Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Wednesday, Feb 21 2018 

Watson Lake

Watson Lake

We took advantage of free parking on Wednesdays at Prescott’s Peavine Trail. There have been some improvements in the restoration of the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve since our last visit. Some of the trees are identified. We saw a giant Fremont cottonwood and two varieties of willow – red and arroyo. Granite Creek had a small flow of water. We hiked part of the Prescott Circle Trail then looped on the Lakeside Trail and Watson Lake Trail. There were quite a few geese and other water fowl. Watson Lake is always picturesque with its granite boulders.

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Willow Lake Trail Meandering Sunday, Feb 11 2018 

Willow Lake & Glassford HIll

Willow Lake & Glassford HIll

Today we parked near the Willow Creek Dog Park to access the Willow Lake Trail. This trail is part of the Prescott Circle Trail until it joins the Jan Alfano Trail near the underpass to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. We continued on the Willow Lake Trail to the boat ramp. Along the way we passed the Willow Lake Archaeological Interpretive Center. Two pit houses from the Prehistoric Prescott Culture have been enclosed after excavation work completed in 2002-2003. I was disappointed to learn that these sites are now open only on Saturdays. According to informational signs, from 900-1100 A.D. there were twenty houses in this village, 13 on an upper level, seven on the lower level. The entry way to all houses faced east. Their location would have provided nice views of the Willow Creek floodplain and would have been a good location for growing corn. As we walked out on the boat ramp walkway, ducks eagerly followed us but lost interest when we didn’t feed them. A woman and her two daughters were loading their kayaks on a truck. We returned on the 0.92 mile Willow Shoreline Trail. It was interesting to view Glassford Hill from this direction. We encountered several hikers, a few bicyclists, and a fisherman who, like us, were all enjoying the beautiful weather around this man-made lake.

Glassford Hill Summit Trail Saturday, Feb 10 2018 

Glassford Hill

Glassford Hill

We traveled to nearby Prescott Valley to climb the Glassford Hill Summit Trail. This trail, completed in May 2016, ascends 900 feet from 5,183 feet in elevation to 6,123 feet in about 2.3 miles. This extinct volcano on the west side of Prescott Valley was once known as “Bald Mountain.” Basalt, volcanic rock composed of iron and magnesium, is prevalent after its eruption some 12-14 million years ago. It is named after Colonel William A. Glassford who used the top for a heliograph system of communication. A heliograph uses sun and mirrors to reflect Morse Code messages. According to an information sign atop the hill, “By 1890 the Glassford Hill heliograph had set a world record for the longest reception of a message. The 150-word message traveled a round-trip distance of 800 miles in less than four hours with only one word missing.” We met many other hikers, not all of them made it to the top. This was a good hike to take in February.

Badger “P” Mountain Trail Friday, Feb 9 2018 

Badger "P" Mountain Trail

Badger “P” Mountain Trail

Another blue sky day in Prescott with temperatures in the 70s. We returned to York Motors where we learned that hikers with vehicles need to park by Walmart. We again hiked down Old Bullwhacker Road to the Prescott Circle Trail intersection. Today we hiked south. We learned that the section of segment 8 that we recently hiked and the first part of this trail is called the Sundog Trail. At the underpass it becomes Badger “P” Mountain Trail. The underpass had graffiti calling it “Lover’s Tunnel” which is appropriate as we approach Valentine’s Day. This tunnel goes under Highway 69. It was wet on the southern side with mud as we exited. We only hiked about 1.15 miles on this trail which wasn’t as steep as we had expected. Our total mileage for the day approached 4 miles. We didn’t meet any other hikers, although two mountain bikers separately passed us. Another interesting new trail for us.

Phoenix Zoo: February 2018 Sunday, Feb 4 2018 

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl

Comparatively few people visited the Phoenix Zoo today, Super Bowl Sunday. LouLou, the recently added southern white rhinoceros, serenely stood in a far corner of her exhibit. The male Hamadryas baboon posed near a window while a member of his harem picked through his hair. Three cheetahs roamed back and forth on the far side of their exhibit, and one briefly posed for my first cheetah portrait. The King vulture, usually perched high on a branch, hid low to the ground today. One Visayan warty pig kept looking for the ideal resting spot. The Komodo dragon pawed at the window looking for a way to escape. One of the three burrowing owls posed for my snapshot. I didn’t take a picture of orangutans Bess and Jiwa because parents were lined up to take pictures of their children in front of this mother and child. Both the bobcat and cougar were more active than usual, although I didn’t capture a picture of either. Several construction projects are underway to make the Phoenix Zoo and even more interesting place.

Sundog Trail Sunday, Jan 28 2018 

PCT Segment 8

Sundog Trail

This afternoon we took advantage of 60 degree January temperatures to hike part of segment 8 of the Prescott Circle Trail (PCT). I later learned that this is the Sundog Trail. We parked behind York Motors and followed the Old Bullwhacker Road to the junction with segment 8. We headed north and walked about 1.5 miles before turning around. We encountered some snow and muddy conditions on the north side of hills. On our return a single mountain biker passed us. We need to explore the south side, segment 7, from the intersection off Old Bullwhacker Road toward the Badger “P” Mountain.

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