Twenty-four Trailblazers ready to go at the Watershed Trailhead. [photo by Bill]
This spring at about the half-way point
This hike is one of my perennial favorites: hiking in the pines, mostly good
surfaces, moderate climbing, two lakes, a spring, and water and restrooms
at the turnaround point. What’s not to like?
always seems to have water. [photo by Tom]
Twenty-four hikers signed up, and with that many I decided to break the
groups in half. So at the meeting point at Fry’s I asked the faster
hikers and the slower ones stand in two different areas and then arrange
carpools among themselves. Everyone was happy with that arrangement.
Dave agreed to be the deputy hike leader and guide the fast group.
The fast group left the trailhead first and the slow one a few minutes later.
Everything went fine at first but after about a mile we started to encounter
quite a few mountain bikes approaching us from the rear.
Seeing a few is normal, of course, but not group after group after group.
And a few were angry with us for blocking the trail. “Don’t
you know there’s a race going on today?” a few of them
Enjoying life at the turnaround point. [photo by Tom]
Great weather, lots of pine trees, a smooth trail,
and great company.
What more could you ask?
[photo by Tom]
That’s when we noticed the entry numbers each cyclist has on their
chest. And some of them were in the 1600-1800 range! Did we really have
1700 mountain bikers bearing down on us? And to make matters worse,
we were on a narrow section of trail cut into the side of a fairly steep hill.
When the bikes came, we ended up tree-hugging to keep out of the way!
By the time all this became evident the fast group was nearly off the narrow
section of trail and so they kept going until they found a place to stop and
decide what to do. My slower hikers essentially refused to take another
step forward though, and so we headed back to the trailhead.
Along the way we veered off to hike along Upper Goldwater Lake, and in
fact explored a some extra sections of trail.
I’d seen reports of it being possible to hike around the whole lake
but it turned out this required some cliff-climbing on each side of the dam
but still we enjoyed the extra views.
At the east side of the lake we discovered a nice city park with restroom
and a nice large Ramada where we stopped for lunch.
When we got back to the trailhead our distance was only 6 miles, less than
the 10 miles everyone was expecting. I’d been curious for some time
about the White Spar Trailhead, so that’s where we went.
From there we hiked east on the Schoolhouse Gulch Trail until my GPS said
we were two miles short of the wished-for ten, so at the point we turned
The faster group considered leaving the Goldwater Lakes Trail and taking
a junction to the Banning Creek Trail nearby. But then they found that all
the bikers were going on the Banning Creek Trail, so our folks stuck to the
In Arizona, hiking next to water is always a special treat. [photo by Bill]
As it turned out, once our group had turned around, we saw very few
additional bikers. Eventually we met a small off-road motorcycle, which was
quiet a surprise on a non-motorized trail. But I guess he was the sweep for
the racers. Apparently, the 1600-1800 entrants were for a variety of events,
most of which weren’t on the Goldwater Lakes Trail.
So actually, both groups could have kept going and seen no more bikers
than they did. But who knew? And we did get to explore the Schoolhouse
Gulch Trail, which was new to everyone.
The grand finale to a great hike! [photo by Tom]
After the hike most of the entire group met at
Lonesome Valley Brewery, the only craft brewery in Prescott Valley.
This turned out to be a new restaurant made to look old and they had good
food, good beer, and lots of character. What a great ending to a great day!
Goldwater Lake Hike Statistics
|Avg. Speed Moving:||2.4||mph|
|Avg. Speed Overall:||2.3||mph|
|Finishing Temperature: ||68||°|