Ancient Musical Treasures From Central China Saturday, Feb 24 2018 

Musician on Horse

Musician on Horse

While we were having our Lexus serviced, we visited the Musical Instrument Museum to see (and hear) their current special exhibit and prepare ourselves for the countries we will explore on an upcoming cruise. The Henan Museum in Central China has loaned some 60 objects and instruments illustrating nearly 9,000 years of musical traditions. A flute, one of the oldest musical instruments in China, was excavated from a Peiligang burial site. The flute, made from the bone of a stork, is precisely tuned to a five-note (pentatonic) scale, indicating a highly developed music system. We learned that the ability to play and appreciate the qin, an ancient zither strung with 7 strings of twisted silk, and its repertoire was described as one of the most important virtues that should be possessed by Confucian scholars, and its performance was meant to be shared privately among friends. According to Confucius, “Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.” In addition to exquisite musical instruments, the exhibition also features beautiful music-related artworks made of materials such as a ceramic tricolor-glazed figure of a musician on a horse and various jade objects. Another appropriate quotation found in the exhibit is from Shi Bo, “Harmony is indeed productive of things. But sameness does not advance growth. Smoothing one thing with another is called harmony.”

Mariachi Outfit

Mariachi Outfit

After lunch at Cafe Allegro, we decided to focus on Latin American countries that we expect to visit during our upcoming cruise on the Emerald Princess. In the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the brooding passion and sensuality of tango was born using violins and a string bass. Afro-Uruguayan drumming and dancing to induce spirit possession has flourished since the early 19th century. Since the 16th century in central and northern Chile, there has been a tradition of dancing while playing flutes to fulfill promises to the Virgin Mary. The Scissors Dance in southern Peru is associated with indigenous insurrections against European attempts to Christianize local populations. Of course, we expect to see sikus (panpipes) in many sizes. More unexpectedly are the use of an accordion and/or harp in so many Latin American countries. In Costa Rica instruments are still played to support healing rituals and other shamanistic activities, folk dramas, annual festivities, and cultural tourism. Mariachi represents only one of many Mexican traditions. We are looking forward to our musical experiences while visiting several Latin American countries.

We did visit a few other exhibits including seeing a Hauman (monkeyman) costume from Cambodia. Seeing a selection from the Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi brought back memories from our recent Vietnam visit.

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Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Wednesday, Feb 21 2018 

Watson Lake

Watson Lake

We took advantage of free parking on Wednesdays at Prescott’s Peavine Trail. There have been some improvements in the restoration of the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve since our last visit. Some of the trees are identified. We saw a giant Fremont cottonwood and two varieties of willow – red and arroyo. Granite Creek had a small flow of water. We hiked part of the Prescott Circle Trail then looped on the Lakeside Trail and Watson Lake Trail. There were quite a few geese and other water fowl. Watson Lake is always picturesque with its granite boulders.

2018 Scholastic Chess Tourney Saturday, Feb 17 2018 

Riley Nollet

Riley Nollet

Twenty-one scholastic chess players signed up for a day of chess at Yavapai College on Saturday, February 17. The 2018 Yavapai County Scholastic Chess Tournament, divided in three sections based on grade, was played in Building 3, Room 119.

Riley Nollet, a 4th grader at Franklin Phonetic in Prescott Valley, repeated as the top finisher in the grammar school section. He defeated the second-place finisher Jackson Wells and the third-place finisher Kameron Bush, who are both 5th graders at BASIS Prescott. Skyview School won the grammar school team trophy with four participants – Caleb and Jared Sanders, and Maxton and Maya Brock.

Dallin Cannon

Dallin Cannon

Dallin Cannon, an 8th grader at Mile High Middle School, won the 1st place trophy in the middle school section. He defeated both the second-place finisher, Nolen Lofgren, a 6th grader who is home schooled, and the third-place finisher, Robbie Manning, a 6th grader at BASIS Prescott. Last year Manning was the 2nd place finisher in the grammar section. Mile High Middle School won the middle school team trophy with the top scores from these players: Dallin Cannon, Angus Macdonald, Quinton Flores, and Manti Farnswirth.

