The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 6: The Cabin, The Pyramid and The Homage Walk

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June 6, 2020, North Rim of Grand Canyon-

Of all things that get done in life, none exceed in value the homage paid to those who have gone before. As giving, to those in need, results in getting more of what oneself could use, so does paying respects, to those who have transitioned, bring more honour to the one paying the respects.

I was able to stay in a fine little cabin, a duplex, which I shared with a family of three, who kept to themselves. Jacob Lake Lodge has been built into a resort, of modest size, staying free from any ostentatiousness. It has a small, but quality, restaurant, where pandemic-based spacing is in effect, and of course, masks helped give a sense of health security, for both patrons and staff-when we weren’t eating or drinking, of course.

Cabin 10, where I stayed at Jacob Lake Inn.

After hiking a “warm-up” trail, in search of the actual Jacob Lake, I found only an RV Park, and so returned to the resort, in time for check-out. Then, it was off to the Canyon!

There is a plan being considered, that will result in a sizable amount of trees being cut, in Kaibab National Forest, along the road to North Rim. There is a huge amount of slash and burned-out trunks, left from previous fires and intense storms. To me, it would make the most sense to clear that mess, and probably would put a fair number of people to meaningful work, this month and next. As the trees under consideration are “old growth” forest, it is especially heart-rending to consider the unnecessary damage to the ecosystems.

After arriving at North Kaibab Trailhead, where the Elantra would rest, while I hiked, it took a short bit of checking the route, to make sure I din’t end up going down the North Kaibab Trail, itself. Ken Patrick Trail, a bit to the north of the steep big kahuna, would take me to Uncle Jim Trail. With the help of a thru-hiker doing the Arizona Trail, I was on my way, in short order. You can see from the sign, below, that Ken Patrick was dedicated to service with the National Parks.

About 500 feet along the trail, a large ponderosa pine had fallen across the path, so I went up and around the mess. Three other trees would lie across the trail, at different points.

The first set of overlooks lies about 1/4 mile along the Ken Patrick Trail. This view mirrored what I saw last October, from the Bright Angel Point trail.

The limestone columns remind me of horse heads.
Here is a cross section of the Inner Basin.

Nature leaves her little jokes, even at the expense of damaged trees.

A guidepost, perhaps?

Sooner than I expected, it was time to take a hard right.

The trail junction.

The first segment of Uncle Jim Trail is four tenths of a mile. It is also the area with the most up and down inclines, and the only place where there are switchbacks, albeit mild ones. Two downed trees greeted us hikers, along this stretch, as well.

At 7/10 of a mile, along the western leg of Uncle Jim Trail’s 2.1-mile loop, I came to a series of fabulous canyon views.

This drop-off looks milder than it is.
Who’s watching whom?

Finding a heart-shaped rock, I placed it carefully against a small set of wood shavings.

A little altar

This natural eroded bowl could serve as an amphitheater.

Looking at this “amphitheater”, I also saw a back country hiker looking over its edge.

I came upon an unofficial overlook, east of the main viewpoint, and appreciated the two “guardians”, looking back towards the rim.

Sandstone heads have this mesa to themselves.

Looking out from this vantage, at Uncle Jim Point, I have a tripod to help me focus.

Here’s a view towards the Inner Basin.

Heading out from this vantage point, I spotted a burnt ponderosa, which could serve as a memory pole, of sorts.

A woodpecker’s home and a place to mark memories.

I spent a few minutes sitting on the landing of a restroom building, writing in my journal. As I did, a fierce gust of wind came up and blew my sunglasses off the landing. I looke for the shades, for about ten minutes, but to no avail. If that is my offering to the forces of nature, so be it. I have a feeling that the wind took them all the way to the rim, and over.

Hearing happy voices, I followed the tral to the main viewpoint. There were four women, a couple and me, taking one another’s photographs. Thus, a pyramid could be envisioned: Four at the base, two in the middle and one on top.

Here I am, courtesy of the “better half” of the couple.

With Uncle Jim Point in the background, I fulfilled a promise to myself and to his family.

Uncle Jim Point juts out into the Inner Canyon.

With that, the two parties and I leapfrogged one another, on the way back, as each took rest breaks. We all missed the junction sign, going back on the Ken Patrick Trail by osmosis. I last saw the four women taking an extended photo shoot at the first overlook. The couple, it turns out, are from Santa Monica, and were enjoying their first venture out of town, since January.

