Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, Part 3: Drinking Snake Segment


I again parked at Spring Valley’s Antelope Creek Road lot, and headed south, along the Drinking Snake segment of the Black Canyon, a distance of 4.2 miles one way.  Here’s the north trailhead of Drinking Snake.


The trail is a bit more rugged than the Big Bug, at the outset.  There is more volcanic debris in this area.





The views are  just as sweeping here, as they are further north.


The hearts were both mineral and vegetable.



I arrived at an abandoned corral, water tank and windmill, near Dripping Spring, after an hour’s walk.


The canyon called Dripping Spring is the north end of a longer system that runs along to Crown King Road, another 1.7 miles to the south.


The hike from here is an easy rim walk, past a cow or two.  The view, though, is exhilarating.



Next on this trail system is the Antelope Creek segment.


After making the hike back to Spring Valley, I stopped briefly at Cordes, the northernmost of four “ghost’ towns between Prescott and Black Canyon City.  It was Sunday evening, so the place was closed.


My life will be topsy-turvy, in a good way, for the next five weeks, so while hiking will take a backseat to some other activities, I’m a happy blogger.

Embracing the Catapault


I spent the first two thirds of today as planned, attending a Civics Speech contest for high school students in the morning and a memorial service for a neighbour, in the afternoon.  These were punctuated by a conversation with the real estate agent who is handling the sale of the house in which I am living at present.

I was asked how much time I’d need to move.  Truth is, I don’t need much.  I moved a much larger household, in less than a week, in July, 2011.  Niceties, though, entail a decision by the property owners and my securing a residence.  The former is not my call.  The latter will involve  what I hope will be a brief search.  Considering the warp speed with which this process is moving, I trust I will land nicely on my feet.

As I approach the third anniversary of Penny’s passing, I feel a pullback from some of her family members.  Hopefully, this is not due to my moving out of what has been family property.  My in-laws have treated me like royalty for 33 years, and I quite honestly just want to help simplify their lives.

I also feel a pullback from some of my friends here in Prescott.  This was bound to happen, but while I am in the hands of a loving universe, with regards to where I live next, I prefer to stay in this area for at least two or three more years.  So, on Monday, besides doing a couple of service projects, I will go by the first place I have in mind for my next residence, and see what’s available.

I am familiar with this catapult.  I’ve held onto it before, and been flung quite a few interesting places.

Valentine’s Day, 2014


Whether you’re a lover or a fighter, I hope today meets your expectations.  This is my third Valentine’s Day as soul mate to a departed angel, and I am blessed with all manner of Earthly friends- of both genders and all ages.  It’s not necessary to always have a live, in-the-flesh type Significant Other.  If you do, though, I wish you both a warm and tender day of love.

I had the day off, as it is the day before a 3-day weekend, and no teacher likes to miss the Valentine’s Day parties at school- so few subs, if any, were called.  Have taken care of several process matters, relative to this house- and can relax just a bit, over the  Presidents’ Day weekend.  A couple of local events, and dinner with a friend, will take up tomorrow.  The trail is calling on Sunday.  Monday will be devoted to volunteer work.

Today, though, will see me spend the evening with friends in Flagstaff. I will stop and hike at Stoneman Lake,, en route.  Macy’s European Coffee House has a gathering, once a month, to talk about spiritual matters, from a Baha’i perspective.  While I don’t get up there every month, tonight is a perfect opportunity for this.  I can bring my oil samples and info with me, too, just to see if anyone might be in need of our fine products.

Sic semper amoris!

Stuff- February 13, 2014


Concerns- This house is now being listed for sale.  I will make my move towards downtown, sometime in March or April.

Type A people and I may never really understand, or trust, one another.  This will affect my attendance at a regular mid-week event, but life goes on.

I have two meetings this evening.  Either one, or both, could end up being a hair-raising, or hair-pulling, experience.

I don’t give a care if no one on Word Press reads my personal posts.  The posts will continue- mostly for my friends on Xanga and Facebook.  WP’ers, keep snoozing, just don’t snore too loudly- okay.

Sid- He was about the first TV personality to make me laugh.  So much of Sid Caesar’s comedy was situational.  This made it timeless. RIP, sir.



Vortex- Southland, you are surviving!  East Coast, hang in there.  You know what to do, and it’ll be gone soon.

Stuff- The Lincoln’s Birthday Edition


I will be using this space to randomly comment on matters large and small, when there is nothing huge in my life.

Abe- The greatest American President, up to now, was born on this day, 205 years ago.  It’s hard to imagine what this country would be like, had either his immediate predecessor or his immediate successor been at the helm, when matters came to a head in 1861.

Shirley- Mrs. Temple Black lived an extraordinary life.  She didn’t rest on her considerable laurels, nor express a demand for entitlement.  I remember how much her movies meant to my dear sister, on so many Saturday afternoons.  No one begrudged Cheryl the command of the family TV, as long as Shirley was singing and dancing.  I never did put Animal Crackers in my soup, but I have been known to sing in the rain.

