Hiking- I went to the trailhead for the Drinking Snake segment of Black Canyon Trail- and ended up taking the equally intriguing Forest Road 9218, informally called Townsend Butte trail, as that’s where the trail ends, overlooking the nearly deserted former mining town of Cleator.
Here are some views of the trail. This shows the Drinking Snake Trail- the one not taken today.
Next is Townsend Butte Trail, the one that made all the difference.
Some buttes and basalt outcroppings broke the desert garden views, almost nonstop Prickly Pear groves, interspersed with chaparral.
This seasonal seep from Bumble Bee Creek is called White Pond.
Approaching Townsend Butte, there are gorgeous sweeping views of the badlands leading to the Bradshaw Mountains.
Atop Townsend Butte, the views are of little Cleator, getting a new lease on life- as are several of the Black Canyon “ghost towns”. There is no direct trail down to the village from the summit, though.
It’s only 3,953 feet high, but for a brief few minutes on top of old Townsend, I felt on top of the world.
On the way back, as always, there was a heart waiting for me.
Social/Musical- The fine day was capped by a small, but lively, drum circle at the Brehmers’ home in Chino Valley. We had a fine time with sandwiches, a kale-rice dish and the rest of the chocolate cake from our friends, the Hamiltons, left over from my gathering on Thursday. Our drumming and chanting lifted each others spirits, and sent good vibes around the world, to Sochi, and everyplace in between. Looking forward to a fine Sunday!