Return to Wolverton Mountain

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October 10, 2017, Prescott- 

I revised my Fall Break plans, a bit, so as to attend a gathering of Slow Food-Prescott, this evening.  it’s been a while since I’ve connected with that group, and missing two other meetings that I attend on a regular basis is an act of triage, so to speak.  So, Wednesday and Thursday will find me afield.

Getting back to the subject of the title, Prescott’s Wolverton Mountain lies about a mile south of Copper Basin Road, on the west side of town.  I passed by it, a year ago, whilst hiking the main part of Prescott Circle Trail, intending to come back and hike the spur trail, on an odd afternoon.

Sunday provided that odd afternoon.  I was just about done with the post-monsoon weed pulling, in my back yard, so it was high time to get back into the woods.  Up Copper Basin I went, and found the expanded parking area at Aspen Creek Trailhead.  The trail towards White Spar is across the road, taking the hiker to the junction with Wolverton Mountain Trail, 3/4 of a mile southward.

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Around a few corners and slight inclines, I located the spur trail leading to the south summit of Wolverton, after taking short bushwack to its trail-less north counterpart.  The north summit offers a fine view of Granite Mountain, always an inspiration.

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You can see that Wolverton has been ravaged by bark beetles, in recent years.  Still, there was a stand of Fall colours, nearby.

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The south summit proved a bit less impressive, but any mountain is worth exploring, at least once.  There is what appears to be a defunct watch station and water tank, carefully fenced-off.

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It was a pleasant return to the trail, anyway, and the presence of a few late bloomers added to the sense of allure.

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There are a few more local peaks, still on my radar- Hyde Peak and Pine Mountain being the most notable, and a return to Harquahala Peak, in La Paz County, beckons sometime this winter.

In the meantime, a two-day jaunt eastward will bring some treasures into view, followed by three weekends devoted to honouring the Creator and His Messengers.

 

 

Wakefulness

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May 5, 2017Prescott-

I  am freshly returned from a visitation for one of Prescott’s genuine champions.The concept of waking, a seemingly odd term for remembering a departed soul, prior to burial or often, in these days, cremation, is perhaps in hopes that death is not a real thing.

I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but the life of Jayme Salazar (he pronounced his name alternately in English and in Spanish), came back before those listening to the eulogies.His childhood and adolescent antics, presented by his older sister, were reassuring to all, that a full life proceeded from that awkward time.  A lifelong friend of his recounted the man’s intense work ethic, combined with a genuine love of people, which established his Taco Don’s Restaurant as one of the city’s premier lunch venues, and a true gathering place.

He came came here from California, by way of Las Vegas, as so many of us have come here from farther afield.  Jayme found that the mountains, lakes, dells and grasslands of the area, but above all, the earthiness of the people, were a capturing force.  That he gave his life here, in the shadow of Granite Mountain, was the ultimate giving back.

Some six years ago, I saw my beloved wife go homeward, to the Light, in a more prolonged way, but not dissimilar period of service to the children and general citizenry of a western suburb of Phoenix.  Any home in which we ever lived together was open to countless people.  Any school in which she ever worked was the center of our married life, with work and love likewise moving in tandem.

So, I understood, fully, standing in the anteroom of the funeral home, this evening, that priceless spirit, that brings casual customers and acquaintances of a loving soul to a sense that here moved a lifelong friend; here lived a steadfast pillar.

To each one to whom I’ve bid farewell, these many years, let me close with the voice of Enya.

Jayme, Penny, Norm, Dad, Brian, Colonel Mortimer, Uncle George, Aunt Adeline, Margaret, Mike C. and so many standing beside you, in the Legions of Light, thank you, for having lit my way and for lighting the night.

Onward

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January 1, 2017, Chula Vista- Seems people were so fed up with the year just past, that my retrospective montage was received like a lead balloon.  No matter- the clouds have cleared, from the torrential rains of the past two days (most welcome, here in southern California, and the neighbouring states of Arizona, Nevada and Baja California Norte).  My hope is that the clouds hanging over our nation, and over many parts of the world, will dissipate, as well.

I have a few, short-term, goals for this year:

January- This week, for the most part, will find me in the San Diego area, largely here in CV, with an Orange County outing, to Crystal Cove, on Thursday, before I head to Phoenix, and a dental check-up on Friday.  Training in Psychological First Aid, on Saturday, will let me bone up on those skills.  Who knows, as to just how many occasions such will be necessary?  Next Sunday,  my penultimate trek along Black Canyon Trail will bring me to the Emery Henderson Trailhead, in New River.  The last hike on that trail will follow, later in the month, (probably on the 21st. ) Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Aram is likely to visit, so the three days will be open-ended, to his preferences.  Other weekends will be divided between Baha’i studies and the trail.

