Jan AlfanoTrail Friday, Nov 17 2017 

Willow Lake

Willow Lake

Today we went back to the Pioneer Park area and hiked the Jan Alfano Trail. This segment of the Prescott Circle Trail is also part of Prescott’s Mile-High Trail System. Much of the trail is on land owned by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). We took it just beyond the highway underpass for a nice view of the Willow Lake recreation area. We returned via the ERAU campus where we stopped at the Fred and Fay Hess Memorial Interfaith Chapel. The Chapel has a massive window overlooking Willow Lake. The open space is decorated with several interesting stained glass art works. Outside the Chapel there is an airplane-shaped cross. We were surprised to see a large stone dedicated to the Granite Mountain Hotshots. We made a loop hike by going through the ERAU campus to connect back to the Jan Alfano Trail not far from the soccer pitch.

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Lynx Lake Loop Trail Sunday, Nov 12 2017 

Lynx Lake Reflections

Lynx Lake Reflections

Yesterday we drove to the Highlands Center for Natural History to pick up our medallions for completing at least eight of this year’s trails as part of Hiking Spree 2017. From there we hiked to Lynx Lake where we completed the 2.4 mile Lynx Lake Loop Trail #311. For the first time we traveled counter clockwise. The first half of this trail is paved and was easy for us. Once we crossed Lynx Creek we discovered the unpaved portion of the trail to be much rougher than we remembered with exposed rocks and an uneven surface in a couple of spots. The fall weather was delightful; there others on the trail hiking and some fishing, a few were enjoying boating on the lake, while others were picnicking near the public boat launch. A large number of ducks, including mallards and American coots, were feeding near where Lynx Creek flows into the lake.

Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Friday, Nov 10 2017 

Yarnell Memorial

Yarnell Memorial

Yesterday we traveled about 37 miles to the recently constructed Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. About three miles outside Yarnell on Highway 89 there is a turnout with parking space for about 15 vehicles. From there we hiked about 2.6 miles over rugged terrain. The trailhead is at 4,300 feet with a high point of 5,530 feet. On our way to the Observation Deck, we passed 18 memorial plaques commemorating each of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died on June 30, 2013. From there we could see the Fatality Site and Yarnell beyond. We recently attended the film “Only the Brave” which attempts to document this tragedy from the lone survivor’s perspective. Although filmed in New Mexico, we gained insight into the character of the Hotshots who loved fighting forest fires. We learned that they adopted the motto esse quam videri, “to be, rather than to seem.” This is the state motto of North Carolina and numerous schools and colleges. It is a phrase found in Cicero’s essay “On Friendship” and a powerful summary of the Hotshots life view. The movie showed Yarnell terrain with large trees whereas all we encountered were small trees and a covering of scrub brush. Looking down, the Hotshots were close to a ranch. It is hard for me to imagine the devastating fire that they encountered. Nicely designed benches are well placed for scenic views. We were surprised at how many other hikers we encountered on this trail on a weekday. This was our ninth “Take a Hike!”

Dinosaurs in the Desert Sunday, Nov 5 2017 

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex

“Dinosaurs in the Desert” is a special exhibit currently at the Phoenix Zoo. Although we arrived early in the day, throngs of supporters raising money to fight multiple sclerosis were finishing up there fund raising walk. A Pachyrhinosaurus designed to allow climbing is located outside the entrance to the trail. I didn’t take a picture of it because children took turns playing on it. Once we entered the exhibit of featured dinosaurs and flying reptiles, however, only a few other guests were on the trail. The Tupuxuara is painted to look like the rhinocerus hornbill. The two Stegosaurus were painted by the Zoo’s Design-o-Saur Coloring Contest winners. The Carnotaurus is painted to resemble a jaguar. The Gila monster was the inspiration for the colors of the Edmontonia. The Coelophysis are painted to look like Gambel’s quail. The greater roadrunner was the inspiration for the color design of the Dilophosaurus. The Diabloceratops is painted with the colors of the desert spiny lizard. Quetzalcoatlus and Utahraptor were painted by artists from The Dinosaur Company who created and designed all of the creatures in this exhibit. The Brachiosaurus is painted to look like a chuckwalla, a lizard of the Sonoran Desert. The Citipati is painted like a Chiricahua leopard frog. The Hadrosaurus was the first dinosaur ever put ob display. The Tyrannosaurus Rex resembles the Harris’s hawk.

