There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arizona. Show all posts

17 June 2017

Us + Them

1986.

The year I got my drivers license, my first car ( a yellow Ford Pinto), and the freedom to drive to my hometown's local music store.

I bought Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" on tape. Back then it was touted as one of the top selling albums of that year, even though it was originally released in 1973.

I popped in into the sound system I'd just installed into my shitty little car, and what I heard blew me away, leaving an ever lasting impression on my world view.

June 14th, 2017.
Roger Waters, one of the founding members of the band, is still touring. This time around is the "Us + Them" tour, honoring music from this timeless classic album, as well as new material he has released.

I'm no fan of Trump, but Roger's anti-Trump sentiment in his new songs was a bit too much, even for me. When he stuck with his classic songs though, his concert was a huge success.

15 June 2017

The Peralta Trail

I've accepted the fact that one must rise up early to get in some Arizona hiking, but I don't mind. Six am can be beautiful in the desert.

The Superstition mountains continue to be my favorite spot to explore, and this early morning in March finds me at the Peralta trailhead. I'm hoping to summit and possibly find the wind caves.
Our wet winter has turned the desert into a green oasis. I wind through trees as the sun rises and sparks a fiery glow on the red sandstone rocks. Hawks circle overhead looking for a last meal before it gets too warm. I climb higher and higher.
The trail seems to disappear as I get close to the top. I find a cave, not too deep or wide though, and wonder if this is the famed wind cave.

I don't think it is, and circle around hoping to climb higher. Somehow though, I get turned around and find myself going back down the trail.

It seems as though this hike was a good introduction to the mountain, but like a gold digger or miner, it is going to require many hours of work and exploration of this mountain range to find all of it's hidden gems.

31 May 2017

Little Colorado River Gorge

The Eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon is a long and desolate path in winter time. Tourists have dissipated, and the local Native American road side shops are all but closed.

Only the crows watch over the land.
It is along this stretch that one can find the Little Colorado River Gorge. A lone dirt road is my sole companion as I kick rocks in the early December morning. The signs to watch for scorpions and rattlesnakes makes me laugh.
You don't have to pay a fee here, and the views are spectacular. I climb to rocky precipice's and dangle my feet over the edge to feel a surge of adrenaline.
You can make your way out to a climatic point that gives you views both East and West, as well as straight down to the Colorado river itself.

I turn my head and look into the camera, and see that a rare look of contentment is on my face, visible among the wrinkled lines of life and the dark circles of trials.
 I circle the trail along the edge of the Gorge for a spell in the quiet, then eventually find my way back. I look back and see a lone house on a plateau.
I find that this captures the isolation and solitary wonder of this place perfectly.

24 May 2017

The Rocky Mountain Sheep of Willow Beach

We end our eight mile kayak down the Colorado river at Willow Beach, Arizona. During our time on the river, our guide was always telling us to look up at the mountain tops for signs of Rocky Mountain Sheep.

Animal sightings though were sparse until the end.

As we are waiting for the van to arrive so we can load our kayaks, a lone sheep makes it's way over the hill just in front of us. It's majestic curled horns are on display for all of us as it searches for food along the shoreline.
The van arrives and we load the kayaks up, then head to the marina store for cold beers and greasy burgers. As we all are sitting on a picnic bench enjoying ourselves, an entire herd of sheep appears on the hill above us.

Our Canadian friends call them "goats", but whatever name you prefer, I love these creatures.
It was the perfect ending to an incredible day.

23 May 2017

Kayaking the Colorado river

My kayaking adventure with Evolution Expeditions entailed eight miles of awesomeness down the Colorado river. Due to the construction of the Hoover Dam, the river only flows when the dam releases water downstream, so we found that kayaking would be more work than anticipated.

It was time to work those arm muscles, and paddle down through some of the most amazing desert scenery.
Our guide gives us history lessons as we go, from the early explorers of this land to the massive undertaking that went into building the Hoover Dam. We see remnants of Native American culture and early pioneers.
A little over halfway and we come to the Emerald Cave, named from the crystal clear green waters that are found.
The last few miles take every last bit of energy I have to complete, yet when I see the docking area at Willow Beach, Arizona, I'm filled with a rush of adrenaline and accomplishment in finishing this epic adventure.

