Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

So How Do You Like It? Or, Cycling Prescott’s Peavine Trail

Peavine Trail & columnar rocks

Peavine Trail & columnar rocks

©Bert Gildart: In this day of high gas prices, it is prudent to find a campground that provides various non-motorized forms of recreation. In part that is probably why our good friend Rich Charpentier decided to base himself at Point of Rocks Campground (a superb RV park that provides long-term camping).

About a year ago, Rich pulled his Airstream into this campground and has been here ever since. Yesterday, I found out yet another reason why he’s been so happy with his selection. For one thing, it is close to work for him, but perhaps as important, it provides ready access to some of Arizona’s best cycling.

Apparently he never gets tired of exploring one area in particular–by bike–and neither have I, for yesterday was the fourth time I’ve ridden the area in a week. I’ve discovered you can cycle the 12-mile-long Peavine Trail in about an hour if you push, but not so if photography is your objective. Yesterday, we explored for well over three hours, departing early for the best light. Obviously, photography was our objective.

“SO HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

Departing Point of Rocks on bikes, within a quarter of a mile (less than five minutes) of extremely wide-shoulder riding, we were cruising into Watson Lake State Park and the trailhead for the Peavine.

The trail passes around an arc of Watson Lake, crosses a bridge near the animal shelter, and then joins Peavine Trail proper. And here is where the geology and history get so fascinating. And here’s where Rich, who remains enamored with his huge backyard begins asking, “So how do you like it, Bert? How do you like it?”

Within a few more minutes the granite mountains–with its hills and spire-like formations that appear so impenetrable–begin to open up. Then, they gobble you up. They do so because stresses within the earth occurred here well over a billion years and eventually created conditions that would form the many jumbles of rocks now littering the landscape.

Rich Carpentier cycling Peavine Trail

Rich Charpentier: "So how do you like it?"

These jumbles are what the trail now passes through–and again, Rich couldn’t help himself:

“So how do you like it?”

As I looked around at the cluster of spires and the fields of boulders that seemed to fold one into another I could do little more than nod my approval.

GEOLOGICAL WONDERS

Geologists use the term to describe the deeply buried molten rock that eventually became today’s landscape as a “batholith.” They explain that the batholith eventually solidified, then cracked–creating all the “joints” that weathering rendered as spires. That, of course, required millions of years.

Today, the effect on those who pass them by is at times profound, as expressed by an unknown author:

“Mighty nature’s whims sometimes produce such grotesque and ponderous jumbles of rock material
that in a place like this man stands in fascinated awe and respectful admiration.”

HIDDEN PASSAGES

We continue our ride, and, Rich, whose enthusiasm continued unabated, explained that the Yavapai Indians once used the area, but that it was later used by miners who brought railroads into the area, and that most of the Peavine was once part of one of the old railroad beds. Adjacent to us as we rode was Watson Lake, and Rich pointed to the dam in the distance. Today, the “lake” provides habitat for a variety of waterfowl as well as a wonderful area on which kayakers can practice and explore hidden passages

Granite Mountain backdrops Watson Lake & kayaker

Granite Mountain backdrops Watson Lake & kayaker

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But the Peavine opened passages for us, and Rich and I continue to explore the land-based ones with our cameras. Eventually we came to one set of spires and we stopped. Light was streaming in from the side and seemed to be illuminating each of the tall finger-like projections with light that almost appeared celestial. We looked at one another and then almost laughed–for simultaneously the question popped out.

“How do you like it; how do you like it.”

There then followed moments of silence in which we both gazed in admiration.

Note: Janie and I leave Prescott today with much regret, thankful for the time both Rich and Sadira have provided in acquainting us with this wonderful part of Arizona.



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