Rose

Rose

Here are some of my observations from our loop around the Zoo: The active African crested porcupine circled its exhibit space several times. Both the anteater and maned wolf were up and about in their shared space. We had not seen before the maned wolf standing on its long legs. The anteater chose a small water pool to defecate to the consternation of young observers. The Chilean flamingos enjoyed reflecting as a group in their pool. A Victoria crowned pigeon strutted back and forth carrying straw in its beak. A great Argus pheasant posed. Just outside the caged aviary an egret was framed by plants on the edge of the lake. Jiwa, the youngest orangutan, is getting bigger and soon will not be called “baby.” Living in Arizona allows for a longer growing season for flowers. We were gifted with the a variety of colorful roses.

Phoenix Symphony Presents Mozart & Sibelius Saturday, Nov 4 2017 

Can you imagine losing your hearing in one ear and being plagued by tinnitus? San Diego-based Tina Tallon experienced these problems in 2015. She is a composer, computer musician, and arts documentarian pursuing a doctorate in composition at the University of California – San Diego to complement her B.S. degrees in Biological Engineering and Music from MIT and an M.F.A. in Composition from Brandeis University. She developed her composition, Sear, to document the virtual sounds that had been tormenting her. Only a few musicians from the Phoenix Symphony performed this demanding piece involving physical gestures that result in unexpected sounds, or the absence of sound, and unusual objects such as styrofoam and a power drill. The concert notes have a lengthy sentence describing

“her research interests include embodied music cognition, computational modeling of energetic relationships between various musical parameters based upon Newtonian mechanics, technological mediation of the human voice, development of software for spectral analysis and composition, algorithmic composition, and computational approaches to musicological inquiry.”

After this work was played, Conductor Tito Munoz introduced the composer and she shared how she made the most of a bad experience.

Karen Sinclair, violin, and Mark Deatherage, viola, were the featured soloists in Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major, K. 364. They are married and both are members of the Phoenix Symphony. Sinclair is part of the first violin section. Deatherage is the Acting Principal Viola. We had excellent seats in row 5 to observe their virtuosity.

We ended our evening with a performance of Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39. This Finnish composer captured the bold, visionary spirit of the people. It begins with a melancholy theme from a solo clarinet. This moment gives way to a grand build-up in tension. The timpani sets the pace for the third movement. There is interesting use of pizzicato chords throughout, including the emotionally enigmatic conclusion. Another great evening of music!

Prescott Quads #11 Sunday, Oct 29 2017 

Lower Vs. Briggs, Ebarb Vs. Keenan

Lower Vs. Briggs, Ebarb Vs. Keenan

Chess Master Spencer Lower, Clarksdale, topped the Prescott Chess Club’s Quads #11. This former two-time Arizona State Champion received $50 for his undefeated record of three wins. Lower is currently ranked 22nd out of 1419 Arizona chess players. He is also ranked 42nd for his Quick chess rating among those aged 50 and over in the U. S.

Dr. Henry Ebarb, Prescott, and Jim Briggs, Chino Valley, split the $25 prize money for 2nd place. They each won one game and drew each other in a last round matchup. Ebarb’s Blitz rating ranks him as the 76th best among seniors in the U. S. Briggs is currently ranked 76th out of 1419 Arizona chess players.

Prescott Chess Club President Tom Green directed this U. S. Chess rated event held on the Yavapai College campus Saturday, October 28th.

 

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