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

 

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Holiday Magic at the Desert Botanical Garden

……Light turns the ordinary into the magical ~ Trent Parke

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Last night, we spent the evening wandering the Desert Botanical Garden’s, “Las Noches de las Luminarias,” in Phoenix.  The paths and trees were lined through out the garden with festive lights, giving a magical holiday feel to the desert southwest.

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To add to the fun, sculptures from Japanese artist, Jun Kaneko are on display amid the lights and thorny plant life. This colorful, large-scale form is one of six heads featured by this unusual artist.

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Even the saguaro cactus, symbol of the desert southwest, were illuminating the holiday spirit.

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Another piece by Jun Kaneko called a Dango. The sculptures will be on display at the garden until May 13. Here’s a link if you’re interested in his work:   http://www.junkaneko.com/

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This is how we do Christmas in the desert! We may not have snow, but with a temperature drop and a northerly wind, scarves and gloves were adorned by all.

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What an imagination! Called the six Tanuki, this group of whimsical raccoon-dogs hang out in the gardens Lewis Desert Portal section and by the looks on their faces, wondering how on earth they got there.

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The odd Boojum tree. Although it may look like an evergreen, it’s all thorns instead of leaves or needles. You wouldn’t have to worry about your cats messing with it. Ouch!

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There were many talented entertainers during the evening ~ from Folklorico dancers to musical acts performing Bluegrass, Classical, and Blues style holiday tunes. This group treated us to a soulful rendition of Georgia on My Mind.

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I called this piece, “the twilight zone.” The spirals remind me of the background to the infamous TV show. I’m not an art connoisseur, but these sculptures sure brought a smile to my face and made for interesting discussions throughout the evening.  And isn’t that what art is all about?

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Las Noches de las Luminarias (the night of the luminaries) runs until December 30 at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona. With glowing paths, hand lit luminary bags, twinkle lights in trees and some really wonderful entertainers, if you’re in the area, I recommend  checking it out.

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With the season upon us, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and may you have a wonderful New Year filled with many adventures and interesting places to wander.

Sandra

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.

 

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