October 30, 2016, New River-
I set out a bit earlier today, than last weekend, and the the traffic between Prescott and Table Mesa Road was decidedly sparser, this time. The above photograph, taken at the South Fork of Agua Fria River, reflects the calmness I found today.
There was plenty of activity, especially in the river beds. As I came down off the second ridge, to the nearly dry South Fork, a man was teaching his daughter how to negotiate boulders and sand, in the course of off-road exploration. She thought better of trying to go over a two-foot ledge, and he certainly didn’t push the matter. It was a successful lesson, and I encountered them again, at the Agua Fria itself, some twenty minutes later. There, the challenge was deep sand, but they again prevailed.
The river and its tributaries are the main features of Williams Mesa Trail, which is the western half of the Little Pan Loop. I stuck with Williams Mesa Trail, going to and from, as it was clearly marked, as opposed to the actual north link to the eastern Little Pan Trail, which I will explore from the south link, on my next trip to Table Mesa Road.
Here are several photos of the afternoon’s offerings.
Below is a view of the Agua Fria, from a southern ridge. Notice how dry it’s been, this past month.
The limestone and granite ledges offer a convenient set of steps, up the ridge towards Williams Mesa.
Before that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the blissful peace of the pools along the river bed.
Above, is a view of the unnamed mesa that I viewed from Cottonwood Gulch, on a hike from Black Canyon City, last spring. It drew me, with a sense that there is a goodly amount of spiritual energy there. I certainly felt energized, after sitting among some rocks that had broken off from the mesa, and offer themselves as a resting place.
I spent about twenty minutes here, writing in my BCT journal. From there, it was back towards the Agua Fria. The junction with the east Little Pan Trail was not in evidence.
This marker appears to be turn-around point of some kind, though, and it was fairly easy to get back on the Williams Mesa route, and the Agua Fria.
Looking closely at the river pool, one can see the thick algae that results from the water standing too long.
Cacti are certainly resourceful, as is this one, which look like a tongue sticking out of the rock.
Look closely above, and note two Monarch butterflies, feeding.
Here is another take on the late afternoon appearance of South Fork, Agua Fria.
A small family of cattle were enjoying the leavings from a pumpkin smashing party, that had apparently taken place, last night.
No good morsel is left behind, in the Sonoran Desert.
So ended my 7.6 mile hike along Williams Mesa Trail, on a pleasantly overcast afternoon.