Jay’s Bird Barn & Rock the Block Sunday, Oct 28 2018 

Step West Owl

Step West Owl

Yesterday we took advantage of the free lunch at Jay’s Bird Barn celebrating their 15 years serving Northern Arizona. After lunch, we looked at the live birds of prey on display including a cute step west owl, colorful American kestrel, stately Harris hawk and Swainson hawk. We admired the bird photo contest entries. We supported the “Save the Dells” registration effort that seeks to permanently protect the remaining undeveloped portions of the Granite Dells as public open space for people, wildlife, and community. We purchased a copy of Hannah’s Heart and had its author Melanie Ewbank autograph it. The play will be presented at the Ruth Street Theatre, Prescott High School on November 30, December 1st and 2nd with ticket proceeds supporting another good local cause, the Coalition for Compassion and Justice.

“Rock the Block” took place on the Crossings Drive cul de sac off Willow Creek. Some 20 vendors offered candy to children, many of whom were wearing their trick or treat costumes. The kid’s zone offered a bounce house and slide, balloon art, and chalk drawing. For the adults, the Funk FREQuency band performed from their 70s and 80s repertoire and Prescott Valley’s Lonesome Valley Brewery sold adult beverages. A percentage of proceeds from raffle, food and beverage sales went to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center BreastCare Center & the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona.

Storm Ranch Trails Friday, Oct 26 2018 

Watson Lake & Granite Mountain

Watson Lake & Granite Mountain

We completed our eighth “Take a Hike!” in the newly constructed Storm Ranch Trails. In 2017, the City of Prescott purchased land from the owners of Storm Ranch. The Over-the-Hill Gang constructed an extensive trail system earlier this year. After hiking 1.9 miles on the popular Peavine Trail, we took the Boulder Creek Trail for 0.6 miles. The trailhead is at an elevation of 5,190 feet. We intersected the Easter Island trail and followed it for 0.7 miles, including a wonderful overlook of the backwaters of Watson Lake with Granite Mountain in the distance.  Earlier this year we explored both of these trails, but on this hike we walked the opposite direction on the Easter Island Trail. We returned to the parking lot 1.5 miles on the Peavine. There were numerous hikers and mountain bikers on the Peavine; we only passed on hiker within the Storm Ranch Trail complex. While the city purchased some of the Storm Ranch land, a developer wants to build homes within the Granite Dells area and construct several roads that will cross the Peavine Trail. In my opinion, it is too bad we can’t make all this land public.

Willow Lake Trail Wednesday, Oct 24 2018 

Willow Lake

Willow Lake

For our seventh “Take a Hike!” we drove to Willow Lake. When I missed taking the main road where one pays a $3 parking fee, we parked adjacent one of the ball fields and walked about 0.3 mile to the boat ramp parking area where the trailhead begins. In the five years since I last did this hike, I’ve slowed down a bit. The trailhead elevation is 5,160 feet and rises to 5,210 feet. It climbs up and down over boulders through the scenic Granite Dells around part of Willow Lake. I was surprised to encounter a coral snake on a barren slab of granite. After hiking more than 1.5 miles because of my meandering off the trail, my wife and I decided to split up. She didn’t want to renegotiate the ups and downs we had already traversed. She would continue hiking on the trails around Willow Lake to the East Bay Trail while I would return to fetch the car and drive it to the parking area near that trail. We did reconnect, but it helped that we had cell phone coverage. Only one more required hike. Let’s hope it involves less drama.

Prescott Blitz #8 Saturday, Oct 20 2018 

Seven Prescott area chess players competed in 42 chess games at Yavapai College on Saturday, October 20th. Each game used special timers giving only five minutes for each player. This type of chess competition is known as blitz or speed chess.

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs, Chino Valley, was the top finisher with an impressive 11-1 record. He won $60 and gained 11 rating points.

Tom Green, Prescott, won $40 for his second-place finish with 9 points. Green is currently ranked the 59th best U. S. Blitz chess player of those aged 65 and older. He gained 8 rating points.

Dr. Tommy Keenan, Prescott, collected $30 for finishing atop those rated Class C or below.

Green directed this U. S. Chess rated chess tournament which was co-sponsored by the Prescott Chess Club and the OLLI Chess Special Interest Group.

Spruce Mountain SE Trail Friday, Oct 19 2018 

Cole Cabin

Cole Cabin

For our sixth “Take a Hike!” we drove 8.1 miles on the Mount Vernon Highway to the junction with Forest Road 78. The last mile is a wide dirt road. The trailhead is at 6,440 feet and follows Forest Road 78 for 0.5 miles before intersecting with Groom Creek Loop Trail #307. Colonel Bob Groom (1824-1899) surveyed Prescott. We hiked another 0.4 mile and took the short detour to the Cole Cabin. On this Friday afternoon we enjoyed blue skies and moderate temperatures without encountering any other hikers or mountain bikers.

Honeybucket Trail Revisited Friday, Oct 19 2018 

Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain

Our fifth “Take a Hike!” trail, Honeybucket Trail #333, was one we explored last year when it opened. It requires traveling 1.6 miles on Thumb Butte Loop Road, a pot-holed dirt road. The trailhead is at 6,400 feet near a large juniper and the junction with Forest Road 51. Yesterday’s pleasant fall temperatures allowed us to descend to a low point of 6,100 feet with some nice views of Granite Mountain. We saw three deer and later a lone mountain biker passed us. At one point the trail passes a post for frisbee golf. What is it doing there? We returned via a forest road that connected with Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326. Unlike the trails in Payson, this narrow trail is rockier. We need to complete three more hikes before December 9th to qualify for a medallion.

Next Page »