Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The "Big Dipper," Poland Creek canyon

Saturday I did a hike I've been wanting to cross off my list for awhile.  Poland Creek, a granite-lined creek tumbling down from the high country of the Bradshaws, offers up some nice pools and pseudo-narrows.  On a summer day, there's no finer attraction.

The trip requires a 25-mile drive up a well-maintained dirt road, almost all the way to Crown King.  Along the drive, I happened to catch the distinctive orange and black of a gila monster crossing the road.  This was a real thrill, as the Gila Monster is such an iconic Arizona creature, and I've never seen one before in 15 years of Arizona hiking.  I stopped to snap a few pictures, then continued on, with the day already a win in my book.

The Algonquin trail was closed due to the Gladiator fire, which had burned through much of the brush in the area.  After a 25 mile drive, though, I wasn't about to turn around.  The fire actually was a blessing, as it burnt away much of the bushwhacking that was formerly required on this trail.

On reaching the creek bottom, I preceded downstream and before too long reached the Big Dipper.  A bypass on the north side of the creek delivered me to the pool.  Unfortunately, the waterfall was merely trickling, but the pool at the base of the falls was excellent and I spent a good hour swimming.

The 1000 foot climb out was brutal, especially with no shade, and consumed a lot more time than I expected.  On reaching the top, I detoured the few more miles to Crown King to pick up a well-deserved soda.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Peavine trail, Prescott

Short entry today.  Last Saturday my girlfriend and I headed up to Prescott for the day.  Part of the agenda included a hike on the Peavine trail.  This is a rail-trail that skirts the eastern shoreline of Watson Lake.  Being a rail trail, its flat and arrow-straight, but the views over the lake were nice enough.  At the north end of the lake, the trail connects to a network of trails in the Granite Dells.  We did a short portion of the Lakeshore trail, and it was here that things got interesting, as the trail dipped in and out of the rock formations.  I'd likely return to do more hiking here, though I would probably bring a bike as a tedium-reduction device for the first stretch along the actual Peavine trail, as there's no particular reason to recommend hiking this route over biking.