Prescott’s Centennial Trail- The Northern Spur

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Friday afternoon found me in search of petroglyphs.  I knew they would not be as extensive as those of Mesa Verde or Bandelier, but they are our local link to the Sinagua people.

The first part of the northern spur is uphill. The uphill is not steep, and leads to a ridge, giving a fine view of Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte, plus all in between.

Of course, there is no direct trail from here.  One would encounter several subdivisions along the way.

I crossed a dry wash bed, in between the two hills which make up the trail.

Going along towards the site of the petroglyphs, one encounters several limestone fields, as was true of the southern spur.

Once past these, there is a slightly-flowing North Fork of Miller Creek, as the water emerges from underground.

Then, a short climb over some other rocks leads to the final boulder field, and the petroglyphs.

The petroglyphs are faded spirals, with a barely visible upright figure on one of the boulders.

As I left the petroglyph area, I noted what looked like the head of a snapping turtle- petrified for posterity.

 The  trail is easy enough to do in one hike, on a cool day.  This being the monsoon season, I found splitting the trail in two was the best course.

Prescott’s Centennial Trail- The Southern Spur

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Yesterday, I hiked two miles, round trip on Prescott’s newest trail- The Centennial Trail, which runs along a limestone boulder field south of Thumb Butte and west of uptown Prescott.  I took the southern spur, which gives views of the Bradshaw Mountains, Miller Valley and downtown.About 1/4 mile along, one comes to this wooden bridge.

The following are some noteworthy limestone fields heading up to the overlook.

At the top of the South Spur, one may view midtown, just across Miller Valley and the Bradshaws,to the southeast.

The most visible building above is Yavapai Medical Center- Prescott Campus.

Off to the west, just past the overlook, below, there is a formation that somewhat resembles the Sphinx.

There was not a whole lot of water flowing, but the stream which is crossed by the trail is the North Fork of Miller Creek, which is not swiftly flowing, even in the wettest of seasons.

Next up:  The Northern Spur of Centennial Trail.

Who Rules Us?

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This is a pictureless post, because the images of terror that we see, every time a self-appointed social regulator takes to the streets or buildings, to kill and maim innocent people, are vivid enough.  I leave it to qualified psychiatrists to judge whether a miscreant is psychotic.

When I was in graduate school, one of our professors gave a lecture on “Neurotic Means to Power”.  The usual suspects, from Napoleon to Nixon, were examined briefly, but the crux of her message was that a neurotic person seeks power at various levels of the social structure.  Friendships, families, work relationships, and politics are all subject to the neurotic in search of meaning in his/her life.  Most likely, we all have a need to influence the behavior of those around us, so as to ensure personal safety.  Neurosis kicks in, however, when a person’s identity depends on the number of people who listen and obey one’s dictates and demands, as well as the extent to which those people listen and obey.

Some obedience is necessary to the survival of the obedient.  Laws are sent to us by God, the Creator, the Universe, Unknowable Essence, Great Wave of Energy, or whatever you wish to call That which put us here.  We follow along, willingly or not, because the alternative, chaos, is way out of most people’s comfort zones.  Children obey their parents and other adults, because they only have their own will power to guide them, otherwise, and it gets sketchy not having all the answers.  Most people obey the police and courts, because without a system,  it could be they who are hurt or killed next.

Those who know me know that I am a law-abiding person.  I’ve never been arrested, and have paid willingly for the occasional excesses of my right foot, when behind the wheel.  I have never, and won’t, however, kowtow to those who insert themselves into my affairs, with no more authority than “This is how I expect you to act.”

Back to the shooting in Aurora.  James Holmes, as far as we know, acted alone.  That makes him the same as the shooter at Virginia Tech, Andrew Kunanan and Ted Bundy.  He could not dominate or control those with whom he was intimate, if indeed there were any such people, so he chose to thrash and flail at strangers.  We don’t know if he had been bullied as a child, spanked on his birthday or spurned by a woman.  We do know however that two wrongs don’t make a right, two stupids don’t make a smart, fourteen deaths don’t make a life.

What does neurotic seeking of power get a person, in the end?  My guess is that it earns the person a label of toxic, among his/her peers.  It earns annoyance, followed by anger, followed by avoidance and isolation.  These may or may not lead the power-seeker to lash out in further anger- at self or at others.

