Going With The Ice and Snow Flow


January 3, 2019, Prescott-

A friend and I had planned on taking some local children to an ice skating rink today.  The kids got sick last night, so the two of us went on a hike in our local wonderland, Granite Dells, instead.   We chose Constellation Trail, on the west side of the Dells, and so named for a plane which crashed in the area, in 1959.

I have been on the Constellation Trail several times, but never in snow and ice.  As the snow was not deep, it was fairly easy to navigate-save for one small detail.  The snow and ice cover obscured the trail, in places, thus making it easy for us to be diverted to one side ravine after another.  I’ve done this before, elsewhere, when the trail has become smudged or eroded.

It was not a hard hike, otherwise, and though we did not get to the top of the ridge, 2.8 miles were walked, in a most serene setting.


Afterwards, we went back to friend’s house, had lunch and I met her husband.  It pays to go with the flow, even that of ice and snow.  No, neither of us fell, thanks to the fiberglass poles and our own surefootedness.



December 9, 2016, Prescott- Acker Night, a fundraising event for the arts, in downtown Prescott, took place this evening.  I went to my usual venues- Lifeways Bookstore, to hear a violin soloist, Whiskey Row Courtyard, to see a belly-dancing troupe (Mariachi background, rather than last year’s jazz accompaniment), Old Sage Books, to hear a delightful string ensemble, of five young women.

Before my little stroll, at a counter-side dinner, in Marino’s Mob Burger, I was joined by a woman who is a self-taught home remodeler and designer.  She is re-working a home in Granite Dells, which she considers her dream home, after a few years of trial and disappointment, largely due to key people in her life not  giving her due credit.  This seems to happen a lot to people, especially women, whom I have met over the past five years.

It happened to Penny, too, before we met- and she proved her doubters wrong, time and again.  My friends in this time of widowhood also keep their detractors off balance, through sheer constancy and determination.  Overcoming others’ low expectations is not so hard.  It is overcoming oneself that is the main barrier.

For my part, I am determined to see this academic year to a successful finish, in May, and see that each of our students is in the right environment for success. Not every child who is currently with us is in the optimum environment for meeting his needs, but this, too, becomes an opportunity to raise the bar of expectations, both with regard to the child and to the system.

I’ve sometimes underestimated myself, and had those low evaluations eagerly confirmed by those around, and above, me.  Those days are gone.  I hope they are gone for my friends, old and new, as well.

The Road to 65, Mile 343: Brief Return


November 6, 2015, Prescott- Aram spent two days here, and we got all of his possessions packed and loaded for his return to San Diego.  He is standing on his own, in a full-fledged way. I could not be prouder of the powerful, clear-headed, forthright man he has become.  There are times when I wish I could stand as tall, figuratively, but I know it has come hard for him.

We ended his time here with an hour or so hiking in the Granite Dells, north of Watson Lake.  This is an exquisite side trail to Prescott Circle, and one of which I could never tire.

Here are a few scenes.

Granite Dells, north of Watson Lake

The above is the first sight of the Dells, along the Flume Trail, a vigourous hike, which takes the high road to Watson Dam.



                   The sad part is, there is no flow to Granite Creek here, and it’s algae ridden.


                                      I was able to make the trail, without a walking stick.



We spotted a leak in the feeder pipe, attached to the dam.  At least the structure itself is not leaking.


The next order of business was to head for the overlook.  The Dells and Watson are a divine match.




                                       I took a rest, among the boulders away from the trail, a bit.


                          A lone butte, across the road from the trailhead, keeps watch on the Dells.

Our adventure ended around 3:30, then Aram headed back towards his place of maturity.  I tucked into a fine meal at the Legion, and enjoyed a drum circle with friends, later this evening.  It’s been a fantastic day.

The Road to 65, Mile 330: Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 8


October 24, 2015, Prescott- I spent a few hours walking the shortest segment of PC, from Willow Lake to Peavine Trail Head, alongside the north and west shores of Watson Lake.  This older and smaller of the twin reservoirs is bounded by  Granite Dells, to the north, Glassford Hill, to the east, and Granite Creek, to the south and west.

