Saguaro – The Passing of Two Giants

Goodyear, Arizona.

On a cold January day in 2013, we discovered the Rainbow Valley Trail in Estrella Park. One of our favorite trails, Rainbow Valley is on my list to hike annually. Less than a mile from the trailhead, at a sharp bend in the trail stood two giant saguaros. These giants are among the largest we’ve seen. Since then, I’ve learned much about the iconic succulent that lives only in the Sonoran Desert. They live some 200 years or more and don’t start developing those characteristic “arms” until the latter half of their first century of life. Given the size of these two, they certainly must have reached the second century mark by now. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 9 February 2020

Waddell, Arizona.

In the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, one of my favorite hikes is from Mesquite Canyon Trail to Willow Canyon Trail. The climb is slow and steady, almost 1500 feet (457 m) from the parking area to the highest point on the trails. The good news is that the climb comes early when one is fresh and the trek on the way back is mostly downhill. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 2 February 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

On January 26, Lynn and I hiked Quartz Mountain Trail in Skyline Park, about two miles north of our house in Buckeye. It’s been a wet winter and generally the terrain is much greener than normal. We are expecting a spring flower show in March. As we rounded a curve in the trail, we saw several people talking and snapping photos of something on the edge of the trail. As we passed by, they clued us in. Continue reading

FortWhyte Alive – The Fort That Never Was

Winnipeg, Manitoba.

So, I borrowed their “Fort That Never Was” reference from the website of this nature preserve. FortWhyte is a neighborhood that was the center of a dispute on railway construction. The confrontation somehow led the area to the name “FortWhyte” after the head of the Canadian Pacific Railway, William Whyte. I’ll let you, dear reader, explore the park’s website here if you want to learn a little more of that early history.

In the mid-20th century, the Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba began converting the site to a wildlife habitat but by the 1980’s, their focus shifted toward environmental education. The trails and Interpretive Centre opened in 1983. If you are really interested in the history of the place, on their website, you’ll find a seven volume blog featuring the park’s first fifty years here. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 12 January 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

While on one of our weekly hikes a few weeks ago, we happened upon a couple of trail maintenance tools sitting beside the trail. Not being trained in that particular skill, I can only assume that the pick is used to remove or modify stubborn rocks that might be a tripping hazard. I’m sure it has plenty of other uses. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Special Spot Shots

White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Arizona.

For the first photo challenge of 2020, Ann-Christine asks us to share images of a special place. Gee, that’s hard! I’ve done a lot of traveling for Journeys with Johnbo and have come to find there are many special places around this United States, and though I have not been outside of the Western Hemisphere (yet), I know there are many special places waiting for me to visit in the coming new decade.

Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 15 December 2019

Buckeye, Arizona.

Last week I featured an image captured from the trail’s end at the top of Pyrite Summit Trail and its commanding view of the valley west of the White Tank Mountains. During the 740 ft (225 m) ascent, there were many views of the trail up ahead that I captured along the new Pyrite Trail. By the end of the month, I hope to feature a dronie image or two of the Arizona desert. I’ve first got to find a way to carry the drone in some kind of backpack as for now, it’s in a shoulder strap case that wouldn’t be very conducive to shlepping up a trail, both hands filled with hiking poles and a backpack filled with water, first aid kit, etc. Continue reading