Surprises, Challenging and Delightful


January 13, 2019, Happy Jack, AZ-

I woke this morning, to find six inches of freshly-fallen snow covering the area outside my room at Delta Motel, Winslow.  It is a high desert community, and the residents were as surprised as I was, that the serenity brought by snow had descended upon their environs.  I’ve liked the Delta, for several years, because of its unpretentious yet immaculate rooms, a few of which had rockabilly themes, under a former owner.   The rooms now have a distinctly Southwestern flavour to them.

The snow did leave me to ponder the rest of my day.  Having said that I wanted to visit friends on the Hopi Nation, ninety minutes northeast of Winslow, I had to consider the weather and road conditions, plus the fact that I have to be in Phoenix, for an appointment, tomorrow morning.



I opted to head for home, primarily because between Winslow and Prescott there lies high country, regardless of route.  There was poor reception for both phone and wifi, so discerning road conditions, later in the day, was problematic.   After breakfast, and wishing the caring and efficient motel staff a fine day, I filled my car’s tank at a station across the street.  Winslow is famous for  the late Glenn Frey’s reminiscence of a girl “slowing down to take a look” at him, whilst he was standing on a corner there.  It was rather ironic, that a sweet-faced young lady sat in her car and smilingly watched as I filled up the tank.  We never spoke, but her smile was a comfort.

I headed south, as she headed north, and found the road, to this little village on AZ Route 87, very well-plowed and free of ice.  This high country town has a small cafe- Tall Pines Cafe, named for the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in North America.  Fresh chicken noodle soup and delectable quesadillas were my filling lunch.  The snow was as fresh here as it was in Winslow, and would cover the ground as far as 2/3 of the way down the rim to Camp Verde.



P.S.-The rest of the drive was uneventful, with bare ground from Camp Verde until I was just about back in Prescott.  I take comfort in that farmers will have a leg up, come spring, if the precipitation continues at the level it has fallen, thus far this winter.  I will make time to go up to Hopi, later in the Spring, and certainly at some points during Summer.

Nonetheless, surprises from the Universe are part of what keeps me going strong.


Out Like Simba


March 31, 2017, Prescott-

The following haiku addresses the vagaries of weather.

Snow came to call,

traipsing, this afternoon,

across desert skies.

March, this year, came in like a bleating lamb

and left, with the spirit of the popular animated lion.

Maybe, it was just an early April Fool’s joke.



February 13, 2017, Prescott-

Snow besets the Northeast,

Rain fills the Southwest’s waterways,

Dust retreats, into mud.


The Alt-Right cries foul,

The Prog-Left yells foul words,

Civility retreats, into a cave.


Strength looks like force,

Humility is seen as weakness,

Sensibility retreats, into a whirlwind.


I  am listening quietly,

You wince at my expression,

Perception retreats, into personal mythology.

And Now…..


January 20, 2017, Prescott-

The snow came, in the afternoon.  Then, it turned to rain, for a while, this evening.  Now,snow is back, is falling lightly, here, and heavier, in higher parts of Prescott.  The snow discombobulates our students, but we were able to get everyone in an orderly line and to the bus, without incident.  I hope they get a lot of activity and enjoyment of the snow, this weekend, just as I did as a child.

The bluster was tame, in Washington, this morning. I caught the new President’s Inaugural Address, on my laptop, when I got off work, this evening.  It was neither among the best, nor was it the worst, speech I’ve heard, from a sitting President.  Mr. Trump gave us, basically, what he felt necessary to say.  I do want to see a better shake for the nation’s long left-behind towns and cities, of the Midwest and Northeast- the Eries, Dubuques, Zanesvilles, Wheelings and Tauntons of our collective back-burner memory.  I also do NOT want to see a back-slide, with regard to the rights and well-treatment of people of colour, of gender transversal or of either gender.  I don’t see any need for a dichotomy between the two; no cause for an either-or mentality.

So, there has been a changing of the guard.  It’s not how I would have wanted things, but as the now-former President said, on Wednesday, this is our system and we each need to do what we can, to make it work.  I will be very vigilant, watching closely so that no one in power misleads the blue-collar people, with whom I grew up, and that no one mistreats the people on the margins, whose safety and well-being have been close to my heart, for at least the past fifty years.  My prayer is that we all hold our leaders accountable and guard those we love.



January 18, 2017, Prescott-

Three storms are said to be headed our way.

The eternal optimist at the Arizona Republic calls for heavy rain,

all three days.

Locals in the know,

say there’ll be tons of snow.

Taking one day at a time,

all I’m sayin’

is, I am, as usual,

going to move nice and slow.

(This weekend was to be full, with a quick trip to Phoenix, on Friday night, to join a peace vigil.  Then, I was going to Camp Verde, on Saturday morning, to help install smoke detectors.  Sunday was to be devoted to Baha’i study.  Right now, my first event will depend on whether the roads are not too slick.  The second has been postponed.  The third is still a definite go, but that could change, if the storm lags.)

Hope all in the northwest, Midwest and southeast are getting back to normal.

Prescott Circle Trail: Lingering Snowpack


February 15, 2016, Prescott-  I spent yesterday afternoon not being a nuisance to anyone, and finishing my walkabout of Segment 6, on the Prescott Circle Trail.  Long segments, such as this, can be broken into two manageable hikes.  Today, I started at the trailhead that lies across a narrow, but busy, highway from Goldwater Lake.  There was plenty of parking in the dirt lot, so by 1 PM, I was bound for the point at which I stopped on my last visit to this route.

The first part of the trail was dry, which was fine by me, as it was also the closest thing the trail offered to being steep.  Mud, and snowpack, came a bit later, and were a constant, for the length of the trail.  There are seven “fingers” of Government Canyon that impact this section of trail, but not as much up and down, as in the eastern part of the canyon.

Two hours after I started, the segment’s end came, at the three-way junction of Prescott Circle, Boy Scout Trail and Turley Trail.  Boy Scout leads to Walker Road, near Lynx Lake.  Turley, whose trailhead is a mile east of my house, brings one back towards downtown.

With my car back near Goldwater Lake, I tooled around the back country of Government Canyon, for about an hour, then headed in reverse.

Here are a few scenes from this workout, which resulted in 10 miles, altogether.


Western end of Segment 6, Prescott Circle Trail

Above, are two views of Goldwater Lake, which has upper(left) and lower (right) halves.


Snow appeared frequently, along the north side of the canyon, as one might expect.


Snowfield, on east side of “finger” Number 3, Government Canyon.

I reached my turn-around point (left), and felt the urge to look around.  So, I did an extra loop, including this limestone outcropping, on Seven-Mile Gulch Trail.  This became a two-mile loop.

The return hike was not strenuous, and I made it back to the west-facing section of trail, in time for a glorious sunset.


Sunset near Goldwater Lake, Prescott, February 14, 2016.

So it is that I have completed half of the Prescott Circle Trail.  In truth, though, with trails, one is never “done”.  The stunning scenery is here for anyone who needs a lift.