October 13, 2014

  • A Small Time Mariner’s Voyage, Day 1: California Musings

    October 11, 2014- I set out for San Diego on Friday night, actually, from this point in a town called Chino Valley,

    AZ, where a few of us played musical instruments and sang as a send-off for what I hope is my last journey out of the Four Corners region, for a while.  I love the journey, but have a hard time with the backlash from those who don’t get that I actually care about them.  The fact that these are family members doesn’t make it any easier.  Maybe once they see that I am staying close to home, and am working as hard as they are, things will get better between us.

    Now, back to the subject at hand. My friends, the Brehmers, were hosts at the jumping-off gathering.

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    As I drove across Arizona’s Outback, it was notable that two towns with which I am familiar, Wenden and Salome, had been drenched by the remnants of Hurricane Simon.  These towns in the western Sonora Desert are normally bone-dry.  Yesterday and today were different, though.

    I got to Blythe, on the Colorado River, and stopped for the night, at Relax Inn.  It was a bit sultry, as the AC had quit, but I slept well, anyway.  This morning, I got up, ate a quick breakfast at Steaks and Cakes, and blazed to San Diego- getting into town around 3 PM.

    This weekend, America’s Hometown celebrates Oktoberfest AND Italian Heritage Days, so rooms were at a premium, and scarce.  I got a spot at Premier Inn, on Pacific Coast Highway, near Old Town, and set out for Little Italy, taking my first ride on San Diego’s trolley.  One of my favourite Italian restaurants, Filippi’s, awaited, as did the Chalk Art Festival, stretching from India Street to Amici Park.

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    The presence of lilacs, and of Italian cypress trees, adds a grand ambiance to the already bellissimo Little Italy.

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    After an especially fabulous meal at the never-disappointing Filippi’s, I ended the evening with a walk over to Horton Plaza, in the heart of downtown.  The shopping mecca now has its own obelisk.

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    San Diego is never a disappointment.  The day ahead  would bring me to another city which holds out promise in that regard:  Honolulu.

October 9, 2014

  • My Favourites List: Ten Prescott Restaurants

    My next few posts will focus on the places, and people, who help make this life sweet.  Living alone, I get out and walk around Prescott just about every day.  Here are my ten favourite places in town, to stop in for lunch or dinner, or an occasional breakfast.

    10.  Scout’s-  This is a novel and refreshingly-themed place to get a tasty sub for lunch.  Each item is named for a particular National Park, and it’s all made from scratch.  Soups are good here, also.  I stop here when getting my car serviced nearby, or when going for a haircut at Fantastic Sam’s.

    9.  Rosa’s- Arguably the best Italian restaurant, in a town filled with good pizza and pasta.  I usually grab a seat at one of the long counters.  It’s always homey, and sometimes raucous.  The food never disappoints.

    8. Sue Ann’s Apple Pan- I’ve only been here a few times, being a “breakfast at home” kind of guy.  Sue Ann’s lunch items, though, are also made fresh.  Here, too, I sit at the counter, feeling more at home that way.

    7.  Lone Spur- Being right downtown, this is one of two places to really load up on food, if the day requires a “one-meal” schedule.  It’s all great stuff, and runs the gamut from heart-healthy fruits and grains to local cultural icons like chorizo, or biscuits and gravy.

    6.  Zeke’s Eatin’ Place-  This used to be the toast, and a lot of other stuff, of Prescott Valley.  Now, Zeke’s is an anchor for the resurgent Frontier Village, on the Prescott Yavapai Indian Reservation, just east of town.  Like Lone Spur, Zeke’s is an old-fashioned, pack-it-in, establishment.  The food is well-prepared and hearty, and one can easily take home enough for two more meals.,

    5.  Wildflower Bakery- This is the only chain establishment on my list, and it’s always crowded, but the counter staff and servers are as friendly as if they were working for Mom and Pop.  It’s all healthy here, even the pastries. The fireplace adds to a relaxing ambiance.  Wildflower is on the east side of Prescott’s Gateway Mall, three miles east of downtown.

    4.  Shannon’s-  Here’s another small, downtown establishment, with freshly made sandwiches, and the best soups in town. Shannon and Murphy specialize in cheesecakes, which come as a treat, every now and then- and make great gifts.