Pax-  The latest storm ending in ‘x’ is an equal opportunity weather challenge.  It’s a chance for the President to do right by the South, and it looks as if he is in the process of same.  No one’s suffering is any less worthy of  concern than anyone else’s, so North, South, Northwest, Midwest, Canada, Great Britain- hope all stay warm, dry and safe.

Bloopers- Criticism is not an attack.  This morning, I posted a comment, in a format that was not suitable to the needs of the person on whose wall it was posted.  The critical response, from someone I don’t know, was fast and to the point.  Said post was deleted, and no animals were harmed in the process.

Sochi-   I wish Shaun White well.  The sport he helped popularize has been stylized further by others.  This is what life is all about, and takes nothing away from what Shaun did, in prior Olympics.  Canada’s Women’s Hockey Team won today, fair and square.  A win by a hair is still a win.

Here at home-  I have worked two days this week.  Yesterday, I started to feel an urge to pull into my shell.  Instead, getting up, after a post-work rest, and attending a Slow Food Prescott potluck and business meeting, followed by a couple hours’ worth of spiritual study, was far more rewarding.  There are many challenges to my comfort zone ahead, and it’s best I leave it behind, more often.  As the saying goes- “Praying God to bring you to the mountain top, whilst sitting at its base, is not the way to get there.”

The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 164

Harquahala Wilderness


Sunday saw my first visit to Harquahala Wilderness, featuring the highest peak in La Paz County and in southwestern Arizona.  The name, Harquahala bestowed by the Mohave people or their progenitors, means “Waterhigh up”. Harquahala Peak does get snow, every so often, though Sunday was dry and mild. I lived in nearby Salome, for a year, in the 1999-2000 Academic Year, and have passed by the entrance to this trail countless times, often wondering what the upper levels were like. I got there later than I had first planned, as an important gathering took up much of my Sunday morning. Still, the overall experience, over six hours, rivaled the best of  other wilderness experiences I’ve had in the Southwest. The first two miles of the trail are standard Sonoran Desert fare, but don’t be jaded or lulled into boredom.  There are some challenges ahead.  This experience reminded me quite a bit of the Superstition Wilderness.

SAM_8019   SAM_8020   SAM_8023

The full trail is 5.4 miles, one way.  Once through the boulder fields, the switchbacks, and fun, begin. SAM_8025


Looking down into the canyon is an exhilarating experience.   SAM_8056   SAM_8059

The cathedral spire-like quality of Chimney Rock is  a motivation to keep on, with new vigour.   SAM_8060

Two-thirds of the way to the summit, some gold prospectors tried their luck, in the 1900’s.  It didn’t work out too well.  The remains of their camp are preserved here.   SAM_8070

The remnants of another Harquahala institution, an Observatory, built by the Smithsonian, and operated from 1921-1925, are found at the summit of Harquahala Peak, and are visible from the place where I chose to turn around.


The summit itself was another 35-40 minutes away, and once there, the sights are worth an hour or so of exploration.  Owing to the fading daylight, and not wanting to depend on my flashlight to navigate the eastern rim’s switchbacks, I began my descent around 5 P.M.


There were abundant heart-shaped rocks here, so I felt fully-blessed.


As I reached the last of the eastern switchbacks, the Sun bid farewell.


A night hike of ninety minutes, with my trusty flashlight, brought me back to the car.  As I reached my vehicle, the coyotes began yipping and yowling, about a mile to the east.  I will be back here someday, critters, and will get to the top, with plenty of time to do it justice.

(You probably guessed it.  The Daily Bruin didn’t take, so I am back to writing less “me-centered” fare.)

The Daily Bruin, Volume 1, Issue 8,February 8, 2014


Hiking-  I went to the trailhead for the Drinking Snake segment of Black Canyon Trail- and ended up taking the equally intriguing Forest Road 9218, informally called Townsend Butte trail, as that’s where the trail ends, overlooking the nearly deserted former mining town of Cleator.

Here are some views of the trail.  This shows the Drinking Snake Trail- the one not taken today.


Next is Townsend Butte Trail, the one that made all the difference.


Some buttes and basalt outcroppings broke the desert garden views, almost nonstop Prickly Pear groves, interspersed with chaparral.





This seasonal seep from Bumble Bee Creek is called White Pond.


Approaching Townsend Butte, there are gorgeous sweeping views of the badlands leading to the Bradshaw Mountains.




Atop Townsend Butte, the views are of little Cleator, getting a new lease on life- as are several of the  Black Canyon “ghost towns”.  There is no direct trail down to the village from the summit, though.



It’s only 3,953 feet high, but for a brief few minutes on top of old Townsend, I felt on top of the world.

On the way back, as always, there was a heart waiting for me.


