009
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
group
Patrick, Michael, Jeri, Rudy, Cyd, Lisa, Sandy, Chuck

Nine nifty Trailblazers set out from Schultz Creek Trailhead on a pleasant summer day in the high country.

We’ve gone only a few steps when the first bicyclists buzz by. The Schultz Creek Trail is a favorite cycling route. We quickly become the Bicycle Dodgers, doing our agile side-step and calling out to warn each other when bikes are coming from in front of us or behind.

yellow
A busy bee visits Thread-Leaf Groundsel.
trees
Quaking aspens reach for the sky.

We cross Schultz Creek many times on the way up. The trail starts out wide and smooth, then narrows as we climb steadily along the north side of the Dry Lake Hills. We’re down out of sight of the road until we get halfway to the junction.

Lush vegetation lines the creek bed. There are colorful wildflowers and groves of quaking aspens. The aspens appear to be many trees, but they are all connected by the roots to form one living organism.

After 3 1/2 miles we arrive at a junction with an abandoned road that goes uphill to the south. It’s almost noon, so we find a shady spot with rocks and logs for picnic benches, and stop for lunch.

hikers Ted
Where are we going? Hikers confer at a trail junction, but Ted knows the way. [photo by Cyd]

Re-energized, we head for the hills – Dry Lake, that is. The bicycles are mostly gone as we make a steady climb along a streambed and up to a lovely alpine meadow.

red blue
Eye candy.   Penstemon and Lupine cheer us along the trail.

The little lake isn’t dry this time. Wildflowers are abundant, the grass is green, and we enjoy the view from this suprisingly flat clearing in the forest.

After walking out to the middle of the clearing on a side trail, we turn east to catch the Brookbank Trail and begin our steep, rocky descent to Mount Elden Lookout Road. On the way down we catch a glimpse of Mt. Elden, crowned with its forest of communication towers.

wet
The Dry Lake Hills aren’t so dry.

Our trail crosses the road twice, then connects with the Rocky Ridge Trail.

“You don’t need me for navigation any more,” Ted advises. “Go at your own pace. This trail goes west to Schultz Creek Trailhead.”

Some of the hikers hurry on ahead, but then stop to wait for the group at a junction. “It’s this way.” Everyone follows.

log
Rangers have sawn the fallen logs into to clear the trail.

The Rocky Ridge Trail stays below the ridge, but there are ups and downs as we walk westward. A pleasant afternoon breeze refreshes us.

Fallen trees are abundant along this trail. Fortunately the logs have been cut so we don’t have to detour around them.

Ted has a jug of purified ice water in his car—plenty for everyone at trail’s end on a summer day.

aster
Aster, darling, do we have much farther to go?

This hike is described in Footloose from Phoenix, by Ted Tenny, pages 273-279.

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updated November 25, 2019