Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bradshaw NEWS

                Pine Creek, central Bradshaws.

Spring in the Bradshaws continues.
The forest is fresh and green and the small creeks are flowing. Early flowers are beginning to bloom. The cold temperatures are gone making it a good time for camping out.

We have received emails asking if the wild apple orchards survived the cold temps this spring. The answer is YES, most that we have looked over have survived, and small apples are appearing. As we write this some at higher elevations are just blooming. Some of the plum and apricot trees did not survive frosts.

                          Wild apple orchard.

We have placed a new hike up on Marks Favorite Hiking Page, named
Ash Creek Riparian Forest Hike.
It is a loop within several connecting creeks. Click the link below to look it over.

          Ash Creek Hike.

During the past couple of weekends, the Bradshaws have come alive with hikers, mountain bikers, fisherman, climbers, ATVers, campers, boaters, kayakers, birders, ghost town hunters, gold seekers and ranchers branding newborn cattle. Its nice to see the many uses within the Prescott National Forrest.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Has Sprung in the Bradshaws

Finally warm weather has arrived. Its been a cold winter in the mountains this year. Apricot and plum trees have begun to bloom.
At lower elevations wildflowers have begun to "pop" and fields of poppies are appearing just north of Black Canyon City and many other locations.

Black Mesa rock art and Ruin.
 We have posted a new hike, that is one of our latest recommended "off trail hikes". Recently I hiked up to Black Mesa Ruin with friends. If you are not aware of Black Mesa, it is one of the most spectacular Hohokam ruins in the state, but difficult to reach. Here is a link to the hike.

Hiking Up to Black Mesa Ruin

Enjoy the warm weather and watch again for rattle snakes as you venture out into the spring. Mark

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bradshaw NEWS

 As I write this its snowing once again!!
This is probably old news for most of you by now, but the bald eagles are in at Lynx Lake. Follow the paved trail along the west side of the lake for best viewing opportunities. The above photo was taken with a point and shoot camera so one can get close to them.

Many waterfowl have also made Lynx Lake their winter home.

Agua Fria River Hike

We have posted a new hike to Marks Favorite Hiking Page.

This off trail hike will take you into a beautiful secluded section of the Agua Fria River, below Bloody Basin Road. Click the link below to find out more about this unique section of the Agua Fria, that is located on the National Monument.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cold in the Bradshaws

Brrr... its been cold lately here in the Bradshaws with a few passing snow flurries.
 Everything is frozen solid!

 Because of the cold temps we recently had a lone javelina take of residence in Cesar's dog house. I guess it looked like a cave and warm inside.  There was a fight for doghouse turf and finally a stand off and Cesar gave in and let the javelina stay warm for one night.  And now the doghouse has a strange odor coming from it. Yep javelina stink from that sent gland on them.

Recent Trip.

Recently I traveled to California for a photo job and made a quick two day trip over to Yosemite National Park, after I completed the assignment.
Yep I know... this has nothing to do with the Bradshaws but thought you might like to see some pics of Yosemite Park in the winter. It was my first time for a winter experience and all I have to say is ... well it was spectacular and of course COLD.
If your interested in Yosemite winter images, you can click link below. Stay warm.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Safe and Prosperous 2013 from Bradshaw

Ice on Granite Basin Lake. One small open patch is used by waterfowl. 

We wanted to wish all our readers a safe and enjoyable 2013! We hope you make time to get out and explore the Bradshaw Mountains.

We recently updated our Hiking Page to include some of "Marks Favorites Trails" in and around the Bradshaws. We consider them the best and hope they are helpful.

Photo of the Granite Mountain Wilderness, trail # 261. 

Be careful when hiking on established trails. The snow has been compacted by repeated travel and is now slick.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seasons Greetings from Bradshaw

I-17 annual Christmas Tree near Sunset Point Rest Area. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the team at Bradshaw!

Snow has come to the Bradshaws once again and just in time for Christmas.

We have posted a new page to our site. The FAQ page is a collection of emails comments and questions we have received. We have taken these, added a photo and posted them to the new FAQ page. We plan to update it from time to time. Link below.