James Holmes ended up controlling no one.  The historical figures cited by my professor, except for Nixon, ended their lives in defeat and disgrace.  My final point is this:  There is a system, throughout the Universe, which follows the laws of physics and their subordinate man-made laws.  This system is understood by most, and all are subject to it.  This system makes no provision for those without authority to dictate, demand, cajole, ridicule or browbeat those around them into submission.

When someone who is not my mother, family elder, work supervisor or officer of the legal system tells me “You will!”, that’s when I won’t- unless it makes sense to ME.  When that same person says “You can’t”, that’s when I will- if it would benefit me or others.

The lesson of the film which James Holmes disrupted is that ad hoc, casual, unsanctioned exercise of authority will never succeed, in the end, because the human spirit is   answerable only to the Higher Power.  This applies equally to the  power usurper with arms and ammunition, and to those whose weapon is their tongue.

My Fatherly Journey: Day 4, July 9, 2012

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This day is among the more solemn for us Baha’is.  On July 9, 1850, Baha’ullah’s Immediate Predecessor, whose title is al-Bab, or “The Gate”, was executed by firing squad, after having been held in three separate prisons.

Al-Bab’s basic message was that it was time for mankind to prepare for One Who would unite the human race, by spiritual principles.  It was al-Bab’s purpose to pave the way for this Messenger, much as John the Baptist did for Christ.

As this was a challenge to Islamic orthodoxy, the mullahs prevailed upon the government of Persia (now Iran) to imprison al-Bab and oppress His followers.  This went on for about five years, and when the Babi Faith grew anyway, execution became the method of choice for “containment” of the new faith.

The Faith of al-Bab was succeeded by the Baha’i Faith, with Baha’ullah’s Revelation in 1853, while He was in prison in Teheran, for having followed the Teachings of His Immediate Predecessor.  The execution of al-Bab was only an accelerant to the growth of our Faith, first in Persia, then, gradually world-wide.

Between 200-300 of us gathered at San Diego Baha’i Center at noon on July 9. We offered prayers and solemnly reflected on the events mentioned above.

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Before this solemn event, I spent some time at the nearby campus of the University of San Diego, a Catholic institution.  Here are some of the larger buildings of this venerable institution:

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After leaving San Diego, I had the unique experience of stopping in Palm Springs, which offered a temperature of 116.  I chose not to take the tram up Chino Canyon, to the top of Mt. San Jacinto.  This was a budget thing, not  a heat thing.  The top would have offered  71 degrees.

Here are some photos of  the area.

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I will go back and take the tram, right before New Year’s.

Now for the kitsch.

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Marilyn was the first woman on whom I had a crush- at age 10.  It hit me hard when she passed on.

The heat was what it was, and 116 was not quite what she, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis had in mind in the 1959 classic film.  I cooled off nicely with a seafood salad and plenty of ice water, at Blue Coyote Grill.

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Most diners chose to go inside.  I found it quite pleasant, though, in the shaded courtyard, under the misters.

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So, the day was an eclectic mix of sacred, profane and much in between.

So as to keep the right perspective, I will end with a house of worship in Palm Springs.

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I am inspired by the workings of my Faith, awestruck by the power of nature and amused by the harmless aspects of pop culture.  Now, though, it’s time to stay close to home for a couple of months, and take the inner journeys offered by the “Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels.

My Fatherly Journey, Day 3: July 8, 2012

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Since Aram had today off as well, we made plans to attend a spiritual discourse by a Baha’i scholar from Malaysia, at the San Diego Baha’i Center, then go to La Jolla and see how many seals were spending the summer here.

The talk was on the subject of spiritual progress, both in this life and after death.  We believe one does impact the other, and that there is a connection between this world and the next.

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After 2 1/2 hours of spiritual nourishment, we found ourselves looking about La Jolla for an equally satisfying lunch.  We found it readily, at The Brick and Bell Cafe.  The ladies go all out, with the quality of their food and the efficiency of service.  It’s a small place, but they managed to serve about 40 people, in the half hour or so that we were there.

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We walked down to the shore and spent equal parts of time looking down on the ocean and surveying the seal population- most of which was in the surf, hunting.  Aram expressed happiness at having been introduced to this beach.

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The white spot in the background indicates where a seal is near the surface.

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The surf was not disappointing to either man or seal.

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The rocks never are a letdown for our flippered friends.

