One Good Loop Deserves Another

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April 7, 2019-

A week or so ago, one of Arizona’s premier hiking columnists, Mare Czinar, wrote of a new trail, branching in elliptical fashion off the Prescott Circle Trail, which I have hiked and chronicled, in the past three years.

A group called “The Over-The-Hill Gang”, loosely named for a Western movie set of characters, has taken it upon themselves to build this, and other new trails, as well as maintain older trails in the area.  I value their efforts.

The West Loop Trail begins at a large, new parking area:  White Rock.  Prior to this, those who wanted to hike in the region west of Thumb Butte had to leave their cars parked just off the road, or into the brush.  White Rock is a decent compromise, between “no footprint” activists and those who object to cars clogging the side of the well-traveled recreational road.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The West Trail’s initial segment is .5 mile in length.  It features several granite and limestone boulder formations, so despite its brevity and flatness, this small sector is worthy of keeping one’s eyes open.  I reassured a tired little guy, doing the home stretch with his parents, that he was almost done.  It was nice to see that kept him going, instead of having Mom or Dad carry him.

The boulder fields are off-trail, thus making for a quick, easy start.

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As with any large number of rocks, the imagination can show a given boulder to have a human or animal likeness.  I see the boulder in the background as George Washington.

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Poking out from between two boulders is a charred tree limb, with the likeness of an angry snake.

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These sandstone boulders are laid out, almost looking like segments of a large worm.  It was about here, that I turned left, onto the Javelina Trail, a part of Prescott Circle.

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I took a brief rest at this spot, writing in my hiking journal, as to the ambiance of the place. I had the trail to myself, much of the time, with the preponderance of other users being bicyclists, whose presence is most always fleeting.  I step to the side for them, as downhill and flatland find cyclists going at a fast clip and uphill involves their huffing and puffing.

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Here, I see another giant watchman, in the center of this scene.

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This clump of boulders is another fine spot for sitting and meditating.

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“Little Italy” is a side trail, which I will investigate on another hike.

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This abandoned corral was part of a small ranch in the area, prior to the National Forest being established.  The rancher moved away, before the Forest took over.

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All that is left of his home is this chimney.  It seems to have been used as an outdoor oven.

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The reason for his choice of home is simple:  Here is the South Fork of Willow Creek.

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From the creek, the path becomes Firewater Trail.  A brief climb takes us past this stern eagle-like formation.

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Back on the flat trail, a dead alligator juniper resembles a welcoming totem pole.

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At the junction of Firewater Trail and the homestretch of West Trail, a clever OTHG member placed this trail marker.

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Surrounding peaks make their presence known, along the West Trail.  To the southeast, is Thumb Butte.

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To the north is majestic Granite Mountain.

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Working around a family who had come to this panoramic viewpoint for photos, I got this shot of the San Francisco Peaks.  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After taking a photo of the three family members together, I headed down the last half mile.  Just before the parking lot, I came upon this little “critter”.

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My left knee and cardiopulmonary system thank me for this afternoon- and I extend that thanks to the Over-The-Hill-Gang and the U.S. Forest Service.  It’s good to feel like old times.

The Road to 65, Mile 351: Marmalade Chicken and Old Bullwhacker

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November 14, 2015, Prescott- The nice thing about most Saturdays is that they tend to be the most open-ended day of the week.  Today, for example, gave me a chance for a haircut, though not to visit the Farmer’s Market.

The trade-off came with the commemoration of one of our greatest Holy Days:  The anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah.  As I explained a day or so ago, we Baha’is now observe this Day in tandem with the anniversary of the Birth of Al-Bab.  The spiritual power of these “twin” Holy Days has yet to be seen by humanity-at-large, but it is felt by me, and millions of others around the world.

About twenty-five of us gathered at the home of a retired physician and a retired pharmacist.  We shared the account of Baha’u’llah’s early life and several prayers, then enjoyed yet another fine Persian repast, prepared by the ladies.  Among the particular delights were two types of chicken:  Rosemary and marmalade.  These give me two more ideas for the crock pot, this winter.  Lamb meatballs were also delectable, but it would take me lots more practice to get those done right.

After tarrying and conversing with my fellows-in-faith, a bit longer than usual on a beautiful afternoon, I headed home, changed clothes, and course, hitting the trail on Segment 7 of Prescott Circle Trail.  The northern half of this segment occupied me from 3-6:30 P.M., and takes in about 4.5 miles, between Watson Lake and State Highway 69.

The area is one in which I have driven several times a week, while glancing over at the wilderness between several industrial parks and one of our major shopping plazas.  Today, I got to walk that wilderness.  Largely scrub oak forest and tall grass, it traverses an old city landfill, now home to a medium-sized herd of deer, and a pristine valley, looking somewhat like a bowl, carved by two creeks, over thousands of years. Here are some shots of the northern half of Segment 7.

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This is a southern extension of the Peavine Trail, part of the Rails-to-Trails Project.  It follows an underpass at the junction with Prescott Lakes Boulevard, the connector road from northeast Prescott to State Highway 69.

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This scene, and the next one, are atop the former Prescott landfill, now left to area wildlife, and their admirers.

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                                            This crushed rock bed serves as a drainage medium.

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  Coming down off the landfill site, I crossed this dry wash, then went past the Yavapai County Justice Center,  a juvenile court.  There was no activity there, today.

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                  Several bicyclists shared the trail with me today, coming quickly downhill, into washes like this.

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This area, west of a WalMart, of all things, is as quiet and unassuming as any woodland in Prescott National Forest, some three miles further south.

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        From the ridge above the “bowl” seen above, I had this view of the hazy hills to the west and northwest.

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                        Atop Old Bullwhacker Hill, I saw the southern half of Segment 7.

At the foot of Old Bullwhacker, I found another copse of trees and a dry creek bed, between two shopping centers.

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This trail leads to a culvert, through which one may pass under the busy AZ Highway 69.

As I was wending my way back to the Peavine Parking Lot, I got a call from Aram, filling me in on some news from his end.  After a ten-minute conversation, I looked down and saw this little affirmation, from the Universe.

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