Phoenix Art Museum Monday, Jul 29 2013 

Our Lord, the One Who Is Flayed by Paul Pietka

Our Lord, the One Who Is Flayed

The Phoenix Art Museum is a cool place to visit in July! We intentionally looked for galleries that we had not previously seen on two previous visits. “Riding Tall,” located in the Lyon Gallery which is the hallway to the restaurant, featured varied images of the cowboy. We were particularly struck by Aaron Bohrad’s still life, “The Six Shooter,” that succeeded in making objects appear real. As we entered the gallery devoted to Asian art, a friendly docent encouraged us to join her and another couple for a tour of the north galleries. One of our stops was at “Bodhisattva Guanyin, the Embodiment of Wisdom and Compassion,” a 15th-16th century Chinese sculptor of wood with traces of paint. The final stop on the hour-long introduction was at Paul Pietka’s “Our Lord, the One Who Is Flayed.” This 2004 triptych acrylic on canvas weaves numerous references and symbols from both Catholic and native religious traditions. The artist painted himself into the picture, too. Thomas Moran, known to me for introducing images of Yellowstone to the general public that led to making it a National Park, also visited the Grand Canyon later in life. “Zoraster Temple at Sunset” displays his ability to capture the wonder of landscape. Maxfield Parrish also has a work on exhibit, his 1960 oil on paper, “Arizona.” The European section of the north gallery also includes one Monet, “Flowering Arches, Giverny,” a 1913 oil on canvas. We learned about the artistic range of Philip C. Curtis, the founder of the Phoenix Art Museum who started working for the WPA in Arizona during the Depression of the 1930s. The final surprise was the collection of 20 Thorne Miniature Rooms. I was under the mistaken impression that the Art Institute of Chicago had a monopoly on her rooms. We spent time examining the scroll paintings and calligraphy in the Asian Gallery of the special exhibit of Chinese paintings from the Papp Collection, “Hidden Meanings of Love and Death.” We also took a quick tour of the special exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian in the Steele Gallery, “The Art of Video Games.” The Phoenix Art Museum has an interesting collection enhanced by regularly changing special exhibits.

We enjoyed brunch prior to visiting the museum at the Switch Restaurant which offers drinks such as a bloody Mary carafe for only $4 on weekends. Their crepes huevos rancheros was filling.

Prescott Strong Monday, Jul 22 2013 

19 Granite Mtn Hotshot Memorial

Granite Mtn Hotshot Memorial

The 23rd Annual Art & Craft Show sponsored by the Williamson Valley Fire District served as a vehicle for the continuation of the “Prescott Strong” theme permeating the area as a result of the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire. On Saturday, in addition to the usual art and craft displays surrounding the Yavapai Courthouse, there were three antique fire trucks parked on Goodwin Street presented by the Prescott Antique Auto Club as a tribute to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives in the fire. While sitting on the courthouse steps, we listened to music by Rock Candy. When they had completed their set we visited food booths for a scoop of homemade apple pie ice and a large shaved ice decorated with pina colada and watermelon syrup. When it started raining, we headed back to the shelter of the courthouse to enjoy our treats. This monsoon rain deluged Prescott with a lot of rain. I eventually ventured out to retrieve our car and experienced near flash flood levels of water in the streets.

Drew Hall, CheekTones

Drew Hall, CheekTones

On Sunday we waited until after the monsoon rain to return to Whiskey Row which was closed off for the special events benefiting the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the residents of Yarnell who lost their homes. We arrived as Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight completed reading a letter about the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives on June 30th from one of his friends. We drank beer while listening to music by the CheekTones. There was a play area for children and a booth with the Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders and mascot. A display for and by Yarnell residents included items such a bicycle that burned in the fire. There was also a tent honoring each of the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. A silent auction and raffles offered other ways to raise money for the cause. This fundraiser presented an opportunity that mixed sadness over the tragedy that took homes and lives with a celebration of life. This impressive weekend event shows the spirit of “Prescott Strong!”

Granite Mountain View From Centennial Trail Sunday, Jul 21 2013 

Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain

On Saturday, July 13th, a few days after our return from our road trip north, we took a short in-town hike to stretch our legs. The Centennial Trail opened a year ago during Arizona’s Centennial year. We parked on West Ridge Drive and climbed through the boulders to the junction with the Kile Street parking area, about half of this two-mile trail. We enjoyed the views of the City of Prescott and the Rodeo Grounds. We also took in views of Granite Mountain after the recent Doce Fire. No fire damage was noted by our naked eyes looking at the rugged top of this nearby Wilderness Area.

Coeur d’ Alene & the World’s Largest Floating Boardwalk Monday, Jul 8 2013 

Coeur d'Alene floating boardwalk

Coeur d’Alene floating boardwalk

We stayed in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho after leaving Canada. The natural beauty of this city is enhanced by their unique improvements to their large lake. Actually, it turns out that the improvements were made by the Coeur d’Alene Resort. They financed the world’s largest floating boardwalk which is 12 feet wide and 3,300 feet long. We walked the boardwalk but decided not to explore nearby Tull Hill on this outing. The Resort has several restaurants. We chose a window seat at the Dockside Restaurant for a gourmet meal. Today we traveled to Meridian, Idaho via Highway 95. Our only stop along this scenic road was at the Skookumchuck Recreation Site between Riggins and White Bird. This Bureau of Land Management site on the Lower Salmon River features a sandy beach and a shady, grassy picnic area.

