Salida Loop Trail Sunday, Oct 8 2017 

Lynx Lake Reflection

Lynx Lake Reflection

Our fifth “Take a Hike!” was named “Salida Loop,” but we actually chose the shorter loop which involved the Stretch Pebble Loop Trail#443, Homestead Trail #305, and Highlands Trail #442. The trailhead is at an elevation of 5,580 feet with a low point at 5,410 feet and a high point at 5,650 feet. We passed a new bench in memory of Katie Leigh Rafters with the phrase “All you need is Love.” Some trees are changing color. Because this shorter loop trail was only 1.5 miles, we extended our hike by visiting the nearby Lynx Lake. We learned that the dam for this 53-acre lake was constructed in 1963. Lots of people were enjoying this beautiful Fall day by boating on the lake. There were some nice reflections of trees in the water. We stopped by the Lynx Lake Cafe for a German inspired lunch.

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Phoenix Zoo: September 2017 Sunday, Oct 1 2017 

Pink-backed Pelican

Pink-backed Pelican

During our Phoenix Zoo visit yesterday, the temperatures were warm and the animals less active. Construction projects also meant some animals were off exhibit. We learned that two of the three elephants were rescued from a circus. Because all three are female in this matriarchal species and there is tension between who is the leader, only one elephant is exhibited at a time. The Zoo is expanding their exhibit area so that each of them can have more outdoors time in their own space. A pink-backed pelican posed. We don’t remember seeing in previous years all the algae that is present now. Later we watched the playful gibbons cavort on high placed ropes and bounce on a shade canvas. A Galapagos tortoise cooled in its pool. Among the visiting humans, strollers dominated the walkways.

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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