What happened to fall? We began cooling off, and then the heat returned. Ugh! Thankfully, the weather is quite different up North. We were on a mission to see some fall color for Mom, and she found a hike we haven’t done before through aspen groves. Seemed perfect!
The hike is called the Aspen Loop Trail near Flagstaff, and the easiest way to get to it is to program in 9300 N. Snowbowl Road into your GPS. This will take you directly to the parking lot for the trail (on your left). Parking is free, but it does not have any human restrooms. The drive is about 2 ½ hours from North Phoenix.
We are definitely noticing more traffic, and we will be glad when the I-17 corridor ADOT project is completed. You never know from day to day what kind of closures they will have. We suggest you pack an extra measure of patience.
Unfortunately, the winds kicked up the day before, and it blew most of the leaves off the trees. Mom was bummed, but the area is still quite pretty. Note: During ski season, the parking lot will be packed with skiers! As it was, we weren’t the only ones hoping to see some Arizona fall colors.
The trail is a 2.7-mile loop, which I wasn’t up for that day. My poor ankle keeps bothering me more and more. I’m not happy about it as I still want to go longer distances. Alas, we settled for shorter hikes. I’m just grateful to have a family who takes me out in the fresh air…and boy, was the air crisp! The forecast called for temperatures in the 60s, but it did not get out of the 40s. I was fine with my dandy fur coat, but Mom and Dad did not bring enough layers.
The wind was still blowing, and it ripped right through the humans. They tried really hard not to complain because they have been so hot down in the valley. As promised, this trail is immediately in a grove of aspen trees, and we could only imagine how amazing the color would be during the peak season.
Most of the trees were bare, but we did manage to find a few spots of yellows. You have a choice to go left or right, and we chose to the right as it wasn’t as steep. We didn’t do the full loop, but I think we went 1.5 miles total. Plenty for me and my bum foot.
I got to meet several other dogs on our way back. Everyone was polite, doing the sniff and swirl with no lingering. That’s just rude. Since the trail head was busy, we thought we would continue driving on the 180 to find a quiet spot for a picnic. We ended up at Kendrick Watchable Wildlife, which we have been to in the winter to snowshoe. We’ve never been here without snow.
The Watchable Wildlife trail parking lot will be on your left and is awesome. We encourage you to hike it with or without snow. You will see all sorts of birds, mule deer, porcupines, antelope, and maybe even elk. Parking here is free, and they do have human restrooms.
Just as we pulled in, two ambulances parked in the lot. Apparently, a person got hurt at the Grand Canyon, and they transport them only as far as this parking lot. Then, someone from Flagstaff has to come to get them and take them to a hospital in town. Yowsa! The moral of the story is to never get hurt at the Grand Canyon. We said a prayer for them.
Dad brought chairs and a table, and we set up with views of the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks. Yes, the mountains already got some snow up north! Everything was perfect except for the wind. It picked up speed and dropped the temperatures even further. Mom was freezing! She packed a nice lunch, but they didn’t really enjoy it. Dad put everything back in the truck, and we left. As I’ve said before, you never know how adventures will go. Sometimes they are just like you planned, and other times, well, you just go with the flow.
As Dad drove, Mom got her cell out and searched for fall activities in the area. First Southern Baptist Church at 951 N. Switzer Canyon Drive popped up, and it was on our way home. Their Fall Festival was free, including food if you wanted. We just had lunch, so we were good. They had music, face painting, and games for kids. Doggos were welcome, and I got to say hi to a pot-belly pig and meet a turkey for the first time. We were surprised how big he was…and noisy!
We didn’t stay long, but everyone was friendly. This was a nice stop before driving back home. Mowgli was waiting for us, and I told him all about our day. We will try the Aspen Loop Trail next year but earlier in the season in hopes of catching the foliage. Have a great day!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!