These are the days……

These are the days of the endless summer, These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future, There’s only here, there’s only now……..Van Morrison

These are the days – Van Morrison

I’ve been spending my hours lately keeping cool in the confines of my air-conditioned house. The seemingly “days of the endless summer” of the desert southwest has arrived.  I’ve had to forgo my local outdoor activities lately and I am listless and ready to roam.

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The grandson is spending the summer with us again–I’m elated to have my hiking buddy back.   He’ll be starting junior high next year so I’m grateful he still wants to wander with us old folks.

We’ll be hitting the road next week, heading to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I’m looking forward to the greenery and cooler climate, but not the summer crowds.  I usually refrain from traveling peak season, but it’s a happy compromise to Arizona’s oppressive heat.

We’ll be routing our return by way of scenic highway, exploring the Bear-tooth, Little Bighorn, and down into the blue roads of Wyoming. I’m excited and expect to have some beautiful photos to share and an interesting travel tale or two. So long for now.  Sandra

 

 

Thankful

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Thank you, Dad.

I am so thankful that I had a non-aggressive father who treated not only my mother, but all women, with respect and loving affection. I am so grateful I was never exposed to violence in the home, as so many women and children are today.

I know I normally focus on traveling and wandering, but a situation close to home has me concerned how to help someone who really doesn’t want help.

It’s troubling when a woman becomes so anesthetized to the violence in her home that she considers her husband (6′ 2″, 200+ lb.) throwing her 62-year-old disabled mother down on the floor, self-defense.

What upsets me more is no one’s bothered by it.  Not the wife, not the family, not even the police–it’s their normal and it’s sad.

Though he’s no longer here in the physical, I wanted to thank my Dad for being a good role model to me and my sisters and brothers and for making nonviolence our normal.

Urge for Going

“She’s got the urge for going, So I guess she’ll have to go…”  – Joni Mitchell

I heard this beautiful melody on the radio recently, and although inspired by wintertime, I found it quite relevant to my migratory nature and love of wandering. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvSvTRhAJxg

Thanks to the Adventure group I joined, I discovered a wonderful new place to get “going.”  Cattail Cove State Park is located between Havasu and Parker, Arizona, and offers some nice hiking trails.

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Whyte’s Retreat Trail

The one and half mile Whyte’s Retreat trail follows the Colorado River shoreline winding in and out of coves and ending at the BLM campsite of the same name. Gorgeous!

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Wayne’s Way with the state park in the distance

The more strenuous Wayne’s Way and Ted’s trail lead up and down through desert hills and shallow gorges. A section of Ted’s trail runs through a wash with bluffs on both sides and includes a few dry “waterfalls” to scale.

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Grow where you are planted

I’m always surprised what can grow in areas where climates and conditions are harsh. So wherever you are today, adapt, grow and bloom where you are planted.

Sandra

Life is Good, Isn’t it?

A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have. – Anonymous

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New Year’s Eve at Havasu State Park, Arizona

The Hubby and I decided to close out the year doing what we do best – enjoying nature in the RV. There were no ball drops, party favors, or fireworks because this wandering lady needs little to welcome in a new year.

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A little rain didn’t stop these fishermen.

It brought a smile to my face seeing so many snowbirds in the campground, jacket-less and in shorts and sandals, so happy to be free of snow and colder temps. As we passed a couple from Colorado enjoying the lake view, the wife said to us, “Life is good, isn’t it?” and I agreed, it couldn’t be any better.

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The last sunset of 2016

2016 was a good year for us – exactly one year today, we packed up our lives and set off in a U-haul trailer to begin again as retirees in Arizona. I’ve learned I don’t need much to have a happy life – a good wander now and then,  a pretty-in-pink sunset, a smile and a good laugh, and the realization how blessed I really am to be living life on my terms.

Happy New Year! May 2017 find you, smiling often and enjoying the little things…….

Sandra

After Christmas Tradition

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Left over turkey sandwich, just like mom used to make

While some after Christmas traditions call for a run to the store for goods half-off, my favorite custom is making a sandwich, Audrey-style, with leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry, lettuce, radishes, butter and mayo. Mm mm…..

It’s been ages since I’ve cooked a Christmas meal. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be a guest of family who love holiday cooking.  Nowadays, those family members are gone and with holiday invitations sparse, we dined at a local hotel for the holiday.

