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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

fall leaves

Autumn in Ramsey Canyon. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

  “I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me — I am happy.” — Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899

Point of Interest for a Non-Wandering Wanderer           

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. — Photo by Pat Bean

  Ramsey Canyon, south of Tucson, is one of North America’s hottest birding spots – but not in November. In November, it is just a delightful place for a hike and a delicious feast for the eyes.

My son Lewis and I got to the  Nature Conservancy visitor center early, and paid our $6 to gain access to the canyon. The first two amazing things I noticed different from the usual Sonoran Desert landscape was water in the form of a spring-fed stream bubbling down the canyon — and trees, lots of tall, stately giants, and broad-branched monarchs that made me want to clamber up into their arms.

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lewis said it was the trees, which Tucson lacked, that kept me oohing and ahhing almost continually.

But we have trees in Tucson, I said.

“Not like these, or this many,” he replied

He was right. While my apartment complex does have a few, out-of-habitat and bedraggled evergreens, and a few black olive trees, most of the ones I see around Tucson are short mesquites and leafless, green-trunked palo verdes. .

Growing tall and regal between Ramsey’s Canyon walls were maples and sycamores. The towering and mottled-white limbs of the sycamores were enchanting, as were the autumn leaves of the maple trees, sights I don’t normally see in Tucson proper.

Located in the Huachuca Mountains, the canyon is renowned for its scenic beauty, its diversity of plants, and the birds that visit it in the spring and summer. The one other time I visited it, about eight years ago on an April day, I went for the birds – and was not disappointed. While I only saw a few birds this trip, I was still not disappointed.

Painted redstart.

Painted redstart.

The Ramsey Canyon hike is only a mile up and back, although hikers can add some length to the trail by continuing on to the top of a ridge, which Lewis did. I chose to hike back down canyon slowly, taking time to breathe in Mother Nature’s beauty and to take some photographs.

As I crossed a bridge near a splash and play area, I was rewarded with the sight of a pair of painted redstarts. I felt that Lewis, also an avid birder, would be put out that he hadn’t seen them. Thankfully the bird wouldn’t be a lifer for him. And when I told him about the redstart, he was too happy he had seen an Arizona woodpecker, which was a lifer, to envy my sighting.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat A Window into the Woods http://tinyurl.com/k2wrq5a Now that my son, Lewis, is back home in Texas, these are birds he can see every day.

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Tombstone

Downtown Tombstone -- Photo by Pat Bean

Downtown Tombstone — Photo by Pat Bean

“…writers inevitably notice similar things from slightly different angles. How could it be otherwise.” – Frank Conroy

With My Son

My son, Lewis, in Boot Hill  -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son, Lewis, in Boot Hill — Photo by Pat Bean

            I’ve been to Tombstone, Arizona, which sits 75 miles southeast of my Tucson apartment three times. I barely remember the first, which I think was sometime in the early 70s. The second time was about 10 years ago during my full-time RV travels. The third time was just last Monday with my middle child, Lewis, who came to check up on his mom and have, as he called it, “his midlife road trip.”

My son taking a picture of a spoon player, who takes advantage of the Tombstone crowd to earn a few bucks. Lewis texted the photo to his wife, who replied: "I thought you were in Tombstone and not New Orleans. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son taking a picture of a spoon player, who takes advantage of the Tombstone crowd to earn a few bucks. Lewis texted the photo to his wife, who replied: “I thought you were in Tombstone and not New Orleans. — Photo by Pat Bean

At least that’s what he called it when he showed up at my Tucson apartment, driving a brand new Jeep Wrangler and wearing a scruffy beard and long hair. I laughed when I saw him, and again after hearing that his wife told him the hair had to go when he got back home.

Lewis is an avid birdwatcher like his mom, from whom he caught the addiction. And Tucson is a great birding place – April through September. Sadly, the birding is dismal in November. So I looked for other options to entertain Lewis, and together we decided a visit to Tombstone might be fun.

Lewis said his wife, Karen, “had a thing about Wyatt Earp.”

It was a beautiful day, and with Lewis’s Jeep open to the air and sky, it was an adventurous, if windy ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I did our exploration of Tombstone, which had evolved into a more touristy place since my last visit — when I watched a free re-enactment of the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”

I'm not sure what the Texas longhorn was doing in Arizona, either. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’m not sure what the Texas longhorn was doing in Arizona, either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Today, the re-enactment is performed inside a fenced-off area with stadium seating for the audience. Tickets to the show, which also include a reprinted copy of the Epitaph newspaper the day after the shooting, and entrance to a movie and diorama history presentation about the history of the old silver mining town, are now $10 per person.

Just about everything else, from stage coach rides to visits to old brothels, museums and haunted buildings, some of which were also free last time I visited, now come with a sticker price.

While my Lewis' wife has a thing about Wyatt Earp, my other daughter-in-law and I share a fondness for John Wayne, especially his performance in Hatari. It's one of our favorite movies. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While my Lewis’ wife has a thing about Wyatt Earp, my other daughter-in-law and I share a fondness for John Wayne, especially his performance in Hatari. It’s one of our favorite movies. — Photo by Pat Bean

I treated for the shoot-out, but we bypassed most of the other attractions. We did, however, take a walk through boot hill, which is now well tended and organized, unlike how I remembered it from my last visit. Then, if I remember correctly, it was just an old graveyard with a few interesting headstones, my favorite being “Here lies Les Moore. Four slugs from a 44. No Les, no Moore. I couldn’t find that particular tombstone this time, however.

