(Rho is here with a new feature that we will try and get out to you roughly once a week for a number of weeks. It is about a circle trail in Prescott, AZ where she and her husband moved recently. Of course she is our Caminoheads South West Bureau Chief. And here she is bringing news of a local trail in her area. She will give you all the details plus she will walk it for the first time and relay the news and views from the different stages as weeks go on. So here she is!)
AN ARIZONA CAMINO?
Ideas start with vision, and a vision plus desire, plus what happens next depends on the person or the people who have caught the vision When Phil first formed the idea for a Camino in his own backyard it began with a desire to hike the Camino, and the thought (at that time) that he could not go to Spain to do so. His desire along with his vision, combined with much effort, created what we have all come to know and love as Phil’s Camino.
In the early 1990’s here in Prescott, Arizona an idea for a circle trail was brought to the Yavapai Trails Association. The vision was to create a non-motorized trail open to hikers, horses and mountain bikers, and would surround the city of Prescott which is over 44 square miles. Throughout the years it has taken many volunteers and organizations to help this vision to take form. Some trails already existed but needed to be connected by new trails. There was also the issue of the various land agencies who would need to be involved. Once completed the circular trail is would be largely on Prescott Forest Land but it would also traverse private land, State Trust Land and Federal land.
This vision came to fruition many years ago and the Prescott Circle Trail is now a 56-mile loop around the city of Prescott. With an elevation of just over 5,300 feet, this area has a remarkable and diverse landscape which you can experience for yourselves as you venture out upon the trail. Some paths wander through the Ponderosa Pine Forests, while others take you along the shores of 3 of the local lakes. You will also venture out through the grasslands at the lower elevations along with winding your way along riverbeds or through the Pinon Pine and Juniper covered hillsides. What makes this journey even more approachable is that the entire circle trail has been divided into 11 sections with most of the sections are between 4-6 miles and each section can be reached by an easy, accessible trailhead.
Recently my husband Jim, my black lab Milana, and I have begun this journey and our plan is to hike 1 section a week for 11 weeks. Once completed we will have a much better understanding of the natural aspects of our new hometown, and we will also receive acknowledgement that we completed the entire Circle Trail the form of a patch, bumper sticker, or a bolo. It may not be a credential like the one in Spain, but it will be an acknowledgement none the less. In the meantime, I will be writing about our experiences and discoveries as we hike our way through each section and sharing them here on Phil’s Blog. I am also excited that a good friend who has hiked the Camino in Spain, and his wife, will be joining us on this venture beginning in the middle of May. I hope to gain some Camino wisdom from him while we walk this part of our lives together.