A wonderland of rocks – Prescott, AZ

Even though we had a lot of uncomfortable weather during our stay at Prescott, it would have been a “dereliction of duty” to depart without at least exploring the Granite Dells. We’d been inspired by pictures of this natural wonderland from RV friends who had explored it in the past, and it was one of the reasons we had to stop here.

The Granite Dells consist of exposed bedrock and large boulders that date back 1.4 billion years.  The rounded shapes and other unusual characteristics of these rock formations make them very unique.

Granite Dells, Prescott Arizona

The Granite Dells

Lucky for us, access to these awesome formations was just steps from our front door.   With temps in the 30’s and 40’s in the mornings we were in no hurry to get outside, and for the first time ever we started our walks and hikes a few hours later.  We are “fair weather hikers”, and those temperatures kept us curled up around the heaters until well after sunrise.

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The Dells reminded me of the Alabama Hills (my post is here) near Lone Pine, California, where old Western movies were filmed – except that man-made lakes give these formations a picturesque beauty of their own.  Watson Lake (closest to us) and Willow Lake (a few minutes away) are reservoirs that surround the Dells and enhance the natural beauty of the area.

Granite Dells, Prescott

Willow Lake

A short break along the trail at Willow Lake

Watson Lake

A kayaker is dwarfed by the gigantic boulders at Watson Lake, which give a stark display of the drought that has occurred here

There’s an extensive network of trails in and around Prescott, but we prioritized the Dells network that circumnavigate around Willow and Watson Lakes.  We followed these trails that ran over rugged rocky terrain with some easy flat sections in between.

Watson Lake Trail

At one intersection we chose the steeper and shorter route to warm up our legs

Watson Lake Trail, Granite Dell

What goes up must go back down!

On other days while Steve was attending to Betsy, I explored more of the Dells alone and managed to do silly things without someone there to make comments and roll his eyes.  I noticed while traipsing around and scrambling over the rocks that I glimpsed shadows of myself, and I thought I’d try to capture them.

Watson Lake

The Dells are a decent birding area as well, which made me giddy as I spotted my little friends perched up in trees or jumping around the rocks looking for morsels.

Cordillera Flycather

Looks like a Cordillera Flycather, or is it?

Canyon Wren

This Canyon Wren was quietly picking its way through a clump of brush then perch on the rock

Great Blue Heron

A Great Blue Heron was across the lake patiently awaiting its next meal

But look what I saw far away in the top of a tree at Willow Lake:

Willow Lake, Prescott

Can you see it?

Bald Eagle

I never get tired of seeing these majestic beauties

When surrounded by all these rounded bumpy and unusual shapes it gave me pause to ponder what the rock is trying to paint in front of me.  With a little imagination I named some of the rocks – do you agree with me?

Granite Dells

A resting (or dead) fish

Granite Dell

Lonely heart

Granite Dells

The ripple effect

Granite Dells

Darth Vader – or an alien – emerging from the rocks to watch the kayakers float by

With that kind of playground I completely forgot the chill in the air.

Granite Dells

One last look at the playground before we go

 

Next Up:  Steve performs another little upgrade on Betsy…