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Prescott National Forest
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Aug 14th to TBD
A piece of history
Not a mega hike at all but a great place to get away for a quick walk. It is easy to combine this with several hikes in the area. It is hard to believe that this piece of history has lasted with houses all around it. Here is a description from Ronald H. Smith's book on Prescott trails. "The 1880's were a period of intense placer and hard rock gold and silver mining activity in the Walker area. Durning the early 1880's, a smelter was built in the vicinity of Walker by John Howell.... A couple of entrepreneurs, Joe and Jake Carmichael, built a charcoal kiln from granite blocks and burned oak wood from the surrounding forest to produce the charcoal. They built the kiln from native granite and closely fit the stones without using mortar. The loose mortar you see today is from recent repair work and is probably what supplies with nutrients the plants that sprout miraculously from between these sterile stones. Although this 25 foot high kiln was one of the smallest in the region, it is the only one still standing."
A stone lined path leads to the kiln. Since you don't see the kiln until almost at the site, it is almost startling to see this strangely misplaced landmark, almost as if it had sprung from the earth amongst a dense second hand growth of young pines and oaks. There is no sign today of what must have been a very busy enterprise - one that within two or three years stripped the forsest of all mature timber, thus ending this little business.
If you are in the area this is a great little jewel to check out.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.