Being Present in the Wild Kingdom

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately, I’ve been leaving my camera at home on local hikes.  Honestly, I haven’t been inspired enough to bring it along.  Same trail, same view.  On the contrary, hiking without the camera allows me to be present, in the moment, and fully aware of my surroundings. Maybe that’s why this week I’ve stumbled across my own version of the wild kingdom.

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Something told me to take the Blue Trail today and bypass the Green until the cove. My knee and hip have been hurting (yes, I’m old) and I wanted to avoid steep climbs. Good thing, because the trail was occupied by a family of Javelinas ~ Two adults, a mama, and two babies! Amazed, I stopped and watched them until they disappeared over the ridge.

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After reaching the cove,  I decided to soak my feet in the river and rest a bit. The cove has a BLM camp site with a picnic table and restroom ~ It’s a great spot to sit and re-charge. Looking up at the cliff above, I spotted a few Desert Bighorn Sheep checking me out.  This is the second time this week I’ve run into Bighorn Sheep ~ apparently they like hiking in the cooler weather, too!

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Tired, I headed back to the trailhead via the Blue then Yellow Trail. The Yellow Trail runs through a wash with high rock walls on both sides. As I stopped in the shade for a quick drink and rest, my eyes focused on a little Chuckwalla blending into a little niche in the wall.

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Hiking this week, fully present of my surroundings, I was fortunate to catch sight of quite a few wild creatures. Two weeks ago, I shared space with a bobcat in the cactus garden at the state park. Of course, in each circumstance I was without camera.

And maybe that’s why I was gifted a peek into their world….it was a reminder to stop being so preoccupied and to awaken and just be present.

It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses ~ Charles de Lint

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Note: All photos are from MS Word online clip art.

 

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The Historic Railroad Trail ~ Lake Mead, Nevada

We are not makers of history. We are made by history ~ Martin Luther King

In 1930, 30-miles of railroad track was built connecting Boulder City, NV to the outskirts of Hoover Dam.  In the 80’s, the tunnels and pathway were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and in 2015 it was designated as a National Historic Trail.

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Pair of boots and a sack of clothes…..free and easy down the road I go ~ Dierks Bentley

Keeping with my desire to “experience” my birthday, I was treated to dinner and a nights stay at the Hoover Dam Lodge. Of course my real motivation was an early morning stroll on the historic railroad trail,  which was accessible below our hotel.

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Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness ~ Lao Tzu

I set out early, hoping to complete the 7.4 mile round trip walk before check out time. The trail is easy with a beautiful view of Lake Mead. Don’t be discourage about the mileage; with cool October temperatures and a flat trail, it’s do-able.

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Let my steps stay on your tracks so my feet will not stumble ~ Psalms  17:5

There are five tunnels along the trail, approximately 300 ft. in length and 25 ft in diameter. The trails signage notes that they can be home to bats, but I was spared a visit.

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Every exit is an entrance somewhere else. ~ Anonymous

Here’s a clearer inside view of one of the tunnels; it was so cool to walk through them and experience this bit of history.

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Happiness is a simple walk along a lake ~ Anonymous

My goal was to make it to the dam, but after walking for 3.5 miles, I discovered the trail lead to a parking spot. Not once, from the trail or the highway, did I get a glimpse of the Hoover Dam.

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Life is a journey worth traveling ~ Anonymous

With an 11:00 a.m. check out, this was end of the road for me. Don’t believe the signs that say “your almost there” ~ you’re almost to the visitor parking lot, not the dam.

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Don’t believe everything you read!

If you’re interested in touring the Hoover Dam, I suggest you drive your car to the facility. Well, it looks like if I want to explore Hoover Dam in depth, I will need to return. With time on my side and the comfortable fall weather, I’m up for a return trip.

 

 

 

 

Up, Up, in the Air ~ Arizona Snow Bowl

I love the feeling of fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair ~ Evel Kneivel
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Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

The air is crisp and the aspens are turning golden, Fall is here in Northern Arizona. It’s was a perfect time to escape the last of the desert heat and head to Flagstaff for a scenic chair lift ride at the Arizona Snowbowl.

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Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree ~ Emily Bronte

All along the roadside from September to October, the aspens turn blonde. After observing the dry browns and greens of the Mohave desert all summer, I enjoyed experiencing the change of the seasons tremendously.

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As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen ~ Winnie-the-Poo

As a birthday gift from my hubby, I chose to ride the chair lift at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort. For a small fee ($15.00 online), you can take a scenic ride to the top of the San Francisco Peaks, jump off at 11,500 feet, and hop back on for a ride down.

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She wasn’t given wings to see the world from a tree ~ Atticus

You know some girls they want Cartier* and some girls they want cars………….. but this girl for her birthday, just wants to reach the stars. I decided awhile back to forgo birthday gifts in lieu of adventures ~ I’d rather live life and experience the world than collect material things.

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Some old-fashion things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. This little girl kept doing her thing as we floated by ~ she didn’t even acknowledge our existence as we passed.

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Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view ~ Anonymous

Enjoying the view from 11,500 feet.  Although you can jump off at the top, we didn’t. It was a chilling 35 degrees and the hubby couldn’t stop chattering.  Although the season ends in a few days, If you decide to go, wear something warm and bring a blanket ~ it is a lot colder going down than up.

Here’s a link:  https://www.snowbowl.ski/

*partial lyrics taken from “Some Girls” by the Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Memories!

Good times come and go, but memories will last forever ~ unknown

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Our first trip in the RV to Salton Sea

It’s a sad and bittersweet day ~ Today we sold the RV, or the “Irv” as the grandson christened it. As much as I would  like to keep it, we are just unable to physically and financially maintain a 21-year-old RV and keep it in good condition.