Julian Kimball

Julian Kimball

Julian Kimball, a 9th grader at BASIS Prescott, won the 1st place trophy in the high school section. He defeated the 2nd place finisher Minjun Ko, a 10th grader at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy. BASIS Prescott won the high school team trophy.

Each trophy prize winner also received a $20 gift certificate donated by Augie’s Restaurant.

The Prescott Chess Club co-sponsored this unrated chess tournament with the OLLI Chess Special Interest Group. Tom Green, president of the Prescott Chess Club, directed the event with help from Henry Ebarb, Kathy Eskra, Tommy Keenan, and David Steeves.

Willow Lake Trail Meandering Sunday, Feb 11 2018 

Willow Lake & Glassford HIll

Willow Lake & Glassford HIll

Today we parked near the Willow Creek Dog Park to access the Willow Lake Trail. This trail is part of the Prescott Circle Trail until it joins the Jan Alfano Trail near the underpass to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. We continued on the Willow Lake Trail to the boat ramp. Along the way we passed the Willow Lake Archaeological Interpretive Center. Two pit houses from the Prehistoric Prescott Culture have been enclosed after excavation work completed in 2002-2003. I was disappointed to learn that these sites are now open only on Saturdays. According to informational signs, from 900-1100 A.D. there were twenty houses in this village, 13 on an upper level, seven on the lower level. The entry way to all houses faced east. Their location would have provided nice views of the Willow Creek floodplain and would have been a good location for growing corn. As we walked out on the boat ramp walkway, ducks eagerly followed us but lost interest when we didn’t feed them. A woman and her two daughters were loading their kayaks on a truck. We returned on the 0.92 mile Willow Shoreline Trail. It was interesting to view Glassford Hill from this direction. We encountered several hikers, a few bicyclists, and a fisherman who, like us, were all enjoying the beautiful weather around this man-made lake.

Glassford Hill Summit Trail Saturday, Feb 10 2018 

Glassford Hill

Glassford Hill

We traveled to nearby Prescott Valley to climb the Glassford Hill Summit Trail. This trail, completed in May 2016, ascends 900 feet from 5,183 feet in elevation to 6,123 feet in about 2.3 miles. This extinct volcano on the west side of Prescott Valley was once known as “Bald Mountain.” Basalt, volcanic rock composed of iron and magnesium, is prevalent after its eruption some 12-14 million years ago. It is named after Colonel William A. Glassford who used the top for a heliograph system of communication. A heliograph uses sun and mirrors to reflect Morse Code messages. According to an information sign atop the hill, “By 1890 the Glassford Hill heliograph had set a world record for the longest reception of a message. The 150-word message traveled a round-trip distance of 800 miles in less than four hours with only one word missing.” We met many other hikers, not all of them made it to the top. This was a good hike to take in February.

Badger “P” Mountain Trail Friday, Feb 9 2018 

Badger "P" Mountain Trail

Badger “P” Mountain Trail

Another blue sky day in Prescott with temperatures in the 70s. We returned to York Motors where we learned that hikers with vehicles need to park by Walmart. We again hiked down Old Bullwhacker Road to the Prescott Circle Trail intersection. Today we hiked south. We learned that the section of segment 8 that we recently hiked and the first part of this trail is called the Sundog Trail. At the underpass it becomes Badger “P” Mountain Trail. The underpass had graffiti calling it “Lover’s Tunnel” which is appropriate as we approach Valentine’s Day. This tunnel goes under Highway 69. It was wet on the southern side with mud as we exited. We only hiked about 1.15 miles on this trail which wasn’t as steep as we had expected. Our total mileage for the day approached 4 miles. We didn’t meet any other hikers, although two mountain bikers separately passed us. Another interesting new trail for us.

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