Desert Culture

Going from the pristine, Technicolor fairyland of “holy Mount Zion” to the stark, monochromatic hills of Lake Havasu City was a bit of a shock.  Just rolling into town, seeing the “Elevation, 450 ft” made me swallow hard.  So arriving at the boondock location along a rough, dusty white-rock road left me in a bit of scenic withdrawal. Continue reading

Back to the Crack

SARA’s Crack, that is.  The “Special Activities and Recreational Area” in Lake Havasu.   I left Zion a little early this year to attend a Thanksgiving Feast in Lake Havasu City with Joel and his family, my long time friends from the northeast, twenty years back.   Since I have decided to leave the Winnie in Phoenix again this holiday season and fly back to Texas, Lake Havasu was on the migratory path. Continue reading

Seduced by a Slot Canyon

Buckskin Gulch is known as “The Longest Slot Canyon in the World!”  (Allegedly.)  Yes, I have fallen prey to “destination marketing” once again.  But it’s not just about “the longest, the tallest, the most dangerous.”  No, you see I am a sucker for a slot canyon of any length.  In fact, it’s my absolute favorite place to hike.  I can never seem to get enough Continue reading

Probing the Paria

As I continue on across the southern part of Utah, I am getting ever closer to Kanab, present home of one of my favorite bloggers, Gaelyn, better known as “Geogypsy.”   I began following Gaelyn’s blog during one of her visits to South Africa.  We corresponded this past spring as I was making my plans to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim.  She was very helpful in giving me some advice for my lofty goal to hike the “Rim to Rim.”  Unfortunately, life took a different turn Continue reading

How the West Was Lost

I have always had a strong fascination with the Native American culture.    My first cross-country road trip was at four years old when Dad bought the new Chevy Impala with the bat-wing fins on the back, loaded up the family and took of to explore Route 66.  I spent most of the trip glued to the window looking for  teepees or “Indians” on horseback on the horizon.  One of my earliest childhood memories was stopping along the roadside at an “Indian Village” to watch as they performed a ceremonial dance wearing fringed, beaded leather buckskin clothing and elaborate feather headdresses.   I was mesmerized. Continue reading

Saying My Sonoran Desert Farewells…

It’s my last day in the Sonoran desert. I want one last beautiful scenic hike before I go, so I ask my favorite volunteer at the Visitor Center, the man who swore me in as a “Desert Ranger,” about his favorite hike. “You want scenic? Without a doubt…the Bull Pasture.” Continue reading

An Arch Trail or a Narc Trail?

Much of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has been closed since 2003 due to illegal cross-border activity. Back in 2002, one of their own, Ranger Kris Eggle, was gunned down in an attempt to apprehend members of a drug cartel. They renamed the Visitor Center in his honor, and later closed down much of the park in fear that they could not protect the visitors. Continue reading

Not-So-Junior Ranger

From Tucson I have the intention to head toward Alpine, CA to rendezvous with my fellow tribe-mates Debbie and Kim, when I get word from Contessa that they will be crossing the border on their way back from Mazatlan, headed home to Canada in a few days. After a few frenetic email exchanges, we finally figure out that a long talked about meet-up in the desert might just be doable Continue reading

Counting Flowers on the Wasson Peak

I am on a quest while in Tucson to see the things I didn’t get to see last year, either due to time constraints for work, or in the case of Wasson Peak, lack of ability.  There was a Ranger-led hike to Wasson Peak during my visit last year.  I wanted to participate in the program, but didn’t want my tortoise pace to hold up the group.  I still have a tortoise pace, but this year I decide I am good to go on my own. Continue reading

What’s Up At Gilbert Ray

Well, the mercury for one.  It reached 93 degrees here.  The Saguaro National Park brochure says the average temperature for this time of year is 72 degrees.  Next year is the park’s 100th birthday.  This latest run of high temperatures makes me wonder if perhaps they have not updated the chart since establishing the park back in 1916. Continue reading