Organ Pipe National Park – A Desert Showcase

Okay so it’s in the middle of nowhere, UNLESS you are traveling to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico).  Every single time we pass it I say “I wish we could stop”, but the lure of the Mexican sand beach & fresh ceviche keeps us on course.  We discover our friends felt the same way so we decided to stop on the way back!  The Organ Pipe National Monument is a large stand of these unique type of cactus.Similar to the saguaro this forest of organ pipes thrives in the South West corner of the Sonoran Desert. lrg_dsc05137A stop at the Visitor’s Center to check in and then off to a 2 mile loop trail for an overview.The views are incredible from the top of the loop.lrg_dsc05142From here you can see the border wall and into Mexico. You can’t miss it.
img_0527‘It’s easy to see where the cactus got it’s name.

I was surprised to see the difference in structure of the interior of the Saguaro versus the Organ Pipe.

Bonus, the Ironwood trees were in bloom creating pink patches of color.

Believe it or not this area was a large cattle ranch owned by the Gray family for a century.  The last cattle taken off the land with the death of Robert Jr. Gray in 1976.  lrg_dsc05148It seems there is a lot left to discover so we will return, camp, and explore another day.  For now we will just relish in the refreshing hike and head home.

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Close-up of the Organ Pipe Cactus
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The Hohokam did live on this land for a time and leave petroglyphs. This rock was lying near the path. Who knows if it is part of an actual petroglyph or simply a rock scribble.
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The saguaros in the area are blooming.

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When They Serve

Today we celebrated the life of my dear friend’s  98 year  old father, a decorated veteran.  I learned so much today about service, military honor, and what it means to love to serve. He was one of thousands who survived WWII  but I KNEW him my whole life and never asked. As the color guard unfurled the flag taps played beautifully.(Fort Huachuca color guard).folded-flag-2Tears rolled down my face as I realized the enormity of what he had done. When Sargent Kelly handed the flag to the family I lost it.  I KNEW this beautiful man and never asked. How easy it is for us to never ask? This man always had a smile for me, a scrawny awkward little girl.  He was my neighbor, father to my friends, and part of my life. mr-rogers-hello-neighbor

Some of my family members have served, some even active duty.  It is popular to say to veterans”thank you for serving” but just saying it because one is supposed to isn’t enough. Today I FELT it. I felt his sacrifice.  His life continued  serving others even after he became a civilian.  A 98 year old man has a lot to say with his actions if you pay attention. What he said to us is that what is important is family, loving, treating all people with respect. This simple man who I grew up knowing as the neighbor continues to teach beyond his life on this earth.  Isn’t that just the kind of person you come across in the Bible?At the end of the service we sang an Irish toasting song, pouring a little of our spirits into a glass for him and then toasting together.  I loved that. He would have loved that. 5_champagne_glasses

Here’s to you William Leek. william-leek-tucson-az-obituaryThank you & Well done.

 

A Most Extraordinary Gift

Only 2 years apart, G grew up with his Uncle O with G’s older brother in between. Their mothers provided the three tiny children with a frying pan, some bacon & eggs,  and watched as the very young boys climbed the side of the mountain behind their side by side houses. Soon there would be a small glimmer of a fire and the boys made their own breakfast.  All day the boys would be immersed in their cowboy existence on that Phoenix mountain. mountain (2) By today’s standards the boys would be considered too young to be making a fire, climbing trails, staying on a mountain all day, shooting 22’s at an imaginary enemy.  It is their experience to share and their memories together.

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G’s Bronzed Boots from those days.

This week O presented G with a most extraordinary handmade knife. Using an antler and a piece of steel, he forged and polished to such a sharp edge it slices through a piece of paper so easily, sharper than a razor.img_9926When someone shares a piece of their artistic soul, their art, you just KNOW that you are holding a piece of their heart in your hand.img_9927Thank you Uncle O for such a memorable gift.

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Wait up guys! 

 

Wheelbarrow Yoga Anyone?

Calling all Yoga Enthusiasts!  Wheelbarrow Yoga FREE this weekend!   Join us for a free session 10-noon this Saturday only.  First come first served.  Includes Bharadvaja’s twist (filling wheelbarrows with dirt), deep Malasana pose (digging dirt) along with weight bearing exercises (emptying wheelbarrow).  Your choice of wheelbarrow color & shovel size.   Session bound to fill up soon, ACT FAST!

Ancient Wonder Next Door

We often travel far to see an ancient site sometimes asking a local for a review only to find  that they haven’t even heard of their local attraction.  We were surprised until we realized we had done the SAME THING in our hometown.  Since our revelation we are determined to explore more sites nearby   In fact we had a lot of fun recently at the Signal Hill Petroglyphs located in the Saguaro National Park West just  few miles away.P1220906-001

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Go that way

lrg_dsc04590We took a picnic and enjoyed a few little animals and birds. Great place to enjoy a picnic lunch at the well kept covered tables.
7017086_medium_1462828617thJust to the east is an easy path leading to the petroglyphs.   lrg_dsc04599
lrg_dsc04596They are said to have been created by the Hohokam people. We stop to to imagine what the artist was trying to convey with these symbols.2017-12-31_12-41-33_000Looking over the valley from this site I can see how it would have been chosen as a beacon for travelers.lrg_dsc04594   I have to say it’s been fun discovering adventure right in our own back yard.

New Year & I’m Alive

Feeling like I was wasting this beautiful Arizona weather we decided to go for a quick hike today.  It almost ended our lives.  Oncoming truck swerved out to pass heading for us head on.  G slammed on the brakes and swerved and I tell you it was only INCHES away.  The car he was passing had faces of shock, we were shocked too. We talked about it way too much as neither of us could believe we are still alive.   I think it is a perfect metaphor for the beginning of 2018. Hang on it’s going to be a hell of a ride!