Peralta Trail

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We went for a hike yesterday up the Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle. It’s a great hike that is a 4.8 mile out and back trail with 1340 feet of elevation gain. The trail is rated as moderate and offers very scenic views.

The rock formations are varied and stunning.


Not sure what this flower is called, but it looks like the perfect fly fishing dry fly.
The top of the trail, at Fremont Saddle, offers a stunning view of Weavers Needle.

From Wikipedia:

Weavers Needle is a 1,000-foot-high column of rock that forms a distinctive peak visible for many miles around. Located in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, Arizona, Weavers Needle was created when a thick layer of tuff (fused volcanic ash) was heavily eroded, creating the spire as an erosional remnant with a summit elevation of 4,555 feet. It is set in a desert landscape of cactus and mesquite bush, with large Saguaro cacti particularly prominent. The peak was named after mountain man Pauline Weaver .

Weavers Needle has played a significant role in the stories of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. The Needle’s shadow reportedly indicates the location of a rich vein of gold, and many treasure hunters have searched for it. The hunt for gold around Weavers Needle has been pursued by hundreds (possibly thousands) of people. Weavers Needle has a large split in the side that makes it look like it has two tops, not one. This can only be viewed from the side.

As I gazed up at the rocks, I was wondering how often there are earthquakes in Arizona…

0217151130Here’s a closeup of the seed pod of a dead Century Plant.

Past this balancing rock, you can see mountain range after range after range…
Sophie was getting mighty tired until she found WATER. She was refreshed and energized after a short swim. 🙂
Throughout the trail there are pockets of shade. Ever so lovely to take a break from the bright Arizona sunshine.

Early wildflowers are just starting to bloom.

Parts of the trail are quite rocky and challenging.


I loved the upside down sign on this Jeep: “If you can read this… Roll me over!”


At the end of the trail, something happened that has never happened before. NEVER EVER!

While we stopped to look at the map, Sophie laid down even though there were other people around. She’s never laid down when there are new friends to meet!

She’s one tired puppy…

Here she is back at home sleeping on her pillow on Homer’s dash.

0217151500[1]That’s how we know it was a successful outing.

A tired dog is a good dog. 🙂

No Room for A Cups

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We went to a Renaissance Festival that’s down the highway a bit.

RFIt has come every year to the Phoenix area for the last 27 years.

It was an amazing spectacle of period costumes, games, food, and more.

We weren’t the only ones who decided to take advantage of today’s two for the price of one special. Felt like bazillions of people…


All of the workers and many of the visitors were in period costume.


This guy on stilts was amazing.


It’s hard to see in this picture, but all of the rides were human powered. There were four guys in the middle of this ride and they pushed the levers to make the ride go round and round.

I’m not sure there were elephants at true Renaissance Fairs, but there were several here.

Who knew? Elephants’ nipples are under their front legs, not the back legs like a beef cow. I sure didn’t know until I got up close and way too personal with “Eliza”…

0216151059aThe belly dancers reminded me of the fire poi dancers at Burning Man. Mesmerizing…

0216151104All sorts of food carts, even healthy food, were scattered throughout the fair.

Jugglers performed for crowds.

Artisans produced their wares for sale.

0216151131Just for me, Ye Pop Inn so I could buy Diet Pepsi. 🙂


My favorite part of the fair was where artisans demonstrated how things were made and cooked during the time period.






My favorite booth was where a man demonstrated Brass Rubbings.

Brass rubbings are made by attaching special paper to the selected monumental brass, and then rubbing the surface with a colored wax. Where the brass is flat, the color of the wax is picked up and where a line is engraved, the color of the paper remains. The resultant image is a Brass Rubbing of the monumental brass.

These were at least four feet tall.


Simply beautiful.


Look closely at the breasts of the woman selling Henna Tattooing. They are shoved up by a bustier and literally flowing out of her top.

0216151158aAfter looking at some impressive cleavages throughout the fair, I realized that there’s no way I would get a job there.

I’m too flat chested, and there’s no room for A cups. 🙂

Jane Goodall Moments

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Rich walks Sophie first thing every morning, and I take her last thing every night.

I think I’ve got the better time slot.

Walking around the park after the sun sets allows me to peek inside RVs and park models to see what people are doing. Most either have doors open and/or windows uncurtained.

So each night I have my own series of Jane Goodall moments.

imagesHere’s what I’ve observed:

Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday balloons are displayed outside so that everyone knows you got a gift.

Men do more dinner dishes than women.


Women surf the Internet while men change channels continuously on the television.

Women read books more while men take more cat naps on the couch.

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Oh, and the smaller the dog, the more it barks. 🙂

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Desert Beauty

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Sophie and I went for a walk along a trail that’s not far from our RV resort. It wanders around the edge of a subdivision and offers a continual view of the Superstition Mountains.

We happened upon all of these images on our walk…


I love this trail because it’s dirt (there’s something about walking on dirt that’s so much more grounding–no pun intended–than walking on asphalt or cement).


I don’t know much about cacti, so I’m not sure if this is going to be a flower or new growth. 0214150945

It’s surprising how varied the leaves are in their greeness. These were waxy and a very bright green. 0214150948a

The wildflowers are just beginning to open up. 0214150953A few days ago, this ocotillo had just teeny tiny shoots. Now the leaves are wide open and soaking in lots of sunshine. I’m not sure how long it will be before they bloom at the tips with dark orange flowers. 0214151005

Yellow seems to be the predominant color for most flowers blooming right now. 0214151007

I’m not sure if this is a native plant, but the blooms are just incredibly beautiful.

Yellow flowered bush that looks like sagebrush. 0214151015a

These actually weren’t on our walk, but they were just too pretty to pass up. One of the residents here planted them near her park model home. They look like they have been varnished and are just gorgeous! 0214151031

Pixie Bob

Gold Canyon, Arizona

The other day I met Gracie–a Pixie-Bob cat.


According to The International Cat Association,

The active, social Pixiebob is doglike in its loyal devotion to its family and makes a great companion for children while embracing the company of other pets. They bond strongly with their families and easily learn to fetch and to walk on a harness and leash. While the Pixiebob is an active cat wanting to take part in all your activities, it is also a very laid-back relaxed cat participating calmly in the family. They are an inquisitive, companionable cat that wants to be with you and to communicate with you in their own language of chirps, chitters and the occasional growl.

In the mid 1980’s a cat breeder in Washington state purchased two male cats that had some unique characteristics. They were very large and they were polydactal–had extra toes. She thinks that they were a cross between a domestic cat and a bobcat.

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One of these males mated with a barn cat and produced kittens with tufted ears, naturally bobbed tail, and grey tabby coloring with brown spots.


The breeder kept one female from the litter and named her Pixie. Pixie became the foundation for her program to create this new breed.

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Gracie, the Pixie-Bob I met, is a sweetheart. She sits on command. She’s very playful. And she’s a loving companion for her owners.


Gold Canyon, Arizona

I went to two gatherings the other night at our RV park. One by mistake, and one on purpose.

The meeting I wanted to go to was in The Prickly Pear Room which wasn’t where I thought it was.

So I happened upon the weekly Bunco gathering .


The woman at the door asked, “Are you here for bunco? ” in the cheeriest and most sing-songy voice I’ve ever heard.

She looked so incredibly sad when I told her “No” that I almost stayed…

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She did, however, tell me how to get to the Prickly Pear Room.

So I went to the meeting for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. The room was packed.

images (2)But here’s the funny thing…

I’ve never been in a room where nearly everyone there was hard of hearing.

Everyone was talking so LOUDLY that we could barely hear the person next to us.

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A man came in just before the meeting and sat next to me. He had his hearing aids in unlike half of the other people there.

He leaned over and quietly  said, “Wow, is it LOUD in here.” 🙂

Get a Goat!

Gold Canyon, Arizona

The funniest running story I ever heard was from a woman named Kelle who lived in Fallon.

Much of Fallon is rural and there are wide dirt areas along each side of the paved roads.

finally-in-fallon-nvKelle was training for a marathon and putting in some long runs. She was doing an early evening run along Harrigan Road on a summer night.

As she ran down the road that’s populated with small farms, a goat decided to join her. The goat tagged along and kept up with her brisk pace.


Kelle tried running faster, but the goat kept up with her. She stopped running, and the goat stopped and waited for her to begin running again. She yelled at it to go away, but the goat calmly kept following along.

Finally, she decided to just continue on her run and pretend the goat wasn’t there.

The goat still followed her but wandered out into the street in the way of oncoming cars. One guy had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the goat.


He yelled angrily out to Kelle, “GET A DOG!”


I thought of that story yesterday while Sophie and I were on a trail run.

Sophie is a ball of fire at the start of the run. She bites at my feet and is a general pain in the butt. Then about 1/3 of the way in, she poops out and drags behind looking like she’s on her last breath.

That’s when we ran into another hiker who said I was going too fast for her to keep up.

Sophie probably would have agreed with him had she understood what he said. 🙂

But the minute we turned around to go run back to the start of our run, she ran like a gazelle and I had a hard time keeping up with her.


Guess she wasn’t all that tired after all.

Maybe I should “Get a Goat!”

What a Bass!

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We visited Bass Pro Shops in Mesa the other day. It’s less than 30 miles from us.


It’s an amazing store in many, many ways…

I’m a nut for antlers and there are oodles of them throughout the store–inside and out.


The taxidermy was overwhelming, and the water features stunning.

0210150943b It’s hard to see them in this picture, but there were live trout bigger than I’ve ever caught. 0210150942The light wasn’t the best for photography, but towards the top of the building on each side there are ledges full of dozens of taxidermied animals.



And the thing that amazed me was the level of detail throughout the whole store.

The animals were all set in very detailed native landscaping.


The game cameras were all displayed on birch posts.


The Carhartt display even has bags of Quikrete concrete so that construction workers feel right at home. 🙂


There are dozens of waterfowl displayed in midflight, hanging from the ceiling.


The railing was simple and yet stylish. (This picture is so that Rich can build me some whenever we get a house… 🙂  )


I’ve never been to the original Cabela’s store, but I’ve been to several newer ones. If I gave Cabela’s stores a score it would be a 7.5 compared to Bass Pro Shops score of 10.

The diversity of product, the low prices, and the attention to detail make Bass Pro Shops simply amazing.

Lost 10 Pounds!

Gold Canyon, Arizona

No, I didn’t really lose weight. Just feels like it because I whacked my hair off yesterday morning.

It’s been bugging me tons, and I’d had enough…

Now I know why most men wear their hair short.


It feels so liberating!

PS Don’t ever take a selfie looking up your nose. I had no idea my right nostril is almost twice the size off my left nostril. 🙂

American Beauty Moments

Gold Canyon, Arizona

The last movie I saw in a theater was American Beauty in 1999–a long, long time ago…


American Beauty is a strange and amazingly good movie about a suburban father who has a mid-life crisis after becoming sexually infatuated with his daughter’s best friend.

Although I HATE going to the movie theater to watch a movie, I actually watched American Beauty twice: first with Carol, then two weeks later by myself.

Some of the movie scenes still haunt me 15 years later.

Here’s the video of the scene that I think of almost every day of my life:

And the startling transcript of the three minute scene:

“Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me … like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever. Video is a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember … I need to remember…

Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world … I feel like I can’t take it… and my heart is just going to cave in.”

Whenever I see things of intense beauty and/or intense pain, I think of the movie and inscribe that image into my memory as an American Beauty moment.

Wildflowers and cacti are beginning their bloom, and I can tell that the rest of our stay in Arizona is going to have lots of American Beauty moments, gazing at the desert in transition from winter to spring…


Artwork shamefully copied from Johnathan Harris, fine artist…