Blooming Saguaro’s!

”Bee” yourself; everyone else is already taken ~ Oscar Wilde

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With the heat setting in, our local park offers a sufficiently shaded walking path for those of us who just must get outside daily.  Last week, I noticed the saguaro’s at the park were preparing to bloom.

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After a few days of forgetting my camera, I managed to remember it on my way out this morning. Summer’s approaching and with temps in the 100’s, the time to walk is limited ~ if you’re not out by 8 a.m., you may as well stay home.

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Saguaro cactus are indigenous to the Sonoran Desert and usually grow in southern half of the state. Here, they’re usually planted for landscaping and decoration, so it was a delight to find a few blossoming at the park.

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After the flowers are pollinated, they mature into pulpy, red fruit providing food for a variety of animals, including humans. The blooms only last 24 hours, but I’ll be keeping an eye out (and my camera handy) for the fruit.

“The flower that blooms in adversity, is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” ~ Mulan

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Change of Plans ~ V Bar V Heritage Site

Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange changes ~ David Bowie

Due to an unexpected heat wave, I cancelled our original plans to tent camp at Lost Dutchman State Park. The thought of sitting, unprotected in the hot sun all day did not appeal to me, so plans were changed. When the cooler fall weather returns, we will try again.

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Last year, I learned about the V Bar V Heritage Site from local, fellow blogger, Johanna Massey, and put it on my bucket list for local travel. I love visiting historical sites and learning about the area and cultures of people long gone.

 

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The V Bar V Heritage site is located just outside Sedona, AZ, a few miles after the I-17 and Hwy-179 cross, in the Wet Beaver Creek recreational area. It’s a four hour drive for us, so we lodged overnight in Oak Creek, enjoyed a delicious dinner at Maria’s, then turned in with intentions to visit in the morning.

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You may wonder, how an old, turn-of-the century cattle ranch is connected to ancient rock art? Settled in the early 1900’s on an original prehistoric site, the V Bar V passed through a variety of ranchers and was ultimately sold to the U.S. Forest Service in 1995 in order to preserve the area.

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The last bit of the V Bar V ranch house, a hand-crafted fireplace. A standing tribute to old-school craftsmen and the workmanship of the past rarely seen today.

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Based on this signage, I believe if it wasn’t for early private ownership, this area would have probably been destroyed by the public. The site is well-supervised and has a onsite resident so thankfully, the elements are protected.

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If you’re a fan of rock art, the V Bar V is the largest known and best preserved, petroglyph site in the Verde Valley area. There are thousands of prehistoric elements dating from A.D. 1150 – 1400 from the Sinaguan people, who occupied the area between 500 CE and 1425 CE.

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According to our docent, the crack in the wall was thought to be a portal that allowed spirits to seasonally travel to the San Francisco Peaks and back. This area is considered a religious area and is still used today by local Native Americans.

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These are considered to be the earliest of the elements. Plan to spend about an hour and listen to the docent, who is informative and very knowledgeable. Montezuma’s Castle is close by and ‘his’ Well is adjacent to the ranch. Make a day of it and immerse yourself in culture of the past!

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You can’t make us mooove!

Ending on a funny note…….The area is still occupied by working cattle ranches, so upon leaving a herd of cattle decided to take a break in the middle of the road, blocking our exit. Of course, they had no intention of ‘moo-ving’ out of the way.

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Our hero driving the cattle across the road

Fortunately, we were saved by this modern-day vaquero, dressed in full cowboy duds! How cool to visit an old historic ranch and then get caught up in a real cattle drive on our way home. Welcome to the wild, wild west! Made my day! Hope you enjoyed.

A Hidden Gem in the Desert – Three Dunes Trail

If you will come here, you will find a hidden treasure ~ Paulo Coelho

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Lovely days don’t come to you, you should walk to them ~ Rumi

Just off Highway 95 near marker 170 in Lake Havasu City, lies a little asphalt rest stop and the trail head to the Three Dunes Trail. Mostly, the trail is an easy wash walk, which narrows into a mild canyon and reopens into a grand wash leading to the dunes.

