West of Prescott, Just Below Heaven

  • On Sunday, I headed towards Wickenburg, with the express goal of climbing the town’s third anchor:  Vulture Peak, having visited Desert Caballeros Museum and Hassayampa Natural Preserve earlier this year.  Along the way down, and on the way back, I decided to give some love to the small gems that appear in the high desert.

    Here is Wilhoit, which sometimes refers to itself as “Nowhere, AZ”.


    A bt further on is Peeples Valley.


    As you might guess, Peeples Valley is a ranching town.  A man named Maughan has a number of ranching properties here, and in nearby Yarnell.

    I stopped in Yarnell for about an hour or so, to pick up a book on northern Arizona’s geology and a new ball cap, at Painted Lizard, plus check out three interesting landmarks.


    Above, and below, are views of Yarnell’s Flora Mae Ludden Memorial Park.


    Like Prescott to the northeast, Yarnell has its share of rock dells from the retreat of the glaciers.  Below are some boulders with names.




    The park where these are found is about 1/4 mile from the Shrine of St. Joseph.  This is a nondenominational shrine, featuring the Stations of the Cross.  I found walking it a deeply moving spiritual experience, though I don’t belong to a Christian church.  Christ’s Message still speaks through the ages, for those with open ears.


    Peeples Valley was named for a rancher, A.H. Peeples.  Yarnell was named for a prospector, Henry Yarnell.  I’ve found no record of Wilhoit’s namesake, as yet.

    On the way back from Wickenburg, I stopped by another little gem, this one four miles off the beaten track:  Kirkland.  Here is an old railroad hotel, restaurant and saloon, which is still very much in operation.  I had a marvelous steak dinner here, topped by a dessert called “Pecan Passion”. If you’re ever moseying around in the high desert between Wickenburg and Prescott, stop in and enjoy the hospitality of Herb and Barb Carabeo.  An extra sidelight:  The paper placemats were illustrated by a friend of ours from Clarkdale, AZ.  Her name is Ann Schnell.

    Kirkland has a small rock dell of its own.


    The village is named for William Kirkland, who also founded the city of Tempe, near Phoenix, before moving here in his later years.

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