2012 in review Sunday, Dec 30 2012 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Phoenix Zoo 12/21/2012 Saturday, Dec 22 2012 

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Friday was a beautiful day for strolling around the Phoenix Zoo.  Many of the animals were active during the afternoon, while humanoids were expected to enter in mass for the evening zoo lights.  The desert bighorn sheep were resting when a woman made sounds which attracted the dominant male. The Arabian oryx were feeding.  The giraffes arrived at their feeding station anticipating the 2 p.m. feeding. The African lions rested in the sun. We learned that a southern white rhinoceros can sprint at 30 mph. A new hamadryas baboon had been added and members of the platoon were moving from one spot to another, grooming one another and foraging. The cheetahs paced along a far wall. The female black howler monkey looked forlorn.  Mexican red bracket deer stayed close to a corner despite visitors taking a peek at them. The American white pelicans enjoyed their pond.  The crested screamers screamed for us. Another great day to enjoy the animals at the Phoenix Zoo.

Hidden Valley Revisited Tuesday, Dec 11 2012 

Phoenix from the National Trail

Phoenix from National Trail

Yesterday we parked one car at the Mormon Trailhead on 24th Street and drove the other vehicle to the Pima Canyon Trailhead on 48th Street.  From there, at an elevation of 1,290 feet, we ascended a mile on a dirt road to the beginning of the National Trail.  The 14-mile National Trail traverses South Mountain Park.  On an azure blue sky day we hiked on the National Trail to the Hidden Valley side trail.  This unique half-mile trail passes through a Natural Tunnel, Window Rock, and the narrow confines of Fat Man’s Pass.  The elevation for this half-miles ranges from 1,940 feet to 2,080 feet.  Several spots require scrambling over slickrock.  Truly, it is a remarkable gem in the midst of the purported largest municipal park in the nation.  After reconnecting with the National Trail, we descended to our second vehicle on the Mormon Trail.  We decided to stop for lunch before returning to our starting point to pick up the other car.  My fortune cookie offered the following advice, “It takes more than good memory to have good memories.”

Phoenix Zoo Lights 2012 Wednesday, Dec 5 2012 

Phoenix Zoo Lights

Phoenix Zoo Lights

Last night we visited the Phoenix Zoo to see this year’s light show.  An early Tuesday evening avoided the crowds that we experienced last year.  In fact, we even parked in the main parking lot not far from the entrance.  The warm temperatures made for a pleasant experience, although we missed the exuberance of following a child’s delight.  The talking giraffe did allow us to observe children jumping up and down in enthusiasm and looking on in wide eyed amazement at the joking banter from this exhibit.  Big blue, a tree near the entrance, sets the stage with its 30,000 blue lights.  Some 3.6 million lights are used for 700 displays of animals, flowers, stars, and trees.  All kinds of lights are used: rope lights, LED lights, light strands, black light, fiber optics, lasers, gobos, strobes, net lighting, and lights programmed to music.  We enjoyed the Music in Motion show four times from different observation points around the lake.  This year’s program, “Wizards in Winter” synchronizes 15,000 lights to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Central to the show is the shimmering 24 feet in diameter sphere in the middle of the lake.  A dozen 12 foot tall floating light tubes are doubled in size with their reflection.  26 dancing trees surround the lake and 6 3D giant butterflies flutter, too.  The Phoenix Zoo Lights should not be missed!

Prescott, Arizona’s Christmas City Sunday, Dec 2 2012 

Prescott Mayor Kuykendall

Prescott Mayor Kuykendall

This year’s City of Prescott Christmas Parade was blessed with temperatures in the 60s.  We were wowed with decorated floats emphasizing themes of the season, and sometimes a sense of humor.  Classic cars and trucks, including both old and new fire trucks, took part in this 30th annual event.  Bands from as far away at Tucson as well as local businesses and organizations and churches participated.  Prescott is dog friendly and this parade brought out Scottish terriers, great Danes, and greyhounds.  Military units, even the Coast Guard, took their place and were honored.  The parade started at 1 p.m. and continued for a couple of hours around the Yavapai County Courthouse with throngs of spectators lining the streets.

Courthouse Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights

As the crowd gathered for the Courthouse Lighting at 6 p.m., the sky filled with a colorful sunset.  The Prescott High School Swing Choir entertained the huge crowd before all area youth were invited to fill the Yavapai County Courthouse steps.  Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett once again read the Christmas story which was interspersed with seasonal music.  Then the actual lighting took place: 102 trees, a gazebo display, and each side of the Courthouse with its own decorative theme.  A magnificent display not to be missed!

Later, we enjoyed a production of Miracle on 34th Street at the recently restored Elks Opera House.  This play based on the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture was presented by the Prescott Center for the Arts.  The lead characters Michael James as Kris Kringle, Frank Flood as Mr. Duncan, and Haley Lynch as Sharon were excellent.  A few others need to work on their lines.  The line, “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to” is a good one to keep in mind during this season and through out the year.  Interestingly, Kathy saw the production on Broadway.  Her uncle was the drunk Santa! Prescott has earned its tile as Arizona’s Christmas City.