Moonrise over Woodchute Mountain, Arizona

The rise of the Harvest Moon. It had reached 100% illumination just past 4 AM, so it was already slightly on the wane this evening.

Not that one could tell. At least I couldn’t. Didn’t want to. I stood at the east fence, camera on tripod in the sweet September dusk. The Earth’s shadow, with its lovely color gradations, was fading to all dark blue.

Then the orb appeared. Over Woodchute Mountain, beaming brightly. I stood and stood, watching.

Lonesome Valley Sunset

Sunset, Lonesome Valley, Arizona

Lonesome Valley. Such an evocative name. The locals don’t use that name for this portion of the Prescott Basin in the Central Arizona Highlands, because it’s no longer as lonesome as it must have been to whatever settler coined the name, perhaps back in the late 1800s.

But there is still lots of wide open country and big-sky views here. Ranches and National Forest land. The Black Hills to the east and upper Verde River to the north.

Lonesome Valley. It suits me fine.

Yavapai County, Arizona

Woodchute Mountain Panorama

Woodchute Mountain, Prescott National Forest, Arizona

Early spring in the central Arizona highlands. Driving the back roads of the Prescott National Forest east of Chino Valley, I stopped at an enticing vantage point. A clear 360-degree view.

To the south was Woodchute Mountain, the northern end of the Black Hills between the Verde Valley and the Prescott basin. Woodchute has a small wilderness area on its steep north flanks.

As the sun sank toward the western horizon, the shadows lengthened, accentuating every fold in the mountains, as well as those of the pinon and juniper trees in the foreground.

Location: Perkinsville Road, northern Yavapai County, Arizona.