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Posts Tagged ‘arizona’

Thank Heavens for Wikimedia and generous photographers for this fabulous stitched panorama of Horseshoe Bend because halfway down to the overlook I remembered I didn't have my camera with me. But even if I had, I couldn't have taken such a magnificent photo. -- Wikimedia photo

Thank Heavens for Wikimedia and generous photographers for this fabulous stitched panorama of Horseshoe Bend because halfway down to the overlook I remembered I didn’t have my camera with me. But even if I had, I couldn’t have taken such a magnificent photo. — Wikimedia photo

 

“Walking is magic … The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps. This is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self. – Paula Cole

On Being the Caboose

            Pepper and I set out for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon shortly after dawn, but stopped just south of Page for a quick hike to Horseshoe Bend. It didn’t turn out to be as quick, however, as I remembered it from my younger days.

The hike started with a steep trek up a sandy hill, where you got a good look at the long downhill path ahead of you leading to the edge of a cliff overlooking perhaps the most photographed spot on the Colorado River.

Pepper, the little engine that could to my caboose. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper, the little engine that could to my caboose. — Photo by Pat Bean

Just coming off a serious episode of heavy-duty back pain – from being stupid and lifting way too many pounds for an old broad my age – I questioned my sanity about going on instead of turning back. It wasn’t the next downhill section that worried me, but the trip back up it.

Pepper, however, was still quite frisky and eager for the hike to continue. As for me, I wanted to prove to myself that I still had some go left in me. As I trudged, step at a time in the quickly warming day, I thought back to 1999 when my 60th birthday present to myself was a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

I had made the same trip earlier in time, when I had paddled through the canyon in a six-person paddle raft, enjoying a wondrous up close, personal connection with the rapids. The second trip down the Colorado through the canyon was made in an oar boat with someone else doing all the hard work, which wasn’t too bad because I got to carefully study the passing scenery.

But then, on a side hike up one canyon, over a ridge and them down a second canyon to meet back up with the rafts, I reached a point where I had to have someone help me over a boulder in the path because I couldn’t manage it on my own. I shed a few tears at that. I wasn’t used to having to be helped on a hiking adventure. Usually I led the way – and was never the caboose.

On this day’s adventure to the Horseshoe Bend viewpoint of the Colorado River, I was following my canine companion Pepper. But at least I was going – and of course the viewpoint was worth the effort. In fact, it was magnificent.

On the hike back, I followed Pepper up the hill, and didn’t resist, nor cry, when she trotted far enough ahead to pull me along with her. I’m quite thankful to have such a wonderful hiking companion, and doubly thankful that I still have at least a little bit of go left in me, even if I have to be the caboose on my adventures. .

Back in our vehicle, with its air conditioning blasting away, Pepper and I continued on our day’s journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyonas Dr. Seuss’s words danced in my head. Oh the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see. To be continued           

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wednesday Vignettes http://tinyurl.com/qape662 Tranquil

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View across Lake Powell from Wahweap Marina. -- Photo by Pat Bean

View across Lake Powell from Wahweap Marina. — Photo by Pat Bean

“The power of the river is to flow wildly. The power of the lake is to think calmly. Wise man both flows like a river and thinks like a lake.” – Mehmet Merat ildan

Then Lake Powell before Dark

            After joining up with Highway 89 in Flagstaff, where I made a quick stop for gas and snacks — Cheetos and a Coke despite my resolution not to eat such road trip fare — I didn’t stop again until Page, where I checked into the Super 8 Motel.

Lone Rock as seen from the beach where I camped my first night in Gypsy Lee. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Lone Rock as seen from the beach where I camped my first night in Gypsy Lee. — Photo by Pat Bean

While the accommodation was definitely economy with no frills, the cost of my room, $150 a night, definitely wasn’t. I had gotten one of the last free rooms available in town when I had called five days earlier. The only room free at the Super 8 — and it was the cheapest of what was still available — had been a three-bed unit. It was a bit of overkill for me and my canine companion Pepper, for whom I paid an additional $10 pet fee. But I was thankful for it when I arrived because the people in the check-in line, both ahead and behind me, were turned away because they had no reservations and there were no vacancies.

This motel, one couple said, was their last hope. Page sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere on its northern edge with the Utah border.  Kanab, if the unlucky travelers were headed west was 75 miles away, and Flagstaff, if they were headed south, was 135 miles away. Little else was located in between.

