Nine Tasks

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January 19, 2019-

Many people make resolutions, the first thing, when the calendar rolls over.  I don’t indulge in that particular practice, knowing that making firm commitments to new practices takes time.

There are nine task areas, labours of love, that have defined my life, since the passing of  Penny, nearly eight years ago.  I will focus today on what these mean, relative to 2019.

1.  Family- With Aram and Yoonhee based in Busan, for at  least the rest of this year, my focuses are: To be in Korea for their sacred wedding ceremony, in March; to tend to such of their needs as can only be addressed on this side of the Pacific; to meet them in the U.S., should they visit here in the summer.

2.  Work- I remain committed to working, during the regular academic year, through at least December, 2020 and no later than May. 2021, depending on the needs of the school, preferably in the High School Autism Program.  Thus, work is a major daily focus through the fourth week of May and from August-December.

3. Faith- No day has gone by, since February 23, 1981, that I have not begun my morning in devotions and a fairly long recitation of prayer.  Service to Baha’u’llah remains  a prime expression of my inner joy and love for humanity.  This year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab (The Gate), Who we revere as both Baha’u’llah’s Herald and His Twin Messenger of God, as al-Bab’s spiritual Dispensation took place from 1844-1853, immediately before the beginning of Baha’u’llah’s.   Their birthdays also fall on two consecutive days, on the lunar calendar.  This year, these are October 29-30, with al-Bab’s  anniversary occurring first. (Historically, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817 and al-Bab, in 1819).  There are also regular Spiritual Feasts and other Holy Days, throughout the year and I  am participating in regular study groups and other activities.

4.  Community Life-  I take part in volunteering on community projects, with the American Red Cross and Slow Food Prescott.  The focuses are on disaster response, home safety, school gardens and,  new this year, food recovery.  These activities largely define my giving back to Prescott and Yavapai County, for having been a large part of my solace, in the Fall of 2011.  The American Legion’s Post 6 celebrates its 100th anniversary, in May, and I will have a part to play in that celebration.

5. Writing- Blogging and journaling have also been critical to my inner healing, even in the midst of my caretaking, in 2008-11.   They remain an integral part of who I am, and so Word Press, with its being extended to Facebook and Linked In, remains my primary means of self-expression, through this year and beyond.  I also maintain a pen and ink private journal.

6, Hiking-  This has been a huge lifelong pastime, pretty much since I was old enough to walk.  Since I’ve been old enough to take off on my own, without getting into trouble, many trails and paths, from my native Massachusetts to the desert Southwest, Colorado, southeast Alaska, Korea and northwestern Europe have seen my bootprints.  This year, my focuses will be on further segments of the Maricopa Trail, at least two visits to the Grand Canyon, more beach walks in southern California, Fall hikes in Utah and the Navajo Nation, and several walks with Aram and Yoonhee, whilst in Korea.

7. Travel-  This has also long been one of my passions, often dovetailing with hiking.  The Korea trip will take me to Gwangju and Jeju, as well as Busan.  Prior to that, will be a Presidents’ Day weekend visit to southern California, hopefully connecting with friends in Orange County and the San Diego area-with La Jolla, Dana Point, San Clemente and possibly Crystal Cove being on the itinerary.

June and July largely hinge on my little family’s schedule.  Carson City, in late May, is a given, with a new extended family member having been born, this past week.  A 1-2 week visit to the Northwest, Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast and southeast Alaska is likely-as is the now customary jaunt through the Midwest to New England and back through the mid-South.

October (Fall Break) will find me in Monument Valley and southeast Utah- returning to Capitol Reef and Natural Bridges, as well as the Goosenecks of the San Juan River.  Christmas, God-willing, will see a return to Massachusetts.

8. Diet and Exercise- Planet Fitness and our daily Adaptive Physical Education regimen have largely provided my continuity as a healthy physical specimen.  Stretches at home have also proven critical, as I recovered from a posterior knee strain, over the past ten weeks.  Things are 99% back to normal and I want to keep it that way- up to, and maintaining, 100%.  I am cutting back on coffee consumption, not out of any pressure, but because my body tells me that’s what it wants.  Less red meat is also finding its way onto my plate-and what there is, is certified grass-fed and organic.  A greater percentage of my diet being of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is on tap for this year, as well.  Yes, I will drink more water-that’s not an empty statement. Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, including Lifelong Vitality Supplements, are a continual source of sustenance.

9. Study-  My mind is always looking to keep current with advances in health, trends in positive thought and expanding my awareness of subjects in which I have scant knowledge- as well as continual study of Baha’i texts and new correspondence. This will continue, as 2019 progresses.

This is a longer post than usual, but there you have my year’s plan.

 

 

 

Reaching Towards Cave Creek

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January 4, 2019, Cave Creek-

I decided that my long exercise of my still-recovering left knee would best be achieved on the Maricopa Trail.  Thus came today’s 5.8 mile round trip from Andy Kunasek Trailhead, on the east side of New River to the edge of the Overton-Go John Loop, itself at the western end of Cave Creek.

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My walkabout took me through the above square, and over a few of the mountains in the background.  It was a moderate hike, through saguaro forests and past a few outlying housing units, as a Sonoran Desert jaunt always does.

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It’s said that saguaros will be endangered, should the current level of planet -wide heat and dryness continue to increase.  For now, though, the saguaros are glad to say hello.

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Every active wash in the Sonoran region seems to have at least one cave, of sorts. I spotted this shallow granite indentation, whilst waiting for two lovely ladies and their horses to pass.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These two lovely ladies are content to grace the side of the trail.

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I found myself in the same state of happy tiredness, at the end of this exhilarating hike, as I have been on other such jaunts- so I feel the winter desert hiking season will not be a wash, after all.  My knee, though still a bit stiff, is on the mend.

