What Remains?

After you have exhausted what there is
In business, politics, conviviality, and so on
Have found that none of these finally satisfy,
Or permanently wear
What remains? Nature remains.
Walt Whitman- Song of Myself

Deadman’s Pass in Boynton Canyon,  Sedona Arizona is quiet in the morning. A walk-a-bout more than a hike, a connecting path between Boynton Canyon and  Long Canyon.  Good to be out in the clean clear air while frost is on the thick stands of manzanita and the deer and birds show themselves.

Hot Loop Trail, located off Jacks Canyon Road in the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona Arizona is a favorite.  Sharing A Hike On  Hot Loop While Old  provides an appreciation, such gratitude  on still having the strength, agility, and wits about me to make the thousand foot climb upward to views that are stand up straight shoulder squaring.   No other hikers but us the entire trek, which is excellent, considering the heavy density of use on so many of Sedona’s trails. The peace, quiet, and bird song, as well as that physical workout deeply energize. An ace choice of hiking trails for the New Year of 2019.

Carroll Canyon, Old Post, and the Ridge Trails are very much ‘in town’,  neighborhood trails. Quick access to outdoors whether on a lunch break from employment at a close by coffee shop, a break for a take away slice or tamale picnic in a day of errands, or out for establishing that exercise every morning routine.  There is activity here. Noise from the sky from the tourist helicopter tours taking off and landing from nearby Sedona Airport,  mountain bike enthusiasts enjoy these trails for their proximity to bike rentals, but then there will be a stretch of quiet time, red rock beauties, solitude, and flowers blooming in winter, or  a red tailed hawk swooping deep through Carroll Canyon to surprise and delight and elude the camera lens.

 The holidays over, the family and friends returned home or traveled on, decorations packed away and fond memories held onto. To Mescal Trail one of the most beautiful areas in Sedona, and one we enjoy in the winter. There was an observation made over the holidays that my website often made it seem as though we were the only ones out hiking in Sedona and that their recent traffic jammed up tight experiences between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona said otherwise. It was an accurate observation.

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The slideshow above is a  sample of what ‘peopling’ a Sedona Arizona photo essay looks look like. A visual ‘loved to death’ scenario unfolding all around Mescal Trail and much of the area this week as thousands of tourists finish off 2018 in Sedona Arizona.  Clearly we are not the only ones who have chosen to welcome the New Year with being out in nature.

My  personal New Years Resolution is to spend as many days as possible outside in nature.  These three beautiful hiking trails and a walk about recently have reinforced to me that I have made a most excellent choice, a totally enjoyable commitment for 2019.

Thank you for visiting. All my best to each and every one of you for this New Year of 2019.

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But Here In America

It’s heartbreaking
That so many hundreds of millions
Of people around the world
Are desperate for the right to vote,
But here in America
People stay home on election day.
Moby

This joy of photographing Flagstaff Arizona Murals and sharing them with you  appears to be unfolding as an occasional series. Traveled up Oak Creek Canyon where the creek-side trees are just catching the eye to signal the Foliage change has begun, but still leaning towards green. Everything is fresh and clean from recent rains, and the fire risk has lowered. There are apples for sale at Slide Rock and Indian Gardens, and the best cider ever.

The Sound of Flight, this month’s  photo essay is located on the east wall of the Orpheum Theater above Aspen Street, in Flagstaff Arizona. It is expansive, a great big bursting with color and detail, two stories flowing into one beauty of a painting.  Claimed to be the largest mural in the state of Arizona. A two full years to plan, finance, and create by Sky Black and the Mural Mice,  R.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar.  So much talented creativity joined and expressed through 150 gallons of high end acrylic paint, millions of brush strokes, on a four thousand five hundred foot space. Yes, that is individual brush strokes.

The opening portion of the mural completed in 2014, shows a large grand piano , it’s top thrown open and many species of birds surging out from the inside, then on into full flight across the wall. The choice of beginning with a grand piano on the  Orpheum Theaters exterior  acknowledges it as a place of performance and the arts.

Sound of Flight- Sky Black and Mural Mice- Autumn 2018

The birds flow out of the piano as would musical notes, and as I stood at a distance gazing, I could see their movement and flight. Up close every perfectly proportion detail adding to the flock. A symphony of birds.