Page, with only about 8,000 residents, has about 15 hotels – and sees about 3 million tourists annually. The town sprang up in the late 1950s as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of the nearby Glen Canyon Dam, which backed up the Colorado River to form Lake Powell. The 17-square mile city of Page, land for which was purchased from the Navajo Nation, is perched atop a 4,300-foot mesa, about 600 feet above Lake Powell..

View from a scenic overlook near Wahweap. -- Photob y Pat Bean

View from a scenic overlook near Wahweap. — Photo by Pat Bean

It was still a couple hours before dark after I was checked in, so I decided to check out Lake Powell from the Utah side of the border. You can see the lake from Page, but the better views, I knew, were on the Utah side.

This would be a nostalgic trip back in time for me. I had camped at Lake Powell’s campgrounds several times when I was living in my RV, Gypsy Lee, and toured its lake aboard a boat before that. As an environmental reporter, I had also written about its controversial construction that flooded Glen Canyon, and its environmental impacts on the Colorado River. As in all things, there were two sides to the story. Actually, there were a hundred sides as I now recall.

But this late afternoon was not for thinking, just for seeing – and remembering. And the very best memory of all came when I looked upon Lone Rock. This unimproved beach was where I spent my first night in Gypsy Lee back in April of 2004.  What a great sundown ending to my first day of this road trip. To be continued …

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The Open Suitcase http://tinyurl.com/nfg6823 This is a great blog for those of us who can’t afford to visit Europe, And if you don’t live in New York, you can even have fun trying to find Europe in your own backyard.

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I made a brief stop at Sunset Point Rest Area north of Phoenix, but didn't stay long as it was crowded. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I made a brief stop at Sunset Point Rest Area north of Phoenix, but didn’t stay long as it was crowded. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” – Lawrence Durrell

Then Sedona Side Trip Woes

My favorite road trips include backroads. But this day’s road trip, I knew, would not include them. I had 400 miles to drive before I would lay my head to rest at a Super 8 Motel in Page, Arizona, and most of that would be on freeways.  I did expect, however, that Interstate 17, once past Phoenix, would have less traffic than Interstate 10. I was wrong, it had more.

I stopped in Sedona to enjoy the red-rock scenery, despite Cayenne's woes. Road trips are too precious to be wasted. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

I stopped in Sedona to enjoy the red-rock scenery, despite Cayenne’s woes. Road trips are too precious to be wasted. — Photo by Pat Bean.

The scenery, however, was somewhat more interesting, and during the 150-mile journey from Phoenix, where I-17 begins, and Flagstaff, where it ends. the landscapes and my journey climbed 6,000 feet in elevation.

Just outside Phoenix, my route took me through Black Canyon Recreation Area, with marked exits to such places as Horsethief Basin and Bloody Basin Road, leaving me wondering how those places had gotten their names. If I had time, I would have loved to have explored them. My mother claimed that I had inherited my grandfather’s wanderlust, and the need to explore every sideroad I came across. The only thing is there are way more sideroads these days then there were in his time – and I’ve discovered I can’t explore them all.

 

Cayenne, Pepper and me shortly after I bought my  Ford Focus.

Cayenne, Pepper and me shortly after I bought my Ford Focus.

On this day, I did get off the interstate to take the back route through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. I expected to leave the traffic behind but nearing Sedona it became even more congested. And the stop-and-go 15 mph and roundabouts in Sedona brought out the worst in my 2014 Ford Focus, which has a stuttering/rattling problem when it’s in first gear, a problem that already had my car on a waiting list for the manufacturer to fix. I’m just one of many Focus owners with the default.

I believed my mechanic when he said it was OK for me to drive Cayenne, and that the problem wouldn’t leave me stranded; I just hadn’t expected it to be so grumpy and loud, but then that’s what I was when I returned to my Ford dealer back home. The mechanic drove my car when I returned to Tucson, but of course it’s didn’t misbehave as badly for him as it did for me in Sedona, where it was almost constantly in first gear.

But once past Sedona, Cayenne drove fine, with only an occasional and silent stutter in first gear, and gave me 40 mpg as well. Maybe I’ll forgive her, and Ford, too, if she drives as good as they tell me she will once she’s fixed. Too be continued …

            Bean Pat: Glenrosa Journeys http://tinyurl.com/ocb7n5n  Fall birds you might see if you live in Arizona. I especially liked the juvenile green heron photos.

