Return to Wolverton Mountain

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October 10, 2017, Prescott- 

I revised my Fall Break plans, a bit, so as to attend a gathering of Slow Food-Prescott, this evening.  it’s been a while since I’ve connected with that group, and missing two other meetings that I attend on a regular basis is an act of triage, so to speak.  So, Wednesday and Thursday will find me afield.

Getting back to the subject of the title, Prescott’s Wolverton Mountain lies about a mile south of Copper Basin Road, on the west side of town.  I passed by it, a year ago, whilst hiking the main part of Prescott Circle Trail, intending to come back and hike the spur trail, on an odd afternoon.

Sunday provided that odd afternoon.  I was just about done with the post-monsoon weed pulling, in my back yard, so it was high time to get back into the woods.  Up Copper Basin I went, and found the expanded parking area at Aspen Creek Trailhead.  The trail towards White Spar is across the road, taking the hiker to the junction with Wolverton Mountain Trail, 3/4 of a mile southward.

There is a smidgen of Fall foliage to be enjoyed, near a small rock outcropping and cave that lie along a tributary of Aspen Creek.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Around a few corners and slight inclines, I located the spur trail leading to the south summit of Wolverton, after taking short bushwack to its trail-less north counterpart.  The north summit offers a fine view of Granite Mountain, always an inspiration.

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You can see that Wolverton has been ravaged by bark beetles, in recent years.  Still, there was a stand of Fall colours, nearby.

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The south summit proved a bit less impressive, but any mountain is worth exploring, at least once.  There is what appears to be a defunct watch station and water tank, carefully fenced-off.

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It was a pleasant return to the trail, anyway, and the presence of a few late bloomers added to the sense of allure.

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There are a few more local peaks, still on my radar- Hyde Peak and Pine Mountain being the most notable, and a return to Harquahala Peak, in La Paz County, beckons sometime this winter.

In the meantime, a two-day jaunt eastward will bring some treasures into view, followed by three weekends devoted to honouring the Creator and His Messengers.

 

 

Prescott Circle, Segment 3: Copper Basin to Thumb Butte Road

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April 9, 2016, Prescott- My companions today were about a dozen bicyclists, a few lone hikers, three herds of deer and birds-lots of them.  A wild turkey, or two, could be heard gobbling in the woods above Manzanita Creek- about a mile from Copper Basin Road.

With my Saturday afternoon appointment canceled, due to illness, and with a break in the storms, the trail called-loudly.  Who am I to turn down Mother Nature?

Choosing to use paved Thumb Butte Road, and one of its turnouts, as a safe place for my car, I opted to start the hike at the end point, and do the entire 10-mile round trip in an afternoon.  The jaunt took 4 1/2 hours.

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Miller Creek, near Thumb Butte Road

There are several creeks, coming off the Sierra Prieta, in this section of trail. Miller Creek is the northernmost, followed, north to south, by Butte, Aspen and Manzanita- which has the nicest little canyon in the area.

As I made my way up Porter Mountain’s northeast peak, also called Williams Peak, it was telling, just how severe the Indian Fire of 2002 was to this area, itself so close to the Granite Basin, which was later to be ravaged by 2013’s Dolce Fire.  These collective memories, compounded by the dire tragedy of Yarnell Hill (which followed Dolce by two weeks), make us here in Prescott that much more grateful for this morning’s rain- and that which is expected to follow, this coming week.

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Cloud, reaching up from base cirrus.

As if offering confirmation of my thoughts, a cirrus finger reached up from its base cloud, towards other clouds above.

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Granite Mountain, from Williams Peak

Williams Peak offers a fine vantage point for the majesty of Granite Mountain.

A pair of Arizona Woodpeckers hung around, while I was admiring the scenery, so I obliged them with a portrait.

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“Stormtrooper” Rock, Butte Creek Valley

As I headed into the Butte Creek watershed, I was watched by a Storm Trooper.

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Butte Creek Road, atop Williams Peak, Porter Mountain

The trail follows Butte Creek Road, along the flat ridge of Williams Peak, until one reaches the area known as “Hilltop”, where three trails converge.

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Thumb Butte, from Williams Peak

A clearing on Butte Creek Road afforded the best view of Thumb Butte, from the west.  It is two miles northeastward, from here.

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Butte Creek

Crossing Butte Creek, one heads into slightly more heavily forested, and somewhat more rugged, terrain.

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South Ridge, Williams Peak

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Manzanita Creek Canyon, near Dugan Camp, Copper Basin

Manzanita Creek Canyon is on my list of “picnic hike” spots, during the second half of June.  Dugan Camp, about a half mile southwest, is still an active resting place for trailer campers.

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Apparent ruin of miner’s cabin, south of Manzanita Creek

This area has been popular with campers and miners alike, especially during the heyday of Copper Basin, in the early 20th Century.

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Heart-shaped granite, near Copper Basin Road

There was another confirmation, waiting for me, close to the turnaround point, near Copper Basin Road.

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Stump, from 2002 Indian Fire

This stump stands as a silent sentinel, to warn humans of the lasting effects of careless camping and shooting.

Finally, in the spirit of Asian artists who leave a flaw in each of their works, here is a scene of one of the three herds of deer, who crossed my path on the hike back to Thumb Butte Road.

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Deer, the best wild animals for selfie poses.

Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 4:White Spar to Copper Basin- Part I

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April 5, 2016, Prescott- This past weekend, I was able to break this 6-mile section of juniper pine forest, quartz and gray granite into two hikes.  It was prudent, due to a commitment here in town, each day.  It also gave me more time to focus on the features of each part of the segment.

Saturday’s jaunt began at White Spar North Trailhead, going 3.5 miles to the junction with Quartz Mountain Trail. The entire segment is Wolverton Mountain Trail, about which more later.

Above, are three scenes at the south end of the trail.  Even this close to White Spar, there are many small fragments of pink quartz.  The trail is rather flat, for the first 2 miles or so, until past this magnificent view of a local observatory, privately-run, and of the majestic San Francisco Peaks, seventy miles northeast, as the hawk flies.  The Granite Dells may be seen, holistically, in the midground.

The East Peak of Quartz Mountain, seen in the next two frames, signals a slightly more rugged terrain.

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East Peak, Quartz Mountain

I noticed small wonders along the way, as well, including this white quartz(below) and the upper jaw bone of a hapless raccoon, which I have left out of this gallery.

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White quartz, at foot of East Peak, Quartz Mountain

This area was filled with blooming manzanita, another special treat.

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Manzanita in bloom, near Quartz Mountain

The stopping point gave me incentive for a Sunday completion of the segment, starting then from Aspen Creek Trailhead, off Copper Basin Road.  As this was done after a Sunday brunch, I was grateful for a somewhat more strenuous trail.

Here is the junction with Quartz Mountain Trail.

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Stopping place for hike on 4/2/2016