Merry Christmas.
Mark, Scott and Cesar.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we update and type from our phones.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPDATE: Leaves Changing Color in the Bradshaws

Aspens in the Bradshaw high country near Walker.

The next 3 weeks is the time to visit the Bradshaw Mountains if you want to see the high country in full, fall colors.  Leaves have changed color except in lower elevations. 

Granite Creek 
Maples, aspens, oaks, willows and more are fiery reds and yellows. The Prescott area has just began to turn and greens yellow and reds are mixed.

Near Senator Mine

 Temperature's are cold in the mornings and perfect for a long hike.  If your riding a ATV dress for it.  A few of my favorite locations are Lynx Creek,  Senator Highway, Watson Woods Preserve and Horse Thief Basin.  
Lynx Creek
Taryn at Bradshaw Mountain Guest Ranch in Crown King reports gamble oaks are bright yellow and will be perfect for the next 3 weeks.  

Hassayampa River

 We will let you know when the lower elevations turn. 
Subscribe to our newsletter for updates.  

Lynx Creek

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we often update and type on our phone.

                Images from Droid Cell Phones, Panasonic & Canon Point and Shoots, Canon D30's,   
                                     D60's, 20D's, 40D's, 7D's and 5D Mark 3  Cameras.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apples almost ripe in the Bradshaw Mountains

Apple blossoms this spring.

People have been asking if there will be apples in the lost, secrete orchards scattered throughout the Bradshaw's this fall. 

As many of you know, there are many apple, pear orchards throughout the Bradshaw's that were planted in the late 1800's to early 1900's. They still produce large crops of fruit but are subject to cool spring freezes which prevent them from producing.  Ive had a chance to sample from most of these orchards through the years and all the apples are excellent tasting.

Old apple orchard in the spring. West side of Bradshaw's.
Photo by M. Elkington

We have also been asked if any of the orchards burned in the fire? 

  • The answer is no, none burned that we are aware of.

As to the apple question the answer is yes and no.
Some of the orchards survived the cold spring freezes and most did not.

Phone Photo of almost ripe apples. Middle Bradshaw's.

Black berries did well in some areas this year and again in others did not. But that season has just ended.
All the wild apricots and plum orchards did not produce this summer.

 Lets hope for a warmer spring next year. 

                 Rattlesnake from this AM hike. East side of Bradshaw's.

Special Note
We have been hiking at least 4 days a week in the Bradshaw's during the last few weeks. We have been seeing more rattlesnakes, as this time of year they are more active, looking for their last meals before hibernation.
 About 8000 people a year are bitten in USA by venomous snakes. Few die from snakebite but it is a painful bite. Be careful hikers.

Non venomous Western Patch nosed Snake from this week. 
East side of Bradshaw's.

We have updated our hiking page so take a look.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bradshaw Mountain Fire Aftermath

We have been asked if we have any photographs from the aftermath of the fire in the Bradshaws.
Yes and Scott Poppenburger wrote an excellent "after fire" report.

May 2012 brought a significant habitat altering event to Bradshaw Mountain Country in the form of a massive wildfire now know as the Gladiator Fire.  The fire was ignited May 13 by a residential structure fire that escaped containment in the mountain top community of Crown King. 

                                              House where fire started. 

The fire received its prophetic name from the residential road on which it originated.  After ignition the fire rapidly expanded fed by a perfect storm of abundant fuel, low humidity and high winds. 

 It eventually consumed over 16 thousand acres, most of which was thick, decadent chaparral on very steep slopes.  

Wild Land firefighting crews and aircraft from many agencies were deployed to suppress the fire and to protect life and property.  Approximately 1500 firefighters battled the blaze for more than two weeks.  Costs of fighting the blaze are estimated at over 6 million dollars.  The fire ultimately burned a large area north of Crown King and Towers Mountain almost to Battle Flat. 

A home near Crown King saved by slurry. 

Why did this fire grow so large and burn so intensely? Many plant communities in the central Arizona highlands are fire adapted systems.  That means they function best when exposed to low intensity burning that occurs once every 7-10 years or so.  These cool fires keep fuel buildup to a minimum and maintain a more open mosaic of adult plants. 

 Many decades of aggressive fire suppression has lead to massive fuel loads and over grown, impenetrable chaparral.  These overgrown areas diminish plant and animal species diversity and become a time bomb waiting to explode. 

