Watson Lake Loop Trail Sunday, Aug 26 2012 

Watson Lake Dam

Watson Lake Dam

The recently completed Watson Lake Loop Trail connects several smaller trails in a 4.79 mile trek.  We parked near the boat ramp and started on the Northshore Trail which traverses through Granite Dells with views of the dam.  Kayakers enjoyed the lake while a couple of men practiced rock climbing.  This trail connects with the Watson Dam Trail and Flume Trail.  I crossed Granite Creek below the dam and followed the newly opened Over the Hill Trail.  Warnings indicate that the Northshore Trail is steep and that the Over the Hill Trail is steeper.  Boulder Creek had water.  I followed the Lakeshore Trail to the Peavine Trail.  Bikes and walkers were out in force.  We returned via the Lower Granite Creek Trail and Watson Lake Trail.  Lots of wildflowers are in bloom.  A sailboat took advantage of the beautiful day.  Watson Lake Loop Trail offers a picturesque but strenuous workout.

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Lynx Lake Hike & Prescott Music Sunday, Aug 19 2012 

Lynx Lake

Lynx Lake

Saturday morning we drove to Walker Road to look at some trails not previously explored.  After reviewing our trail guide, we decided in the future to attempt using two vehicles, keeping one at the parking area on Walker Road but starting at a higher elevation point off of Senator Highway.  We decided to move on at our second stop as a large number of trail bikes were unloading and we didn’t want to share the trail with them.  We ended up at Lynx Lake where we decided to hike the 2.5 miles 311 Lake Shore Trail.  We did take a short exploratory detour when we hiked up trail 312 to the Hilltop Campground.  Some of the wildflowers we enjoyed included western yarrow, western ragweed, Arizona thistle, birdbill dayflower, beardlip penstemon, and small-flowered globe mallow.  Several people enjoyed kayaking and canoeing on the lake while additional fisherpeople tried their luck from the shore.

Prescott is a great place for music.  This weekend a fundraiser for the Prescott High School Band to participate in a Pearl Harbor event in Hawaii was held at the Yavapai County Courthouse.  Throughout the day musical groups could be found at the stage facing Gurley Street or on the steps of the other three sides of the courthouse.  We listened to the blues of Road One South before breaking for dinner at Rosa’s Pizzeria.  After dinner we listened to some country western tunes by Maverick, before setting up our folding chairs for another blues group, The Jukes.  Prescott had at least two other major events taking place on Saturday.  Prescott has exceptional cultural gatherings.

Cortez & Morgan Howlin’ at the Highlands Sunday, Aug 12 2012 

Hope Morgan & Delphine Cortez

Hope Morgan & Delphine Cortez

Singers Delphine Cortez and Hope Morgan headlined the “Howlin’ at the Highlands” Center for Natural History jazz concert Saturday evening.  The one outdoor concert we attended last summer happened to be the one where Delphine Cortez performed.  Her erotic cat-like scat with guitarist Stan Sorenson was a highlight this year.  Hope Morgan, the other featured vocalist, had not previously performed with the jazz musicians on stage, Joel Robin Goldenthal on keyboard, Cleve Huff on drums, and Mike Vax on trumpet.  Morgan sang her signature song, “Sugar” and offered a special piece in remembrance of her father’s August 11th birthday.  During both of our previous concerts at this venue, it has rained.  Although there was no precipitation, about half the crowd left during the intermission.  Another pleasant evening learning about jazz in the Prescott National Forest.

Watson Lake Trails Sunday, Aug 12 2012 

Watson Lake

Watson Lake

Yesterday we started on the Watson Lake Trail intending to hike the newly completed Watson Lake Loop Trail.  In the exploratory trail complex near the boat launch, however, I got confused by a trail marker when we crossed the road.  The trail we followed led to an RV park which we walked through and found a gate that led to a dirt road.  We followed it for a time enjoying views of granite boulders until we discovered “Private land – No trespassing” signs.  So, we retraced our steps.  When we returned to the road, we headed toward the boat landing.  There the  signs for the Northshore Trail were clearly marked.  We hiked about half of this trail through boulders with great views of Watson Lake.  The lake itself was very low.  We also had seen signs posted at the boat launch that there is no swimming (because of the poor quality of the water).  On our return to our car we walked a different exploratory trail where we encountered a three foot snake, the first I’ve seen on a hike in Arizona.  In addition to the great scenic views, we spotted the following wildflowers: the pale violet colored sacred thorn-apple, the white daisy-like spreading fleabane, the purple oblong false pennyroyal, the yellow common sunflower, the yellow slender goldenweed, the reddish-orange wholeleaf Indian paintbrush, toadflax penstemon, field bindweed, wingpod purslane, littleleaf globe mallow, and beard tongue.  Now that we are better informed, we can try the Watson Lake Loop Trail on another day.

Courthouse Butte Trail Sunday, Aug 5 2012 

Courthouse Butte

Courthouse Butte

Just north of Oak Creek Village is a parking lot with views of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte and a trailhead for hikes in the area.  We hiked a half mile on the Bell Rock Pathway to the junction with the Courthouse Butte Loop.  This five mile loop offers great views of red rock formations from various perspectives.  Rabbit Ears, for example, can be seen in the distance to the east.  The biggest surprise is the aptly names Spaceship Rock hidden on the north side of Courthouse Butte.  Although our trek only saw an elevation gain of 200 feet, the day was much hotter than anticipated.  Several people could be seen exploring Bell Rock which is purported to be a vortex site.  Arizona continues to amaze me with the variety of wildflowers.  We saw lemon yellow desert marigolds, bright yellow rough menodora, and bluish purple toadflax penstemon.  After our hike we visited the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill in Sedona.  We enjoyed large salads, Greek and chicken salad, along with beer including a micro light and the seven dwarfs sampler.  The Courthouse Butte Trail is best experienced in the spring or fall.