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Palo Verde Trees

The trunk and branches of a Palo Verde at Sacaton Rest Area. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The trunk and branches of a Palo Verde at Sacaton Rest Area. — Photo by Pat Bean

“The more often we se the things around us — even the beautiful and wonderful things — the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds — even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” — Joseph B. Wirthin

In a Historical Setting

            My second stop of the day was at the Sacaton Rest Area at Mile Marker 183 on Interstate 10. I wasn’t tired, (Pepper and I were only about 75 miles from where we started our road trip) but I had discovered that Arizona Rest Stops are usually scenic and informational – and this one didn’t disappoint.

In remembrance of two Arizona police officers who died in the line of duty near Mile Marker 183 on Interstate  10. -- Photo y Pat Bean

In remembrance of two Arizona police officers who died in the line of duty near Mile Marker 183 on Interstate 10. — Photo y Pat Bean

A large bronze marker at the site informed me the rest area had been the site of the first Government Indian School for Pimas and Maricopas, as well as Pima villages that served as friendly resting places for travelers heading west during the Gold Rush. The site was also the birth place of Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian who was one of the flag-raising Marines at Iwo Jima.

I remembered seeing the 1949 movie, “Sands of Iwo Jima,” in which Hayes actually portrayed himself.  It was one of those unexpected memory recalls that left me wondering what other trivia was  hidden in my brain that might never be brought into the light without a jolt to shake it loose.

Continuing its tribute to heroes, the rest area also contained grave markers of two Arizona police officers, Mark Dryer and Johnny Garcia, who had died in the line of duty.

A nice place for a road trip stop. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A nice place for a road trip stop. — Photo by Pat Bean

After reading all the honorary plaques and informational posters, and pondering their meanings, I finally let myself simply enjoy the landscaped picnic area and the Sacaton Mountains that formed the rest area’s backdrop. What I liked best were the Palo Verde trees with their green trunks and branches.

The Palo Verde is Arizona’s State Tree. Numerous of these trees grow around my Tucson apartment, where they turn the landscape into yellow eye-candy when they blossom in early spring.  Then, depending on the desert’s dicey water situation, they drop some or even all their leaves to conserve moisture. Their green bark can do everything that leaves do, making these trees one of the most drought-tolerant in nature. Appropriately, their name in Spanish simply means green stick.

This second stop of my road trip, where Pepper and I took a short walk taking in the views, reminded me, yet once again, just how amazing Mother Nature is. Don’t you agree? To be continued …

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Extraordinary http://tinyurl.com/pzc6svh Beautiful photographs, meaningful words.

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This is just a fraction of the sandhills that were whirring through the air before landing, and joining hundreds that were already on the shore. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is just a fraction of the sandhills that were whirring through the air before landing, and joining hundreds that were already on the shore. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Sense the blessings of the earth in the perfect arc of a ripe tangerine, the taste of warm, fresh bread, the circling flight of birds, the lavender color of the sky shining in a late afternoon rain puddle, the million times we pass other beings in our cars and shops and out among the trees without crashing, conflict or harm.” – Jack Kornfield

Sandhill Cranes Galore

It was a peaceful walk through the wetlands area with a cool breeze blowing through my hair. I loved every second of my time spent at the National Recreational Area. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It was a peaceful walk through the wetlands area with a cool breeze blowing through my hair. I loved every second of my time spent at the National Recreational Area. — Photo by Pat Bean

The first sandhill cranes I ever saw were alongside the Sawtooth Scenic Highway somewhere north of Ketchum, Idaho in 1983. I was taking a drive with a forest ranger for a story I was writing for the Twin Falls Times-News. There were about a dozen of the large birds, but I wouldn’t have known what they were if the forest ranger hadn’t identified them.

The next time I saw sandhill cranes was more than 10 years later when I was doing a story on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Northern Utah. By this time I had become an avid birder, and I could identify birds on my own – well at least with my Roger Tory Peterson birding field guide, There were only four sandhill cranesthis time, two pairs. The sighting, however, was special because the two pairs were doing their courting dance.

The line of sandhills stretched almost out of sight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The line of sandhills stretched almost out of sight. — Photo by Pat Bean

I saw sandhill cranes pretty regularly after that, both in Utah and Texas. The one other time that stands out was when a small flock of sandhill cranes did a flyby over by head at the Morgan (Utah) Sewage Ponds.

But it wasn’t until this past week, when this non-wandering wanderer took a road trip to Whitewater Draw southeast of Tucson, that I saw thousands of sandhill cranes at one time. Between 20,000 to 30,000 sandhill cranes make this 600-acre wetlands their winter home.