 

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In every walk in nature, one receives more than he seeks ~ John Muir

After the canyon opens it joins multiple washes.  Watch for landmarks as you continue, as it’s easy to take the wrong wash on the return. How do I know that ~ I missed my turn and had to backtrack because in the open desert, a wash looks like a wash.

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My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and my camera is my passport ~ Steve McCurry

Who’d ever think that there are sand dunes in the Mohave Desert? But there are ~ three delightful, little dunes covered in fine, white sand extending over the Colorado River.

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No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man ~ Heraclitus

In the distance is the North Dune, which is the largest of the three. If you’re a boater, kayak-er, or even backpacker, Cattail Cove State Park oversees the area and offers overnight camping (fees apply).  This place is a gem!

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On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it ~ Jules Renard

No this isn’t White Sands National Park, but the tip-top of the North Dune. The third dune lies parallel, but it’s very modest and inconspicuous compared to its counterparts.

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The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of life, the clearer we should see through it   ~ Jean Paul

Seems untouched doesn’t it? Sadly, I picked up a lot of empty beverage containers at the foot of the dunes.  If you come across discarded trash would you consider picking it up/packing it out and/or throwing it away?  If we all picked up just one piece, it would make a difference in keeping our lands beautiful and pristine.

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When you have no companion, look to your walking stick ~ Albanian Proverb

 

Last, I wanted to share the new hiking gear I received as a Christmas gift from my hubby. After ten years of marriage, the man finally knows what I like! I’ve been wanting a hydration system–it’s a must have for desert wandering. Thanks, honey!

If you’d like more information on the Three Dunes trail, I’ve included a link below. I did not consider the trail “moderate” but found it quite easy.  The dunes are fabulous and I believe if you come here, you will discover a hidden treasure.

https://golakehavasu.com/activity/hiking/three-dunes-trail/

Starting the Year Out Right

Celebrate what you want to see more of ~ Tom Peters

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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.

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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

 

Reaching Pilot Rock

Perseverance: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

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I returned to the Pilot Rock trail yesterday to give it another go. With a map in hand, I discovered where I went wrong.  If you’re interested in hiking this trail, here’s a link to the map:  https://golakehavasu.com/activity/hiking/pilot-rock-trail/

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I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring ~ David Bowie

The directions state, “take a right at the tree.”  Last time, I disregarded my intuition and went left. I was so close.

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You get in life what you have the courage to ask for ~ Oprah

Success! Pilot Rock ahead. Thank goodness for the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) sites and facilities ~ after 3.5 miles, I gotta go!

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If you really want to do something, you will find a way…… Jim Rohn

There are three BLM boat/walk-in sites at Pilot Rock with picnic tables, barbecues, and sandy beaches for camping or day use. Who wouldn’t want to camp or spend the day right on the Colorado River.

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Another BLM site with Pilot Rock and it’s reflection in view. I’m already making warmer weather plans to bring a bathing suit next time around. I had the area all to my self, except for a few birdies and some passing boaters.

 

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The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places ~ Roald Dahl

The Colorado River has many little islands and coves all along its banks. It’s panoramas like this that affirm my choice to leave California and move to Arizona. Until the heat sets in, of course.

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Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt ~ John Muir

For an alternative return hike, I took the Burro Trail to the Grand Wash. While I’m not fond of wash-walking (reminds me of walking on the beach with shoes on), I was tiring. It’s easier, but….the trail backtracks quite a bit going down to the wash and it seemed longer.

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Advice from a rock: Live life in balance

The wash offered interesting views of rock formations and got me wondering about their age. Exposed rock cliffs in the desert can be billions of years old. I was reminded of the old children’s series, “Land of the Lost” and  imagined a dinosaur peering over.

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May your hats fly as high as your dreams ~ Michael Scott

Hope you enjoyed returning to the trail with me and discovering Pilot Rock. I plan to make it a regular hike. Til next time!

 

 

 

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.

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.