    3.  Soldi’s-  Three spunky young ladies, work out of a stationary food cart, in a garden setting.  The kids, helped by their mother, put on a fabulous lunch, with modest portions.  Friday nights feature custom hors d’oeuvres, to which one may bring one’s own beverage.  Soldi’s is bound for nothing but success.

    2.  Park Avenue Deli-  An unassuming strip mall place, on the southwest corner of downtown, and on the front end of a liquor store, of all places, Park Avenue is run by two mellow young folks- Jessica and Jon.  The place is geared towards parties of three or more, but I’ve always been accommodated when dining alone.  It’s never dull, with high-powered business people, groups of guys or ladies who seem to be friends of one of the staff, and random seniors coming in from the pharmacy across the way.  I often learn more about what’s going on in town here than I do from Prescott’s Facebook page.  The food is excellent and well-portioned.

    1. Raven Cafe-  Everything here is organic, both food and beverages.  It’s another lively spot, and seems to be full with regulars, no matter what time of day or evening I happen by.  Raven is also geared towards groups, but Lone Wolves are welcomed.  Staff is a bit phlegmatic towards non-drinkers, but the food is fabulous and the rest of the ambiance is refreshing.

    At most of these places, the staff would recognize me as the quiet, unassuming soul who takes a place at the counter, or at a small table, orders pleasantly but quickly, eats relatively quickly and takes his leave without fanfare.  Nonetheless, I appreciate everything they do to make our lives here more pleasant and well-nourished.

October 7, 2014

  • The Secular and The Sacred: A Journey to Salt Lake City, Part IV

    September 19-20, 2014-  I made the short drive from Salt Palace to the Utah State Capitol complex, on the Friday afternoon of the do Terra Convention.  Like many Capitol buildings, Utah’s is built in the style of ancient

    Greece and Rome, with a cupola in the middle.  It is smaller than some, but every bit as majestic in its approach.

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    The area was deserted, save for a lone young Native American man, who had planted himself in front of the central vantage point for photographing the building.  Thus, everyone who wanted such a photo would have to include him in the shot, or at least ask his leave, before photographing.  I had no such designs, and chose the northeastern angle for making my photograph.  Some days, I’m more isolationist than others.

    Across the street are the Old Salt Lake City Hall, and the 18th Ward Chapel.  Mormons refer to their “parishes” as “wards”.  The ward building was moved here from further down the hill, so as to make room for a larger civic project, while preserving the older building.

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    A two-sided memorial to the Mormon pioneers is also on the Capitol grounds.

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    As another reader pointed out yesterday, Mormon families are especially proud of ancestors who were pioneers that pulled a hand cart, in the process of settlement. I set my vehicle towards one more night at Wasatch Inn, and a fish dinner at Coachmans.

    The next day, once the Convention was officially over, I forewent a post-convention concert, and headed for home.  One stop was left, at the well-lit LDS temple in Manti, a small, but thriving farming community, about two hours south of Salt Lake City.

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    I learned immense amounts of information during those three days, all of it practical.  Essential oils will loom large in my life, over the next several years.

October 5, 2014

  • A Gleaming Citadel: A Journey to Salt Lake City, Part III

    Sept. 19-20, 2014-  Lunch hours at the Do Terra Convention ran two hours.  On Friday, this gave me the chance to revisit Temple Square, home to the grand edifices and garden of the Mormon Faith.  The health systems and personal health regimen espoused by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are the impetus to the essential oils movement, including do Terra International and its closest competitor.  So, although I follow another Faith (Baha’i) which prescribes strict adherence to healthy life practices, I am very appreciative of the Mormons’ dedication to a better world.

    I first visited these buildings in 1999, during an educational seminar at the University of Utah. I got to engage a few people in the Tabernacle Visitors’ Center about spiritual matters, but did not photograph the complex.  On the latest visit, I was able to enter the Salt Lake City Tabernacle and the Tabernacle Chapel, but, as is customary, I did not enter the Mormon Tabernacle itself.

    Here are some views of the sights in Temple Square. The first is the Tabernacle Chapel, approached from the west.

    SAM_2806 Upon entering Temple Square, the first sight is the excellent Genealogical Research Center, open to all.

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    The Mormon Tabernacle stands on the northeast quadrant of the complex, and carries its share of majesty.

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    The Tabernacle Chapel is open to visitors, and young people serving their mission to the Church serve as hosts and guides.  A couple of young women from Taiwan were hosts on the day I visited.

