At the end of our last blog I incorrectly stated that we were headed to Kanab Utah next – wrong! First we headed to Arizona for a visit with my cousin Sara and her hubby Andy. We visited the Sedona and Camp Verde area last year – see blog post here. This year we returned to do a little more on foot exploring of local trails and, of course, just hang with family. Looking for free camping as always we found a gravel lot between a casino and gas station that nobody really claimed and the gas station attendant said it was okay to park in. It wasn’t the most picturesque but was super close to Sara and Andy so it made sense. We also scouted out some other forest service locations for use in the future when we want to be a little more remote.
Bell Rock – Courthouse Butte Loop
One of the most popular trails in the area are those in the Bell Rock area. It is very easily accessible from town, amazingly beautiful, and is home to one of the most well known energy vortexes in the area (Bell Rock). This also happens to be Sara’s favorite trail so she was excited to go with us.
Schnebly Hill Road
We took a short hike just outside of town up Schnebly Hill Road. I think we were either on Huckaby or Munds Wagon trail. From this trailhead you can actually access a number of trails, depending on how long you want to hike. We wandered up hills and down through valleys until we decided we didn’t want to anymore – a wonderfully casual hike.
The West Fork trail is a popular little oasis with a running creek and cooler temperatures. We did not go completely prepared though – a person should take shoes they don’t mind getting wet and be prepared to just slog through the creek. After about our tenth creek crossing over a collection of random limbs thrown across the creek we decided to just sit, take it all in, and turn around! We all managed to keep our feet dry but next time we will wear sandals and just go for it.
Palatki and Honanki Heritage Sites
The Palatki and Honanki sites were the largest cliff dwellings of the area between 1150 and 1350 AD, home to the Sinagua who are ancestors of the Hopi people. To visit Palatki you must make reservations ahead of time as the tours are guided and group size is limited. At this site are Sinagua cliff dwellings and an alcove with pictographs. The forest service guides give some history of the Sinagua, how the dwellings were constructed, native foods of the area, what some of the pictographs might mean and the transition from the Sinagua to modern peoples. The Honanki site is self guided and also has a cliff dwelling and rock art.
Watson Lake/Granite Dells
About four miles outside of Prescott is Watson Lake and the scenic Granite Dells. We knew about it from pictures Sara has posted from trips with their hiking club and it was so unique we had to go see it ourselves! We did the whole loop around the lake, through the Granite Dells which included a bit of rock scrambling (which I think is great fun). We had a great time on this one!
As usual, Sara and Andy were awesome tour guides, taking us to great restaurants and being gracious hosts. One of the most memorable stops was just for a chai tea at The Chai Spot. They make REAL chai tea served in a glass jar while you sprawl out with their oversized pillows and blankets on the patio – how cool is that? Sara even worked her therapeutic magic on me to get me walking straight again – thank you, thank you, thank you! Having a highly skilled, intuitive massage therapist cousin is like the best thing ever. Now, from here we actually did head to Kanab, UT to volunteer at Best Friends!