Starting the Year Out Right

Celebrate what you want to see more of ~ Tom Peters

First Day Hike Logo

Every year, the state parks offer tours, nature walks, and hikes on the first day of the new year to encourage folks to get outside. I decide to start the new year out right and join in for the First Day Hikes at Cattail Cove State Park.

Cattail cove 1st Day Hike

Hang around like-minded people. Positive, good energy, you attract what you are ~Karen & Leslie

Volunteer rangers led the hike and shared their knowledge about the area. The duration of the hike depends on the abilities of the crowd ~ we managed to wander 1-2 hours. It was really nice be around a group of like-minded people ~ Hikers are good people.

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There’s no Wi-Fi in the desert, but I promise you’ll find a better connection ~ Anonymous

A week later, I joined the BHC Adventure Club in Lake Havasu City for a 10-mile hike down the Standard Wash Trail. Ten miles is an accomplishment for me, my longest trek yet. For the most part, the Standard Wash is a flat, easy walk down a wash, amidst slot canyon walls and wide-open spaces.

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There are no shortcuts to any place worth going ~ Beverly Sills

Until…………..you reach the 12-foot dry waterfall. Sliding down wasn’t too bad, but climbing up on the return would have been impossible for me without help from my fellow hikers. Thank goodness for teamwork!

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The best view comes after the hardest climb ~ Anonymous

Upon reaching the trail end is a beautiful water view and much-needed outhouse, provided by the Bureau of Land Management. I’m so grateful that the BLM offers these sites up and down the river.

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Well, I have a hunch that 2018 will be an even better year for hiking and traveling and meeting new, like-minded friends. I hope your new year is going well and you have started it out right doing things you enjoy. ~ Remember life is short so make every moment matter and do the things you love ~ Happy New Year and I wish you the best for 2018!

*photos are from the State Park and BHC Adventure Club website

 

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Exploring Pilot Rock Trail

Serendipity ~ finding something good without looking for it

Last week while hiking in SARA Park, I chatted with a Minnesota snow bird about another trail in the area. Based on Minnesota Mans instructions, I set out Wednesday to hike and explore the 7-mile round trip to Pilot Rock.

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Everyday starts with a sunrise, but it’s what we do before it sets that matters ~ K. McGraw

The sun rises late in Arizona, 7 a.m. actually, but the day is mine and as a slow-moving wanderer, I’ll need the hours to come full circle.  With plenty of water, snacks, and sandwiches in my pack, I’m good to go.

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If you come to a fork in the road, take it ~ Yogi Berra

Within SARA Park, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has numerous side trails, including paths for off-road bicyclists.  I am so grateful for the trail markers pointing the way, because without written instructions, my memory rarely serves me well.

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From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere ~ Dr. Seuss

I happened to wander off path and discovered  this circular pattern on the desert ground ~  in the middle of nowhere. I believe it’s water-created, but sometimes funny things just can’t be explained.

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Time flows away like the water in a river ~ Confucius

I’m hoping the sight of water means I’m getting closer! Pilot Rock was once used by steamboat pilots for navigation on the Colorado River.  At the end of the trail, there’s a mini lighthouse and BLM site that serves modern-day boaters.

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A cache of water for a thirsty desert traveler.

I took the signs word for it that there were water bottles below ground. With all the paths out here and the lack of signage, it is very easy to get misdirected. The good thing is most trails intersect; you just don’t want to run out of water with the extra walking.

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I want to live, I want to give, I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold ~ Neil Young

Minnesota Man mentioned an abandoned mine; a good sign that I’m going the right way.  The Arizona desert is full of old mines, and for safety’s sake, this one has been filled in.

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What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us ~ Henry David Thoreau

Resting above the mine is an old metal chute, left behind by a previous prospector. I can’t imagine working in the middle of nowhere, exposed to extreme temperatures. It takes a certain type of person to be a prospector in the desert.

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Wisdom from a rock ~ never take your life for granite :0)

I’m finding all sorts of interesting things during today’s journey.  As I went to take a step, the layout of the layers of sediment in this rock caught my attention. My niece saw a wolf in the pattern, and I see an alligator. I can only imagine the age of this rock.

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It’s better to burn out, then to fade away ~ Neil Young

Decisions, decisions ~ up and over a ridge or down the wash? I chose the easy wash walk and came upon what I think is an old oil can, bleached by the sun and tumbled by the dirt and stones. I’m sure stumbling across some interesting things today.

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When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say why me, say try me ~ Anonymous

You’ve got to be tough to survive in the desert. I did not notice the spine-laden camouflage on this prickly bouquet until getting up close and personal. Can you see the “teeth” in the flowers opening? I can almost hear them jeering, “just try me.”

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A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it ~ Ray Davis

Are we there yet, are we there yet? I can see the river, just not a clear path to get there. In the desert, sometimes choosing the easy path ends up being the inaccessible (but interesting) path.

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Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost ~ Erol Ozam

Although my attempt to find Pilot Rock was unsuccessful, in the end I was rewarded with a view of a hidden cove with rippling water and a graceful natural arch.

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Sometimes the best paths we take are wrong turns ~ Jay Long

With dwindling water and tired feet, I decided to head back to the car and head home. I’m determined to return next week and find Pilot Rock, this time with written directions and a trail map.

Although I got off-track today, my detour yielded unexpected discoveries. After coming across some pretty cool stuff, I think that today, my best path was a wrong turn.

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.

Coming Home…..Last Stop, Kolob Canyon

It’s a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize whats changed is you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Driving through a secondary fire on I-15 outside of Beaver, Utah

All good things must come to an end……or so they say.  For our last hurrah, we wanted to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, a smaller version of Bryce Canyon, but the Brian’s Head fire foiled our plans.

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Billowing smoke from the Brian’s Head Fire, Utah.

It’s said that the fire was started by a resident burning weeds around his cabin. I was considering purchasing a weed burner for my yard, but, after what happened to this gentleman, I think I’ll pass. Weeds, winds, hot temps and fire just don’t mix.

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A smoky view of Kolob Canyon

With our original plans hindered, we decided to visit Kolob Canyon instead.  The canyon is located at the tip of Zion National Park and accessed via exit 40 on the I-15. There is a lovely scenic drive and multi-level trails for day hiking.

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Timber Creek Trail

 

We chose the easier Timber Creek Trail to the Finger Canyon’s Overlook considering the poor air quality in the area. Like most canyons its uphill, but the view is beautiful.

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The Grandson at the overlook

 

We ran into some pesky biting insects throughout the trail. My grandson managed a smile before making a break for a bug-free zone. Where is that bottle of “Off” when you need it!

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Virgin River Gorge, I-15 AZ

Well, we are home now but I’m already packing for my next trip.  In nine days we’ll be hitting the road to Oregon to see my youngest daughter and grand-kids.  As Mr. Fitzgerald said, coming home may look, smell, and feel the same…..but in exploring our beautiful world, I realized I’ve changed.

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

 

 

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