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West Spruce Trail Day Hike
Bradshaw Mountains
October 28, 2006
by Beth Baumert
  Topo Map 

On a sunny, beautiful, fall Saturday on which the high in Prescott was 70°, Barry A., Rudy A., Doug E., Debbie M., Chuck P., and Beth B., the hike leader, set off in search of the West Spruce Trail.

After leaving the picnic area, we drove per the directions on a dirt road and hoped that the unmarked road on the left which we took was indeed the Forest Service road we were seeking. We asked a helpful passerby and determined that we were heading in the right direction.

We climbed up into the mountains and passed the Sierra Prieta Overlook, with a spectacular view of Skull Valley to the west. After several tries, we finally found the trailhead, which was marked from the southern approach but not from the north, from which we had originally come.

It was worth the extra effort, because the views on both sides of the trail were breathtaking (the altitude, at 7100 feet, was also breathtaking).

group
This must be the way.

juniper
The alligator juniper provides a welcome respite.
Rudy
Ride ’em, Rudy!

Debbie
Ride ’em, Debbie!

To the northeast, we could see snow up on Mt. Humphreys and the white and red rock cliffs of Sedona, and Skull Valley with foothills on the other side. We paused for a group photograph by a huge alligator juniper tree.

This became known as the “scat” hike, because we saw many droppings from bears and coyotes as well as cows and horses. We tried to identify the evidence based on the drawings on Chuck’s “endangered feces” T-shirt, but we didn’t think we saw evidence of a Florida panther.

There was a cool breeze, the sun was warm, and there were many yellow leaves on the Gambel Oak trees. The trail was a series of ups and downs through the woods (Douglas fir and pine trees).

Rudy and Debbie tamed a wild tree, as any good cowboy or cowgirl would.

We hiked about seven miles round trip through lovely trees, with awe-inspiring scenery and great company.

There were also some bad puns, a good game of guessing between true and false statements about ourselves, and discussions of the contents of the state propositions proposed in the upcoming election.

This was the first time we hiked this trail, and I would highly recommend it.

Just remember to look for the cattle guard, since there is no sign marking the trailhead!

cavalry
Is that the cavalry coming?
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updated October 29, 2017