I will return to this area, in a week or two and relish the Overton-Go John Loop.

Interruptions

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDecember 29. 2018, Prescott-

I see my number of followers has declined, just a bit.

Ebb and flow don’t bother me.

I can’t please everyone, anyhow.

I had an urge to head up north,

to Dineh and Hopi country,

for a few days.

That will wait,

until snow and bitter cold

abate.

I found the trailhead

for the Great Western,

off to the side of

the marvelous Cherry Road.

The road itself leads to,

and through,

a small residential village,

with but a Bed & Breakfast,

to interrupt the flow

of privacy and quietude.

I will return to Great Western,

a few weeks hence,

once the cold abates a bit.

In the meantime,

milder climes will offer

their trails,

and we will see what

the Maricopa Trail

or Saguaro National Monument,

entails.

 

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part VII: Sudden and Sodden

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February 20, 2017, Anthem- The sight that greeted me, as I headed towards the spot where I heard a small child screaming, was not an alien arachnid, but the upended root system of a dead mesquite.20170220_1258341

The child, likewise, was fine.  He was just being willful and demanding- and mom had everything under control.  This mini-outburst was off to the side of the Anthem segment of the Maricopa Trail.

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I was driving back from a lengthy, and rather testy, medical appointment this morning .  (I am fine, and the less said, the better), when I happened upon the Anthem Trailhead.  This was another confirmation of the dictum that one creates one’s own reality.  I had been curious, as to the condition of the Sonoran Desert, after this weekend’s copious rain.  I was also curious, as to the terrain on the Maricopa Trail, between I-17 and Anthem.  The gooey, but flat, hike I took, early this afternoon, answered both questions.

As you can see above, there are a fair number of boulders strewn along this alluvial landscape, and it is entirely within settled horse country.

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There are episodic pools, along the way, one of which gave me a smile.  The main water body here, Skunk Creek, was bone dry.  There were no little white and black critters, either, but the tracks and scent of javelina were much in evidence.

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I came to this underpass, at the off-ramp from I-17, and spotted the continuation of Maricopa Trail, which would have taken me to its junction with Black Canyon Trail, another 1/8 mile to the west..  So, in essence, I have hiked, in segments, from Mayer to Anthem, over the past 1 1/2 years.  My main interest in the Maricopa Trail lies in its mountains and canyons, but I will certainly take the sense of continuity, along with them.

Now, back to the title of this post.  I was treated to a sudden, brief visit from a friend who lives in Oklahoma, and his little chihuahua.  It seems my Okie friends love their ankle biters, but this little guy gave me a sniff-over and jumped up on my lap.  It was a fast friendship.  They left, ahead of me, this morning, having enjoyed an evening of warmth and stabilization, following their sodden ride through eastern and central Arizona.  At least now, the Sun will temper their return home.

So, the ground will need a few days to dry out, my lower left molar has a temporary crown-with its permanent replacement in three weeks, and I have a new little friend.

The Universe Says “Stay Put”

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February 18, 2017, Prescott-  This weekend being a holiday weekend (President’s Day), I had penciled in a hike or two.  Lo and behold, the rains have come!  We have to lick this drought thing somehow, though, so here I sit.

Taxes got done, though, and I have a chance to honour a couple of friends who are moving to California. There will be a gathering for them, tomorrow, at 1 PM.  A friend from Oklahoma will be here, tomorrow afternoon and evening.  Monday will take me down to Phoenix, for a wellness appointment, and I will get in a first hike on the Maricopa Trail afterward.  It will give me a good indication of just how the rain has affected the Sonora Desert, perhaps for the last time until Fall, depending on how warm March and April turn out to be.

Life always manages to bring a full course to my table, whether I’m at work, on the road, or just chilling here in our lovely sky island.  Some say that this is exactly what will keep me going, for years to come.  We’ll see about that, but I know it won’t ever be dull.

 

Black Canyon National Recreation Trail: Some Other Beginning’s End

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January 28, 2017, Phoenix-  I completed my section-by-section exploration of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, this evening.  Biscuit Flat segment’s north trailhead lies across New River Road from Emery Henderson Day Use Area, so I parked there.

As the name indicates, the terrain here is FLAT!

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Thanks to recent rains, though, there was greenery aplenty and, as you will see, a river to be crossed.

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A ranch once occupied Biscuit Flat, just above the New River. Its remnants are still on view, in the forms of a wooden trough and some piles of stones, apparently set aside as building material.

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Sizable “rivers of stone”, on the north bank of the New River, indicate that the often-dry  river has had its moments of torrent.  I spent several minutes, contemplating these rather extensive, and deep, piles of debris.  I’ve read that rocks and minerals impart energy.  I certainly felt that, here.

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New River itself was the second sweet surprise.  It, too, was running and gave me a chance to get my feet wet.

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The river bed is 1/4 mile wide, so there were two or three areas that needed fording.

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About 1/2 mile south of the river, there is a Federal prison to the left of the trail.

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A tributary of the New River left a small puddle, just past the prison view.

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As I reached Bob Bently Trailhead, a rather nondescript gate with weathered signage, my 88 miles of Black Canyon trail were reduced to the return hike to Emery Henderson.  The sounds of nearby Ben Avery State Shooting Range (where my son was trained to properly handle firearms) were heard, over a formidable earthen berm.

Lest anyone get the idea that Bob Bently was the end of the line, though, the invitation to another extensive trail system appeared, to my right. Several segments of Maricopa Trail, (http://mctpf.org/the-trail/), a 315-mile loop, circling Maricopa County, will be in view, on these pages, over the next four years.  There seems no end to surprises coming my way.