Friday, August 22, 2014
Our last trip for the summer - it feels so weird to be saying that! We're not terribly disappointed that it's over though, Curtis is excited to be learning in classes again, and we have more trips planned for the fall that we are eager to start preparing for! And of course, the weather is only going to get nicer down here, and we're excited to start doing more hiking.
Anyway, to celebrate the end of summer, we drove up to Prescott to go camping, do some hiking, and enjoy the beautiful weather. Just about an hour North of Phoenix, Prescott had highs in the 70's this weekend, and we were able to enjoy 2 beautiful long hikes that were lovely in ways we didn't expect.
To get there, we took the I-10 West through Phoenix, then took the new and pleasantly quiet 303 highway North to highway 60, up to Wickenburg where we did a little letterboxing. Everything after the I-10 was new roads to us which means we got to draw new lines in our atlas. :)
We stopped for a box South of Wickenburg, then took the 60 West a little ways outside to do a little hiking in the Vulture Mountains. It was a little warm, but really not too unpleasant for a 2 mile round trip hike. In the above picture, Vulture Peak is on the left. We only made it as far as some lower peaks before it (which I believe are more to the left of the peak and can't be seen in this picture.)
After hiking up a steep incline, we made it to the little peak and found the box. It's hard to tell the depth in this picture, but the view was worth it and the sky made it even better.
Vulture Peak is peeking at us! We had said that if it wasn't much more of an incline to the top we could try doing the whole 4 mile hike, but this really wasn't anywhere near as high as that, and we still had lots of plans for today!
Us! I don't think our pictures here can compare to last week's at Chiricahua, but I really enjoy trying to get creative using auto-timer rather than taking selfies all the time!
Curtis the cactus hugger :) We were impressed with how tall this one was! (I'm standing uphill from the cactus, Curtis is level with it and he's 6'3" if that gives you an idea of how great it was!)
We went a little further out of our way to see the Vulture City ghost town - rated as one of the top 2 ghost towns in AZ. There was a lot of gold mining around this area. We only drove past it to check it out. We read that they have tours on Saturdays. Maybe another time. :)
After this we drove North on 89 to Prescott. We stopped near Congress to get a box and see the Frog Rock. Can you see it?
Up close - the Frog Rock! It's been painted to look like this since 1928! The story goes that a homesteader's wife, Sara Perkins, saw this rock and decided that it looked like a frog, so she painted it green, and the town of Congress has kept it up to this day.
Driving on 89 North - about to drive through these mountains!
We gained quite a bit of elevation - here in the above picture, we are about as far East as the roads got through the mountains. The picture is facing East.
Once we made it around to the North side of the mountains, there were trees! Here we're driving through the Prescott National Forest. We drove to our campsite in the National Forest and set up camp. It was predicted to be a great night for camping, and the White Spar campground is a wonderful place to camp!
After setting up the tent, we drove through Prescott to get to the trailhead for our hike that night. The downtown district was lovely, but since it was very busy this Friday night, we decided to go walk around early Saturday morning.
We drove to Watson Lake and took the Peavine trail, which goes alongside the lake. The trail is very well maintained and ideal for walking or biking. There's also a lakeside trail that is a bit more strenuous and branches off from the Peavine trail, and if we would have known about how beautiful this place was we would have planned more time to explore.
If you Google images of Prescott, you'll probably see pictures like this pop up. We had seen it, but didn't really look into where we could find it, and were very pleasantly surprised when we found that we were walking right toward this beauty!
Us - the picture is a little blurry (silly rock wouldn't sit still?) but I still like it. This place was amazing!
Closer up of the rocks
Back on the trail
The Birds of Lake Watson
There were a few letterboxes along the trail that we were able to get. Of course I needed more pictures of us though as well. :)
It's a good thing I didn't look down and to my right because…
…after I went and retrieved my camera, I came and found that this sucker had been right next to me! That would have made a pretty funny picture though. :)
Heading back to our truck after finding boxes and loving this walk. Well, right up until we ran into these bikers and they pointed out a rattlesnake to us. Ahhhh! Our 2nd one seen in the wild. I think I'm done with the wild now. ;)
After this, we went out for dinner, then headed back to our campsite where we went over the events of the day and played a few games of Bonanza. Minus the beetle and rattlesnake, it was a great day. :)
Found 5 letterboxes, walked around 5 miles.