September 11th, 2016 ~ Day 170
Today Eric and I headed north into uncharted territory. He suggested going to a place we’ve never been. So we started heading north toward Anthem thinking there were trails off the mountains up there, but we weren’t able to find a trailhead anywhere.
We did, however, find a trail another ten minutes up the I17. So off we went. Heading north to Black Canyon City. Right off Highway 17, about two miles in, we found our trail.
According to the map, the trail is 12.7 miles long, but once completed it will be 62 miles long and will lead all the way to Prescott. I’d love to come back here and do the 12.7 this winter.
Right next to the trailhead is a campground, where you can camp for free. Throw a little overnight camping in and get up to go hiking first thing in the morning. Life would be a dream.
I have never been to this area before, let alone hiked anywhere near here. The views were spectacular! So many mountains and mesas off in the distance. We were definitely in the middle of the desert.
The trail was well groomed. Never a spot where you couldn’t tell where the trail was or where you were going. It must not be a well populated trail as I walked through cobwebs for the first half mile.
Initially we started hiking south on the trail. A half a mile down the road from the trailhead, there was a place where you could shoot guns for target practice. So as we were hiking we found remnants of target practices, some new and some old.
As we headed south of the road, all we could hear were the gun shots with them echoing off the walls of the mountains. It was a little nerve wracking for me. I believe we were safe, but these are bullets, so after a half mile we turned around and went back north.
Once we came back over the road it immediately began to get quiet. You could no longer hear the gun shots.
The trail to the north seemed even more maintained and some bikers had just gone through here, so no cobwebs. The saguaro cacti were in abundance and we even saw a few palm trees, which we thought odd to see in the middle of a desert. Eric and I both wondered how they got there.
Coming here were awarded an opportunity to see some unique flora. The tuna on the prickly pear were so huge and bright red, more than I’ve ever seen. I swear one day I’m going to try these. We found little orange berries on a bush and what Eric said looked like orange chili peppers on a cactus. I’ve never seen either in the desert before, but I’ve never been out in the middle of nowhere like this before.
Besides the gun shots to the south, I’m glad we headed north for the views. In less than a half mile, we saw three different variations of stone. I’m not informed enough to know what types of rocks these are, but looking at them and their colors you could tell they were extremely different.
It makes me wonder how they came to be. How they could have so many different varieties in such a short distance. I wonder too, is it like this on the populated trails and I just never noticed.
Today was an amazing day! I saw so many new plants and rocks. I found a new trail to hike and explore. I learned of a new place to camp and a new place for target practice. I feel like I left here with a wealth of information. Thanks to Eric for the idea of going some place we’ve never been. 😊