12 May 2017

Desert Views

It was either November or December, I can't recall for sure, but the temperature was twenty degrees and snow was fairly high as I start out my day exploring the Desert View trail along the mighty Grand Canyon.
The original plan was to hike down the canyon to the Colorado river, then back up, and to complete this all in one day. I knew I was ill equipped for such a hike though with all the snow and little provisions.
So I scrapped that idea for another day and hiked through the passages of time along the South Rim.
The great thing about the Grand Canyon is that each visit can show you something new, even throughout the day light and shadow can change the canyon in new and unexpected ways. When you think about the true amount of time that it has taken to form what you see before your eyes, you can become overtaken with emotion.
So I start my hike today, and find that by the last of days light I've traveled back 1280 million years through the rocks carved by wind, water and ice.
Come with me, won't you?

09 May 2017

Lenox Crater. Cinder Hills. Alone.

I barely remember the Cinder Hills or Lenox Crater. I think I was outside of Flagstaff. Yes, that sounds familiar.
Lately, my mind has been filled with frustration, and I can't find the plug to pull and drain the poisonous thoughts. I need to just keep my mouth shut and remember the bigger picture in my life.

but that is hard to do.
I hope to write down these thoughts and purge the sickness, but even as I type I feel the process not working.

Fuck it. My life may just be as messed up as a Fargo story, with my only hope is that it may be as interesting.

05 May 2017

Organ Pipe's Desert view under Jedi steps

Darkness is quickly enveloping the desert landscape as the old Jedi pours the last of the moonshine down his parched throat. The teddy bear cholla watches in silence.
He fixates the beacon of light upon his head and makes his way up the trail towards the setting sun. The force surrounds all living things, including himself if he lets go of his fear, hate and suffering.
He carries onward in the dark, letting the small light  guide him safely along the path.
At the summit he reaches to find the valley in it's last glow of light as the sun disappears behind the mountains. He needs the light more than ever now, as the nocturnal creatures become more active in the blackness.
Fare thee well, the Jedi says to days last light....
and fades into the recesses of his camp for another night in the desert.

03 May 2017

Navajo Bridge

The open road winds through the Navajo Nation like a slow moving snake. Your thoughts can easily be swallowed up in the vastness.
You see a small gathering of manufactured homes with a row of new Ford and Chevy trucks, rusty playground equipment teeters in the winter's breeze. Abandoned roadside stands hold artwork of the Native American.

I stand beside it for awhile and think about loss.
I come to a bridge, Navajo Bridge to be precise, and get out of the car. An old Navajo woman is selling jewelry in the rain. I greet her with a smile but don't buy anything. I walk towards the bridge and wonder how many have taken their final plunge here.
You feel closer to God out here under the gray skies and Red Rocks. I walk back and forth along Navajo Bridge, looking down into the Colorado river and seeing my own reflection, I look up into the sky and see nothing but simple truths.
As the song says, all that you have is your soul. Save my soul, save myself.

01 May 2017

The Final Huzzah

The month of March was filled with some of my greatest Arizona memories to date. The strange and bungled, botched and weirdness of all kinds of people flocked to these Renaissance grounds to find open arms and welcoming smiles to all kinds of folk.

and I was a part of it all.
 I share my final Huzzah moments and memories until this faire festival returns to the desert next year.

I'll be there, and I hope to see you as well.

29 April 2017

Swashbuckling Spanish Pirates & Muddy Wyld Men

The final weekend of the Arizona Renaissance Festival was here. My Saturday Huzzah was filled with two hilarious shows, the Spanish pirates and the muddy Wyld men.
I've come to really appreciate "live theatre" more than ever before while attending the AZ Renfest. It's truly an art form that stands the test of time, and an artistic gift that these actors pass down to their children, which makes me think their talents have been in their families for generations.

Perhaps going all the way back to the original Renaissance times.
In so many ways these performances showcase the truest and simplest form of entertainment, which makes it all the more real.
and what's not to love about that?

28 April 2017

Soldiers trail

I rise in the woods of a September morning to the sounds of crackling fires and bluegrass banjo's being tuned.

Let's go for a hike along the Soldiers trail and look for mighty elk.
Off in the distance I hear the sounds of Bob Marley playing.

I tap my feet along the trail, wondering...

Is it love, is it love, it is love that I'm feeling?
I find no elk, only curious Kaibob squirrels and the comfort standing next to a tree that has been struck by lightning.

27 April 2017

leaving despair in Sycamore Canyon

4.18.17

I had just returned to work after a few days in Mexico City, and I was excited to tell my friends all about it. I was giving one friend some rosary beads she had asked for, when my best friend appeared at her desk, visibly shaken.

"My fifteen year old niece just died..."