I watched this awesome cinnamon teal groom itself for a good 10 minutes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I watched this awesome cinnamon teal groom itself for a good 10 minutes. — Photo by Pat Bean

I visited the site in the early afternoon, when the cranes stretched out for probably a quarter mile on opposite shorelines. And they were still coming in when I left about 4 p.m., after taking a loop hike through the wetlands.

In addition to sandhill cranes, I saw coots, ruddy ducks, lesser scaup, common yellowthroats, robins, northern shovelers and cinnamon teal. What a great day!

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park http://tinyurl.com/p5mupnk And here’s a good place to visit to see winter wildflowers.

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“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

The old cemetery at Tumacacori National Park south of  Tucson. Drawing by Pat Bean

The old cemetery at Tumacacori National Park south of Tucson. Drawing by Pat Bean

A Sketchy Morning

I recently joined the Sketchbook Artistry Guild and went on my first outing, which took place at Tumacacori National Park south of Tucson. It was the first time I had sketched outdoors in about 10 years. It was a glorious, beautiful day and a win-win-win for this non-wandering wanderer, who is always eager for new sights, learning something new and meeting new people.

The church at Tumacacori. -- Drawing by Pat Bean

The church at Tumacacori. — Drawing by Pat Bean

The ruins of the once Jesuit mission to bring Christianity to the O’odham Indians, who were often at war with the Apaches also located in Southern Arizona, spoke to me of a past riddled with men too sure they were right in their beliefs, hardships, struggles, community and survival. How little we have changed.

So I focused on the sketching possibilities of the ruins with its roofless bell tower, and the trees that created an artful composition in a small graveyard – and tried to capture their memories on paper. I sketched on sight, and then went home and added watercolor to the paintings.

Afterwards, eight of us went to Wisdom’s, a delightful restaurant with huge chicken statues in front, for lunch. The fish tacos I ate were yummy, and the table conversation delightful. What a great way to spend a day.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Prairie flameleaf sumac http://tinyurl.com/mlbqfrc Great blog about flowers.

 

 

 

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fall leaves

Autumn in Ramsey Canyon. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

  “I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me — I am happy.” — Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899

Point of Interest for a Non-Wandering Wanderer           

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. — Photo by Pat Bean

  Ramsey Canyon, south of Tucson, is one of North America’s hottest birding spots – but not in November. In November, it is just a delightful place for a hike and a delicious feast for the eyes.

My son Lewis and I got to the  Nature Conservancy visitor center early, and paid our $6 to gain access to the canyon. The first two amazing things I noticed different from the usual Sonoran Desert landscape was water in the form of a spring-fed stream bubbling down the canyon — and trees, lots of tall, stately giants, and broad-branched monarchs that made me want to clamber up into their arms.

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lewis said it was the trees, which Tucson lacked, that kept me oohing and ahhing almost continually.

But we have trees in Tucson, I said.

“Not like these, or this many,” he replied

He was right. While my apartment complex does have a few, out-of-habitat and bedraggled evergreens, and a few black olive trees, most of the ones I see around Tucson are short mesquites and leafless, green-trunked palo verdes. .

Growing tall and regal between Ramsey’s Canyon walls were maples and sycamores. The towering and mottled-white limbs of the sycamores were enchanting, as were the autumn leaves of the maple trees, sights I don’t normally see in Tucson proper.

Located in the Huachuca Mountains, the canyon is renowned for its scenic beauty, its diversity of plants, and the birds that visit it in the spring and summer. The one other time I visited it, about eight years ago on an April day, I went for the birds – and was not disappointed. While I only saw a few birds this trip, I was still not disappointed.

Painted redstart.

Painted redstart.

The Ramsey Canyon hike is only a mile up and back, although hikers can add some length to the trail by continuing on to the top of a ridge, which Lewis did. I chose to hike back down canyon slowly, taking time to breathe in Mother Nature’s beauty and to take some photographs.

As I crossed a bridge near a splash and play area, I was rewarded with the sight of a pair of painted redstarts. I felt that Lewis, also an avid birder, would be put out that he hadn’t seen them. Thankfully the bird wouldn’t be a lifer for him. And when I told him about the redstart, he was too happy he had seen an Arizona woodpecker, which was a lifer, to envy my sighting.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat A Window into the Woods http://tinyurl.com/k2wrq5a Now that my son, Lewis, is back home in Texas, these are birds he can see every day.

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