The Guilty Party

Monday, January 31, 2011

This Hiking Thing is Pretty Nice

We have recently discovered the joy of hiking. A couple of weeks ago we hosted an Australian student for about ten days and although the group she was traveling with had much of the their time booked with various sightseeing outings--including some inexplicable shopping mall trips, but I know how those things are arranged and by the malls pursuit of busloads of shoppers--her weekends were open and we wanted to show her a bit of our glorious state that the tour stops wouldn't. So, even though it had been decades since we ourselves had been there, on her last full day with us we took a dusty, bumpy to the Superstition Mountains and hiked a portion of the Peralta Trail with her. She loved it. And strangely enough so did we. Enough to convince us to replace our sneakers with proper hiking boots and see about doing some more hiking pretty soon.

Luckily, our good friends you see in the above pic with my wife and daughter, were just as interested. Andy and Rhonda are already pretty avid hikers and Jon and Ann have some experience themselves, so we made a group and headed out to Seven Springs, a bit north of the town of Cave Creek. An even longer, dustier drive than to Peralta got us to the Cave Creek Trailhead and for the next three hours or so we enjoyed the quiet, the varying scenery, the exercise, each others' company and saying howdy to the occasional fellow hiker or jogger. So here we have a few of the resulting photos.

We talked Jon down off the ledge. Way to slippery. Of course I didn't take that excellent advice and ended up dunking my right foot a bit deeper than I wanted in the creek. Thank goodness for waterproof hiking boots.
See you later!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not a Wise Use of Ones Time, Is It?

As mentioned in the previous entry, my wife, our daughter and our visiting Australian student went for a brief hike in the Superstition Mountains this past Sunday. There are many things to recommend such an excursion: the beautiful scenery, the friendly greetings from fellow hikers, the fresh air and the good ol' physical aspect of pushing at least a bit beyond the everyday sort of effort. But maybe the best part was what we all like to call Getting Away From It All, even if it was for just under a couple of hours.

There is no cell phone service along the Peralta Trail, or at least I didn't get a signal. And while this undoubtedly would be viewed as a distinct Not Good Thing by anyone who might find themselves in some sort of pickle requiring outside assistance, like a badly twisted ankle, rattlesnake bite or unexpected encounter with the ghost of Jacob Waltz, for me it also meant the removal of any temptation to see if somebody somewhere has bought a copy of Boomerang in the last fifteen minutes or so. I was out of range of Immediate Reporting. No minute by minute updates on my smart phone telling me how the book was doing in the UK, which direction my Amazon ranking was going, whether anyone had responded to a forum thread I started. I was officially out of touch. And that, I found, was a very good thing. It forced me to pay attention to where I was and more importantly, where I was going. Each step along the trail requires attention if one isn't interested in the previously discussed twisted ankle or even a quick, bumpy and abrasive slide in some unanticipated direction. It is really, really important to be in the moment. To be where you are right then and make the one after the other decisions about the best places to put your feet so you can make progress. To look forward, but not too far forward. And to not look back too often, because looking back requires stopping and every time you stop to see where you've been you're just adding that much more time that will be needed in order to get to where you're going.

Have a great day. I hope you make progress.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Been Out in the Wilderness



It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, can’t say as I have a great excuse, but I do have a reason. And that reason is computers. As in the computer I was using to create these little blog posts went all squirrely on me months ago and the new one, which is one of those little netbook things, is lovely, but I had no idea how to get photos on the darned thing. I hope that has changed.

The picture you see here was taken during a much too short hike on the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains, just east of beautiful Mesa, Arizona, my hometown. I hadn’t been out exploring this rather amazing bit of nature in way too many decades and wouldn’t you know it, the reason we finally went out there was because we had an Out Of Town Visitor. Isn’t that always the way it is? You don’t make time for the really interesting stuff close to home until you’ve got somebody to entertain. Our guest for about a week and a half was a very nice high school student from Australia who was traveling with a group that coordinates host families with the high school our daughter attends. She had lots of planned excursions with the rest of the group during the weekdays, but for the two weekends she was here it was up to us to try to show her a special spot or two around our part of the world. The first weekend we attended a performance of “Shrek, The Musical” at Grady Gammage on the Arizona State University campus. The second Saturday we took the light rail to downtown Phoenix to se the Heard Museum. And on Sunday we took our hike in the rugged, beautiful Superstitions, the place of Lost Dutchman Gold Mine fame.

That’s all the news to report for now. If I’ve actually got this new computer figured out enough I should be posting more frequently.

Best, Alan

A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.