Needed to get out of the heat, hadn't been to Prescott in awhile so it was time to come up with some options. I chose the one with the best chance of being under the conifer canopy. There was a few off trail sections in the route, but I was sure by looking on the Sat. views and from my memory of being in the area 3 years ago that those sections would be under the pines also. I even wore my good HAZ shirt knowing it would come back unscathed.
Started at the Groom Creek TH with 2 other cars in the lot when we arrived. We quickly passed a couple that were just finishing their hike on our way clockwise on the Groom Creek #307
. We made it to the top to check out the tower and were leaving as the tower attendant (Suzie?) was starting her day. Her dog Space is no longer on earth.
We continued on the #307 2 miles to the Isabella #377
trail. It was on this trail that we would see the last of our hikers for the day. I really like the feel of this trail. Not as wide as the Groom Creek loop and winds through some vanilla smelling ponderosas.
Next it's short road walk past the Potato Patch area, to the Dandrea #285
. I don't care much for this trail which is also used in part by ATV's. Loose and Rocky, it is the probably the easiest route to access both Mt Davis and Mt Union.
East on the Yankee Doodle #284
for a short while and we followed the orange flags that someone had left, leading all the way to the top of Mt Davis. This would become a theme on this day. We took the extra little side trip over to the Rocky Perch to the North of the advertised high point of Mt Davis
and found the Summit Can. We had a "Discussion" as to whether or not this was the high point of Mt Davis, or was it to the south. My GPS showed the same elevation on both areas. This rocky perch yielded the best natural views of the day.
We scrambled back down to the Yankee D. and made are way over to Mt Union
. The last time we were here, it was suggested to us that the best views were at the Heli Pad, so we didn't make it in the tower. This time John invited us up. John's been in the tower for 18 years. We had a nice extended conversation with him about the surrounding areas features, the longevity of the Tower Lookouts jobs, and some of the recent fires. John mentioned that it takes $10k to put a plane in the air to fight fires and $5k for a chopper.
Next it's a 2.3 mile road walk to start our 2nd off trail adventure of the day. We left the Senator highway and started our climb up the east face of Mt Tritle
. We had to adjust our planned track up to keep out of the posted No trespassing signs. It was steeper than it looked on TOPO and the thick Duff made it slippery. At the top we made a half hearted attempt to find the Summit Register with no luck. We found a shady spot a bit farther down the road to take some lunch.
I was shocked to see that they'd removed this truck
from the last time I was here 3 years ago.
Now we're off to hit Maverick Mountain
. Once again the orange flags that we saw back on Mt Davis were on FR 9403C. When we reached the Ridge line that we planned to climb to gain Maverick, those orange ribbons followed the same path... It's got to be a good path going up. All I heard was Maverick this and Maverick that... I told Goose to take it easy. We made the peak and thought we'd lose the Orange Ribbons... nope, they kept goings and were following the same track that I'd drawn up. We descended to check out Payoff spring and hit a FR. With a name like that the spring had to be running.... no sign of a spring was found. 2 miles of off trail completed in 2 hours, put us a bit behind.
A short walk over to check out the unimpressive flow of Wolf Creek over the falls. I'll bet an impressive area with a flow through here.
A fun day of exploring some new ground..
Thanks for joining me Ice Man.
Spruce Cicada's, Pano at Mt Davis and in the Mt Union Tower with John and Merlin