Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is one of several such trails, for multiple non-motorized use, set aside by the Bureau of Land Management. It runs about 85 miles, south to north, from Lake Pleasant Road, in north Phoenix, to an area north of Mayer, AZ.
I plan to explore the trail, a sector at a time, during the course of this year. Careful following of a recent map led me to the south trailhead of Big Bug sector, west of the small community of Spring Valley, twenty-five miles southeast of Prescott. The sector is 2.5 miles, one way, from Antelope Creek Road to Highway 69.
This sector is an easy hike, going through range land and some mild desert badlands, before crossing through an underpass at Hwy 69, and continuing on north, for a few miles. I include all sectors in this series of hikes. Some will be rather barren; others will bring out the grandeur of the Bradshaw Mountains, whose base the Trail navigates.
Here is Big Bug sector. All trails start at the parking area, these days. This one is about two miles west of Spring Valley, on Antelope Creek Road. It’s a rather busy road, popular with ATV enthusiasts and those headed up into the Bradshaws.
The Black Canyon Trail, though, is sparsely used, at least on this end. I only saw three other hikers, with their dogs.
I did have other company, though, on the rangeland.
Once past the herds, though, one could see forever.
The BLM restricts cattle to a point south of this gate.
When vegetation is sparse, one’s attention is caught by features such as lichen- which here is yellow.
Some rocks have a glossy cover.
Others are heart-shaped, letting me know I am being remembered in the Spirit World.
Up here, the village of Spring Valley is put into better perspective.
Big Bug Creek meanders in and out of the area, over five miles, east to west. The creek bed has been dry since October.
I feel comforted by cairns. Besides providing direction, they hearken back to roots which I sometimes overlook, in my day-to-day progress. This one was carefully placed, resembling a saucy cat.
Where the water is not far underground, the chapparal and other bushes keep a green eminence.
Early wildflowers have started to grace the land.
Underpass tunnels always cast an eerie glow.
This one took me under Highway 69, to the beginning of the Old Sycamore sector, which I will more properly investigate, soon.
An early dinner, at LeffT’s, one of my favourite spots in the Dewey-Humboldt area, also proferred some wisdom to me. “Old Men Rule” shared this: “The older I get, the better I was.” Of course, this was right next to a sign offering Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. That’d be quite a taste test, were I still the imbibing sort.
Hope this week turns out a sight better for all up north and east- not to mention the Deep South, which doesn’t seem either deep, or south, right around now.