I parked at the Horseshoe Dam and hiked under the spillway. At the Sears TH there was a big camp site setup with about 5~6 trucks and about 10 tents. I continued on the Chalk Road. When the road swung around mountain, you could see how low the lake was. The inlet by the dam was all dried up. I continued on and crossed the Deadman's wash. This is a major wash and when it's flowing, it would make the road impassable. After a bit, I passed Chalk Mountain and before I knew it, I was at the Sheep Bridge.
I had an hour before my turn around, so I went up the Verde River trail. The Verde River trail is now my top hike. The views really open up when you hit Mazatzal Wilderness sign. I as at the turnaround time, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. The views were getting better and better. I climbed up the Lower Racetrack Mesa and looked around for a good view / lunch spot. I found one that overlooked the Honey Chute Rapids. I took a long lunch, just looking at how the river made a horseshoe.
I was almost an hour past the turnaround time
! I headed back as fast as I could. At one point I could see Horseshoe Dam and it looked like if I shortcut across the dry inlet and climb the dam, it would have knocked about 3 miles from the hike. I thought about doing it, but decided not to
. I was concerned there might have been a fence or an obstacle preventing me from climbing up the dam. Shortly after passing on the shortcut, I saw a crested Saguaro!
As the sun set, I went past the Sear TH and the campsite was full of people making dinner. I stopped in to say hi.
The campers were from the Coconino Environmental services and they were contracted to fix / cleanup the Sears trail!
I told them I was happy to hear that.
I made it back to Jeep just 45 minutes later than planned. It was great day for hiking there was a cool breeze all day long and warm sunshine too!