February-  Son heads out to South Korea, the second week of this month, so I will spend 2-3 days in southern California once again, to see him off.  It’ll mean 1-2 ,years of Skype and a once-a-year visit.  I’ve been in those shoes, several times.  President’s Day weekend will likely find me in the McDowell Mountains, northeast of Phoenix.  A service project will also be done, during the Baha’i days of giving and service to others, known as Ayyam-i-Ha (Feb. 25-28).

March- This being a month that features a Nineteen-Day Fast, with Spring Break coming towards the end of said Fast, my plans are open-ended.  The inclination is to head over to  southern New Mexico and western Texas, to pay a couple visits to friends in the area, and take some relatively moderate hikes, the likes of which have worked out nicely, over the past few Fasts.  The Baha’i New Year (March 20, this year) will be followed up by a journey to Native American Baha’i Institute, to re-charge spiritually.

April- This is the month of the twelve-day Baha’i festival known as Ridvan,  commemorating the days when Baha’u’llah declared His mission, in 1863.  My energies will be thus directed. A few jaunts along trails in the Sedona and Payson areas will also be on the agenda.

May- Decision time, as to keep my current position, or move to a different school, will be at hand.  A long-postponed revisit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and neighbouring Superior, is the only existing item on the hiking agenda, for this month.

June-The first month of summer will keep me in the Southwest.  A week in SoCal will focus on Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.  Visits to Navajo and Hopi are also on the agenda.

July- My now customary week in Carson City and Reno will move to the first seven days of this month.  Then it will be northwest, to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. From there, finances and circumstances will dictate my direction- either a week’s visit to Korea, or down the road, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

August-Back to whatever work assignment awaits, and whichever forays into nature are allowed by the Monsoon rains.

September-The Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth will be celebrated next month, so this foot soldier will be ready to do whatever the Commemoration Committee needs done.  Otherwise, Labor Day will take me up Granite Mountain, and the end of the month will mean a weekend in Flagstaff’s Inner Basin.

October- The aforementioned Commemoration will take place on  October 22.  Hope Fest will also happen this month, so there will be much work, in service.  Fall Break is a cypher, at this point:  Tucson and vicinity will get first dibs.

November- Thanksgiving, this year, will be observed at Desert Rose Baha’i School, between Phoenix and Tucson.

December-  Christmas week will find me in Massachusetts, with family whom I feel have been somewhat neglected, over these past several years.  Several fences need mending.  That will include a train trip to Philadelphia, right before New Year’s, and on down to Tampa Bay, for the first week of 2018.

Books?  “The Brothers Karamazov” slog continues.  “The Standing Stones Speak”, by Natasha Hoffman, “The Century Trilogy”, of Ken Follett, “The Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho and a pair of books on rebuilding communities take top priority.  Speaking of which, my long put-off book of poetry and short prose will be put together, starting with choosing the better of the poems I wrote, over the past year, and adding verse as it comes to mind.  No specific promises, as to date of publication, but it will be sometime this year.

So, off we go- Trump’s wild ride,  widespread exercises in patience with one another, and continued healing (on both a personal and a collective level) will define this next chapter in the life of this beautiful humanity.

 

Portraits from A Year Gone By

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December 31, 2016, Chula Vista- I am taking the readership on a brief journey back, with one photo from each month, that sums up the month, for me.  So, let’s begin.

January-

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Pharaoh’s Face, with a barrel cactus keeping watch, south of the Agua Fria River, Black Canyon City

 

February-

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Sunset, over Goldwater Lake

March-

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Small pond, Banning Creek, northwest of Goldwater Lake

April-

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Quartz Mountain, north of Copper Basin

May-

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Granite Mountain, Prescott

June-

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Cathedral Gorge, Pioche, NV

July-

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Lake Redwine, Newnan, GA

August-

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Kayla Mueller, who was killed in Syria.  This is not my photo, but symbolizes the month of August, as I took no photos of my own, and the sacrifices of some Americans, in the fight against terrorism became front and center.

September-

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View of Santa Maria Mountains, from Juniper Mesa

October-

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Monarch butterflies, in Agua Fria watershed

November-

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Agua Fria Fort, off Little Pan Trail, Table Mesa region

December-

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White Christmas 2016, Prescott

So went the Year That The Common Man roared and I continued to explore.

 

 

Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, Part 1: In Granite Basin

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May 19, 2016, Prescott- This is a different sort of Throwback Thursday.  Last Sunday’s hike took place, in between two social gatherings.  It’s important, somehow, that I complete Prescott Circle Trail, before summer starts.  So, May 15’s sumptuous afternoon found me hiking from Iron Springs Road to just above Granite Basin Road, a distance of 3 miles each way.

I began by crossing the first fairly busy roadway, Iron Springs Road, then down a mildly steep path, across Willow Creek’s relatively benign gorge, and along an easy trail to the overlook for Granite Basin, one of the most majestic places in Yavapai County.