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    I next strolled the garden, before taking a brief look inside Salt Lake City Tabernacle, a domed structure, which houses the headquarters of the local LDS community.

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    Most of the statues in the garden are esoteric to the theology of the Mormon Faith.  This statue of a Utah pioneer, however, speaks to the striving of many, regardless of Faith.

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    This is the exterior of Salt Lake City Tabernacle.

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    Here is its interior, similar to, but slightly larger than, the Chapel.

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    There were many other visitors during this lunch period, including several of my fellow Conventioneers, but it was a serene and peaceful visit. Regardless of one’s personal creed, an appreciation of the gifts offered by such as the Mormons benefits everyone.

    NEXT:  The Utah State Capitol and adjoining buildings

October 3, 2014

  • The Sheer Essentials: A Journey to Salt Lake City, Part II

    September 18-20, 2014-  The Salt Palace, and Energy Solutions Arena (home of the Utah Jazz, are imposing, spacious edifices.  We were able to switch from one venue to the other, on alternating days, this year.  Next year, both structures will be used simultaneously, for each day of the Convention.

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    I started off the day with a lovely breakfast of Swedish pancakes, stuffed with lingonberries, and sausage patties.  Coffee was bracing and delicious.  Though Utah is not known as a haven for coffee drinkers, or alcoholic beverage drinkers, for that matter, I had no trouble getting a satisfying cup of joe, nor did anyone desiring a nip or three seem to have to go without.  Coachmans Diner and Pancake House is a large, clean establishment, with hearty meals throughout the day and evening.

    The sessions on Days 1 &2 stressed the importance do Terra attaches to our voluntary adherence to safe preparation and use of essential oils.  What makes these products Certified Therapeutic Grade is the total lack of additives in all do Terra offerings.  Here are some caveats:  Parents using the oils on their children need to exercise common sense.  Oils like oregano and peppermint, being harsh, need to be cut with coconut oil, before being given to people, such as children and seniors, with sensitive constitutions.  Check the label, and if the oil is supposed to be used TOPICALLY, do NOT take  it ORALLY.  More is not better; too much of an oil will counteract the desired effect.  

    The free market is a good thing, for essential oils, as well as most other products.  Whether one uses do Terra, or any other brand, do exercise due diligence in your purchase.  I, for one, will always vet my product, to make sure it’s worthwhile for the customer.  Our mantra is:  The long-term goal of essential oils use is WELLNESS. Essential oils are not snake oils.

    Coming back from lunch on Thursday, I spotted a robotic plane (not a drone), controlled by a hand-held remote, coming in for a landing outside Salt Palace.  No innocent bystanders were either scared or hurt in the lunch-time festivities.SAM_2831 Nearby, there is also the pleasant-looking Maurice Abravenel Music Hall.

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    Salt Lake City spares no expense in providing cultural enrichment to the citizenry.  In 1857, Devereaux House was built, as a literary salon and public meeting place.  It remains an historic site, open to reserved, guided tours.

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    Day 3 was another series of product demonstrations and celebrations of individual and collective personal achievements. Do Terra is as good a place as any to hone one’s self-sufficiency and health & wellness skills.

    Here are a supply of prizes, a parade of hard working oils consultants, and a Youth Choir providing the closing songs.  It was a solid three days of instruction for those like me, who are not always brimming with good business sense.

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    Next, I will close with scenes from visits to Temple Square and Utah’s own Capitol Hill.

October 2, 2014

  • Navajo Tacos, Urban Nomads and Essential Oils: A Journey to Salt Lake City, Part I

    September 17-20, 2014- There are a number of interests which have presented themselves to me, in the past three years.  The latest such is the wellness-inducing power of essential oils, when used properly.  Let’s be clear:  Certified Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils can, and do, relieve many conditions.  They cannot be said to cure communicable, or progressive-degenerative diseases.  With that said, I share some snippets of my recent attendance at doTerra International’s 2014 Convention, in Salt Lake City.

    I set out around 10 AM, on September 17, with the goal of getting up to Salt Lake by 10 PM.  The first stop, for lunch at Cameron Trading Post, about 50 miles north of Flagstaff, brought me back to an old stomping ground.  I worked in the Tuba City Public Schools for five years, in the early 1980’s.  We had several visits to Cameron, an interesting Navajo crafts center situated on a bluff above the Little Colorado River and always enjoyed the traditional dishes available at the restaurant there.  It has become a favourite stop for busloads of retirees, as well.  On this day, there were seventy people in a group ahead of me, so I moved to the side of the scrum that was closest to the Host’s station, and got him to seat me at a table by the west wall. Time was a factor.

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    The interior of the dining room, in which I enjoyed a “fill-you for the day” Navajo taco, is preserved from its Victorian-era beginnings. Not wanting to disturb other patrons during their lunch, I took these shots of the wall near my table,and of the glass ceiling- one occasion when that term is not offensive.  By the way, a Navajo taco is a hybrid dish, using fry bread (itself devised by enterprising Native Americans of various tribes, as a use for the worm-shot flour given them as ration, during the 19th Century.), pinto beans, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and shredded Cheddar cheese, with salsa or hot sauce available on the side. Some people add ground beef to their tacos; the Navajos usually do not.

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    I made it through the northern Arizona and Utah back country, not stopping, save for a picnic supper from my cooler, at the Hoovers Rest Area, north of Panguitch, UT.  The area was deserted, save for me and a skittish deer, which took off as I got out of the car.  There is a small restaurant and store across the road, but I ate my fill of my own stock, and kept going.

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    As you can see, Utah has lots of beauty, and I will be back in the intervening areas, over the course of the next two years or so.  Salt Lake City continued to beckon, though, and I drove on, arriving at 9:30 PM.  I settled into a cheap motel on South Hwy 89.  It turned out to be owned by fellow members of the Baha’i Faith, and I was warmly welcomed, and was safe among the urban nomads who reside there.  There were conflicts between a few of the people, which were resolved by the Baha’is getting the contending parties to sit down and talk it out, rather than having to get police intervention.  Nobody was anything but kind to me, though.

    The first session of the do Terra Convention began bright and early on Thursday morning, and included some Samoan fire dancers in performance.

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    Considering that Salt Palace was host to upwards of 18,000 people, I was quite happy to have even this vantage point.  The overriding message was clear:  The translation from Mandarin was “God helps he who help himself”.  This was how I was raised, and it is a major tenet of do Terra Essential Oils.  I will have more to say about the oils, in Part 2 of this series.

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  • Trailheads and Trails, Volume 1, Issue 22: Sunset Crater

    September 28, 2014-  Flagstaff has always been friendly to me.  So, on a Sunday afternoon, I drove up for a brief visit with some Hopis who were in town for a Native American Arts and Crafts Fair, which the Hopi Tribe was sponsoring.  Flag has worked at being more welcoming to Native Americans, over the past twenty years or so, and the mural seen across the street is one small example of the change in attitude.

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    There had been a terrific downpour, from Casa Grande to Tuba City, the day before, and Flagstaff had seen its share of the threat of flood waters.  It looked, on that Sunday however, that all was well, in the end. The sandbags were still in place, in front of the municipal courthouse.

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    After a latte at Macy’s, one of my favourites in Flagstaff, I headed out to Sunset Crater.  It’s near Wupatki, which I had visited a few weeks earlier.  Sunset is the remnant of a much larger volcano, which erupted full-blast in the 1060’s. The Lava Beds extend for ten miles or so.  Here is a Lava Flow trail, with a view of the San Francisco Peaks in the background.

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    From the same trail, Strawberry Crater, five miles to the northeast, is visible.

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    The scenery in volcanic parks tends to like like something straight out of JRR Tolkien’s Mordor.  It is an object lesson in the lingering power of volcanic activity.  In the long run, though, the soil is renewed.  That’s important to remember, when encountering scenes like this.  In fact, I learned that the Sinagua people chose Wupatki as a place to build angular pueblos, as a symbol of persistence, in the wake of the Sunset Crater eruptions.  The Hopi believe their Kana-a kachinas (spirits) are associated with the crater and its eruptions.  Navajos and Zuni also revere this peak, as well as all the mountains nearby. Settlers cherished the volcano as well, and actively thwarted a film company’s attempt to blow up the crater in 1929, during the making of “Avalanche”.  As a result, President Herbert Hoover set aside 3,000 acres for the present Sunset Crater National Monument.

    The trails in Sunset Crater National Monument tend to be benign and flat. The exception is the cardiopulmonary fitness experience known as Lenox Crater Trail- 300 feet straight up.  The Ponderosa pine regrowth is about 30 years old.