So, my heart’s desire was fulfilled and I headed out of the Canyon, with a brief stop at North Country Market, for a well-earned salted caramel latte and a long, but smooth, drive to Flagstaff.

Sixty for Sixty-Six, Part III: Kudos

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January 15, 2017, Prescott- 

Last night, 22 of us paid homage to a man who worked, diligently, outside his area of expertise, for thirty-five years, bringing knowledge of human nature and psychological well-being, into the fast food industry.

Farouk “Frank” Assadi came to this country, from Iran, as part of a diaspora spawned by religious oppression.  He lived and worked in Iowa and California, before settling in Prescott, around 2000.  His Blimpie Sandwich and Salad Shop, part of a larger chain, was a central focus of meals for many, of all walks of life, for the sixteen years it was in existence.  Before that, he had run Orange Julius franchises and a Blimpie, in another community.  On December 31, Frank took down his food service shingle and will cast his net in another direction, after a period of semi-retired rest.

He’s 70, and thus serves as an inspiration for my own planned change of focus, in 2020.  We, who work for wages, eventually earn the right to follow our hearts into avocation.  For Frank, that will likely mean work in public health.  For me, that will likely mean itinerant acts of service, combined with photography and writing, much as I’m doing during off-work hours now.

My son is visiting the Prescott area, this weekend, combining time with me and a modicum of winter camping, this evening, in a nearby US Forest Service campsite, at White Spar, which I visited last year, in the course of hiking the Prescott Circle Trail, in a series of segments.

He has grown up to build a strong character, somewhat different social and political views from my own, but with the sense of loyalty and work ethic, which I instilled in him, early on.  I know he will continue to be a credit to the United States Navy, and to any other organization he may serve. In a few short weeks, Aram will head for the land of his birth, South Korea, and a new set of challenges and growth opportunities.  I will watch this, proudly, from the sidelines.

In a few days, our nation enters a new phase: Governance by a man whose life has been spent in the private sector.  I trust, though, that the American people will remain vigilant, and will call events as they see them.  I don’t think all that many people, especially in my circle of family and friends, have given the departing president much credit, partly due to his own detached demeanour and  partly due to his having come into office, with an unfamiliar face and name.  I do think, however,that he did a lot more for the country than we can even see at present.  Yet, it is also true that several bars need to be raised.  I will have more to say on these, in the next post.

The Road to 65, Mile 163: Mom

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May 10, 2015, Prescott- She is the eighth of nine children, born to a German-American shoemaker/farmer and a proper English-American country wife.  She loved and married a gregarious, gentle man, of French, Irish and Penobscot descent, and together they raised five of us. My youngest brother and I, the eldest, had our mental health challenges, his being complicated by other health issues, which took his life, when he was just shy of 30.  Our third brother, following Mom’s example of dealing with adversity, has toughed his health issues out, as I have my mental health issues, in my latest years.  Our sister rose above a life-threatening injury and has raised an exemplary family.  Our second brother has worked tirelessly, all his life, and shown the way to success, on many levels, seeking no one’s approval more than that of our mother.

She has said, time and again, that the time to pay homage to a person is while they are still alive.  My late wife used to echo those words.  In honour of both, I pay as much to my mom.  Having overcome her own health issues, which came late in life, she still drives, socializes actively and gets her exercise.  While Mom shies away from any technology more complex than a flat-screen television, she keeps current in other ways.  Always a progressive, politically, she speaks favourably of marriage equality and hopes to see Hillary in the White House. That she raised three Republicans and a political gadfly (me) doesn’t faze her a bit.  She loves golf, preferring these days to watch it on TV, and no one is more loyal to the Red Sox and the Patriots.  Her flower gardens used to be the toast of the neighbourhood.  They’ve pretty much gone away, but the lawn is still kept up- with local kids taking up the slack.  Above all, Mother’s mind is still a steel trap, and her eyes are eagle-sharp, after Lasik about five years ago.

I was raised lovingly and well, as were my siblings.  Mom set the example, in her single-minded care of my youngest brother, even in her darkest hour, following Dad’s sudden death in 1986.  ONLY because of her, and for her, did Brian hang on as long as he did, another eight years.  When I had the responsibility of caring for my slowly-dying wife, from 2003 to 2011, all Mom had done on his behalf was mine to follow.  It couldn’t have been any other way.

So, with all that she has given us, to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I  love and thank her, eternally.