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After this, we went up to Torrey Pines State Beach.  Aram chose to delve further into a book he is reading, while I went into the surf a bit.  I have photos of Torrey Pines posted on my March, 2012 album on La Jolla.

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We ended the day with light and satisfying entrees at the TGI Friday, in the Gaslamp Quarter.   It was time for Aram to head back to base, and prepare for another week.  I stayed at Parkside Inn for one more night, with a Baha’i holy day observance scheduled for the Center at noon on Monday.

My Fatherly Journey, Day 2: July 7, 2012

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Neil Young sang, nasily,but well, of “24 and there’s so much more”.  I want all that for my son, who turned twenty-four last Saturday. It was still early for him, when I broke camp, so I headed down Hwy 79 to Santa Ysabel, a small village where there is a mission to the Kumeyaay people.

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I spent a few minutes visiting the mission grounds, then had breakfast at Apple Country Restaurant. The story here is that someone stole the bells from the mission in 1929.  The clappers were found later, but not the castings. The mission is open 9-5.  I was there at 8.

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Here is the front of Apple Country Restaurant. I sat at the counter, as I often do in such places, and enjoyed top-quality corned beef hash w/ scramblers, toast and coffee.  There were several people in hunting garb, and military camo, and a lone woman, who struck me as an artist or poet of some sort.  At least she kept to herself in the corner, and seemed lost in deep thought.  I know that feeling well. I headed downhill after breakfast, and got into the city around 9:30.

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Aram and I headed first to Cabrillo Point National Monument, which commemorates the defense of San Diego during WWII. Californians who were around back then would know of the attempted Japanese landing near Santa Barbara.  The whole coast was soon well-defended, following that aborted attack.

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The lighthouse and defenses lie well above the shoreline.

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Joao Rodrigues Cabrillo, whose name’s spelling shows his west Iberian roots, stands guard over the point which bears his name.  He captained the first Spanish landing, near Point Loma. After this, we had a sumptuous lunch at Sushiya, on the sea level side of Point Loma. Aram patiently endured my search for a motel, after my usual haunt was besieged by a convention of golfers, headed to Torrey Pines.  I found my new haunt, Parkside Inn, which is actually more centrally located.

With that done, we headed to Mission Valley Mall, and took in “The Amazing Spider Man”.  This sort of film always challenges my own acrophobia.  I have made a solemn vow to NEVER be outside on a building higher than 10 stories tall.  The inside of places like Seoul Tower, the Willis, or the Space Needle, doesn’t faze me.  Neither do the overlooks at Grand Canyon or various tall mountains.  Skyscrapers- forgettaboutit!  The film, we both agree, is a cut above the previous series.  Andrew Garfield is a more believable “teen”, Sally Field is always easy on the eyes, and Denis Leary is a great father figure.  The Lizard Man is also more plausible than the Green Goblin, unfortunate as that would seem.

We would have more adventure, and misadventure, on Sunday.

My Fatherly Journey, Day 1: July 6, 2012

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These next four posts are all the result of my being there for Aram’s 24th birthday.  As he  “grows up”, and the Navy calls his tune, I cherish any chance I can get to help him celebrate one of the happiest days of my life.

I set out around 9:30 A.M., and made the drive to Blythe in little more than 2 1/2 hours.  It was lunch time, so I went looking for the desert town’s best kept secret, after a photo shoot of the Colorado River, from the AZ side.

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Once across, a quick drive down Lovekin Boulevard led me to my goal:

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This fine little place does BQ the right way- slowly.  It offers St. Louis-style ribs, and a nice variety of other styles, all in a tiny storefront that seats about 25 people indoors and four outside.  Best of all, this is a sign that Blythe is coming back to stay.

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I did my usual blaze across the desert to the Riverside area.  This time, I chose to head down Hwy 79, from Beaumont, through Hemet, and the back country of San Bernardino National Forest, to Oak Grove Campground, just outside Aguanga.

In Hemet, I spent about an hour helping a stranded motorist, near a spot often mentioned by a friend who lives in the town.

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Stranded in suburbia shouldn’t happen to anyone.  Once he was safely on his way, so was I.  There were some fine orange groves, and wild back roads, waiting.

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I was delighted to find Oak Grove Campground, right off Hwy 79, just east of Aguanga.  Here, I was lulled to sleep by the nearby crickets and not-so-nearby coyotes.

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At 6 A.M., Saturday morning, I was up and ready for a day of celebration.