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Watson Lake Loop Day Hike
October 6, 2012
by Eileen Root
Bill and Ted’s
  GPS Map 
28 terrific Trailblazers! [Bill Zimmermann photo]
Picture Left to Right:
Kneeling: Eileen, Cyd, Nicole, Anikó, Bill, Olga, Monika, Kim, Wayne
Standing: Jim B., John, Chuck, Angela, Scott, Linda, Jim J., Mark, Quy, Ajay, Mike S., Barry, Gary G., Wendy R., Ted, Debbie, Joe, Doug, Lori
Not in picture: Larry G., Corinne

Thirty hikers went on the Watson Lake Loop hike which officially opened up in August of this year. Watson Lake is one of two reservoirs in the Granite Dells that was formed when the Chino Valley Irrigation District built a dam on Granite Creek in the early 1900s. The trails were worked on by a group of volunteers called the “Over The Hill Gang”. One of the trails we traversed was called the “Over The Hill Trail”. I wonder which gave rise to the other?

Gray and tan are the school colors of Watson Lake rocks. [photo by Ted Tenny]
Ducks enjoy the lake. [photo by Wendy]

We started out around 9:00 AM at the Peavine Trailhead hiking on the Lower Granite Creek Trail on the SW side of the lake which is designated as a Riparian Area. Then connected to the Watson Lake Trail where a Great Outdoors Recreation Festival with live music was in progress in the Park.

IMG_1625_482 IMG_1648_482
Sailboats [photo by Ajay] and driftwood [photo by Ted] give the lake character.
Idyllic approach to the Granite Creek Dam. [Ted]
We crossed a foot bridge over the creek. [Wendy]
The dam looked O.K. from this side. [photo by Wendy Rennert]
Dam_JB Heron_JB
But the dam is leaking. Blue Heron just looks on. [photos by Jim Buyens]
Trailblazers begin their ascent from Granite Creek. [photo by Bill]

Now the real fun began – hiking in the boulders on the Northshore Trail with fantastic views of the lake below.

We took a snack break below the dam – a scenic spot with green grass, trees and Granite Creek running alongside.

Then we started up the “Over The Hill Trail”, stopping at the treehouse along the way and continuing on the Lake Shore Trail ending up back at the Trailhead around 1:30 PM.

The weather obliged by being in the mid 70s and partly cloudy.

... and I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll climb out of here. [photo by Ted]
Ted steps across the spring-fed stream. [photo by Jim Buyens]

Hiking in the boulders and looking down at the lake made for an interesting and beautiful hike. And although you really can’t get lost on this hike, you could end up on several side trails adding extra steps to your hike.

Bill climbs to the treehouse. [photo by Wendy Rennert]

But everyone managed to make it back to the trailhead intact.

Trailblazers make their way up the Lakeshore Trail. [by Ted]

After the hike, 20 of us opted to go out to eat at Tito’s Tanqueria Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Prescott Valley. Others headed back to the valley or went to downtown Prescott to enjoy the Hot Rod Show and Debbie and Monika went back to their weekend campsite.

Enjoying the repast at Tito’s Tanqueria Guadalajara. [photo by Ajay Kak]

It turned out to be a great day with great people! My thanks to all of you.

Supplemental Report
by Ted Tenny

The railroad grade was part of the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railway. Rails from Ash Fork reached Prescott, the capital of Arizona Territory, in 1893, and Phoenix in 1895, by way of Congress and Wickenburg. This line was merged into the Santa Fe in 1911. When it was abandoned in 1962 a few railroad cars were left in Prescott, just a couple blocks north of the square.

flowers flowers
Autumn flowers grace the rocks and the railroad grade.

We walked an extension of the Prescott & Eastern Railroad, which went from Prescott to Mayer. The railroad grade now serves as a remarkably smooth hiking trail.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 4, 2017