In 2015 a second portion was added, again with the continued generous support of the Flagstaff Community in support of public art for everyone.  There is  Michelangelo’s “David” accompanied by the Lady In Red Muse as well as many small details that are personally significant to someone in the Flagstaff community whether as a sponsored ‘in memory of’ bird or actually painted by a community member.

“The Thinker”  leads the eye on a journey into the Canyon Lands on the southern edge. The gray wolf featured is  Echo, found in the Grand Canyon, part of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.

There is humor, irony and mischief within the landscapes, and I will leave it to you to find them or create new ones for yourself. There are some images that for me are just plain whimsical and wonderful.

“Sound of Flight” Flagstaff Arizona, USA- Sky Black, R. E. Wall, Margaret Dewer-Autumn 2018

If you are traveling towards or through Flagstaff Arizona, or if you are living close enough by and have never taken the opportunity to view “Sounds of Flight” it is  definitely worth a walk about to see this stunning piece of artwork. Two other murals in Flagstaff I have written about:The Mother Road: Route 66,  Nothing Is Inevitable Here,

Thank you to the Artists, The Flagstaff Arts Council the Flagstaff Business Community, as well as everyone who helped make this beautiful mural available to the public, to be enjoyed by everyone.

A safe, peaceful, prosperous, and creative month of November to each and everyone of you. Your showing up and support of my website JoHannaMassey.com is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Music: Everybody Wants To Rule The World- Tears for Fears

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“Some Words Are Wind, Sir. Some Are Treason.” -George R. R. Martin

“Some Words Are Wind, Sir
Some Are Treason.”
George R. R. Martin- A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms

 

 

Been wanting to get up to Walnut Canyon for awhile. Monsoon arrived with enough rain that the fire restrictions on the Parks, Forests, and Walnut Canyon were lifted and……We were out the door, with a quick stop for socks and bootlaces…. then the drive upward,  from Sedona to the top of Oak Creek Canyon.  On the edge, now,  of the Colorado Plateau. By the time we reach Flagstaff we are  six thousand nine hundred and ten feet’s worth of higher than sea level. The air is cool, clear, and crisp. Scented with freshly rain bathed  Ponderosa Pine, Firs, Cypress, and Juniper Trees. Worth coming up here just to breathe the air.

 

Walnut Canyon National Monument is Nine miles east of Flagstaff Arizona, on Route 40, heading towards Albuquerque New Mexico in the United States. Walnut Canyon National Monument offers visitors real insight at the value and importance of citizen participation and a United American Voice in protecting our National Monuments. There is a visitor’s  center, gift shop, two trails to view the ruins, and to get  close up and personal with the Canyon.

 

In the 1800’s it was quite a legal and popular activity to loot the land and stuff of the people who came before them.  Walnut Canyon was rich in the stuff of the daily routines of  former cultures, and many a  individual and group,  carted them off to have impressive conversation pieces in their homes, or to sell, trade, barter, to stash away art on speculation of increasing value, or to display in collections. Much damage and destruction resulted in addition to the loss of the treasure.

Walnut Canyon  is a seductress with it’s depth, textures, the way the light plays and teases, the silence, and the slowly revealed backstory of people, geology, ecosystems.  The treasure. The local people loved the Canyon; were outraged by the exploitation.

They appealed to the United States Government for assistance in preserving Walnut Canyon for all to enjoy, and on November 30, 1915 United States President Woodrow Wilson declared Walnut Canyon a National Monument. To be preserved, maintained, and available to the public worldwide to love, appreciate, and enjoy. In 2016 one hundred and fifty two thousand global visitors came to Walnut Canyon.

 

Walnut Canyon shelters and protects dwellings over eight hundred years old. Tucked along the cliffs, using the overhangs and recesses as waterproof walls and ceilings.  Only a few are pictured here, there are many to view and a very real sense of how large and interconnected a community the people who lived here were with one another.

 

Artifacts from the daily lives of the Archaic people who traveled through the southwest seasonally  Thousands of years ago have been located here in Walnut Canyon.

Sinaqua  (Spanish for ‘people without water’)  arrived to the Flagstaff area approximately One Thousand Four Hundred years ago. They were primarily dry farmers, attracted to this area by the fertile soil, plants, and wildlife. The cliffs were a safe place to  live,  with the women doing the majority of the construction of the dwellings.  The Sinaqua  left the area, leaving behind  many of their homes, artwork, tools, possessions, and household items behind.

