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.

 

 

 

 

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

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.

One is a Wanderer

Two is company, four is a party, three’s a crowd. One is a wanderer – James Thurber

I returned to Sedona last Monday on the guise of celebrating my eighth wedding anniversary. Unbeknownst to my husband, my true intentions were to explore the trails the next morning.

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First on the agenda was a five-mile hike on Courthouse Loop in search of Spaceship Rock. The grandson and I attempted this trail in August, but turned back due to monsoon-like humidity. This one’s for you Tyler!

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After mile one, the trail enters the remote Munds Mountain Wilderness.  I passed only one other hiker, and was quite content with the silence and lack of tourists.

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After the hike, the hubby and I set out to visit the beautiful, Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to visit, everyone is welcome to experience this sacred place.

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We ended our evening with this stunning sunset from our hotel window.  Sedona’s beauty has me questioning my move.  I’m blessed to be only 3 hours away.

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My name is (what?)………..getting in one last hike Wednesday morning on the Slim Shady trail. Destination, Cathedral Rock! Sedona is a hiker’s haven, teeming with trails of all levels.

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After reaching the junction of the Hermit and Templeton trail, I turned back in order to meet the hotel check out time. After passing under the tunnel, I was surprised by a Javelina. Sorry, there’s no photo – I was too busy running.

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I can’t wait to go back. This one is a wanderer – absolutely. Until next time. Sandra

Sedona: Our Last Adventure

She was actually learning to love Arizona. The beauty and color and solitude, the vastness of it had called to something deep in her. ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole

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One last trip before we return the Grandson to his mama. What better way to finish up the summer than a trek to the red rocks of Sedona, AZ.

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Backpacks on, we tramped the red dirt for a close-up view of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. It’s monsoon time and the air is thick with moisture. I’m sure going to miss this boy.

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Despite the 70% humidity, we circled the edge of Bell Rock in search of  Vortex energy.  The sky overflowed with Cumulonimbus clouds, parading shapes across the blue.

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As we stood beside this congregation of twisted Junipers, we felt energy in our hands. The current was similar to the vortex at Boyton Canyon.

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With the temperatures rising and humidity increasing, our water was soon depleted. Time to head back and bid Sedona farewell. This places entices me, but I think I’ll return when the weather is cooler.

 

Sauntering Up a Mountain

“It’s a great art to saunter.” Henry David Thoreau

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Resting on an overhang

Decided to attempt the Picnic Table Trail today in SARA park.  Didn’t make it all the way up, but will try again another day.  I found a shorter side trail in lieu of Lizard Peak. Thanks to this park, I’m slowly losing my old cubicle body and becoming fit and strong once again.

I learned a new word today.  Seems besides being a wanderer, I also like to saunter.

Saunter: walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort.

Yup, that’s me–slow, relaxed, and no longer in a hurry!

UPDATE:

Tabletop Mountain

Tabletop Mountain, SARA Park

Holy moly, I made it to the table! Yay! Somehow, I managed to accidentally ascend to the table even after I decided to head down back down the trail. Guess it was just meant to be, right? It sure felt good to be on top of the world.