The first part of the segment follows Willow Lake Road, away from Willow Dells, to Highway 89, which I crossed, just north of a roundabout, when the near constant flow of traffic was abated, courtesy of traffic signals, some distance away, in either direction.  Highway 89 is a four-laner, and has crosswalks, so no overpass is needed.

I then came to Watson Lake Park, one of my favourites here.  The Dells make it an especially otherworldly place.



The trail took me away from the Dells, for a bit, along the west shore, where waterfowl were abundant.  Two Greater Sandhill Cranes were among the crowd.




As you can see above, at first, the female was being rather coy.The riparian trail then went off into the marshy terrain near Granite Creek, which is rather paltry at present.



Upon coming to the rather mundane Peavine Trail Head, I resolved to return there and resume my hike, with segment 7.  Ambling back to Watson Lake, I spotted a lone kayaker.

The surreality of the Dells never gets old, so here we are again.


Next up:  The Peavine Trail Head to Highway 69. (First half of Segment 7).

The Road to 65, Mile 298: Equinox and Equity


September 21, 2015, Granite Dells-  I spent the evening of the Autumnal Equinox, observing the International Day of Peace, with a host of kindred spirits, enjoying the music of a local artist, Celia, and of our host, Johnny Light.

Heaven on Earth, where I find myself fairly frequently these days, is the home of John and his beloved, Happy Oasis, whose poetry is another draw to the blessed Dells- one of three “Rainforest”-type environments I have found in Arizona.  Johnny built the place himself, from the ground up, after their earlier home was leveled by a forest fire, little more than a year ago.

Celia was moved to thus dedicate a song to the victims of northern California’s ongoing wildfires, arguably the worst natural disaster we have had in this country, since Hurricane Katrina.  Over 23,000 people have now been displaced, with many living in tent cities.  Her song was simple:  “Rain”, chanted over and over, for about five minutes, with a Chilean rain stick furnishing the percussion.

John and Celia are each in superbly equitable relationships.  Many others in the assemblage, this evening, are in that situation, as well.  I enjoyed equity, in my marriage, and know that it is hard work.  It is also the most satisfying effort there is.  Yet, perhaps, Celia’s song, “Everyday Goddess”, puts the whole matter of gender and roles into perspective:  “It’s no big deal”.  If we just be, and not cast ourselves into untenable roles, then it seems that true equity will come about, as a matter of course.

I arrive at an exquisite realization, every time I set foot in Heaven on Earth.

The Road to 65, Mile 253: Auspicious Days


August 8, 2015, Granite Dells- I spent the greater part of this afternoon at Heaven on Earth B & B, in this lushest area of greater Prescott.  Friends Happy and John had their first event since the Illumine Film Festival, in May (which I missed, having been in Reno at the time.)  It was the first of three Launch Parties, by Green Living Magazine, a monthly eco-friendly living publication, out of Phoenix.  I went over, after two different friends mentioned it to me, independently; the second having followed me through Prescott Public Library, specifically to let me know of the event.

So, always glad to head out to the Dells, I drove over, after first checking out the Mountain Arts and Crafts Fair and a performance by a quintet of young ladies, playing violins and fiddles. The afternoon was then spent with presentations by various advocates of healthy living, from GMO-Free Prescott and Slow Food, to which I belong, to an essential oils distributor.  John sang, gently and sincerely, of “The Golden Age” and the powerful local artist, Celia, lent her rousing voice to the mood of the day- with three amazing songs.

One of the points which Happy made, during her emcee moments, was that today is  a triple treat:  8 8 8. This is how it has worked, since 2010:  March 3, of that year, was 3 3 3,  because if one adds 2+1, one gets 3, so 2+0++1+0 = 3.  April 4, 2011, thus sums up as 4 4 4, and so on, through December 12, 2019, which will be 12 12 12.

