For this hike, I had picked Ranch Trail (62) located near Goldwater Lake, just south of Prescott, AZ. Looking at a map, the trailhead appeared to be right next to Goldwater Lake. I started out turning into the Goldwater Lake area to ask the attendant if she knew of trail 62. She didn’t but asked if I was going to participate in the Prescott Circle Trail race. “No,” I said. “I don’t know about any race.” She handed me a map of trails around Goldwater Lake and gave more details regarding where I could park for hiking. I would find out this was the best place to park for that day.
After consulting the maps, and finding my direction, off I went. Soon after leaving the vicinity of Goldwater, a few dedicated hikers jogged past. A little bit longer and I came to the road I took to Goldwater. An officer was directing traffic, spectators were cheering hikers on, and volunteers were manning a food and drink booth. Trail 62 started on the other side. Because of all the activity, I certainly couldn’t have parked by the start of Ranch Trail today; it was part of the Prescott Circle Trail race.
Passing through I started the upward climb on Ranch Trail. Overall, the climb wasn’t bad, and oh, the views! There were good views of Goldwater Lake, Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte, and Willow Lake, along with distant views of Prescott. I could see the buildings of Yavapai Regional Medical Center and the Square. Even the tops of the VA Hospital gleaming white stood out amongst the hills around them.
Hiking along, my footsteps became a constant murmuring beat to distant bird songs and the occasional red-headed woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting on trees. The slight vanilla-undertone scent of pines drifted in the warm air. A wave of wind announced its presence by meandering through pine needles and leaves, bringing a welcomed cool touch to my face. Those hiking in the race would pass me by while mountain bikers passed in the opposite direction.
After taking a brief stop at a summit, I headed back. I gave a smiles and words of encouragement to the racers still heading up the hill, and a few wished me a good hike too. When I got closer to Goldwater Lake, I thought about taking another trail loop before heading home. While taking the maps out of my pack to look at the trails, I noticed that my phone had fallen out of another pack pocket. “No, no, no, no, no, not the phone. I just got that phone. No, not the phone…” was my reaction. What to do? If the phone fell near where I thought it did, it would mean at least two more hours of hiking, something I wasn’t sure I could accomplish easily after the hiking I’d already done.
Well, there was a race going on. How fortuitous was that? Perhaps they had a lost and found for their event. I retraced my steps back to the trailhead to chat with one of the volunteers. Turns out that yes, they did have a lost and found and they had sweepers, people covering the trail behind the racers, that would collect items if needed; and sometimes the hikers would pick up an item and turn it in. I described what had happened and was given information in case my phone was found. Praying, I took the short way back to Goldwater Lake and headed home. Then I discovered that my sunglasses were also missing.
Later that evening, I was informed that someone had found my phone. Although the screen was really scratched up, I was still so very thankful to have the phone! A prayer was answered! But the story continues. After a couple of days it became somewhat amusing because what really received most of the damage was the phone’s screen protector that neither my husband nor I knew was there. Needless to say, the phone now has a better screen protector. As for the sunglasses, perhaps some squirrel or raccoon is now sporting a new look, since I was unable to find them the next day.