Easter Island Trail Saturday, Jul 14 2018 

Easter Island Trail Panorama

Easter Island Trail Panorama

This morning we returned to the Peavine Trail to explore another of the recently opened trails branching off it, the Easter Island Trail. It was given this name because it has a monolith that is like the moai on Easter Island. We wanted to explore this trail as we are planning to visit Easter Island, one of the most remote islands in the world, next year. The Easter Island Trail provides a bench with a wide panorama overlook of the Watson Lake Cove and Granite Mountain. The Granite Dells area is special and we are happy that the City of Prescott and the Over the Hill Gang are opening up this area with new trails. As we started the trail, a passing hiker on the Peavine Trail offered us advice to take a spur currently symbolically closed with two branches at the entrance. He shared that he had previously gotten lost trying to follow the Easter Island Trail and ultimately returned to this spot and discovered that it was a shortcut to the Boulder Creek Trail. We followed his advice. This spur is not finished so it doesn’t have white paint dots on slickrock and needs a better way to cross Boulder Creek. After the recent start of monsoon, clear water was flowing in the creek. There are more trails in this area to explore, but today’s morning hike before an afternoon monsoon rainstorm was a good one.

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Northwest Passage Trail Thursday, Jul 5 2018 

Watson Lake Cove

Watson Lake Cove

Yesterday we took advantage of Wednesday free parking at the Sundog Ranch Road parking lot. We hiked a little more than 2 miles on the Peavine Trail where we discovered that the City of Prescott and the Over the Hill Gang have been hard at work creating a network of new trails to the east side of the trail. At the fourth entry way we followed a section of the Northwest Passage Trail that we later learned is part of the recently acquired 160-acre parcel of Storm Ranch North land. The intent is to add about 6.5 miles of trail in this area featuring unique rock formations with the Granite Dells. The picture accompanying this blog entry was taken from the Peavine Trail where there is an overlook of a Watson Lake cove and a view of Granite Mountain in the distance. We look forward to returning to this area to explore more of these new trails.

2018 Prescott Frontier Days Parade Sunday, Jul 1 2018 

Bill Williams Mountain Man

Bill Williams Mountain Man

Yesterday we secured front row seats on the corner of Goodwin and Montezuma (Whiskey Row) for the Frontier Days Parade. This year’s Grand Marshall was Randy Corley, the voice of the rodeo for the past 34 years and a 2017 inductee into the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame. At least a third of the 160 entries included horses. We especially enjoyed the buckskin outfits of  the Bill Williams Mountain Men of Williams, Arizona. The Diamond Z English Shires and the Wells Fargo stagecoach also add to the pageantry. Many entries paid tribute to the Hotshot 19 who died tragically in the Yarnell Hill Fire five years ago. Local resident Elizabeth Ruffner was recognized as “Our Everyday Hero” by the Elks Opera House entry. Leslie Campa, the Butterfly Fairy posed for a picture. We also got a picture of a Batman dressed participant posing with a child wearing a Batman insignia hat. As expected, politicians, including several running for statewide election, were in attendance. The only entry in poor taste was one by Arizona Law Enforcement featuring children in a jail. While many cities around the country were protesting separating children from parents, this was not an image I cared to see.Truly, most of us, I believe, do care. Nevertheless, Prescott puts on a great parade. We did leave just past at the three-quarters stage in order to claim a seat in a busy local restaurant.

2018 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Friday, Jun 29 2018 

Last night we attended the opening of the 131st annual Prescott Frontier Days “World’s Oldest Rodeo.” Our seats in section L row 6 gave us a direct look at the west gate and the video screen above it. Security was tighter than our last visit two years ago. Cameras are no longer allowed and approved items must be brought a clear plastic container. The Grand Entry featured some 80 horses and their riders carrying a mixture of flags, many representing sponsors. I didn’t remember the wild horse race from our previous visit. The following events took place: steer wrestling, bareback riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, women’s barrel racing, and bull riding. This rodeo is endorsed by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and brings many world-class competitors to town for competition in eight performances through July 4th. Some of the more notable performances that we witnessed included Orin Larsen of Inglis, Manitoba, Canada scoring 81 points atop a horse named Saguaro; Cody Cabral of Hilo, Hawaii wrestling a steer in an amazing 3.9 seconds; and Ty Wallace of Colbran, Colorado scoring 86 points in the closing bull riding event. Between events we were entertained with the well trained Diamond Z English Shire Horses and Bobby Kerr’s Mustang Act. It is interesting to attend the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo.

Goldwater Lake Meandering Friday, Jun 22 2018 

Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake

This morning we paid $3 to park at Goldwater Lake which is located about four miles from downtown Prescott. We walked around the lake making special note of the two launching sites for kayaks, canoes, and boats with electric motors. There were several kayakers enjoying the calm water on this 15-acre lake. This spot would be a good one for us to practice paddling. We observed several fisherpeople, too, who didn’t seem to be having much success. We made our way to Goldwater Lake Trail #396 and hiked a little more than a mile along it before returning and estimating that we had covered a total of about 3.5 miles. We are fortunate to have several beautiful lakes near us.

Petrified Forest National Park Tuesday, May 29 2018 

On our 299-mile drive from Santa Fe to Holbrook we stopped for lunch at the I-40 Continental Divide in New Mexico, elevation 7,275 feet. While there two trains traveling in opposite directions passed by below us simultaneously. After checking in at the Holbrook KOA, we drove to Winslow for a gourmet dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, La Pasada’s Turquoise Room.

Blue Mesa

Blue Mesa

We arose early Tuesday morning for our Petrified Forest National Park visit not realizing the gates don’t open until 8 a.m. In my opinion this should be better advertised. We parked in the shade by the Petrified Forest Information Center at 6:45 a.m. A common raven returned to feed her three young in a nest on the Center’s sign. We met a couple who took advantage of the Center’s free camping offer for RVers and talked them to pass the time.

When the gates opened, we headed to the Blue Mesa trailhead. This one-mile trail is paved with a steep path down to great views of the surrounding blue, purple, and gray badlands dotted with colorful petrified wood. After our hike, we drove passed the Teepee formations on our way to the Puerco Pueblo site and its toilets. This stop features a 100-plus Village on the Rio Puerco that archaeologists consider was inhabited from 1250-1380 CBE. We then backtracked to the Jasper Forest parking lot for a 2.5-mile round trip hike toward Eagle Nest Rock. This is not an official trail but, if you can find it, follows a 1930s road that was closed in 1965. We wandered around for a while before finding a trail that connected with this old road. Known as the First Forest Road, we were surrounded by one of the largest deposits of petrified wood in the park. And, we were the only ones attempting this experience. We completed our day with a visit at the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center at the southern end of the park. After eating lunch, we watched the informative 20-minute film loop, “More Spectacular Than Ever,” before walking the short trail behind this museum that is packed with examples of petrified wood, including some large logs. We are fortunate that this area was preserved in 1906 as a national monument and in 1962 became a national park.

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