The atmosphere was jolly, we weren’t the only snow-capped seniors out for a meal.  The food was descent and the ample portions granted enough leftovers for a couple turkey sandwiches the following day.

I was blessed to have a mom who not only cooked, but cooked from scratch. So many of our holiday traditions revolved around food – big meals, homemade pies, cookies and desserts only prepared during the season.

The day after Christmas, it was always turkey sandwiches – for breakfast or lunch.  Toasted bread, buttered, and piled with all the left over fixings. Even in my adult years, I would be invited over for a turkey sandwich.

Today, I once again enjoyed a delicious, post-Christmas meal, thankful for little things like leftovers and grateful for the wonderful memories of family and food and traditions worth preserving.

Happy New Year!

Sandra

Arch Rock Loop Trail @ SARA Park

“I dressed and went for a walk – determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”-   Raymond Carver, This Morning

After spending Saturday afternoon reading Claire Miller’s, “Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots,” I got an itch Sunday morning to don my boots and stretch my legs on the Arch Rock Loop Trail in SARA Park.

With temperatures in the 40’s and winds light, conditions were perfect for the uphill climb to the arch. I had one worry, the path to the arch is what I call a goat trail – a narrow, arduous footpath fit more for a mountain goat, not a sometimes wobbly grandma.

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From this trail, you descend down into the wash (not shown) and  back up the Arch Trail

Determined to see the arch, I cautiously moved each foot forward, placing each shoe in a previous hikers imprint.  As I walked, all I could think about was having to go back down. The thought of descending the trail through loose rocks and rubble caused a little concern.

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Checking out the arch

With the arch all to myself, I rested for a while appreciating nature and it’s wonders. I wasn’t interested in tackling the trail back yet, so I headed off on a side path and enjoyed the solitude of walking the desert terrain.

By the time I decided to double back, the winds kicked up making the descent quite frightening. I was so thankful for someone else’s foot prints guiding the way down and keeping me from sliding. Following one strong wind gust, I finally threw my pride to the side and shimmied down on my bottom.

After taking in what nature had to offer, all I can say is one time on the Arch Trail is enough for this grandma.

Yuma Territorial Prison

I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight (I love cheap thrills) – Sia

Who says you need a lot of cash to have a good time? Not this Grandma.  With my Arizona State Park pass in hand, the hubby and I took a little road trip to Yuma to relive the past within the walls of the Yuma Territorial Prison.

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An annual state park pass is a good investment for folks who enjoy camping, boating, hiking, or just day tripping to historical sites. The cost is low and the pass pays for itself quickly. All you need is a tank of gas, some change for lunch, and you’re on your way.

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The last remaining original cell blocks  – 1875

We started in the court-yard with a friendly docent with a head full of prison knowledge.  I recommend taking advantage of a docent, they know some interesting history about the prison. There’s plenty of time to wander afterwards on your own.

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1930s taggers

After it closed in 1909, the prison became Yuma High School, the County Hospital, and in the 1930s, squatters from the Depression made the prison home. Seems graffiti and tagging were even popular back then. Who knew?

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Six to a cell

The original interior wall stopped at the end of the three-story bunks. Although you’d never imagine it, the prison was referred to as the country club of the Colorado because of its many modern amenities (i.e., electricity, a library, sanitation, and a prison band).

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The Dark Cell

If you were really bad, you were sent to the Dark Cell – stripped, chained, and fed bread and water. No lights, no sanitation, and for fun the guards would drop scorpions and snakes on you through the ventilation hole in the ceiling. Oh, and the occupancy rate capped at 12.

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Prisoner’s cemetery

Very few of those incarcerated in Yuma died violently – about 50% died of TB and 33% of natural causes. Seems prisoners weren’t worthy of a headstone; a plaque added later list the names of the deceased.

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I didn’t do it!

The only thing I’m guilty of is having fun! The mirror is an original and was used to take mug shots. The striped shirt is a replica of the 1870s prison attire. Women weren’t imprisoned in Yuma until 1878, and even then it was common to use your “feminine wiles” to obtain parole or reduced sentence.

Well thank goodness in 1941 the city turned the site into a museum and saved the remaining sections of the prison. Nearby is another state historic park, the Quartermaster Depot, which we’ll visit another time. We had an interesting day and enjoyed learning about the Wild West and the history of the Yuma Territorial Prison.