2017 Prescott Oktoberfest Sunday, Sep 24 2017 

Live Polka

Live Polka

I have now lived in Prescott long enough to compare this year’s Oktoberfest with previous celebrations. The move from dedicating one block on Gurley Street to the Mile High Middle School field was a good one by providing more space for vendors and participants. Returning to a one day event from last year’s two days was a smart one as church takes precedent in Prescott on Sundays. The number of vendors has steadily increased to offer 60 beers in the 2017 edition. In my opinion, however, the cost and number of samples has now gone too far. I can remember when a ticket was $15 for 6 samples (and those samples were small). Last year a ticket cost $20 for 8 samples. This year an online ticket was $25 but $35 at the door for 12 samples (and those samples were generous). This is too much of a good thing as I got drunk on 9 samples from the following vendors: Barrio, Goose Island, Granite Mountain, Hangar 24, Lumberyard, Mother Road, Mudshark, Rogue, and Spaten. Fortunately, we walked so I wasn’t a danger on the road. In an effort to soak up some of the alcohol, we shared a pretzel to support the cause and devoured fry bread from White Eyes Fry Bread. My wife enjoyed the variety of Hefenweizen style brews offered. We found a table partially in the sun and partially in the shade that satisfied both of us as we enjoyed listening to Live Polka. We met some interesting people during the course of the afternoon. One couple live in the Valley but have a cabin in the Prescott area. Another couple moved here a month ago from New York. Two brothers active in the Sister Cities program shared some information about our relationships with Caborca, Mexico; Suchitoto, El Salvador; and Zeitz, Germany. Although this year’s event was held in September, it was a successful Oktoberfest!

On Friday, we identified the following wildflowers around the Thumb Butte parking lot and Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326: redroot buckwheat, mountain parsley, yellow-flowered evening primrose, common mullein, tufted four o’clock, wild geranium, littleleaf globemallow, oblong, mock pennyroyal, scruffy prairie clover, slimleaf lima bean, skyrocket gilia, Arizona thistle, white prairie aster, Arizona cudweed, spreading fleabane, western yarrow, fragrant snakeroot, silver puffs, broom snakeweed, wild chrysanthemum, annual goldeneye, Wright beeflower, tansy aster, camphorweed, and large-flowered brickellia.

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The Beach Boys Visit Prescott Tuesday, Sep 19 2017 

Last night The Beach Boys shared “Good Vibrations” in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. We joined a capacity filling crowd of gray hairs for this stop on the 2017 Wild Honey World Tour. Vocalist Mike Love, one of the band’s original members, has the licensing rights to “The Beach Boys.” He has surrounded himself with excellent, versatile musicians such as charismatic John Stamos on guitar and drums. The band’s classic sounds were augmented with interesting video images including some Yavapai College students. One of my favorite albums, Pet Sounds, was one of the first rock concept albums. Several years ago I attended a concert with another original member of the band, Brian Wilson, who didn’t seem to have aged as well as Love has. Prescott benefited from a great performance, even though it was on a Monday evening.

Isabella Trail Sunday, Sep 17 2017 

Mount Union

Mount Union

Isabella Trail #377 starts at the intersection of Walker Road and one end of Misty Mountain Loop, after traversing 2.8 miles of dirt road. The trailhead elevation is 6,800 feet. We wound through the pines about 1.25 miles to the junction with Groom Creek Loop Trail #307 at an elevation of 7,440 feet. About half-way there is a view of the Mount Union fire tower. This is another new trail for us and our fourth “Take a Hike!”

Honeybucket Trail Saturday, Sep 16 2017 

Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain

Honeybucket Trail #333 is another new 2017 Prescott area trail that we learned about from this year’s “Take a Hike!” program. The greatest difficulty with this trail is getting there. We needed to travel 1.6 miles on Thumb Butte Loop Road, a very rough dirt road with huge pot holes. The trailhead starts at an elevation of 6,400 feet and descends to 6,100 feet. Lots of wildflowers were in bloom with occasional distant views of Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte. The biggest surprise was spotting a post for Frisbee golf. We looped a short distance on Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326 to cover about 3.45 miles.

Earlier in the day on a field trip to the Gold Pan area off Lynx Creek Road we identified the following wildflowers: curly dock, common mullein, bitter & eggs, tufted four o’clock, littleleadf globemallow, slimleaf lima bean, scruffy prairie clover, Wright’s deervetch, white sweet clover, yellow sweet clover, large-flowered brickella, western yarrow, prickly lettuce, spreading fleabane, Arizona cudweed, tansy aster, camphorweed, wild chysanthemum, and Wright beeflower. Arizona is a great place for wildflowers!

Piglet Trail Sunday, Sep 10 2017 

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Piglet Trail #328, completed in early 2017, is a short trail in the North Thumb Butte complex of trails. From the Thumb Butte parking lot, we started on Watertank Trail #315 which connects with the Ridgetop Trail #317. We noted views of Thumb Butte. We walked a short distance to a gate that leads to homes adjacent to the Prescott National Forest. The Piglet Trail begins there and descends 218 feet before connecting with Pine Lakes Trail #316. We spotted a turkey vulture eyeing us while airing its wings. We also viewed Granite Mountain. We returned to the Thumb Butte parking area on this trail as it started to rain. This is our second 2017 “Take a Hike!”

Canyon Trail Sunday, Sep 10 2017 

Sunflower

Sunflower

Because it was raining yesterday morning, we decided not to participate in this year’s Hiking Spree 2017 Kickoff at the Highlands Center for Natural History. In the afternoon, however, we drove into Willow Lake Park for our first official “Take a Hike!” We followed the Approach Trail to the Canyon Trail and followed this loop trail that winds through rock canyons and over granite boulders referred to as “slick rock.” Several wildflowers were in bloom including sunflowers near the trailhead. It was interesting to observe pools of clear water in the washes and in boulder depressions. We did not take side trips up the Apex Trail or the James Trail. On our return to Prescott, we parked by the post office and circled the Yavapai Courthouse a couple of times. I took pictures of the “Cowboy at Rest” sculpture by Solon Borglum on the south side of the Courthouse Plaza and “100 Years of Rodeo” by Ralph Terry in front of the City of Prescott offices.

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