The previous day’s ascent of Bill Williams took a bit out of me. That, coupled with a slightly worse weather forecast, meant the planned hike up Kendrick peak was not going to happen. Instead, I opted to summit Mt. Elden, which is all of 10 minutes from my friend’s house.
I grabbed a biscuit from McDonald’s and ate it while I finished getting ready. If you have ever driven through Flagstaff and seen the tall mountain right in town, that is Mt. Elden. The parking lot was almost full when we got there at 7:30.
The trail starts off fairly gently before the steep ascent to the summit. My friend’s husband decided to join me. He had hiked it years ago and wanted to try again. But about a mile in, he looks down to discover the soles of his hiking boots have separated. I dug out my duct tape to hold them together enough for him to return to the trailhead and call his wife. One of the benefits of an in-town hike with cell service! I then set off.
I was extra mindful that I was at altitude and kept a measured pace. This trail was much rockier than Bill Williams. A friend described this hike as like doing Viejas Mountain but 3x harder. I can attest that is about right.
The trail would work its way up the steep slope, switching back and forth. Hikers would pass me returning from the summit and a couple would pass me on their ascent. I would stop from time to time to catch my breath and to take in the view.
Soon, the lookout tower and all the other towers came into view. I found a shady spot and just sat there for a while. Once I had recovered, I wandered around the summit. The views were spectacular. I could see Kendrick to the northwest and Humphrey to the north. Clouds were starting to build, so I was glad to have changed up my plans. I found both reference marks and the benchmark.
I had made the summit in 2:30, and after about 30 minutes at the top I knew it was time to head down. Given the steep rocky nature of the trail, I did not expect to gain much time like I had on Bill Williams. I stopped a few times to chat with folks making their way up. Finally the 1/2 mile to go sign appeared and the end was in sight. It had gotten a tad warm, but a strong breeze offset that. All told I recorded this hike at 5.4 miles. It took me 5:02 to climb the 2,397 feet to the summit.
I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest.