Jun Kaneko Sculpture Saturday, Nov 25 2017 

Velocity

Velocity

This afternoon we walked in the Desert Botanical Garden and admired the bold, monumental sculpture of Jun Kaneko. We learned that this Japanese American artist now living in Omaha, Nebraska creates these giant ceramic sculptures using a 40 foot in diameter and 20 foot high kiln. It takes 9-18 months to dry one piece. Before glazing, it is fired at 2100 degrees. After he glazes a work it is kiln fired for 26 days at 2300 degrees. “Velocity,” a cast bronze and enamel painted head greets visitors near the entrance. “Six Tanukis” and “Dango Garden” each have multiple sculptures while other “Untitled Heads” are dispersed strategically throughout the Garden. We departed before the closing at 4 p.m. This evening the Desert Botanical Garden hosts the popular Las Noches de las Luminarias. Perhaps we will participate sometime during this holiday season.

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Phoenix Zoo: November 2017 Wednesday, Nov 22 2017 

Michael, an Orangutan

Michael, an Orangutan

The Phoenix Zoo starts its popular Zoo Lights tonight, but we decided to visit during the afternoon. We were surprised at the high level of animal activity. The Komodo dragon, for instance, was pacing behind a rock and tree before deciding to sun itself in close proximity to human viewing spots. In the closed aviary we observed masked lapwings, a Bali mynah, and white-faced whistling ducks. Jiwa, the baby orangutan, performed aerial gymnastic stunts while father Michael enjoyed eating a late lunch. An egret stalked prey while silhouetted with its shadow. Loulou, the new Southern white rhinoceros addition, was initially laying down in a far corner of her exhibit before rising for drink and munching hay. Although we didn’t visit the Dinosaurs in the Desert, I did photograph the publicly accessible colorful Pachyrhinosaurus. A Watusi cow displayed its wide horns. A snowy egret and a burrowing owl both posed for me. A bald eagle kept its eye on me. A white-nosed coati was unusually active. Zebras also moved from the back of their exhibit to the front as we passed. I was rewarded today with lots of interesting pictures of animals at the Phoenix Zoo.

Pima East Loop Trail Tuesday, Nov 21 2017 

South Mountain Terrain

South Mountain Terrain

It has been a while since we’ve hiked South Mountain Park which has 51 miles of trail on more than 16,000 acres. Today we parked near the Pima Canyon area not far from 48th Street and completed the Pima East Loop Trail. It rises from an elevation of 1,320 feet to 1,440 feet. I especially enjoyed interacting with the iconic saguaros. Part of the loop is adjacent to the Arizona Grand Golf Course which was very busy this afternoon. We are thankful for great temperatures and great hiking.

Prescott Blitz #5 Saturday, Nov 18 2017 

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs

On Saturday seven Prescott area chess players competed in 42 chess games, each game with only five minutes for each player using special timers. Jim Briggs, Chino Valley, was the top finisher with a 10-2 record which netted him $65.

Henry Ebarb

Henry Ebarb

Dr. Henry Ebarb, Prescott, was the top Class B rated player. He finished with 8.5 points and won $40. Dr. Ebarb is currently ranked the 80th best U. S. Blitz chess player of those aged 65 and over. He will move up on this list as he gained 60 points in this event.

Tommy Keenan

Tommy Keenan

Dr. Thomas Keenan, Prescott, was the best Class C player. He scored 5 points and earned $30. He gained 17 rating points

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.

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.

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