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South trailhead, Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, near Iron Springs Road

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Granite Mountain, peaking over the south ridge of Granite Basin

Granite Mountain lords it over this area, as it does, by extension, over the cities of Prescott, to the south, and Chino Valley, to the north.

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Thumb Butte, to the south, isn’t about to be ignored.

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As always in the Southwest, boulders are a huge presence in Granite Basin.

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This resembles an ancient philosopher king, from some city-state in the Mediterranean region.

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Granite Mountain comes into clearer focus, at the edge of the Basin.

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The Basin itself has been the source of hours of pleasurable exploration for me, in the past few years.

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The sweep of Granite Basin, leading to the great mountain.

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The summit of Granite Mountain, through the afternoon haze.

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An old friend, “Mini Sphinx”, about a mile along Willow Trail, my diversion for the early evening, before hiking back to Iron Springs.

Lastly, here are a couple of  flower-gems, so that the little beings are not overlooked.

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Fireweed flowers punctuate the sandy brushland.

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Desert Dandelion are found, closer to the Basin rim.

This area has been an old comfort to me, both when I first came here, in April, 2011, and at various points along the Grief Road.  That it is the near ending of a 55-mile circle around my adopted home base seems most appropriate.  In a few days, I will complete Segment One, from Willow Trail to Williamson Valley Road.  Summer looks to be soothing, followed by a return to a secure work environment.

Prescott Circle, Segment 3: Copper Basin to Thumb Butte Road

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April 9, 2016, Prescott- My companions today were about a dozen bicyclists, a few lone hikers, three herds of deer and birds-lots of them.  A wild turkey, or two, could be heard gobbling in the woods above Manzanita Creek- about a mile from Copper Basin Road.

With my Saturday afternoon appointment canceled, due to illness, and with a break in the storms, the trail called-loudly.  Who am I to turn down Mother Nature?

Choosing to use paved Thumb Butte Road, and one of its turnouts, as a safe place for my car, I opted to start the hike at the end point, and do the entire 10-mile round trip in an afternoon.  The jaunt took 4 1/2 hours.

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Miller Creek, near Thumb Butte Road

There are several creeks, coming off the Sierra Prieta, in this section of trail. Miller Creek is the northernmost, followed, north to south, by Butte, Aspen and Manzanita- which has the nicest little canyon in the area.

As I made my way up Porter Mountain’s northeast peak, also called Williams Peak, it was telling, just how severe the Indian Fire of 2002 was to this area, itself so close to the Granite Basin, which was later to be ravaged by 2013’s Dolce Fire.  These collective memories, compounded by the dire tragedy of Yarnell Hill (which followed Dolce by two weeks), make us here in Prescott that much more grateful for this morning’s rain- and that which is expected to follow, this coming week.

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Cloud, reaching up from base cirrus.

As if offering confirmation of my thoughts, a cirrus finger reached up from its base cloud, towards other clouds above.

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Granite Mountain, from Williams Peak

Williams Peak offers a fine vantage point for the majesty of Granite Mountain.

A pair of Arizona Woodpeckers hung around, while I was admiring the scenery, so I obliged them with a portrait.

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“Stormtrooper” Rock, Butte Creek Valley

As I headed into the Butte Creek watershed, I was watched by a Storm Trooper.

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Butte Creek Road, atop Williams Peak, Porter Mountain

The trail follows Butte Creek Road, along the flat ridge of Williams Peak, until one reaches the area known as “Hilltop”, where three trails converge.

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Thumb Butte, from Williams Peak

A clearing on Butte Creek Road afforded the best view of Thumb Butte, from the west.  It is two miles northeastward, from here.

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Butte Creek

Crossing Butte Creek, one heads into slightly more heavily forested, and somewhat more rugged, terrain.

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South Ridge, Williams Peak

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Manzanita Creek Canyon, near Dugan Camp, Copper Basin

Manzanita Creek Canyon is on my list of “picnic hike” spots, during the second half of June.  Dugan Camp, about a half mile southwest, is still an active resting place for trailer campers.

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Apparent ruin of miner’s cabin, south of Manzanita Creek

This area has been popular with campers and miners alike, especially during the heyday of Copper Basin, in the early 20th Century.

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Heart-shaped granite, near Copper Basin Road

There was another confirmation, waiting for me, close to the turnaround point, near Copper Basin Road.

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Stump, from 2002 Indian Fire

This stump stands as a silent sentinel, to warn humans of the lasting effects of careless camping and shooting.

Finally, in the spirit of Asian artists who leave a flaw in each of their works, here is a scene of one of the three herds of deer, who crossed my path on the hike back to Thumb Butte Road.

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Deer, the best wild animals for selfie poses.