Cicada covered with slurry. 
What does this fire mean for the Bradshaws?  In the short term wildlife that could escape the blaze will be displaced and have to move into unburned areas.

  Areas that burned at high intensity levels will take a year or two to recover and top soils will be at risk of serious erosion during large monsoon flood events.  Looking longer term burns like the Gladiator Fire cause woody browse species like Mountain Mahogany and Cliff Rose to regenerate in healthy form that is highly palatable to species like Mule Deer and other herbivores. 

 Plant overcrowding is eliminated allowing a greater diversity of species to germinate and re-colonize burned areas.  This plant diversity then provides quality habitat for a broad range of wildlife that depend on them as well. 

The Bradshaws have had good monsoon rain this summer. The burned areas will recover quickly. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild Flowers Blooming in the Bradshaws


With the Gladiator Fire almost out we thought we would post some good news. Right now the Bradshaws are afire with wildflowers (pun intended) . During the next 2 weeks plan visit higher elevations and see the bloom.

Blue Bonnet Lupine 

Golden Columbine

Century Plant

New Mexico Groundsel

Fairy Duster

New Mexico Locust

Scarlet Hedgehog

Paint Brush

Many-Flowered Puccoon

Short 1 minute movie on Grapevine Creek

Many other species are blooming. These images were made within the last 6 days. 
See our photography page on our website for locations and access points. Click link below.

Please forgive spelling and grammar as we upload and type on our phone. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gladiator Fire Photos, Bradshaw Mountains

My photographing post.
Saturday AM I hiked to the top of a overlook near Mount Davis (7905') to get a good seat and watch the days firefight begin. The winds were low, allowing for an air assault on the Gladiator Fire unlike the day before.  Armed with long camera lenses, I attempted to photograph and made a couple of still camera videos of the Gladiator Fire, as it blew up during the day. Please forgive some of the images as this was a long way from the fire. 

The following are images of the fire, aircraft and helicopter assault, on the Gladiator Fire. The location was along Turkey Creek, Battle Flat and the north side of Towers Mountain. As the fire attempted to climb the mountain towards the Colloup residence and Towers mountain, it was continually slowed by air assault. When I left all structures had been saved as of May 19. Thank you, to over 1000 brave men and woman who are fighting this fire. 

Early morning survey crew plan the days attack.

As the day heats, the fire blows up in many different locations making it difficult to fight.

The first slurry bomber heads in for a drop. 

On the way in. Towers Mountain can be seen to the right
which houses many expensive communication systems for Phoenix. 
The Colloup Residence is just to the left of the towers.

Fire fighting helicopters carrying precious water, retrieved from
 Goldwater Lake head in to the fight.

More choppers carrying water buckets. Notice the charred mountains that look like a battle field.

The fire becomes stronger. 

A bomber follows a small chase plane that shows them the way in,

 down deep into Turkey Creek to drop a load of slurry.

The plane disappeared from my sight, 

as they dropped low into the bottom, where 

the first smoke 


A ball loaded with water.

Looking over the area to make the run.

The area to hit.

The run has began and red slurry is dropped. 

Out safe and headed back to Prescott airport for another load of fire killing slurry. 

Click here to watch a VIDEO of the fire and slurry bomber run. Watch for planes just below towers, top right. 

 May 20 Road Closers in Bradshaws

Below Information provided by... Fire Incident Information System

Closure Order is in effect for all Prescott National Forest land south of County Road 177. Current Road Closures: All roads leading into the community of Crown King are closed. Cleator – Crown King Road (County Road 59) is closed at Cleator. Senator Highway to Crown King (County Road 52) is closed at the junction with Poland Rd. (County Road 58). Forest Road 192 is closed. Forest Road 711 is closed south of the Forest boundary at Cow Creek. Mayer-Bolander Road (County Road 177) is closed at the Forest Boundary. Forest Road 362 is closed south of the Forest boundary at Wagner. A Yavapai County fire ban is in effect across all fire ban zones. Prescott National Forest Campfire and Smoking Restrictions are also in effect. For AZ Fire Info & Restrictions Information call 1-877-864-6985 or visit