The Road to 65, Mile 343: Brief Return

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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                          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 325: So Much the Better

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October 18, 2015, Prescott- I got in my start of the week workout, today, as tomorrow will be an exhausting day of catch-up at work.  I am almost where I need to be, on my job, to have established an identity for myself and to not feel the need to spend hours at the school, on weekends.  I also got an alarm clock, with a pied screen- each number is in a different colour.  The alarm is also a gentle buzz, which I prefer.  These are features that will make my winter wake-ups so much more pleasant.

I still watch my favourite TV shows, a day later, on the computer.  I have a huge, big box TV, which is fading.  It will need to go to big box TV heaven, when my son gets here and can help me lift it off the stand.  I won’t get a flat screen, right away.  Other things are a priority.

No hiking was done, this weekend.  Between the constant rain ( a blessing) and a long afternoon at work on Saturday, my agenda seemed ill-disposed towards leisure.  No matter, I will get in a goodly amount of time on the Prescott Circle and Black Canyon Recreation Trails, as well as in Sedona, between now and the Christmas holiday trip back East.  San Diego, over Thanksgiving, will also find me out in the fresh air, quite a bit.

So, the last month or so, before pushing the 65 Button, will be not lacking in a spirited life.

The Road to 65, Miles 267-8: Tears

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August 22-23, 2015, Prescott- I have read a few posts online, and pondered some situations in real time, this rather busy weekend, and have shed very real tears.  Mostly, they come from regarding the genuine kindness shown to suffering, frightened children, or from reading of the very real emotions felt by those who have lost loved ones, so far this year, and there are so many such friends.  My tears come when I am alone, and can focus on things like the pain of other human beings.

Saturday was largely celebratory, in my Prescott circle:  A mesquite flour pancake breakfast reminded me of how we would function, if the stock market crashed and took many people’s jobs, and life savings, with it.  We would learn to forage, and we would have to get along better than many of us have chosen to get along with others.  Mostly, though, my breakfast companion and I enjoyed the delicious repast and talked of a plan she has to start a sustainable community in east Texas, somewhere.

I left her to take her first tour of Arcosanti, and went to an American Legion picnic, where lunch, mercifully, was not served until nearly 1:30 PM.  I had to contrast the atmosphere with the earlier event.  Legion folks tend to welcome one another to sit down, talk and pass the time convivially.  (The mostly upper class folks who attend Slow Food events tend to frown on anyone they don’t know sitting anywhere near their table.  Fortunately, my friend and I had a section of the long table, where we would be far enough away from the well-dressed woman who recoiled in annoyance, as we took our seats.)

Anyway, I got up and danced with a few of the ladies, during the live music portions of the picnic, both before and after the meal.  I am a passable dancer, when it comes to the steps we all learned as teens and young adults.  The easy conversations we had also made the event more worthwhile.

Sunday morning, after the customary Legion breakfast, our area Baha’is gathered, and discussed matters of living and sharing our Faith, and serving the larger community.  As we talked, a heavy downpour, which not everyone had expected, blessed our consultations.  The sky cleared later, long enough for us to get to our after-meeting lunch.  Then, during lunch, there was a second downpour.  I think the spirits cried tears of joy.

My mood right now is pensive, because the whole matter of my mother’s safety, this coming winter, remains unresolved.  It’ll get figured out, soon, and either I will do my filial labour of love, or actually stay in the Southwest, for the bulk of the next twelve to sixteen months.  I am grateful, though, for my varied and widening circle of friends.

The Road to 65, Mile 154: May Day Meanderings

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May 1, 2015, Prescott-   Th fifth month of the year always finds me taking stock of my assets, making concrete plans to consolidate my possessions, and downsizing, prior to a summer of journeying and carefully living in balance.  This summer will take me to Nevada,Mt. Shasta, the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, southeast Alaska and back down through the Palouse, Idaho and Utah; then to southern California, after a brief July 4 respite here.

For someone who values survival skills, I am a bit wet behind the ears.  Tent pitching and foraging for food are my immediate concerns, as is mastering the art of inflating an air mattress.  See, I have put up my tent,had it stand for five or six hours, then woke up and found it hugging my face.  This needs to stop.  I like sleeping under the stars, and still will, whenever prudent.  Being that I will share space with Alaskan brown bears, for a few days in June, I think a solidly pitched edifice will better suit my circumstances.

Later this summer, Grand Canyon hikes and jaunts along the Mogollon Rim in AZ and New Mexico, will afford me the company of a master woodsman.  These days will prep me for a 2017 thru-hike of the Arizona Trail, as will this Fall’s earnest completion of the Black Canyon Trail, over four stages, from Bumble Bee to Lake Pleasant Road.  The Prescott Circle will finally be unbroken, and the Maricopa Trail beckons, in Winter.

All this crossed my mind, after a day of hearing the woes of a teen boy who has a serious crush on a lovely young lady, ten years his senior.  It will go nowhere.  The woman has a good man in her life, and besides, that’s where crushes are supposed to go.  I used to be there, though my crushes, early on, found more contemporary focuses.  He will, as well, no doubt.

After making a brief visit to a school whose constituents and staff observed its last “birthday” as an institution, I came home to find that the man I had befriended, and tried to help, over the past seven months, was actually a wanted felon.  He was being taken into custody, as I pulled up to my driveway.  I pulled in, through the neighbour’s drive, and was informed that he had vandalized my upstairs neighbour’s property, thus the collar.  I have no idea what he is accused of doing, previously, but this does explain the hackles I have started to get on the back of my neck, as the day for taking him up towards Las Vegas approached.  Now, that is no longer in the works.  I have some of his possessions in my back storage, and his vital papers in the house.  These will all stay put, and untouched, until the legal process plays itself out.

So, I begin this fascinating month, hopeful, energetic, and chastened about human nature.  Tomorrow, I brush up on foraging and go to help a dear friend, one who can be trusted.

The Road to 65, Mile 140: Happy Returns

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April 17, 2015, Prescott- I returned an item that was particular to my Kia, and got money back, that will be useful tomorrow.  A few hours later, I returned to a neighbourhood trail, the Turley Trail, named for a man who was instrumental in starting the Prescott Circle, which begins at “P” Mountain, east of town, and goes in a 360 around the Bean Peaks, Sierra Prieta, Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain, Pioneer Park and our northeastern lakes, then back towards Lynx Lake and again to “P”.

The Turley is 2.5 miles, one way, and traverses four ridges, before ending at a Prescott Circle marker, in a forested ravine.  I’ve written of it before, but here are some views from yesterday.

“P” Mountain is not directly accessible from this point, but it’s quite an inspiration, nonetheless.

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Here is the gap between the first and second ridges.  This is a moderate hike.

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On return hikes, I focus more on the small.  Wildflowers are a bit past peak here, but still captivating.SAM_4791

The quartz and granite caught my eye, at several points along the way.SAM_4794

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Finally, here is a cave, which I don’t remember seeing last time.

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It’s probably an animal lair of some sort, so of course I contented myself with this particular view.

Finally, the journalist David Brooks was on NPR, discussing his book on returning to a community-centered ethos.  More on that, later.