A flood of emotions took me over, and I went right back to that fateful day of my own when I got the call about my own sister.
4.19.17

It's been forever since we've spoke, but I get a message from an old girlfriend about her support group for MS. She is so young to have to deal with this disease. I know all too well it's devastating effects on a person, and I find no words to console her. I tell her she sounds strong, but the words are hollow and empty.

She doesn't reply back.
4.22.17

I wake before the dawn and driving three hours up North. I'm not prepared in any way, no food and little water, but I don't care. I need to get out of my head and into the wild.

I find Sycamore Canyon, just outside of Williams, Arizona. There is an eleven mile loop that will work, and I start walking.

Four miles in and I get lost. I want to circle the canyon, thinking that is the most logical route for the loop, but I am mistaken.

Further and further I go, off trail and deep into the heart of the wilderness. I hear no other sound than my labored breathing.

but my mind is clear.....

I eventually turnaround and retrace my steps backwards. My water is gone, the new formed blisters on my feet are screaming in pain, and the sweat along my brow has crystallized into salt from dehydration.

I find this to be therapeutic to my well being.

4.26.17

In the way of the world today, I see on social media about a family friend that suddenly died. Only twenty two hours earlier she had posted a picture of her granddaughter at a gymnastics meet, and commented on how proud she was of her.....

I'll be having Counting Crows on repeat for a while, and taking in the advice from Anna begins...

24 April 2017

Horseshoe Bend

I had about an hour before sunset when I pulled into the parking area where the trail to Horseshoe Bend begins. I climb the sandy trail as a cottontail pricks up it's ears at me before scamping off into the sagebrush. The wind flute of the Navajo echoes below.

I feel a great presence here.
Tiny human
dots rise on the red rocks, standing before the mighty formation. The closer I approach, the more I find myself catching my breath. Not from exertion though, but from the raw power of Nature's beauty that the Colorado river has created.
I creep towards the edge, then sit meditation style on the rock lip of the great Bend and watch as the sunset lights up the area in brilliant colors.
The next morning I rise well before the sunrise and start hiking in the darkness back to this special place. A coyote meets me on the trail today, but pays me no mind as I can't satisfy his hunger.

My coffee quickly becomes cold in the chill of this winters morn. I lay down on the edge of Horseshoe and marvel at the quiet sound of a sunrise.
Few places bond my spirit back into one solid piece like the mighty Horseshoe Bend outside of Page, Arizona.
******

06 April 2017

Of Falconry, Glass Blowers, and Nasty Well Wenches

Twas another glorious weekend at the Faire, and the full regalia was out.
I wander on over to the ancient art of glass blowing where a fine Lord and his lady are putting on a class while making a most beautiful vase.
From there, I across the courtyard and find myself enveloped in the hilariously nasty musings of two ugly washing well wenches. They have me in stitches from laughter, and wet from their flinging of dirty laundry.
I grab a turkey legg and some ale and rest in the cool grass for a Falconry show. All manner of interesting birds of prey fly close over my head, and I have to hide my legg of roast beast from both a hungry hawk and an African vulture.
Aye, it was another wonderful day at the Renaissance Faire.

Huzzah!

04 April 2017

Mountain biking at Usery

In what seems to be a never ending quest to find new things to do here in Arizona, Usery Mountain Park fit the bill last weekend.

My mountain bikes have looked ever so sad just sitting in my garage, and so to alleviate this problem, I go to hit the gnarly trails at Usery.
Sweet single track sand trails interconnect through this part of the Sonoran desert. I rush past towering Cacti and flowering desert plants, small lizards hurriedly dart under bushes as my tires roll on by.
I'm not sure what wiped me out first; the increasing heat or my weak muscles but after two and a half hours, I was done until another day.
I foresee that another ride will be in my future soon though.

03 April 2017

The Carefree Art & Wine festival

Sunday morning and the television was on the local news. I was sipping coffee and really paying no attention, the sound keeps me company.

I hear about a sand sculpture artist that will be in Carefree, Arizona, working on his newest project. That information alone was enough for me to take a road trip. North of the town of Scottsdale and world away from the hubbub of Phoenix I find the Carefree Art & Wine Festival.
I pay my three dollar entrance fee and am handed a glass of wine to accompany me as I stroll down the art walk.
Local artisans showcase work in different mediums; film, bronze, oil based paints, watercolors, clay....
Local flair and flavor highlight the event, from Southwestern themes to Native American culture...
Carefree represents these artists in fine fashion.