 

The dwellings line both sides of Walnut Canyon, about one hundred and eighty five foot down from the top. It allows the mind to open even more to idea of a community of people, and to experience exquisite nature quiet of  the breeze in the trees, the call of birds, and an occasional falling rock.

 

There are engaging very well organized and executed series of displays along the trail. Worth reading and considering.  They fill in the gaps of  detail for the imagination to create a rich and full vivid imagery of what a day looked like from where I am now stand now, on the cliffs edge. The displays don’t intrude.

 

There are big views, the kind that stop me  mid-step and call my attention in silent reverence to just how big and grand it all is.  Striations on the gray rock above showing changes in the direction of the wind for the past millions years. Simply magic.

 

And then there is the sound of a deep throated thunder growl rolling  down  in the Canyon and coming on fast and close, rushing on past calling out the news of coming weather.

We heed the warning, climb the two hundred forty steep vertical steps to the Rim of the Canyon,  and soon we are on way to Flagstaff for lunch, just as the storm arrives quite dramatically with big sky lightning, thunder, and solid serious rain.

There are currently 129 designated National Monuments in the United States. There is change afoot, seeking to undo a commitment made One Hundred and Twelve Years ago to protect rare wildlife habitat, Native American Archaeological ruin,  unique environments worthy of preservation and/or study.  Historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest coast to coast are at risk.

These are the United States of America’s  best loved and valuable places that have been enjoyed and shared for many generations with the commitment to keep them safe for generations going forward.

Reflecting a change of policy and purpose,  the U.S. Department of the Interior has targeted 27 National Monuments  for ‘review’, change in designation and use.  These proposals  will shrink the boundaries, reduce the protections, and open up permitting for formerly prohibited activities.  Over 100,000 acres of well loved, protected, and valued National Monuments at risk.

I believe that, like the public who spoke up to protect Walnut Canyon so many years ago, that the people continue to value and want protections of their National Monuments. May our voices be heard.

A safe, engaged, and prosperous August to each and everyone of you.

Music: Boz Scaggs

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Do Not Tell Fish Stories

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you;
But particularly,
Don’t tell them where they know the fish.
Mark Twain

A simply delightful pause with a walk about, and take away picnic lunch  at Page Spring  Fish Hatchery.

Page Springs Fish Hatchery, named for the Page family that first established the hatchery in the 1930’s, is now managed by the Hatchery Program of the Arizona Fish, Game, and Wildlife, an agency of the State of Arizona’s government. The Hatchery is approximately 190 Acres and includes two parcels of land:  Page Springs Hatchery and Bubbling Ponds Hatchery.  

In 1990-91 the Hatchery was renovated into  a showcase facility featuring raceways, canopies, a visitor center, and a self-guided tour path. The Audubon Society identified habitat at the hatcheries and riparian area along lower Oak Creek as an Important Bird Area (IBA), and it draws thousands of visitors to view the wildlife or like us, a quiet watery respite.

There is a Showpond where visitors are encouraged to feed the fish. Bring quarters, and don’t forget to sign the guestbook. The sound of the flowing water is big in this area and quite wonderful, the pond crystal clear and the fish healthy and enthusiastic. I enjoyed photographing the mural and could not find who had done the work, obviously enjoying themselves in the detail and variety of critters featured.

 

The Visitor Center has an engaging display of area wildlife, including some beauties of bird photography in an exhibit by Audubon, and of course a large volume of information on the Hatchery and fishing in Arizona displayed well and quite interesting.

A few Hatchery Facts:

The Hatchery raises rainbow and brown trout. They grow about an inch per month, take less than a year to reach catch-able size.

Fed high protein diet.

Hatchery does not keep brood fish. They get their fingerlings from Silver Springs Hatchery in Oak Creek Canyon.

The Hatchery stocks around 600 to 700 hundred thousand fish per year, in rivers, streams, and lakes year round throughout the entire state of Arizona. The Hatchery is the largest in the State of Arizona and supplies 60% of the rainbow trout that are raised by State Hatcheries.

There is a short hiking trail, and once you leave the Hatchery you may be interested in one of the many tasting rooms as the area boasts  excellent wineries, the vineyards quite beautiful to behold.

A safe and peaceful June to each and everyone.