Tombstone, whose history is truly fascinating, is “more” today than it was on my earlier visit. Of course it was probably “more” when the town was booming than it is today.

The best thing about Tombstone this day was that I got to spend it with a son whom I seldom see, and he also enjoyed the day (and bought a Wyatt Earp T-shirt for his wife).

We ended the day’s adventure wiith a  prime rib dinner (he treated)  at a steakhouse in the tiny town of Sonorita, which we drove through on the scenic, backroad drive back to Tucson.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Redtails over Sweetwater http://tinyurl.com/lytvas2 An artist’s blog, and a painting I love.

 

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The Color Blue

Blue morning glories. -- Art by Pat Bean

Blue morning glories. — Art by Pat Bean

“Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue – that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

A Color of Many Hues – and Meanings

If you were to describe the color blue, you could call it azure, robin’s egg, cerulean, cobalt, beryl, slate, indigo, baby, cyan, sky, royal, midnight, navy, lapis lazuli, sapphire, Prussian, steel or sky. Can you think of any more?

Pelvis and blue sky by Georgia O'Keeffe

Pelvis and blue sky by Georgia O’Keeffe

If you want to describe someone who is down in the dumps, you could say they are feeling blue.

If something surprises you, it might have come from out of the blue.

If you’re loyal, you might be called true blue. Or if you’re royal, you’re a blueblood and probably listed in the Bluebook. .

But if you cuss, your language is what’s blue.

Blue is the color of ribbons given to first place winners, and a Blue Book will tell you the value of your old car.      So why not just sing the blues.

Does any of this matter if you just happen to like the color blue?          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: My beautiful things http://tinyurl.com/nwdygpc The ordinary things of everyday life can be beautiful. This blog reminded me to simply enjoy the moment and hope for peace.

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Pampering Myself

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anyone else?” RuPaul

Pancakes with sour cream and strawberries for a cool morning breakfast, topped off of course with a cup of dark, cream-laced coffee. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pancakes with sour cream and strawberries for a cool morning breakfast, topped off of course with a cup of dark, cream-laced coffee. — Photo by Pat Bean

Hot Bath and Pancakes

It was cool, sweater weather this morning. So after I took Pepper for her morning walk, welcomed Dusty for her day’s stay while her mom worked, and fed and tidied up after the four cats I’m looking after twice a day while their mom’s gone for the week, I decided it was Me Time..

Still a little chilled, I soaked in a hot bath with a book until the water cooled, and then fixed myself pancakes topped with sour cream and strawberries. I used to fix this for dinner sometimes when my kids were young.

Life is good. I think that’s what the two dogs thought, too. After they had their morning romp through my apartment they curled up and became couch potatoes.

Two couch potatoes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Two couch potatoes. They had their eyes closed until they heard the click of the camera.  – Photo by Pat Bean

Bean Pat: Nature Has No Boss http://tinyurl.com/kgtn33s An oystercatcher’s breakfast.

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This singer is a common yellowthroat that I usually come across in marshy areas near water, which hums its own melodies as it swishes against a bank or over rocks. -- Art by Pat Bean

This singer is a common yellowthroat that I usually come across in marshy areas near water, which hums its own melodies as it swishes against a bank or over rocks. — Art by Pat Bean

And a Song

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  — Harriet Tubman

And a Song   

            Bean Pat: http://tinyurl.com/p9rzz9g I came across this blog this morning and found myself transplanted back in time by words that ring even truer to me today. I marveled at younger faces of singers whose music continues to be sung. How many of them can you recognize?

 

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If only she smelled as good as she looked. -- Photo by Pat Bean

If only she smelled as good as she looked. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” ~Franklin P. Jones

Equals Two Smelly Dogs

            Early this morning, from outside my balcony, I heard a familiar whistle. My friend, Jean, was walking her dog, Dusty. Her crisp whistle said: “Come out and play.”

And Dusty didn't smell any better. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And Dusty didn’t smell any better. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper had started dancing around even before I heard the whistle. Her keen sense of smell had already alerted her to the fact that her best friend was outside. She was excited and begged for us to go out and join in the fun.

What Pepper wants, Pepper usually gets.

And so it was that Jean and I sat talking at a picnic table, while our two dogs romped around in the grass. Then suddenly a tantalizing scent caught the dogs’ attention. . Before we two humans could react, the two canines were rolling their bodies around and around and around on a specific spot in the grass. .

When we hollered at them to stop, they both came running, jumped up on the table, and with grinning faces tried to give us kisses.

Jean and I quickly recoiled. Yuck! Both dogs smelled like poop

Our next order of business, regardless of other plans for the day, was doggie baths.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Fall Hike http://tinyurl.com/mw2pjly Take a short Colorado hike with Andy.

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Thursday Art

Capturing a moment in time. --  By Pat Bean

Capturing a moment in time. — By Pat Bean

“I cannot keep the look of youth, but how October maples flame. Age takes our beauty, gives us truth. Age takes our wits, and makes us wise. Age gives us life’s October skies, and old October’s mellower days, a better time a thousand ways.” – Douglas Malloch

Bean Pat: Canoe Communications http://tinyurl.com/m2zdmpk  It’s seems only fair that I promote this excellent blog, seeing as how I stole the quote his blog this morning because I loved it so much.

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