Early this week when deciding on our weekly adventure, we wanted to take into account the fact that we have the Phoenix Rock n' Roll Half Marathon to run come Sunday. So, we did not want a hike that was too physically demanding.
After some research on surrounding trails we decided upon the trail at Butcher Jones. Let me just say, what an outstanding decision this proved to be.
We started the day saying we were leaving for the hike at 10 am, but we got sidetracked on our daily office tasks and lost track of time. We did not get out the door of the office until 1 pm and at this time, we got hungry so we stopped off for lunch before heading on our way.
After the drive, we started on the trail at about 3:30 pm. Also, with this hike, you need to purchase a parking pass at the gas stations just outside of the area or one of the locations listed here.
Now, on to the hike. When you pull into the parking lot, you are right on the beach of Saguaro Lake. What. A. View. There were many people out swimming, paddle boarding, boating and kayaking. IN JANUARY!!! Can't beat Arizona winter weather, that is for sure.
This is the only heavily trafficked area that we experienced because once we got on the trail, people were few and far between.
Although we did not experience it this time, there are usually wild horses that roam the opening of the trail because they will eat the grass in the open area and head down to the beach and drink from the lake.
You do not have anything to fear with these wild horses as they are incredibly comfortable with being around people. They dwell amongst humans everyday.
The trail is beautiful the entire way through as you creep through almost wooded areas full of tree archways and openings of amazing views of the lake. About a quarter of the way in, you get a little deeper into secluded, wooded area and have a sense of eeriness rush over you as the trees overhead block beams of sunlight and quiet the outside noise.
Sticks and leaves crackle a little louder under your feet here, and the lack of other sounds make it almost seem like you are the only person around for miles.
After taking a moment to enjoy the seclusion on the big tree that looks like it grew for the sole purpose of being a seat, you head back on the trail a ways until you get another amazing view of the lake. For the rest of the first half of the hike you are on a trail that overlooks the entirety of the lake.
Finally, you reach the halfway point about 2.45 miles in. This is where our journey on the trail ended as the sun started to go down. We took a minute to take a few pictures of the lake views with a grey and gloomy sky until all of a sudden, everything changed.
First, there was a deep blue that swept the sky. Then came the calm addition of pinks and purples. We could not believe just what we were witnessing. The sky began to change even more until it started to bleed red, orange and yellow.
The glimmer of the sunset shone upon the shimmering lake below. We could not help but stop and say over and over," My goodness, how is this real?".
We took a few pictures and then just stopped and relished in awe of the beauty before us.
We have witnessed many great sunsets in our day, but we could not help but say that this was by far the most beautiful sunset in all of Arizona. There is no way that anything can compare.
In the end, we were incredibly grateful for the tasks that kept us from leaving at 10 am like we planned. We were supposed to be there when we were, and it was apparent.
We will be going back to camp and take in another one of those sunsets someday, but until then, we will frequent our camera rolls to relive the memory of that January evening.