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Your Sunrise and The Wind

What is the good
Of your stars and trees
Your sunrise and the wind,
If they do not enter
Into our daily lives?
E. M. Forster

Belhaven North Carolina Sunrise

Belhaven North Carolina Sunset

In response to this Week’s WordPress Photo Challenge- Rise /Set

May joy fill Your hearts, may You travel Your days in Safety and Confidence, and may Peace rise with You in the Morning, and rest within You at dusk.

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News/Music- Handel’s Messiah – Sir Colin Davis- London Symphony

The Best Thing

“Those who have never known the deep intimacy
And the intense companionship
Of happy mutual love
Have missed the best thing
That life has to give.”
Bertrand Russell

With local knowledge‘ is no longer holding, as the usual weather for this time of the year stalls midst Indian Summer and Winter.  Enough to notice, and choose hiking trails differently.

Doe Mountain #60 (which is actually a mesa),  is a favorite Late Spring/Summer  hike as the trail is shaded and cool for the better part of the day. Except here we are in February, getting to the trail-head by paved road, to a busy, heavily info/warning/and restriction signage, filling with vehicles parking area.

Doe Mountain from Mescal Trail

Reminiscing as life long companions do…..about back in the day when the pavement ended miles ago, the road maintenance was a grating once a year, and the dust, Greasy Spoon red mud, flash flooding, long horned steers, rattlesnakes, or sky big wildness of it all, kept just about everyone back on Dry Creek Road but the Tour Guides jeeping tourists out to the Honanki and Palatki Ruins;  or the Bradshaws in the midst of their ranching day. Doe Mountain is a fee service area now, your credit cards welcomed on site for convenience…..

What does remain unchanged is the Red Rock formations and the great good time of hiking and climbing them. Today it is to the top of the Doe for a picnic lunch with a view.

The less than mile climb up Doe Mountain is not difficult, nor is it a long one. I did pack the camera away for most of the way… needing  my hands, feet, and attention choosing wisely together for the series of quick switchbacks  that rise four hundred feet to the top. It is good to pause periodically on firm footing and take a good look around.

From the top you can see a lot of why so many global citizens come to Sedona, or why we have returned this sunny, warm, stark blue sky day to one of our favorite places to just sit in gratitude, lunch, then  sprawl out in lizard pose to embrace it all while the penetrating heat of the sun warm red rocks flows in through bare skin.

An easy  hike about the top mesa  shows views of  Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb.  Sedona is visible to the east and off to the south, Munds Mountain and Sycamore Pass, with heart  teasing  views of the Valley floor below.

An excellent choice for locals and visitors alike, for it’s easy access paved from town clear to the trail-head , excellent views and photo opportunities, a just high enough change in altitude to get an expanded look and new perspective of where you are, and with deep tissue warming rocks included at no additional fee.

Length: 0.7 miles to the top of the mesa, 1.3 miles around the edge.

If your go:
Let someone who is not hiking with you know where you are going.
Choose  sturdy already broken in foot-gear, avoid girly sandals or bare-feet, and remember a low center of gravity is your friend. Black clothing absorbs the sun-rays, you can overheat over a poor wardrobe choice.
A couple bottles of water per person.
A dandy take away from one of the many local eateries.
Turn your cell phone off.

And you are looking at the opportunity to enjoy a the Perfect Sedona Day.

Do you want or need a Tour Guide? That’s a question only individuals can ask and answer for themselves. And for me to use to promote  Krista Stevens idea for this  Weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Tour Guide.

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Peace and Blessings to each and everyone. Have an excellent weekend.

News/Music

Rising From Marsh Mud

“I rose from marsh mud
algae, equisetum, willows,
sweet green, noisy
birds and frogs.”
Lorine Niedecker

There are times when only a good marsh soothes and centers, showing true north clearly once again. Tavasci Marsh is not the blue/black boot sucking mud tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay; or the aloof… frigid… moving ice, scattered sedge, and reindeer, of the Spitzbergen.

Tavasci Marsh is a fresh water marsh, with no tidal interface or brackish/salty water, located in the high desert region of the Arizona Southwest. There is a delicious sense of time thinning, stretching, going fluid at Tavasci Marsh.

Toozigoot, a pueblo built by the Sinagua people around 1000 AD visible on a nearby hilltop, the sound of the Verde River, rustling reeds, and birdsong invites the mind, body, emotions, and spirit to join together again… to desire a vision of something good and new and engaging in the going forward. Indeed, there is a pleasure, peace, and promise, that comes of lingering with the not quite solid ground of a good marsh.

 Peace and Blessings to Each and Everyone.

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