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Antelope Hill to Antelope Creek Rd, BCT
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mini location map2021-04-22
16 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Antelope Hill to Antelope Creek Rd, BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 22 2021
kingsnake
Hiking8.33 Miles 729 AEG
Hiking8.33 Miles   3 Hrs   2 Mns   2.75 mph
729 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Due to lack of rain during the winter monsoon, this spring has been no super bloom. Rather the opposite. But I closely follow the Maricopa County rainfall data ( https://alert.fcd.maricopa.gov/alert/Go ... /gmap.html ) any time the clouds darken, and I’ve noticed that the heaviest rainfall is usually north of Phoenix, in the Black Canyon area. With an extra week’s warming, I headed norh to Bloody Basin Rd.

Starting at 7:30 a.m., I knew I would finish the 7.7 mile segment to Big Bug TH well before noon, so after the hike I also planned to scout the next BCT segment, which doesn’t have the easy road access the first 66 miles do.

Because I was not expecting a lot of quality photo ops, the first couple of miles I was shooting stills and video, while trying think of some decent patter to dub over the video. To me, a video requires more time to convey the same amount of visual info as a still photo. So, I can keep my hike videos bite size, rather than rambling, disjointed and 90% unwatched like they were when I started in 2013. 😏

The first two miles to Dripping Spring were on jeep trail. There is a trail a short way down to Dripping Spring, but to stay on schedule, I skipped checking it out. At the top of that small canyon is a corral with a broken Aermotor windmill. The jeep trail continues, but the Black Canyon Trail splits left onto singletrack foot trail.

Almost the entire Black Canyon Trail from Cordes to AZ-69 passes through rolling, juniper-dotted grassland. The only climb of any sort is 200 ft. in a mile, north from Dripping Spring corral. After the climb, the BCT descends the next ¾ through a beautiful little valley to Antelope Creek, which showed zero sign of recent water. The valley reminded me of California. The junipers provided enough shade that I took a break. 🌳

As the trail rises out of the creek bed, it passed through a dense field of dry, brown, fallow New Mexico thistle. It would have been spectacular if the thistle were blooming.

After crossing Antelope Creek Rd., the BCT returns to singletrack for the final 2½ miles to Big Bug Trailhead. The trail curls around a small hill, then passes under powerline & phone lines, before crossing Big Bug Creek. On the north side of the creek, there is a buried pipeline and a mountain bike-optimized rollover gate. (I saw no MTBs, or hikers, all day.)

There were three cars at the Big Bug Trailhead, but they were all using the pit toilet as a rest stop, not for hiking. My wife was not among them. Somehow, she was 15 miles north in Dewey-Humboldt. But I was not angry, as without her loving help, I would not be able to do the hikes I do. 😘

After getting picked up by my wife, I did a scouting drive up Old Sycamore Road and AZ Hunt Club Road to see if the way was open to where the Black Canyon Trail crosses under the power lines over Brushy Wash. It’s seven miles north of Big Bug Trailhead, so that stretch would be another decent BCT segment. Unfortunately, two miles short of the BCT, the road was gated — with a keypad passcode! — private property. That’s a puzzle I’ll need to solve …

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/541360853
Culture
Culture
Windmill
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Redstem stork’s bill was by far the most common flower — easily over 90% of the blooms. Tiny ones, that were hard to photograph! Strawberry hedgehog were not frequent, but they were the second most common flower I found. I saw a few desert globemallow, but only two blooms.

Desert woollystar looked like redstem stork’s bill, except blue, rather than violet; I only saw a few, north of Antelope Creek. I spotted a couple of rough menodora, just east of the Big Bug Creek Trailhead. I saw two silverleaf nightshade: The first one by the dry corral above Dripping Springs canyon, which I forgot to photograph, and the above near Mayer, which I did not.
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kingsnake's
536 Photosets

  2021-06-03
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