Now that I am in Arizona with a two hour time difference, in order to keep to Central time zone hours, I have to start my workday at 6:00am, which sounds pretty dreadful, especially when I have early morning conference calls. But the plus side of that means I can stop at 3:00pm. This leaves me with four and a half hours of glorious daylight to burn, and I can’t think of a better place to burn it than Prescott! What a gold mine of trails offering opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and perfect spring-like weather!
If one gets bored with the “movie set beauty” of Watson Lake, there is its twin, Willow Creek Reservoir just on the other side of the highway. Just like Watson Lake, it offers a giant granite boulder field at one end, and a more gentle, sloping path at the other end.
I really love climbing and scrambling around on these granite boulders, but invariably, I end up taking a path to the top, then turning around to find my way back, only to discover I have lost the “easy way down.” And I’ve got the holes in my favorite hiking pants to prove it! So both Watson Lake and Willow Reservoir offer the left-brained, analytical thinker’s DREAM! A “connect the dots” hiking trail through the boulders! (Is that a collective groan I hear from the creative section?)
It was so much fun following the dots through this maze of boulders, up and down like a walking roller coaster, knowing I didn’t have to worry about having to leap some giant chasm to get back down.
I did the 5.7 mile loop trail around Willow Creek Reservoir as the sun was starting to set, armed with a flashlight, knowing I could do the “flats” after dark if I had to. It was a rare treat to have the luxury of such a long hike after the work day.
I bought me a new hiking/biking pack while I was in Phoenix. My 15 year old Hydrapak sprung a leak (more like a gusher in my hiking shoes) and they no longer make a replacement “bladder.” I had a nice larger Osprey, but it was better suited for overnighters, as I have been known to stuff a change of clothes in it to last for three hiking days. 😉 So I needed a small pack just big enough to hold enough drinking water, food, and a few “self rescue” necessities for an all day hike.
I ended up with the Osprey Verve 9 in a lovely shade of purple. (It also comes in Platinum Grey, but I like to stand out on the trail to make the job easy for the search and rescue team. 😉 I like it because it was made for women, so the straps are cut wider across the chest, if you get my drift. I also like it because it is low profile, curved to the back, so it stays in place and doesn’t shift when scrambling. And the best part is, it holds a full 3 liters in a reservoir that is interchangeable with my larger Osprey, should I spring another leak. Since I am a typically a solo hiker, I like practicing “the rule of thirds” when it comes to water…a third out, a third back, and a third for emergencies. If you are looking for a good day pack that holds a larger volume of water, this is a very nice, comfortable pack. It even has a clip for a bike helmet.
Not only does Prescott offer a variety of interesting hiking trails, but there was also a “rails to trails” option as well, the six mile Peavine Trail. I never miss an opportunity to ride a nice and easy rail trail! 😉
I also bought some new bike tires while I was in Phoenix. My 15 year old Trek bike still had the original tires, which were looking a bit “crusty” and starting to go flat. The salesman kept trying to sell me some bald tires, but my bike is a hybrid, so I insisted on having some tread, especially since I am still nursing some scabs from a spin-out at Big Bend. So they talked me into getting these “foldable” tires. I had never seen a folding bike tire before, but they assured me they would hold up to the abuse that comes with being transported cross-country on the back of the Tracker spare tire mount.
The trail follows the former Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway corridor, built for use back in the copper mining days. It starts out along riparian reserve for the first couple of miles, then passes through the Granite Dells where the original tracks were cut through the steep rock clusters. A historical photo posted along the trail shows the 100 year old identical view, with the train passing through the Dells where the P&E Junction Passenger depot once stood.
The Peavine Trail was another great outlet for after-work fun. The new tires withstood the test, though as my blogger buddy Mark would say, the ride was a bit “stiff.” I either need to let some of the air out of the tires or get a new seat; otherwise the next “Tales from the Trail” will be about a sore tail!