Granite Mountain Trail #261
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Granite Mountain Trail #261, AZ
2012-03-1538 by
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Prescott, AZ
Hiking8.20 Miles   6 Hrs       1.82 mph
1,700 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break  
No Routes
1st Trip Logged
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This hike is easily now in my top five favorite hikes. Not sure what the other 4 would be but this one is definitely in it. As the first day of two hotel stays hiking in Prescott and we were off to a good start.

Right from the start and right to the finish this trail never lacks for visual interest with a nice mix of various landscapes and flora. At one point I must have dropped my new camera case we bought just in case I wanted to venture without the my pack and the utility of it's hip pockets where the camera normally resides. Luckily a trio of ladies passed us as we were taking photos and let us know that I had even dropped it, and that it was "Just" back there. "Just" back there means a 1/2 mile back but given the stink eye I was getting from Wendi for loosing it already I was glad to have it back.

There were members of the Student Conservation Program (SCP) doing some pretty labor intensive trail maintenance, setting large boulders to aid future hikers, but for today it meant occasionally interrupting their work, and apology laced words of encouragement and thanks.

There was a fair amount of people on the trail but thankfully we were hiking on a weekday and managed to have the summit to ourselves unless you count the mice that seem quite at home at the top, making use of the voids provided by the boulders at the peak. We spent quite a bit of time baiting and attempting to photograph them. They move really fast though and we got only a few usable pics. I spent a lot of time trying to get some pics of what I thought were butterflies but after finally getting few blurry shots I suspect they were in fact moths. They seemed to be focused on the blooms of the jojoba, and they moved en masse in dizzying clouds, like schools of fish and I the confused predator. The alligator juniper seemed extra photogenic today too and I think they might have inspired some future artwork, so I took a lot of pics of just their textures.

I guess for the climbers there is popular rock wall that was closed to climbing to allow for two nesting Peregrine Falcons to do their thing. We never did catch a glimpse of the nest but as we were approaching top we did get a quick glimpse of them in short display of some playful aerobatics that culminated in classic vocalized screeches. Not enough notice to get the camera ready and then they were gone, leaving me fumbling to get my finger on the power button.

On the way back some 20-something called me "Sir" to which Wendi couldn't stop laughing. We also took a side trail to the Granite Basin Lake, snapped some pictures of the ducks swimming there, and watch as people fished the lake. Then cut up to the road and walked the short distance back to our trail head.

We wanted to end our days with some local cuisine and soaking in the hotels advertise jacuzzi. But upon check-in we were informed that because of the storm forecasted three days into the future the pool and the jacuzzi were close?! Anybody buy that? I will be generous and not mention the hotels name out of respect to my possible ignorance and the fact that the rest of the stay was positive.

We did finally get to dine at Tara Thai. Wendi has been wanting to eat there for some time but we were never able to fit it in to our plans. I had the Roasted Duck on a bed of steamed spinach and Wendi had the Coconut Princess, chicken with a coconut broth. Both very good and worth the stop. They had several levels of spiciness, 0-4. 4 was "Thai Spicy". Having eaten Thai food in Thailand, and notably roasted duck I know what that means, so I erred slightly on the side of discretion and asked for a 3. I was a little underwhelmed at the lack of "heat", and in fact Wendi's course was ordered at 2 and that had more heat. But that is my only complaint, though some might not call it that. Comparing it to Pinetop's Mountain Thai would be hard but I think I'd give it to Pinetop for maybe fresher ingredients, but to be sure it will take multiple tastings to be sure.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
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