Thumb Butte Loop Trail Tuesday, Jul 26 2011 

Thumb Butte

Thumb Butte

On Sunday we hiked the popular Thumb Butte Loop Trail (#33) which starts at an elevation of 5,700 feet and climbs to 6,300 feet.  We hiked counter clockwise, climbing the west side with its 9% grade and returning via the steeper eastside with its 12-18% grade.  This two mile hike features several informational signs.  According to one, “Yavapai County was historically one of the richest mining counties in the world.  Production of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, between 1880-and present, has exceeded seven billion dollars (1998 values).”  This hike provides nice vistas of the surrounding area.  Near the crest of Thumb Butte we explored a trail that is often closed to protect a peregrine falcon’s roost.

Shootout on Whiskey Row Tuesday, Jul 26 2011 

Shootout on Whiskey Row

Shootout on Whiskey Row

The 6th Annual Shootout on Whiskey Row was held in Prescott this past weekend.  The Prescott Regulators and Their Shady Ladies sponsored this event to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  This year’s historical and comedy skits were held on Cortez Street rather than Whiskey Row.  We watched the following reenactment groups who performed Saturday morning: Deguello Gunslingers, Arizona Gunslingers, Tombstone Vigilantes, and Guns and Garters.  Most of the performances were without the benefit of microphones which kept them authentic but made it difficult to catch dialog unless you were very close to thew staging area.  We departed as folks gathered for the costume party.  A quick perusal of the booths selling period clothing gave us an appreciation for the current cost of dressing in Old West garb.  The Shootout on Whiskey Row is another reason to visit Prescott, Arizona.

Little Granite Mountain Trail Monday, Jul 18 2011 

Little Granite Mtn Trail Vista

Little Granite Mtn Trail Vista

The Little Granite Mountain Trailhead (#37) is just beyond the 6 mile marker heading west from Prescott on Iron Springs Road.  This unshaded trail in open chaparral starts at an elevation of 6,050 feet and rises to 6,560 feet.  We hiked about 1.6 miles of this 4.2 mile trail, just beyond the junction with Trail #40 to Clark’s Spring.  Where we decided to turn around offers pleasant vistas and a hanging boulder formation.  Be sure to carry enough water.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park Sunday, Jul 17 2011 

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Our Out of Africa Wildlife Park experience started with a half-hour tour of the African Bush Safari’s Serngeti in a bus without windows.  A camel and giraffe systematically worked their way down a side of the bus collecting carrot sticks from visitors.  Several zebras also gathered for handouts from the guide/bus driver.  Along the way an ostrich and its giant eggs are worth a look.  Where in Africa can they be found?  A variety of horned antelope-like creatures could also be seen.  We then grabbed a tram to station 1 where we got off to walk on the dirt road and view the animals and their surroundings in the Wildlife Preserve.  There are numerous lions, tigers, and panthers as well as less African black bears, grizzlies, grey wolves, coati, and prairie dogs.  Some separate enclosures house colorful birds and large snakes.  After we cooled down with Hawaiian shaved ice and a mango smoothie, we observed the antics in the Tiger Splash Arena.  Guides and caretakers exercised Chalet, a three-year-old white tiger, with several air filled toys.  With the near 100 degree temperature, many animals were sleeping in shade.  Nevertheless, there were a few good photo opportunities.  Now we’re ready to plan for our own African safari.

Howlin’ at the Highlands Sunday, Jul 10 2011 

The second of three scheduled summer jazz concerts took place Saturday evening at the Highlands Center for Natural History Amphitheater.  Monsoon storms threatened to move the concert indoors but the decision was made to go ahead and use the outdoor amphitheater.  We were part of the fortunate sold-out crowd to be seated under the roof.  We thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of vocalist Margo Reed and the silky sultry voice of Delphine Cortez.  Prescott jazz enthusiast and organizer Mike Vax played his trumpet on a couple of numbers.  Joel Robin, keyboards, Tony Vaca, saxophone, and Cleve Huff, drums, sustained the energy with solos throughout the two hour performance.  After the intermission, songs such as “Singing in the Rain” kept pace with nature’s stormy downpour.   Sadly, those seated under the stars departed with lightning strikes illuminating the sky.

Prior to the concert we dined at the nearby Lynx Lake Cafe.  This German-American restaurant features changing German specialties each Saturday night.  We enjoyed pork and apples and a spatzle plate.  Paul “Kay” Krucznski plays his accordian on Friday and Saturday nights.

Woodchute Trail Tuesday, Jul 5 2011 

Woodchute Trail

Woodchute Trail

On Sunday we hiked a small portion of the Woodchute Trail (#102) in the Mingus Mountain area east of Prescott.  We parked at the trailhead turnaround and walked about a half mile on a dirt road to where the trail starts through ponderosa pines.  The trail borders a wilderness area but was much more open than we anticipated.  Evidence of an earlier forest fire surrounded us and what would have been panoramic views were hazy from smoke likely coming from eastern Arizona forest fires.  There were several different varieties of wildflowers in bloom along the one or two miles we traversed.  A hillside covered with penstemon was particularly memorable.  We learned from a trail guide that the original ponderosa pine of this forest was logged and transported by way of a chute down the north side of the mountain to a narrow gauge railroad to Jerome where the timber was used to shore up the copper mines.  This area offers two or three other hikes that would be interesting to explore.