November 22, 2022, Grapevine- A 1:45 a.m. wake-up, for a 3:15 shuttle, leading to a 7:15 flight from Phoenix to Dallas-Fort Worth, is not on my frequent travel schedule. It is also far from the hardest of itineraries, as I imagine any veteran of a Belem to Manaus to Leticia packet boat trip along the Amazon, or a joyride from Punta Arenas to the Ross Peninsula, or even a trek to the summit of one of the great peaks of the Himalaya, Andes or Northern Rockies, would attest.
It is, however, something I have mastered, along with nine other travelers, who joined me in packing a van that made it in perfect time, from the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (where a twenty-minute search of three stops yielded the two travelers sought.) There was scant traffic, once two more passengers boarded the shuttle, in Prescott Valley and Groome’s driver got us to Sky Harbor on time.
Other than a few uptight, suspicious people in an airport coffee shop, and in my row on the plane itself, there were no hiccups between Phoenix and my secondary home. I retrieved my luggage fairly quickly and took my first ride in a Tesla. The car is not quirky; I’ll say that much, and the time may well come when the brand has no more association with Fascism than does a Volkswagen. It rides very smoothly.
Now it’s time to relax, get rid of the rest of the cold that has bothered me-along with 3/4 of the people I know in Arizona- and bask in my little family’s presence.
October 11, 2015, Prescott- The air was a bit warmer and drier today- 82, in mid-afternoon. I had two gallons of water with me, so after tending to chores and visiting with friends, I headed out for the second installment of Prescott Circle. This jaunt took me from Pioneer Park Ballfield, through a stretch of Gambel’s oak and juniper pine forest, on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, to Willow Lake, a man-made reservoir that is lined by cottonwood trees. The lake area used to be the site of a Sinagua settlement, when Willow Creek was freely-flowing and there was plentiful game in the nearby Willow Dells, a western extension of the granite boulders that abound in northeast Prescott.
Now, one must go underneath the busy thoroughfare of Willow Creek Road, and cross two dirt fill yards, to get from the Embry-Riddle Preserve to the marshland that is drying up, south of Willow Lake. I have hiked out to the lake shore, and had to walk logs, in order to hike the 1 1/2 mile round trip on Cottonwood Peninsula Spur Trail. Today, the lake was a shadow of itself. Hopefully, late Fall and Winter will bring a wet change.
Here are some views of the scenes I encountered, going all the way to the Willow Dells parking area., a distance of 8.8 miles, round trip.
There are frequent maps, by which to chart one’s progress. This one was at the turnaround point of my hike.
Here is the entrance to Cottonwood Peninsula Spur Trail.
Here is a shallower Willow Lake, at the Dells.