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Groom Creek Loop Day Hike
October 10, 2009
by Ted Tenny
  Trail Map 
Joe, Barry, Ted, Doug, Craig

Five of the finest Trailblazers set out from Groom Creek Trailhead on Trail #307. We decided to troop the loop counter-clockwise, for a change of scene.

The trail heads south across Wolf Creek, then bends east for the gradual, scenic climb up to South Spruce Ridge. There are many side canyons and streambeds to cross on the way to the top.

Sawyers have cleared the trail for us.
The notorious Isabella Trail junction is clear at last.

What a difference two years can make! The Forest Service has cleared fallen logs and branches from the trail and added signs wherever the Groom Creek Trail crosses another trail or a road.

Doug and Ted were here two years ago when a large tree had fallen right on top of the Isabella Trail junction, causing the Trailblazers to take a wrong turn. The junction is clear now, with signs to mark the trails.

yellow oak
Bright colors of autumn cheer us along the trail.
A friendly tarantula waves at passers-by.
Ladybugs gather on the rocks by the tower.
The insects around here are boring, wouldn't you say?

Autumn flowers and colorful leaves brighten our passage. We meet hikers, bikers, equestrians, deer, squirrels, a tarantula and a horned toad on the trail.

Evidently there were several stages of clearing logs and branches off the trail. Some of the tree stumps are freshly cut, while others are decaying after years of weather and insects.

We arrive at the lookout tower and picnic table.

The fire lookout tower stands upon a mighty rock.

The weather is ideal, with high clouds and a mild breeze.

Although the lookout tower is closed, we climb up to its base to enjoy panoramic views of Prescott and the Bradshaw Mountains.

There’s smoke coming up from several places in the forest west of us. Everyone hopes it is a controlled burn.

Knee braces and walking sticks are carefully adjusted for our hike back down, because our descent to the Senator Highway is steep on its upper section. We cross Wolf Creek again, then the trail levels out before taking a final plunge back to the trailhead.

Halfway down we enjoy the most colorful autumn leaves. Then we pass some dark boulders north of the trail. Finally, the end is in sight as we see the paved road ahead.

Ted organized this hike at the last minute because there was nothing on the Trailblazers calendar and the weather in Prescott looked just right. What a fine way to begin our fall hiking season!

Our hike ends in a blaze of autumnal glory.
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updated November 26, 2019