|Guide||♦||23 Triplogs||1 Topic|
Prescott National Forest
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Aug 14th to TBD
For years I have avoided Granite Mountain. It looks pretty every day I see it, just on the other side of Prescott. Lots of folks go there, and some tell me at work what a great weekend they had camping and hiking in the area. Without a doubt, a trendy spot for locals around Prescott and those visiting from elsewhere. So I never ventured forth to check it out on my own. What a mistake!
Super Bowl Sunday, chores were done, I was getting fidgety, so I asked my youngest boy, Chris, if he wanted to go hiking. Off we went after a quick packing of our gear, a quick look at an area from my loose-leaf notebook full of write-ups from the Prescott National Forest to pick a hike, and down the road we went for our impromptu hike.
The trailhead was packed! And small to boot. But I managed to maneuver my jeep between vehicles with my front end slightly under a tree. Chris and I wasted no time throwing our gear on and hitting the trail. Easy to find. Starting the journey uphill, it is clear as day a very popular trail. Signs of boot prints, bike tire prints, and occasional horse prints fill the path as it meanders through the brush with scattered pines, juniper, and boulders.
I let Chris lead the way to set the pace, and surprisingly it was a brisk one. He is on the junior high basketball team, and when I told him of the benefits of hiking as a way of getting in shape, I think he took it seriously and me to the task. So I just gave him his lead.
The trail levels a bit once on top, the trees a bit thicker mingling among some large rocks. Interestingly, I noted minimal signs of the bark beetle, which was pleasant to see. Here and there were small snow patches under the shade, protected from the direct sunlight, reminding us of the small storm that recently passed. Another sad winter, the ninth, I believe, with very little snowfall. But, at a gate, we were taking a breather, and when I looked to my right through the trees, I witnessed an awesome sight. The snowcap San Francisco Peaks majestic in the clear air and the red rock country of Sedona! Beautiful.
Pass the gate, and the trail begins a downward trek. A short distance, we come upon Clark Spring Trail #40, which would hook to the right and head on down to Granite Basin Lake. Nearby, three young men with trail maintenance implements laying by their sides were kicking back, taking a break, and enjoying the day. We said howdy and continue our trek downward, which got a little steeper and opened up into brush and boulder country, affording us a fantastic view to the north. I spotted Hyde Mountain and Juniper Mesa about 25-miles away as the crow flies.
We worked our way down and passed a couple of young ladies struggling back up. Neither had any gear nor water, so I offered them a bottle of water. They declined and continued to trudge on, youth at its finest, and Chris and I continued our travels down the trail.
The trail levels off for the rest of our hike. It was then I began to notice charred, burned skeletons of trees cast forth throughout the countryside from the Doce fire of 1990. That human-made caused fire burned over 300 acres. And believe it or not! Enjoying the view and not paying attention to the trail, I walked into a prickly pear overlapping the trail! I pulled back quickly, but to no avail, a couple of spines found its mark in my skin. A minor annoyance Chris and I kept on walking until we stopped at the end of the hike, and I could pull the stickers, two of 'em, out with tweezers.
At the Upper Pasture Trail #38, we stopped, kicked back, and took our break before turning around and heading back to the trailhead. Now, the confession, before the hike, I did not study the write-up thoroughly. I just knew it stated the trail was 3.3-miles in length, and it hit another trail. I thought we hit the end of the trail! The pace was right; the timing was right. However, after reviewing the trail signs during the hike and write-up after the hike, neither seems to match mileage.
But I will say this, the area holds promise, and I will return. Granted, we ran into several folks and dogs, young and old, but I will return.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.