Quartz and Titanium

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May 7, 2022- The small peak was still 1.5 miles away, when we first saw it glistening, on this breezy late morning. I had been here, three times before, but this was my Hiking Buddy’s first such visit. Quartz Mountain is unique in this area, and is one of the off-track places I enjoy showing visitors and fairly new residents. It is a moderately difficult hike, though, up and down three ridges of the intervening Wolverton Mountain (not the place made famous by Claude King). There is then a spur trail, that winds around to the west and southwest. Then, we were close to this:

Discretion is always the better part of valour, though, and we headed back, for the sake of HB’s well-being. As I said, Wolverton’s ridges are butt kickers.

The evening was a different sort of affair. A Galactogogues concert starts slowly and lets the energy build, until just when it seems it’s time to call it a night, the foot stomping and staccato hand clapping burns away any fatigue.

Meg Bohrman has been part of the Prescott music scene, as long as I’ve been here. Her family band, Galactogogues, takes its name from the items which help a nursing mother to best feed her child. Meg and family are all about nurturing the community, so the name is perfectly apropos.

The songs and the singers were fierce-unafraid to call out aggressors, both domestic and foreign-misogynists, racists and those who seek to dominate other countries. They included rousing Ukrainian folk dance tunes, for good measure, around a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”. There was also a pensive offering that looked back on the life of an uncle of Meg’s daughter-in-law, Abi, who is the band’s co-lead vocalist and songs that celebrate life in a nurturing community.

Thus was the day spent surrounded by quartz-and titanium.

The Christmas Star

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December 21, 2020-

Today being the start of winter, north of the Equator, we look to the days getting longer-a minute at a time. The entire planet also has the bonus of seeing Jupiter and Saturn, still discernable as separate planets, but close enough to one another to complement one another’s light, from this Earthly naked eye’s vantage point. Legend has it that the three Magi regarded the convergence of the two planets, in the night sky of 2020 years ago, as sign of great portent, thus giving rise to the term “Christmas Star”.

I will take anything that lifts people’s spirits, and besides, there are no mistakes in God’s Plan, which includes the orbits of planets around stars. It is no concidence that we honour Jesus the Christ’s arrival in this world, right around the time of Solstice and that the convergence of these two planetary giants in the evening sky should happen right about now, as well. Christmas is rightfully a celebration of Light, as was Hanukkah, earlier this month, and Diwali, in mid-November.

I spent the afternoon of Solstice outside, visiting Prescott’s unsung treasure. Covered in quartz crystal, and thus named Quartz Mountain, the peak of modest height is reachable from either of two trailheads-Aspen Creek, on the north and White Spar, on the south. I took Copper Basin Road to Aspen Creek trailhead, and hiked the three miles each way.

Quartz Mountain, from the Wolverton Trail

I had been here once before. On that Sunday afternoon, four years ago, a family of four was gathering pieces of quartz. I was told by a Forest Service ranger, after the fact, that this was illegal. Since it occurred to me to not remove quartz, myself, well enough was left alone, that day and today. It was enough for me to be in this inspiring setting, during a bright and mild Solstice afternoon.

There was a fair amount of company, in the area today. On the way to the trailhead, I stopped as a family of five deer crossed the highway, single file. The last animal hesitated, then crossed after apparently getting my message that it was safe. On the trail itself were five bicyclists and six hikers, though none were at Quartz Mountain at the same time as me.

So, there was solitude, enveloped by fellowship, as so often has been my experience on these trails.

West face of Quartz Mountain summit
West face of Quartz Mountain summit

I got back to the car, just as it was starting to get dark. After dinner at the Raven Cafe, I went back to Home Base, in time to catch the two points of light that made up the Christmas Star. Sorry, my camera does not take detailed photos of distant orbs.

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 4:White Spar to Copper Basin- Part I

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April 5, 2016, Prescott- This past weekend, I was able to break this 6-mile section of juniper pine forest, quartz and gray granite into two hikes.  It was prudent, due to a commitment here in town, each day.  It also gave me more time to focus on the features of each part of the segment.

Saturday’s jaunt began at White Spar North Trailhead, going 3.5 miles to the junction with Quartz Mountain Trail. The entire segment is Wolverton Mountain Trail, about which more later.

Above, are three scenes at the south end of the trail.  Even this close to White Spar, there are many small fragments of pink quartz.  The trail is rather flat, for the first 2 miles or so, until past this magnificent view of a local observatory, privately-run, and of the majestic San Francisco Peaks, seventy miles northeast, as the hawk flies.  The Granite Dells may be seen, holistically, in the midground.

The East Peak of Quartz Mountain, seen in the next two frames, signals a slightly more rugged terrain.

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East Peak, Quartz Mountain

I noticed small wonders along the way, as well, including this white quartz(below) and the upper jaw bone of a hapless raccoon, which I have left out of this gallery.

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White quartz, at foot of East Peak, Quartz Mountain

This area was filled with blooming manzanita, another special treat.

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Manzanita in bloom, near Quartz Mountain

The stopping point gave me incentive for a Sunday completion of the segment, starting then from Aspen Creek Trailhead, off Copper Basin Road.  As this was done after a Sunday brunch, I was grateful for a somewhat more strenuous trail.

Here is the junction with Quartz Mountain Trail.

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Stopping place for hike on 4/2/2016