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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Taking Steps to Getting Somewhere

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you are not going to stay where you are ~ Unknown

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Taking advantage of the cool weather at home with some local hiking

Warmer weather is approaching the desert southwest and I’ve been busily preparing my summer escape from this “too hot to handle” town I call home. With the RV gone and a desire to stay on the road longer, I’ve had to come up with some alternate lodging aside from hotels.

I used to travel off-season, but in order to escape the oppressive, Arizona summers, we’ve become peak season travelers. This not only makes for expensive and crowd-filled traveling, but limits my options.

This summer we’ve decided to stay in state parks and take advantage of the variety of lodging they offer. First, we’ll be “glamping” (fancy tent camping) in New Mexico and Utah. Then it’s off to the Oregon coast and redwoods to bunk in a rustic cabin and yurt.

Photo from the Oregon State Parks website

I’m really looking forward to staying in the state parks this summer. Hotels are nice, and I’m sure we’ll overnight in one or two, but for me there is nothing better than the simplicity of a tent, warm sleeping bag and waking up to the sounds and sights of nature.

It’s been awhile since I’ve tent-camped, so we’re doing a trial run in a few weeks in southern Arizona. I hear the Saguaros will be in bloom ~ I’ll be bringing my camera. Stay tuned for a post and hopefully some awesome pictures on my return.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can ~ Arthur Ashe

 

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

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.

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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.

‘Someday’

Begin doing what you want to do now…We are not living in eternity…We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake ~ Francis Bacon

When I’m not wandering, one of my other passions is reading, especially travel memoirs. Currently, I’m reading an interesting book called, “Off the Beaten Trail: A Young Man’s Soul-Searching Journey Through Central America” by Jake Heilbrunn.

Someday

The above quote, referenced in the book, got me thinking about how much we put things off waiting for ‘someday.’  How we wait for conditions to be just right in our life and only then we will _____________ (fill in blank).

Recently, the hubby and I were having a discussion about shelving life and living idle. I had to remind him, that someday (when we’re really old and gray), we will sit and warm chairs, but today, we need to pursue life and follow our dreams.

No matter what your age, young or old, I hope you follow your passions and see the world. Don’t wait for someday, because life is not eternal and sometimes, someday never comes.