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    From the top of Lenox, Sunset Crater is visible, to the east.

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    Much more in the way of igneous rock is visible, along the Long Trail, which is less than a mile in length, actually.

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    This little crater comes with a “No playing inside” warning.  It is actually quite fragile.

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    Some iron deposit is visible, in this broken-off piece of lava.

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    Here is a long pit, on the west side of Long Trail.

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    Lightning had hit the cracked rock below.

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    From Cinder Hills overlook, at the eastern end of the Monument, copper and iron-inflected soil is visible, atop the cones for which the overlook is named.

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    With its eponym on the way, I got one last shot of Sunset Crater.  The peak cannot be hiked, due to its sensitive condition.  This is true of a great many volcanoes, both active and dormant.  The danger to peak and climber alike is just too real.  DO HEED THE RANGERS’ INSTRUCTIONS!SAM_2893

September 29, 2014

  • Trailheads and Trails, Volume 1, Issue 21: Wupatki of the Valley

    August 31, 2014-  Wupatki National Monument, centered on the “Tall House”, for which the Hopi gave this series of ruins its name, sprawls across a wide high desert valley, just north  of the San Francisco Peaks.  It is administered jointly with Sunset Crater National Monument, which lies 18 miles to the southeast, but is a worthy destination all its own, for those seeking to understand the predecessors of today’s Hopi, and other Pueblo dwellers.  The volcano known as Sunset Crater erupted in 1240 AD, and was thus responsible for the emptying out of settlements both here and in Walnut Canyon, the subject of my previous post.

    I will start this account at Lomaki Pueblo, the northwesternmost of the ruins, and proceed southeastward.

    Lomaki and Box Canyon- This is a small, rough area, and was probably a way station for traders heading towards, or way from, the Little Colorado valley and salt gathering locations in the Grand Canyon.  Box Canyon was the gardening area for the fifty or so residents who maintained Lomaki.

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    Nalakihu and The Citadel- This hillock, just south of Lomaki, provided the Wupatki settlers with a vantage point to both signal distant villages and to observe those approaching from the north and west.  Nalakihu, halfway up the hill, served as a farming enclave and a sort of suburb to the small, crowded Citadel.

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    The Citadel lived up to its name.  I can envision the guards keeping watch on those headed along the trail which preceded the present-day road that leads to the ruins of the main settlement.

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    Wupatki Pueblo-  This is the grand settlement, closest to the main water source, and the relative safety of Woodhouse Mesa.  Runoff from the Doney Cliffs, two miles west, gave the settlers plenty of water.  There were large farm fields around the dwellings and common rooms.  Then, as now, corn (maize) was a staple, in various colours.  The modern Puebloans, including the Hopi, have preserved these varieties, and blue corn is the most famous and popular of the breeds.  I was delighted with the company of a family from India, who had settled in Phoenix, recently.  I started at one of the outlying houses, going clockwise around the settlement, as is my preference.

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    The people would patch holes in the square, chimney-like structures, with solid applications of thick, gooey mud, which was almost impermeable, once dry.

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    The native stone of the area is porous sandstone, but was useful for shoring up the mud brick, and for walkways to the fields and to the trading route.

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    All major buildings had strategic portals, to the east, for praying and to the west, for observation of anyone who might be approaching.SAM_2721

    Physical exercise was often communal, and the men would engage in a ball game, not unlike soccer, or lacrosse, though it seemed to have been played with a small, handball-type implement.  Ball courts were common in settlements around the Southwest.SAM_2725

    A blowhole, which produces cool air in times of dry heat above, and sucks air down, when the outside air is wet and moist.  It was blowing nice and cold, when I went up to take this photo.  The father of the Indian family had never experienced such a thing, and wondered if a cave was underneath.  The Hopi call this site Naapontsa, or “Wind Spirit”.

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    Below, is the Community Room of Wupatki Pueblo, where spiritual meetings and important community forums were held.

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    The father of the family who were with me, graciously took some photos of me, in front of Great House.

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    No, I was not turned into Jabba the Hutt!

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    Here is a more extensive view of Great House.

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    Sunset is always magnificent.  Here, it had a particularly auspicious ambiance.