I have felt the “double dates” to be auspicious enough, from January 1 to December 12.  New Year’s Day is special for many people, just because of the sense of a new beginning.  We will dispense with 2/2, as some sort of prognosticatory event and note that some thawing starts, in some places, around that time. 10/10 is a National Day for Taiwan, commemorating the day when the revolt of the Chinese people against the corrupt Regent of the Realm, and his underlings, first got traction, resulting in the abdication, four months later, of the pre-teenaged Emperor, Pu Yi, in favour of Gen. Yuan Shi Kai. Yuan’s Nationalist Party eventually established what is now the Republic of China, on Taiwan. (Yes, Dr. Sun Yat-sen was the first elected President of China, but politics is complicated, and the Army stood in Dr. Sun’s way.)

The double dates most special to me are 6/6, the day that Penny and I were married (eighteen months, to the day, after we first met), and 7/7, the day that Aram was born.  I’ve often speculated as to whether some other double date will be special in my life, but now I think that might be rather gluttonous on my part. I will always treasure the two days, in mid-year, which have defined my adulthood.

Now I look to the task of viewing every day as auspicious.

The Road to 65, Mile 155: Oasis Within An Oasis


May 2, 2015, Granite Dells-  I spent the day immersing myself in better health practices.  Around 10:30, I set out to this dazzling blend of rock, water and greenery, to pay a call on a natural healer and anthropologist, who calls herself Happy Oasis.  She lives with her husband, John, in a delightful two or three acres of land, known as Heaven on Earth.  Happy has been all over the planet, in the course of her twenty-five year career, yet she has chosen, and fought hard for, this sublime paradise.

Thanks to her efforts, there are trails aplenty where there could have been condos too many.  So, Happy and her associate, Jack, took thirty of us on a walk of discovery- to meet the wild plants which can be foraged for sustenance, in the ecosystem of the Dells. It rained a bit, as if to bless our jaunt.

Here are some scenes of this unique experience.

The home of our hosts is a work in progress, after a fire took out its predecessor.  They are nothing, if not multi-talented.



Here is a slippery elm, with its full supply of salad greens.SAM_4879

I don’t remember what the next several plants are, but they are safe and taste very nice.



Here is a mustard plant.SAM_4885


THIS, however, is loco weed.  It is highly hallucinogenic, if ingested.


Happy, in front, showed us about a dozen plants that can sustain a person, in the wilds of Granite Dells.SAM_4896

This flowering plant is often called prairie rose.  It tastes fine, flowers and all.SAM_4897

Here are some of my classmates, as we enjoyed the fruits of nature’s labours.


It was one of the loveliest of days, so far this year.  In late afternoon and evening, I visited with a friend and  essential oils colleague, encouraging her in teaching a class on our oils. The day left me with the knowledge that there is more good in our future than not.

The Dells in My Backyard


I am going to translate a photo blog from Xanga, of a natural area near my home.  It is a western segment of Granite Dells, large boulder formations along the valleys of Willow Creek and Granite Creek, on the northern tier of Prescott, AZ.  The Dells extend south, almost to downtown Prescott, west to near Granite Mountain, which predates the Dells by about a million years, north to near the city’s boundary with Chino Valley and east to near Glassford Hill.

I’ve been to most parts of this amazing range of granite boulders.  The area shown below is largely in private hands, and is not on the usual hiker’s route, although cyclists are fond of the Pleasant Valley Drive route, on the south rim of Willow Creek Canyon.

As the weather is much improved here this week, I thought to venture outside and go somewhere which didn’t require use of the car. Between my house and downtown, there lies a segment of Granite Dells which I had not yet explored.  So, off we went, the pink Kodak digital and I.

Here’s the view, once past my back gate.

This great pasture extends from our lot to Willow Creek.

The clientele aren’t impressed by the pasture.

Here is the dry bed of Willow Creek.

Nevertheless, a bridge goes over it, just in case.

To the north, lies Pioneer Park.

Here are several shots of the Dells, in the area of Willow Creek Canyon.




At the end of the public road, there was the Yellow Brick Road, with no Munchkins,

but a playful puppy.


The puppy really didn’t want to be photographed.

Going back, I focused my attention a bit more on the short, but scenic Willow Creek Canyon.



Lastly, a lone sapling asked:  “Who did this to me?”

There is much to astonish, out one’s back gate!