Social/Musical- The fine day was capped by a small, but lively, drum circle at the Brehmers’ home in Chino Valley.  We had a fine time with sandwiches, a kale-rice dish and the rest of the chocolate cake from our friends, the Hamiltons, left over from my gathering on Thursday. Our drumming and chanting lifted each others spirits, and sent good vibes around the world, to Sochi, and everyplace in between.  Looking forward to a fine Sunday!

The Daily Bruin, Volume 1, Issue 7- February 7, 2014


Tidbits- I had the good fortune of working at the nearby middle school.  I covered the SPED resource room, and found lots of buzz over the Valentine’s Dance, which happened this evening.  In between the teasing and flirting back and forth, the kids mostly got some work done.  The ones who stood out, though, were a pair of loners, who chose to just sit.  I sense there is more to these boys than most people seem to have registered, but at least the regular TA is aware of their issues, and can be a consistent voice on their behalf.

Broken record- People complain about a complainer.  Is any of that going to help my erstwhile friend, who is obviously in need of a caring, but strong, helper?  I’d be glad to get her back on track, and when she is no longer shutting me out, I will.

Giving- I’ve always given, without worrying about receiving.  My only thing is, it doesn’t always HAVE to be about money.  I am generous with my time, and attention to people.  Those need to matter, also.

Weekend- I thoroughly enjoyed the Crockpotluck, at the Legion, this evening.  It was satisfying to resist the urge to try every single dish, which would have been strenuous, and would have made me what the French call  un gourmand.  Tomorrow night, we have our monthly drum group, in Chino Valley.  Otherwise, tomorrow during the day, and on Sunday, I will be on the trail. 🙂

Olympics- The Opening Ceremony may have been quirky and somewhat photoshopped, but the vast majority of the presentation was as fascinating and moving as any I’ve seen.  The little dreamer, “Lubov”, the historical pageant and Maria Sharipova made for an enchanting opening.

Have an awesome Saturday, everyone.

The Daily Bruin, Volume 1, Issue 6, February 6, 2014


Personal/Social–  This could also be called spiritual, as tonight marks my return to hosting a Baha’i Spiritual Feast.  This is our community’s devotional and consultative gathering, held once each nineteen days.  Here in Prescott, we meet in each other’s homes or, occasionally, in an apartment complex clubhouse.  Ironically, this comes as I am one or two months away from moving closer to downtown Prescott.





It is a lot of work to host a Spiritual Feast, but no energy is better spent- and, yes, there was lots of food and there were copious beverages (but no alcohol).

Wider World- A lot of people are still getting sick- both physically and mentally.  I would ask my friends who are handling things pretty well, to remember that those who are suffering mental anguish need more patience, not less.  Of course, one should never allow oneself to be browbeaten, savaged or excoriated.  Neither should the suffering person experience the same.  It’s a matter of saying:  “ENOUGH!  When you are ready to speak to me with respect, then we may talk again.”  There is never a call for name-calling or ridicule.  We are all in this together.

Tomorrow night, we will be able to view the 2014 Olympics Opening Ceremonies.  I look forward to it, and send positive thoughts for the safety of one and all, throughout the proceedings.


Know, verily, the heart wherein the least remnant of envy yet lingers, shall never attain My everlasting dominion, nor inhale the sweet savors of holiness breathing from My kingdom of sanctity.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words, no. 6

I know just about everyone is saying TGIF.  I am, too, though it’s not been a bad week around here.  Sleep well!

The Daily Bruin, Volume 1, Issue 5, February 5, 2014


Health and Healing-  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can hit any of us, any time there is a serious life-changing event, or series of events, that happen all of a sudden.  It is not just in a war zone or after a wide-spread disaster, that such things hit.  The loss of a loved one or a natural event that affects only a relative few people, when it hits out of the blue, can send one spinning into a very hellacious space.  So can chronic, undiagnosed pain.

There are a couple of people online, for whom I have great affection, who are going through severe PTSD, from the looks of things.  This sort of thing needs to be taken seriously.  I will do what I can, which in one of the cases probably isn’t much.

Life- Mine is good.  I went over to a gathering this evening, and stayed for about an hour- before slipping out, pretty much unnoticed.  People were heavily into themselves, and that’s okay.  One of my better friends had some good things happen to her today.  That’s fantastic, because she needed to catch a break or two, and I know she can do fabulous things.  I did some cleaning and straightened up a few things, before tomorrow night’s event.  I also talked with my son, on the phone, this afternoon.  He’s holding his own, and I am immensely proud of him for learning and growing as a man.

Money- I was gently chided by someone, who said “The more you give, the more you get.”  Well, that’s true, to an extent.  If I gave as much as the collective charities want, I’d have nothing left.  Just to satisfy my critics, let me say that 15-20% of what I bring in each month, goes to charities of my choice- my Faith, a child protection entity and a children’s hospital, plus the little boy I sponsor, in another country.  That’s all anyone needs to know.


That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 167

Well, this week is half over.  I am hoping the snow-weary people of much of our Hemisphere (northern) will catch a break, after the storm anticipated for this weekend.