Been sick, or travelling, for the past month. Have gotten a few miles, but no AEG, and no elevation, to speak of. Had meant to do this hike last week … but got sick. (Again.) Finally got out today, and a beautiful day it was!
I hiked the entirety of Ranch Trail #62 from Walker Rd. west to Upper Goldwater Lake. Doing it that direction, meant a decent climb, near the start, rather than a descent at the end, as Walker Rd. is about 400 feet lower than Senator Hwy.
The first mile was a slow climb towards the housing area. After crossing the only wash of the hike, the trail climbs about 800 feet in 1.5 miles to just above Bellows Springs. The area is brushy, without much shade. Beside hiking west giving the trail more AEG, it also means that you do the most exposed parts in the coolest part of the day. It’s not the hike’s high point, but all your climbing is done. (The actual high point is another mile on, on the saddle northwest of Hill 6616.)
Just past the climb, you turn west into a stand of pine trees. Between the trees, and being on the north slope of the hills, there is lots of shade. It’s a really pleasant walk. (I see where some folks only gave the hike two stars, but I really enjoyed it.)
The flowers were scattered, but there was a very large variety, and they were quite colorful.
There’s a dirt lot on Senator Hwy. at the end of Trail #62, but I continued west on Trail #396 to the south end of the Goldwater parking area, where I met my wife. I had not been there before, but it is a very nice park, with great facilities. Well worth the $2 parking fee.
Traditional post-Prescott hike lunch at the T-Bird Cafe in Peeples Valley. Since I finished the hike so quick, we had time to do some antiquing in Yarnell as well.
I counted 12 cops on the loop up I-17, 69, 89, 93, Carefree Hwy, and back on 17 home. It was surprising, since most people worked today.
Distance: 8.04 mi.
AEG: 1,335 ft.
Time: 3h 08m