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Joshua Tree National Park

Looks like if I want to spend the night in nature now, it’ll be in a tent. I recently purchased one of those instant tents that pop up in minutes and a nice double-decker air mattress. Do you think if I add a comforter and some candles I can convince the hubby we’re GLAMPING, not camping?  Ha, ha, ha!

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Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano

Thanks for the memories Irv, we will miss traveling with you. Be good to your new owners.

 

Drive all Night

“well I, swear I’ll drive all night again, just to buy you some shoes…” ~ Bruce Springsteen

I grew up in the era of Springsteen, but I don’t remember ever hearing this song. It’s melody and mood caught my attention this morning as I was driving home from my early morning walk. Although it’s more of a love song, I took a little different take on it.

The line about shoes made me laugh, because living in a small town, there’s not many choices for much of anything, hiking shoes included. I’m in need of a good pair of hiking shoes/boots and the closest REI is in Henderson, Nevada, two hours away.

A few month’s ago, I  took a chance and purchased a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilator’s online.  Big mistake for a large-footed woman, who should really be fitted in person. My second oversight was not to read the return policy before testing the boots outdoors. Wearing the boots outside, even once, rendered them used and non-returnable. Darn.

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If anyone is interested in a pair of women’s, size 11, Moab Ventilator’s, gently worn once, let me know.  You can have them for free, but will need to pay for the shipping costs.  If you normally wear a 10 or 10.5 shoe, they should fit.

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As for me, it looks like I may have to drive all night, or at least a few hundred miles, just to buy me some shoes. Sigh….

 

 

Cathedrals of Time ~ Sunset Crater & Wupatki Nat.l Monuments, Arizona

“Ruins are the cathedrals of time” ~ Marty Rubin

Winding up our summer travels with the grandson, we set out for one last hurrah to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument before returning him to his Mama in California.  We originally planned to RV in Sedona, but 25 miles out, our A/C failed. Naturally, with triple-digit weather, we returned home and made plans to visit Flagstaff.

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Advice from a volcano and a Grandma: go with the flow and have a blast!

 

Sunset Crater Volcano was decreed a National Monument in 1930 by President Hoover after a Hollywood film company planned to detonate explosives on it exterior for a movie. Thank goodness for public outcry and a concerned president for saving this beautiful, historical and interesting land.

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Each time a volcano erupts, life begins anew ~ NPS

Sunset Crater is located just outside of Flagstaff and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.  I’ve passed the exit for this monument many times during my I-40 travel and never thought to stop and visit.  

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Exploring the 1-mile Lava Flow trail

Due to severe erosion from past volcano-climbing visitors, you can no longer climb to the top of Sunset crater, but you can climb the nearby Lenox Crater and Doney Mountain cinder cones. We considered the 1-mile Lenox Crater trail, but with extreme humidity and a steep ascent, we opted to explore the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail instead.

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The grandson checking out a hornito, or spatter cone alongside the trail.

Spatter cones are one of the main types of volcanic type landforms and are made from lava that was ejected from a vent [worldlandforms.com]. Don’t I sound scientific, ha, ha! We just thought it was cool.

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“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell

Oh, darn, access denied! At one time this ice cave could be visited, but it closed after a partial collapse of the lava tube. I’m discovering Sunset Crater National Monument is quite interesting and educational.

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“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure” ~ Rumi

Keep driving the 35-mile dual park loop and you will reach Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki is abundant with ancient dwellings dating back to the 1100s, including the above Wukoki Pueblo.

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“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung

Surprisingly, you are allowed to walk upon the ruins. The short door ways are more for protection and don’t depict the occupants height.  For me personally, these are the largest and most well-preserved relics that I’ve ever visited. I’m so impressed with this park!

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“A storm was coming, but that’s not what she felt. It was adventure on the wind and it shivered down her spine.” ~ Atticus

The day turned stormy and humid; but the thunder and lightning did not deter us from continuing our travels. While the hubby opted to stay in the car, the grandson and I had no qualms about getting wet or dodging the lightening ~ it was an adventure on the wind.

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Wupatki Pueblo

The park was named after this antiquity, the Wupatki Pueblo. Thought to have housed over 100 people, these remains are one of the larger villages dotting the parks massive landscape. The Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo are descendants of the original dwellers.

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“Modesty is the citadel of beauty” ~ Demades

Atop the Citadel Pueblo. The lightening was getting a little too close, so the grandson headed back to the car. If you take the time to look,  you can see an array of pueblos in the distance from the Citadel.

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The landscape in the park is so diverse; we walked through pine trees at Sunset Crater, then desert at Wupatki.  In the distance are San Francisco Peaks, which are on my must explore list.

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Regrettably, I ran out of battery prior to arriving at the Lomaki Pueblo and left my spare at home.  Lomaki has a .5-mile walking path that leads to multiple dwellings sitting above a dry box canyon. It’s desolate, but I really got a feeling of community here.

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I truly underestimated the wow-factor of Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument.  Many times we bypass those little brown signs on the side of the freeway directing us to the lesser-known monuments or historical places of interest for the more renowned national parks. If you’re ever in the Flagstaff, AZ area, stop and check out these monuments, it is worth your time.

Something of Marvelous…….

In all things of nature there is something of marvelous ~ Aristotle

A road trip wouldn’t be complete without a few snapshots of the countryside. I’m more of a passenger, than a driver and I’m always on the look out to capture mother nature’s “something marvelous.” Hope you enjoy the photos.

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The guard tower at Manzanar  WWII Relocation Center

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Some colorful hills off a scenic byway

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Tufa’s from afar ~ Mono Lake

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The eerie waters of Mono Lake, Highway 395

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Somewhere on Hwy 395 near Bridgeport, CA

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Mt. Shasta from the back roads, Highway 89

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California’s golden hills, Interstate-5

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Coming home to monsoon skies