Prescott Downtown Tuesday, Mar 31 2020 

Centennial Tree (1912- )

Centennial Tree (1912- )

During the COVID-19 crisis and my surgery rehabilitation, we have been walking regularly. On Saturday, we parked adjacent to the Yavapai County Courthouse which we circled but then extended our walk to the surrounding area. The clear azure sky provided me with an excuse to update my downtown Prescott pictures, especially the statues: “Rough Rider” by Gutzon Borglum (1907), “Cowboy at Rest” by Gutzon Borglum (1990 from a miniature), “All Veterans Memorial” by Neil Logan (1989), and “Early Rodeo” by Richard Terry (1988). Traffic was light on Gurley Street with almost no cars in front of Bashford Court and Union Square. We took note of the Centennial Tree on Cortez Street a block from the courthouse square where we thought it was located. We walked up Union Street to get a closer look at the Mark’s House, a Queen Anne interpretation of the Victorian style home. A beautiful day for a walk.

Phoenix Zoo: March 2020 Sunday, Mar 15 2020 

Galapagos Tortoises

Galapagos Tortoises

After MLB spring training was cancelled, visitors decided to visit the Phoenix Zoo wearing their baseball team’s logo shirts. It was the busiest Saturday morning we have ever encountered. The animals seemed to be enjoying our warm spring weather. A Komodo dragon sunned itself on a large rock. A giant anteater circled its exhibit searching for a snack. Two Galapagos tortoises greeted one another near their pond. A Grevy’s zebra poised while munching grass. A warthog also looked for food near our observation point. The white rhinoceros enclosure is still off limits and separated as our new resident acclimatizes. A mass of turtles dominated part of the riverbank in the cheetah exhibit. The three female Asian elephants now each have their own exhibit area, but each one was standing near the entrance rather than exploring their enhanced space. Another interesting day at the Phoenix Zoo.

Congo Masks & Music Saturday, Mar 14 2020 

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

The Musical Instrument Museum is celebrating its tenth-year anniversary with a special exhibit, “Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa” (November 8, 2019-September 13, 2020). We were treated to a collection of 150 masks, instruments, and costumes from the late 1800s to early 1900s from dozens of Central African cultural groups. The exhibition contextualizes masks alongside musical instruments in their authentic performance settings. It Introduced us to different peoples’ worldviews, histories, religious beliefs, and morals through intricate masks, constructed out of a variety of materials, showcasing remarkable artistry. The mask, we learned, may perform to frighten, protect, appease, bless, purify, honor, heal, exalt, encourage, distract, celebrate, or entertain.

We also visited the Artist Gallery which commemorates great musicians, innovators, and instrument makers. It is an interesting collection of instruments and their artists who have enriched our musical heritage. The Musical Instrument Museum is a great place to experience music, the language of the soul.

Sedona Revisited: Celebrating 11 Memorable Years Monday, Mar 9 2020 

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

This past weekend we returned to the Sedona area to celebrate our eleven years of marriage. We picked up maps at the Red Rock Information Center of the Coconino National Forest where we savored a view of Castle Rock (5,248 feet of elevation), Bell Rock (4,919 feet), Courthouse Butte (5,451 feet), and Lee Mountain (6,592 feet). After lunch on the patio of the Red Rock Café in Oak Creek Village, we drove about two miles on Verde Valley School Road where we encountered hikers preparing to take the Transept Trail. Interestingly, this new trail was not on our maps from the Forest Service. We hiked about 1.24 miles of this 6.4-mile (out-and-back) trail. We gained about 275 feet of elevation enjoying views of the Mayan Maiden formation, Cathedral Rock, and Seven Warriors ridge. We stayed in a room with a view at the Southwest Inn in West Sedona where I was revitalized after ten minutes in the hot tub. When we tried to make dinner reservations, we discovered that some popular restaurants were not only booked for Friday night but also Saturday. Fortunately, we found a table and great food at Steakhouse 89, conveniently located about a mile from our motel.

Devil's Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

On Saturday, we found a parking spot on Long Canyon Road at the trailhead for the Mescal Trail. After only 0.4 of a mile, we connected with the Chuckwagon Trail which intersected after a mile with the extremely popular Devil’s Bridge Trail. I stumbled attempting to scramble up a rock wall about 0.2 of a mile from Devil’s Bridge. We decided to make the return trip rather than attempt this and another steep incline. Nevertheless, we hiked 4 miles, my longest outing since open heart surgery.

After lunch at Thai Spice Natural Cuisine of Thailand, we explored bustling downtown Sedona, its interesting shops and dedication to the arts. James N. Muir’s sculptures, for example, captured my attention, including “Newsboy,” “Lil Liberty and Let Freedom Ring,” “Children,” and “Caduceus.” The Freenotes Harmony Park is an interactive art sculpture complex composed of xylophones, chimes, and marimbas located under a bus shelter. Later, across the street we listened to Grammy nominated flutist Kevin Mockingbird of the Dine play songs from his Sacred Fire CD. We shared a tasty anniversary dinner at The Hudson located in the Hillside Sedona Shopping Center. It’s been a great eleven years!

Jerome State Historic Park

Jerome State Historic Park

After choosing one of the 101 omelet choices for breakfast at the Coffee Pot Restaurant, we returned to Prescott with a stop in Jerome, the city “to strong to die.” From 1876 until the mines shut down in 1952, Jerome was a billion-dollar copper mecca. It is said that it produced the equivalent of 15 pounds of copper for every person in the world. In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic Landmark. On a quiet Sunday morning we were able to find a parking spot that avoided the city’s new parking meter system. We stretched our legs on a quick walk around town where I took a colorful picture of the Jerome State Historical Park.

Constellation Trails Saturday, Feb 29 2020 

Constellation Trails

Constellation Trails

Sixty-one years ago, on February 28, 1959, a U. S. Air Force Lockheed C-171G Super Constellation crashed during a training mission north of Prescott, killing five service members. A series of trails known as the Constellation Trails memorialize this accident. The trailhead is at an elevation of 5,018 feet. We started on the Hole in the Wall Trail and returned on the Lost Wall Trail and North 40 Trail. This is the opposite direction from our usual routine. It is interesting to see what a difference in direction can make. We hiked a little more than two miles as a test of my endurance.

Phoenix Zoo: February 2020 Monday, Feb 24 2020 

Zoocademy Awards

Zoocademy Awards

We were surprised by how many changes we found at the Phoenix Zoo during our first visit of 2020. The Doornbos Discovery Amphitheater, for example, has been completed. We attended the Zoocademy Awards program that is being developed. Aaron was a well-prepared host complemented by excellent pictures and graphics on a screen at the back of the stage. Awards presented animals in categories such as Best Visual Effects, Lifetime Achievement, Best Costume, Best Production Design, and Best Actor. Of course, the audience was encouraged to pursue Conservation Efforts. The three Asian elephants now each have their own exhibit area, although no exploration took place as we passed by. Many new fences were evident throughout our walk. The white rhinoceros exhibit was off limits as the new resident from a Florida zoo acclimates. There were several signs indicating that an animal was under medical observation.

African Lion

African Lion

We watched the hyena pace before resting. The lion posed for pictures and could be heard roaring as we continued our walk. The hamadryus baboon looked at us from a corner window seat. n the cheetah’s exhibit moat, an egret looked for lunch while a cormorant spread its wings to dry. A lone flamingo strutted in a circle in its pond. One of the Galapagos tortoises relaxed in a mud pool. We were entertained by Bornean orangutan Jiwa’s acrobatic antics. Always a good day at the Phoenix Zoo.

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