Hey friends, welcome back to GrandAdventure! I'm your host Marc Guido, and welcome tothe Prescott, Arizona area.
We're going to spend this episode showing you aroundall the wonderful things that the Prescott area has to offer — some gorgeouslakes, beautiful mountain forests, desert, and some wonderful hikes.
So stay tuned! So we're boondocking in the PrescottNational Forest along South Senator Highway just south of the city ofPrescott by about eight miles.
This is a gorgeous area.
We're up around 6, 400 feet, so we've made a huge transition here from desert (that was honestly getting alittle warm) up to cool mountain forests.
The daily highs have been up around 60degrees, lows in the upper 30s.
It's been just beautiful.
It has been awfullybreezy the whole time we've been here, but it's been breezy all across NorthernArizona.
I really can't blame the location for that.
Now they call it theSouth Senator Highway but it's really not much of a highway.
It's a narrow, twisting paved road, two lanes until you get about a mile from camp.
That's whereit goes to dirt.
Now apparently the Prescott Basin area has been at timesoverused for camping, so the National Forest Service has restricted camping todesignated campsites along these Forest Service roads.
And to the Forest Service'scredit, most of the sites that we've seen that would be worth taking are markedfor dispersed camping.
So they've been very generous in allocating those sites, but they're just trying to restrict use to certain identifiable sites, and if thearea is heavily used I can't blame them for that.
There is no charge, of course, weare just boondocking on Forest Service land, and one thing they did do in thesedesignated sites is they actually put metal fire rings with grates, which iskind of a nice touch for a boondocking site.
Easy access to town.
If you're an RVtraveler, I've got to tell you there is virtually any kind of product or servicethat you could possibly need in that town.
Virtually every big-box store knownto mankind, sometimes two.
There's a great RVdealership, and we need to give them a shout out right here.
They're calledAffinity RV.
They have propane fills for a buck 80 a gallon.
They have a free dumpstation complete with potable water.
Very very friendly folks to RV travelers.
They were very helpful when we stopped to pick up some propane and a part forour entry door that we were needing to replace, so they've been terrific, and abuck 80 a gallon .
I mean, that's less than half the price of what the U-Haul dealerhere in Prescott is asking for a propane fill.
So very, very, very fair on theirpricing.
Now as you can hear, there are occasional ATVs that go by here butit hasn't been that troublesome and it hasn't been that dusty, so no realcomplaints from us there.
Now there's easy access to all kinds of outdoorrecreation from here.
We're in the Bradshaw Mountains.
There's some greathikes we'll bring you on in the Bradshaw Mountains, There's another really coolhike that we'll bring you out to northwest of town out near GraniteMountain, and we'll show you around the city of Prescott a little bit as well.
Boondocking along South Senator Highwaycomes with the typical U.
Forest Service 14-day stay limit.
Other ForestService roads in the immediate vicinity have similar established dispersedcampsites as well.
Eight miles south of our camp with apopulation of 40, 000, Prescott was designated the capital of the ArizonaTerritory in 1864 before moving to Tucson only three years later.
Afteranother ten years Prescott became the territorial capitalonce again, before ceding that title to Phoenix.
Wyatt Earp's brother Virgilserved as a constable and watchman in Prescott starting in 1878, and DocHolliday also lived there in the summer of 1880, too, before the involvement of both in thenow infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone.
Many of the downtownbuildings in Whiskey Row, adjacent to the town's past red-light district, have beenconverted to boutiques, art galleries, book stores and restaurants.
ManyVictorian style homes line Prescott's residential streets.
Picturesque WatsonLake, just four miles north of Prescott, makes us wish that we didn't leave ourkayak at home.
The city park features fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, camping, and day picnicking — something for everyone.
South of our camp, South Senator Highwaybecomes even less of a highway.
We're using it to hike to the lookout atop7, 979- foot Mount Union, the highestpeak in the Bradshaw Mountains.
Right outside of our trailers dinettewindow sit several of these gorgeous and unusual alligator juniper trees, so namedfor the checkerboard pattern of their bark that resembles alligator skin.
Inthe US it's native to several southwestern states including Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas, growing in dry soils at altitudes ranging from2, 500 to nearly 8, 900 feet.
These trees are noteworthy, for we'reabout to hike to one particular gigantic specimen of this beautiful tree thatholds a special story beneath its boughs.
You may recall the Granite MountainHotshots, a group of wildland firefighters within the Prescott FireDepartment.
The 2017 film “Only The Brave” was based on the Granite MountainHotshots and the Yarnell Fire.
On June 30th, 2013, 19 members of the 20-man group died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, which was ignited by lightning justa few miles southwest of here, when the fire overtook their position.
It was thegreatest loss of life for firefighters in a wildfire since 1933, the deadliestwildfire of any kind since 1991, and the greatest loss of firefighters in theUnited States since the September 11th attacks.
Only several months earlier, the DoceFire erupted near where we're hiking, and the Granite Mountain Hotshots weretasked with defending this giant alligator juniper tree.
They prepared afire line around the tree, and cleared away fuels before moving on to theirnext task to help extinguish the blaze.
When the fire was finally out and thecrew returned to the scene, the earth surrounding the giant juniper was allscorched, but the juniper was still standing unscathed.
The Hotshots talked about how they wanted to return to this tree at the endof the summer to install a plaque to explain how they had saved it.
Alas, theyperished in the Yarnell Fire before they had the chance to do so.
But with the help of friends, family, andvolunteers, the U.
Forest Service stepped in to do what the GraniteMountain hotshots wanted to do, but died before they could.
This tree survivedbecause of the crew's willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done, andthis giant alligator juniper tree now represents their devotion to the job, andthe survival of their memory.
So we truly hope that you've enjoyedcoming along with us to Prescott, Arizona! Hopefully this has given you someinspiration to maybe visit the Prescott area in your RV as well.
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