After 4 days of rain and mostly hanging around North Ranch, the weather was finally nice enough to go for a hike. We went on the Eagle’s Beak trail near Aguila.
The terrain was varied and there were all different kinds of cacti. Abbey could run off leash (and seems to be keeping a respectful distance from the cacti). We hiked up a plateau where we could see another set of vistas.
Nearly everywhere we looked was a desert foreground with various flora and mountains in the distance. We came down a saddle and then hiked up a steep mountainside trail, so steep we bushwhacked our way down at a gentler angle. The weather really started to improve and layers were shed as we finished up our hike in the sun.
This weekend we drove to Prescott to visit Ted’s brother and his family. We had to go over some pretty high passes (around 6000 ft elev). We’re pretty respectful of snow, ice, and even rain, as the dually is really light in the back (when not towing) and tends to fishtail a bit. The sun broke through on our way down the other side as we neared Prescott, although big fluffy flakes began to fall as we neared our destination.
We had a fun Friday evening, checking out the Palace Saloon on Whiskey Row and enjoying a great dinner at El Gato Azul in downtown Prescott. Saturday was a lovely day, so we set out for a hike in Granite Dells.
The Dells are on the North end of Prescott and are pretty spectacular. It reminded me of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, perhaps not as dramatic, but far more expansive. We took the dam trail up and down and around lots of these formations until we came to the dam at Watson Lake and then climbed up and over the other side to the Peavine rail trail to return to our starting point.
Wikipedia tells us that “The precambrian Dells’ granite has been dated at 1.4 billion years old. Its pluton [a body of intrusive igneous rock that is crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth] was intruded at a depth of around one or two miles (1.6 to 3.2 km). These cover rocks have since been eroded away. Weathering along joints produced the rounded boulders and other unusual rock formations that characterize the Granite Dells. This process is called spheroidal weathering, and is common in granitic terrains.”
There was a vista point where we could get great views of Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain. Pictured are Bill Brooks, Ted Brooks, and Carol Brooks at the vista point. Below is the view of Granite Mountain.
Somehow after this vigorous hike, Carol had the energy left to make us an amazing Italian dinner (Chicken Parmesan and Eggplant Parmesan, with meatballs, homemade fettuccine, and homemade mozzarella!). That and a couple of nice bottles of wine was a very pleasant end to a lovely day.
Sunday was a lazy day (except for Carol, who made a great crawfish bisque), highlighted by the Packers win in the playoffs. Thanks to our wonderful hosts, Rick and Carol Brooks and their son Bill.
Also thanks to their three cats and two dogs for getting along so well with Abbey. After initial defensiveness, Abbey actually played with the two dogs, tried to get a cat to play, and got comfortable with Pluto on the couch.
Back home today — another nice sunny day — we got the bikes out for the first time. We rode on a trail along the highway toward Congress. Realizing what good shape we’re not in, we headed back logging only about 5 miles.
We stopped in the clubhouse and found a trail map of hiking/biking/atv trails that begin at the back gate of North Ranch.
So we added on another couple miles exploring back there. I think it will be a nice place to take Abbey, either hiking or biking. We certainly were glad to discover it! The network of trails includes one to “inspiration point” and another to Martinez Wash and others that we look forward to checking out.
But that is for another day.