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    Wukoki- This settlement was the easternmost of the outposts in Wupatki Pueblo.  It also looked down on the valley, but was not quite as prominent as The Citadel.  It most likely received visitors from the Walnut Canyon and Homolovi settlements, to the south and east, as well as traders from further afield.  As the sun continue dto set, Wukoki also offered some eerie views.

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    The rocks have character, as they do throughout the Southwest.  They also gave Wukoki an added layer of protection.

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    The watch tower was especially sophisticated for its day.  Bear in mind that this square building style pre-dated European contact.  Squares and rectangles provided the means to protect against wind and water erosion.

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    This sort of building style is actually the more common, among even later Pueblo groups.  The round structures, also associated with the indigenous peoples of the Southwest, arrived with Athapascan groups, such as the Dineh (Navajo) and Indeh (Apache), later in the pre-Columbian era. I will continue to visit the sites of those who have gone before, over the course of the next several months.  Next, though, is a look at the cause of their diaspora:  Sunset Crater

  • Trailheads and Trails, Volume 1, Issue 20: Walnut Canyon, Flagstaff

    August 31, 2014- I spent Sunday of Labor Day weekend, nearly a month ago, walking and re-acquainting myself with two Flagstaff-area National Monuments that pertain to the Sinagua people, who were ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni and Tewa people of today.  I have been to both Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments, several times, but not since Penny passed on.  It was time to make another visit.

    I went to Walnut Canyon first, as it is the more archaeologically-sensitive and needs to be shuttered and locked up, each night.  The centerpiece is the Island Trail, which takes visitors to a “sky island”, separate from the Colorado Plateau.  It is there that most of the Sinagua ruins are to be found.  The rest, in cliffs, to the east and

    west of the sky island, can be easily seen from there, but are not accessible to the public.  First, is the view of the canyon, from the Visitors’ Center.

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    The next several shots are of the Sky Island and its ruins.  It is my practice to walk around an area clockwise.  Most people prefer to go counterclockwise, so I find myself coming across more folks coming from the other direction.

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    The overhangs made natural places of refuge, and many were used as open-air kitchens, hence the soot marks that are visible in some scenes.

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    This informational sign describes the snowberry, a medicinal plant, used by the Sinagua for treating gastrointestinal ailments.

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    Now for some views across the canyon, to the dwellings outside Sky Island.

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    Lastly, Mother Nature throws in some rock formations that just seem to have personality.

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    Walnut Canyon may be said to have been one of the safer spots for the Sinagua, given its relative inaccessibility in pre-Columbian days.

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    NEXT:  Wupatki

September 25, 2014

  • An Eastward Homage, Appendix: Two Washington-Area Gardens

    August 2-3, 2014- So as not to belabour the point, this post will be concerned with my visit to two beautiful gardens, while in Washington, last month, for the interment of my father-in-law.  The first is solemn, and relatively new:  The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, which is a five-minute walk from my hotel in Arlington.  The second is a golden oldie:  The United States Botanic Garden, an arm of the Smithsonian Institution, with plants from around the globe.

    First, the Pentagon Memorial.  It is, somehow, the most controversial of the three memorials to the fallen of that horrific day. I think that those who disbelieve it ever happened are just not capable of processing a real-time tragedy, on such a grand scale.  The same is certainly true of the Holocaust.  Yet, these events did take place, and innocent lives were lost.  The plane disintegrated into tiny fragments, the wall was decimated on the west side of the Pentagon, and the area is now a suitable memorial for those who took off, and never landed, on September 11, 2001.

    Here are some of the scenes, starkly beautiful.

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    The scene below shows a small memorial in the far background, a three-pronged steel sculpture set up by the Marriott Corporation, near its Pentagon-area hotel.

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    No matter who one thinks is responsible for these heinous acts, the important things to me are the loss of innocent life, and the need to say, and mean, “Never again!”.

    On Sunday, August 3, I spent a more joyful hour at the United States Botanic Garden, along the Smithsonian Row, south of the US Capitol.  Here are several scenes of that exquisite place.  As you can see, there are plants from rain forests, English and Japanese gardens and deserts alike.  I was drawn to the Mistletoe Cactus, though I can’t envision two lovers embracing in its midst.

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    This was the perfect counterpart to my secular pilgrimage along the National Mall. I think the saner members of Congress must find there way here, on a regular basis.  My Eastward Homage would end the next day, as I said farewell and see you again, to one of the most powerful men I’ve ever known.