Clear As Mud

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March 4, 2017, Camp Verde- One of the features of Arizona life, that escapes many visitors, is the seasonal vitality of our rivers.  After taking part in a Red Cross service activity, I headed to Clear Creek Day Use Area, which offers access to the West Clear Creek, as it heads southeast, towards its eventual confluence with the Verde River.  As you will see, the creek’s name, this time of year, is a misnomer.

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There was a party of above 18 people, including two small children, preparing to raft West Clear, as I arrived for a short hike along its west bank.  All were well-suited up for the experience, and I wished them safe passage.  Below, are several things that awaited them.

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Of course, there was plenty of open water, behind this particular tree; but you get the picture.

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One of the attractions here, in calmer weather, is the jump-off point.

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Some people just figure, in the dryness of September and October, that it’s no big deal to leave a memento of industrialism.  More’s the pity.

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Once back on drier terrain, I made note of the footbridge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, way back in 1940.

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There was still some energy left in me, so, despite it being the period of the Baha’i Fast, I took in a short segment of Copper Canyon Trail.  The last time, I walked the north segment, which leads to I-17.  This time, I headed southward and up a small mesa.  It is not an especially spectacular trail, but it’s nature and I practically had the place to myself.  An old cowboy, passing by, made note of my Red Cross t-shirt and remarked as how such charities are in debt, before going his way.  While that may have been true, at one point, I’m not so sure that our donors put up with such, anymore.

 

Anyway, here are a few scenes, which a couple of herds of cattle and I shared, along the trail.  There wasn’t much water in Copper Creek, but it was clear.

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It wasn’t long, before I headed up the two switchbacks which led to the mesa top.  There are, actually, about five such mesas, rising up out of Copper Canyon.  The scene in the near distance, is Clear Creek Village, just south of Camp Verde.

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It is possible for the discerning eye to see traffic, headed northbound, on I-17.

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Despite the winter’s continued scenes of bareness, the promise of Spring is evident, in these wild dandelions.

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So, there goes a very full day, spent with our beautiful eastern neighbour, the Verde Valley.

Stairstepping In Kodachrome Land, Part 3: A Zip Through The Cedars

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June 3, 2016, Chinle, AZ- After leaving Nevada behind, I decided that the drive through the expanse of heaven that is southern Utah would have to be somewhat less than just.  I have the Golden Circle on my radar screen for a full month of exploration- but not until next summer, at the very earliest, and maybe not until 2020.  The pines, cedars and unparalleled canyons of southern Utah are treasures to be taken one inch at a time.

One caveat I share with most other drivers is:  Don’t make a nuisance of yourself, by constantly and abruptly pulling to the side of the narrow road, to get that great photo.  So, the scenes presented herein are few in number- focusing on two places:  Navajo Lake/Duck Creek and Orderville Canyon.  These two very different environments give a snippet of the variety in a relatively small area of Kane County.

I spent a few minutes in the commercial hub of Cedar City, just refueling and resting my Nissan.  The traffic was already gearing up for a crowded weekend, hereabouts, so on up through Kolob Canyon it was.  Navajo Lake lies in the rim country, above Zion National Park.  There were about a dozen people at the overlook, so we took turns with photographs.

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Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Dike  across Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

The dike was built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, during the New Deal, to maintain constant water flow.

Navajo Lake, and nearby Duck Creek, were created by lava flow, which altered the course of the Virgin River, which created Zion Canyon.  Below, are some scenes of the lava beds, around Duck Creek Visitor Center.

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Lava bed at Duck Creek Visitor Center, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Lava bed, Duck Creek Visitor Center, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Duck Creek, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Duck Creek, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Orderville is one of the small farming towns that are a delight to visit, in the midst of southern Utah’s canyon country.  It is also a jumping off point for those headed east, towards Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Park.  Orderville has a gorgeous canyon of its own, though, and can easily enchant the visitor for 2-3 days.

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Orderville Canyon, Utah

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Orderville Canyon, Utah

With the day growing short, I headed on east and south, through Page, AZ, on the southern shore of Lake Powell, across the Navajo Nation, to Kayenta and Chinle.  At Tsegi, just west of Kayenta, I cam across a couple whose vehicle and trailer had overturned.  The Indian Health Service worker who had stopped to help was having a hard time getting through to emergency services.  I was able to call and get help en route.  Good thing that neither person,nor their two dogs, were injured.  Past Kayenta, a brush fire had broken out, south of Chilchinbeto, where I once worked. Once again, 911 was dialed from my phone, and a fire truck was dispatched.

That was the end of the day’s excitement.  I enjoyed a relaxing meal at Junction Restaurant, in Chinle, before heading down to Native American Baha’i Institute, another 1 1/2 hours further southeast.  It is time to change gears, and focus on spirituality for a day or so.