Lynx Lake Meandering Sunday, May 31 2015 

Lynx Lake

Lynx Lake

With clear blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, we headed to Lynx Lake to observe campers and for a hike. We discovered that although all the campsites were reserved for the weekend, less than half were filled on our Friday morning outing. There were several tents and small trailers, a few small Class C vehicles, and only one large Class A RV. We talked with a camp host with a year contract who shared her observations about recreational vehicles and why she liked her Class C RV.  Recreational vehicles raise interesting life style questions. After our campground visits using Homestead Trail #305, we circled back to our car using the East side of Lynx Recreation Trail #311. A few kayakers explored the inlets while other visitors fished from boats. A goose and three white ducks expecting a snack scrambled toward us. Later, a medium-sized turtle sunning on a small stump eyed us as we skirted below the dam. Four more turtles enjoyed the sun on a log in one of the inlets. The man-made 55-acre lake had more water than on any previous visits. This impacted were we could cross to get back to our car. We visited the Lynx Cafe for lunch. From inside the cafe we looked out their large picture windows to see hordes of feeding hummingbirds as well as the lake. We are fortunate to have such a picturesque setting near us.

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Giora Schmidt Plays with the Phoenix Symphony Sunday, May 24 2015 

Last night’s performance of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra was the final concert of the 2014-2015 season. Giori Schmidt’s captivated us with his virtuoso rendition of Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin & Orchestra, Opus 26 by Max Bruch. During the first movement the soloist’s grimacing facial expressions conveyed a stern fatalism. The third movement, however, brought forth a lighter, happy countenance on both conductor Tito Muñoz and soloist. Our seats in the sixth row allowed us to observe the intricate fingering of his violin.

The concert began with Finding Rothko by Adam Schoenberg which included a screen centered above he orchestra showing four paintings corresponding to each movement. According to the program notes, “The artworks are simply a pretext, an inspiration” for the composer. Although I appreciated the multimedia presentation, it was difficult for me to see the connection with the choice of paintings and their color. The first painting, Orange, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York, “contains,” according to the program notes, “uneven horizontal stripes of violet, black and yellow on white and red.” It was interesting to learn from Tito Muñoz that Adam Schoenberg is one of his friends and that he is a graduate from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2002.

The concert concluded with a masterful presentation of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major. The first movement begins with two notes that later morph into a bridcall. The second movement has the rhythm of an Austrian folk song. The third movement features a distinctive solo by a double bass accompanied by the timpani. The fourth movement ties together the themes from the earlier movements in a gentle, comforting fashion only to be resolved with a stormy but triumphantly loud reprise of the opening fanfare. What a great evening of music!

Sampling the Christiansen Trail Saturday, May 23 2015 

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

With 70 degree temperatures in Phoenix, it’s a perfect time for a Memorial Day Weekend hike. We chose to explore a segment of the 10.7 mile Charles M. Christiansen Trail #100 through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Our well-timed arrival at the 40th Street trailhead allowed us to claim a parking spot from exiting visitors. The unmarked trail we followed started at an elevation of about 1,500 feet and continued with only slight modulations along a wash. We passed a hillside dotted with small same-sized saguaros. At a four-way intersection we looped back on the Christiansen Trail #100 that connected with the L. V. Yates Trail #8 back to the parking lot. A pleasant late May hike in Phoenix.

Fort Whipple Gate Monday, May 18 2015 

Fort Whipple Gate

Fort Whipple Gate

Today we explored a former railroad track near the Yavapai College Trail that we visited yesterday. We walked only a short distance into the Prescott VA Medical Center grounds before encountering a fence. Near the baseball diamond we discovered an historic gate facing land north owned by the Yavapai Prescott Indian tribe. The gate was rededicated in October 1993 as an Eagle Scout Project by Nathan van den Berg and Troop 7. The plaque reads as follows:

General Order #27

The recent discovery of gold near the San Francisco Mountains within the District of Northern Arizona and the flocking thither of many citizens of the United States … renders it necessary that a small military force should be sent to these new gold fields to preserve order and give security to life and property in that region until the civil officers of Arizona now enroute from the east shall arrive and set in motion the machinery of civil government … The troops to go to the new gold fields will establish at or near them a military post which will be known as FORT WHIPPLE in honor of Brig. Gen. Amiel W. Whipple who fell in the Battle of Chancellorsville and who as a 1st Lieutenant of Topographical Engineers in 1853 explored the road leading from Albuquerque, New Mexico, through the country of these new gold fields.

James R. Carlton
Brigadier-General Commanding
October, 1863

There is another gate near the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. A small bunny tasted the grass on a lawn as we followed sidewalk through the Prescott Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds. We returned to Yavapai College via a connecting walkway along 89A. It is fun to imagine what Prescott’s early territorial history was like.

Yavapai College Trail Sunday, May 17 2015 

Amethyst Flame

Amethyst Flame Iris

The Yavapai College Trail, the inspiration of student Frankie Coburn, traverses 1.5 miles along undeveloped parts of the 110 acre Yavapai College campus. We entered through the Yavapai College Sculpture and Iris Garden. We discovered interesting irises in bloom with creative names such as Alexander Ragtime Band, Eastertime, Double Down, Everything Plus, Brown Lasso, Kilt Lilt, Amethyst Flame, Lava Moonscape, and Fire Breather. We enjoyed the whimsical sculpture “Leaps and Bounds” by John Skurja (1998) and “Seated Woman” by Michael Anderson (2004). Our walk skirted the Bill Vallely baseball/softball fields. Some of the wildflowers we passed included wholeleaf Indian paintbrush, New Mexico thistle, and desert globe mallow. It was interesting to see the many Veterans Administration homes. We also enjoyed vistas with Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain, the Prescott Resort, and the “P”. We were the only ones on the trail on this quiet Sunday between class sessions. We completed our afternoon by walking around the Yavapai County Courthouse. We parked in the Prescott parking lot and examined more closely the “Art For All!” mural (2007) that celebrates Prescott’s art history. Prescott is a great place to live or visit.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Thursday, May 14 2015 

Saguaro Boom

Saguaro Boom

It was a delight to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on a weekday.  The saguaros bloom in May. The Smith Interpretive Center did not have many cacti in bloom, but the Australian acanthocalycium violaceum was unique. I tested my new camera, a Canon SX 710, by trying out the creative picture function on both a matilija poppy and a South African karoo boer-bean. We had trouble identifying the huge Texas prickly pear that was popular with the bees. The pomegranates were flowering and then forming fruit.  Several distinctive Canary Island date palms dominated their territory before giving way to the giant red gum eucalyptus forest. The trumpet flower of the desert willow surprised us and the beautiful yellow flower of the lilac orchid vine captivated us. Some of the animals we observed included hummingbirds, a turtle, fat squirrels, lizards, and butterflies. We observed from a distance the Picketpost House and entered the Clevenger House. We enjoyed the shade along the Queen Creek riparian area with views Magma Ridge and Picetpost Mountain. The Drover’s wool shed was interesting with an outback truck in the yard and a windmill donated by the Hughes and Areas families. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is well worth a visit. If you want to try something different for lunch, try the Jade Grill in Superior. The owner, Lucy Wing, has an interesting history of 42 years in New York City before returning to Superior where she grew up. All 11 Wing children graduated from college and went on to interesting careers. Her Asian fusion menu was unexpected.

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