Banff National Park Sunday, Jul 7 2013 

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

The drive from Glacier National Park north into Alberta, Canada found us encountering two different roads closed due to the recent flooding. We ended up driving through Calgary on the opening day of the Calvary Stampede!? There was lots of traffic, but we made it. We found a beautiful room in Canmore and then headed into Banff National Park. We hiked the shoreline of Lake Minnewanka for a couple of kilometers. Later we discovered that after July 10th hikers must carry bear spray a little farther beyond where we turned around on this trail. The next morning we drove farther into Banff National Park to Lake Louise. We hiked a steep trail lined with huckleberries and green moss to the Fairview Lookout which provides nice views of the historic hotel. On our return, we walked 2 kilometers on the flat shoreline trail to the end of the lake. Sporadic sunshine illumined the chalky green mineral rich water of the lake. At the end of the lake we observed rock climbers on the sheer face of a cliff. We took a side spur road to Moraine Lake where it was impossible to find a parking spot. The rain was also discouraging too much exploration. We found a parking spot near a rushing stream in the Village of Lake Louise where we had a picnic lunch. On our way back south, we stopped at the Redearth Rest Area for a picture of one of the passageways for wildlife across the highway. Then we went to Banff where we looked at the iconic Banff Springs Hotel. The rushing water of nearby Bow Falls showed evidence of the recent flooding. It was interesting to watch a raft start an excursion just below the falls. We had dinner in Canmore with a clear view of the Three Sisters. A clear day the next morning allowed us to see the magnificent mountains that surround Highway 1. We exited on Highway 93 that went through Radium Springs. We stopped at the Coy Hill Rest Area in British Columbia and climbed a hill to see Columbia Lake, the headwaters of the Columbia River that flows all the way to Astoria, Oregon. Shortly before that stop a young deer darted across the road and ran into the side of our car. There doesn’t appear to be any damage to either the deer or our vehicle. Later we encountered other live deer and several not so lucky bodies on the side of the road. We topped for lunch at Moyie Lake Provincial Park. We learned at the U. S. Customs station that no citrus fruits are allowed into the U.S. from Canada. Mileage signs changed from kilometers to miles and gas prices changed from $5.30 a gallon to $3.80. It was interesting to see a small sample of the spectacular scenery of the Canadian Rockies!

Glacier National Park Friday, Jul 5 2013 

Mt. Wilbur

Mt. Wilbur

We entered Glacier National Park through West Glacier, an upscale tourist town where we ate lunch. The Apgar Visitor Center and Bookstore, emphasis on bookstore, needs an upgrade. It sits on the south end of Lake McDonald where we started traversing the 50 mile Going-to-the-Sun Road. We stopped along McDonald Creek to enjoy colorful, rushing water. Our next stop before a tunnel gave us a view of 8,987 foot Heavens Peak in one direction and water descending the rock face on the opposite mountainside. Just beyond the pullover for the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail we had a fifteen minute delay for one way traffic because of road reconstruction work. After negotiating the narrow hairpin curve of The Loop, the Weeping Wall showered oncoming vehicles with water. We enjoyed the multiple waterfalls and expansive views after this section of roadway. We were lucky to find a parking spot at Logan Pass which straddles the Continental Divide. We had considered hiking the Hidden Lake Nature Trail but thought better of it after experiencing crowds of people and negotiating the snow covered trail. A field of yellow glacier lilies lit up the foreground of a mountain snapshot. Before leaving, we decided to see why a crowd of people were snapping pictures near the toilets. We were rewarded with observing mountain goats! Our exit followed Saint Mary Lake. The Saint Mary Visitor Center had an auditorium where we watched an informative presentation on the park. We also watched a couple of short vignettes that interviewed members of the Blackfeet Nation about their culture and the misunderstanding surrounding their selling the land that now comprises Glacier National Park for 1.5 million dollars. Our cabin in St. Mary faced a gurgling creek. The next day we drove along two more lakes: Lower Saint Mary and Lake Sherburne. We hiked a steep mile to Apikuni Falls. The first part of the trail was covered with wildflower bouquets. A friendly chipmunk guarded the trail just below the impressive falls. Later we walked around part of Swiftcurrent Lake which is where our accommodations for the evening at Many Glacier Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, is located. We took a boat ride on the Chief Two Guns across Swiftcurrent Lake, walked a vigorous quarter mile to Lake Josephine for the continuation of the boat ride on the Morning Eagle and then returned. We enjoyed delicious lunch and dinner meals at the Hotel’s Ptarmigan Dining Room. We enjoyed magnificent views of the lake and surrounding mountains from our refurbished lakeside room with balcony. Mountain goats grazed on a mountainside, although they were only tiny white dots to our naked eyes. The Waterton0Glacier International Peace Park, one of the world’s great treasures, was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. Unfortunately, it is estimated that there will no longer be any glaciers in only a few more years. Enjoy Glacier National Park while you can!

Many Glacier Hotel View

Many Glacier Hotel Room Balcony View

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