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Human Anatomy: An Up Close Look

May 22, 2011

Yesterday a few of us took a field trip down to the Phoenix Science Center to see the Body Worlds Exhibit.  Amazing.  Have any of you guys seen it?  I had no idea they were real bodies!  I guess I thought they were replicas, but I was wrong.

Seeing the exhibit was especially interesting and helpful since we are all studying Human Anatomy in Massage School ( and we were fortunate to have Joe, the founder of ASIS and  one of its owners with us.  He did a great job of explaining and expanding on the exhibits and tied them back to what we are studying at school.  In the photo below, we have Maki and Michael in the back row and Brandon, Erin, Coyo, and Joe in the front.

Here is an excerpt describing the exhibit from Wikipedia:  Body Worlds  is a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared using a technique called plastination to reveal inner anatomicalstructures. The exhibition’s developer and promoter is German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, who invented the plastination technique in the late 1970s at the University of Heidelberg

Body Worlds was first presented in Tokyo in 1995. Body Worlds exhibitions have since been hosted by more than 50 museums and venues in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The exhibit states that its purpose and mission is the education of laymen about the human body, leading to better health awareness.   All the human plastinates are from people who donated their bodies for plastination via a body donation program.

Each Body Worlds exhibition contains approximately 25 full-body plastinates with expanded or selectiveorgans shown in positions that enhance the role of certain systems. More than 200 specimens of real human organs and organ systems are displayed in glass cases, some showing various medical conditions.

Some of the specimens, such as the Tai Chi Man, demonstrate interventions, and include prosthetics such asartificial hip joints or heart valves.  Also featured is a liver with cirrhosis and the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker are placed side by side (along with one from a coal miner). A prenatal display features fetuses and embryos, some with congenital disorders.

To produce specimens for Body Worlds, von Hagens employs 340 people at five laboratories in three countries, China, Germany and Kyrgyzstan. Each laboratory is categorized by specialty, with the China laboratory focusing on animal specimens. One of the most difficult specimens to create was thegiraffe that appears in Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life. The specimen took three years to complete – ten times longer than it takes to prepare a human body. Ten people are required to move the giraffe, because its final weight (like all specimens after plastination) is equal to the original animal.

If you’d like, you can learn more at: or you can watch a quick video here:

Photography wasn’t really allowed, but I couldnt’ help but take just a few photos.  The ice skaters pictured below in a Death spiral was my favorite.  Take a look.

Pretty cool, huh?  And these are real bodies of real people who donated their bodies to this project.  If you are interested in seeing the donation forms and process, you can click here:

I also took a photo of Sagittal Man, who was left in tact, preserved in plasticine, and was then cut into parallel sections along the sagittal plane.  You can see he appears to be sort of pudgy, middle-aged man.

This horse and rider was not included in the particular exhibit I saw in Phoenix, but I thought it was worth showing a photo of.  It took over 3 years to complete the horse compared to the 8 months to year it takes to complete a human.

So that’s it for the exhibit.  Afterwards, we headed to the nearby Pizzeria Bianco for delicious salads and pizza before driving the two hours or so back north to Clarkdale.

Stay tuned.

All Aboard!!!

May 16, 2011

How lucky was I to take a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad yesterday afternoon!  What fun!  Thanks to my new friend Michael who just took a part-time job with the RR, I was able to join him for a complimentary ride.

We boarded at the new Clarkdale depot, just up the road from the school,  rode about two hours at 12 miles an hour to Perkinsville, where the engine switched from the front to the back and then rode back to Clarkdale following the Verde River the entire way.  The trip took about 4 hours and I spent most of it in the open air car enjoying the dry desert air and the scenery.  Here are a a few shots I took along the way.  This first one is of some desert blooms.  The orange is the ocotillo cactus and the yellow is the prickly pear cactus with the Verde River in the background.

The Verde River is the only Wild and Scenic River in Arizona and it divides two National Forests:  The Coconino and the Prescott.  Right pretty, don’t ya think?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or if any of you have figured it out on your own from earlier posts, but you can’t swing a cat around here without hitting an ancient cave dwelling and this trip proved no different.  Below is one of the several Sinagua dwellings we saw along the way.  You can make out the little box looking thing in the big crack in the rock.  The Sinaguan Indians were the first inhabitants of the Verde River Valley dating back to about 600AD.

And moving on to a more lively topic, we were fortunate to have Sonora on board with us.  Everyone say hello to Sonora.

Sonora is a Juvenile Bald Eagle who was rescued after she fell from her nest when she was 8 weeks old.  Apparently her nest was attacked by African bees who killed her sibling, but she jumped out and fell quite a distance to the ground breaking her wing in three places along the way.  It took quite a bit of nursing to see her through and while she is happy and well now, she won’t be able to be released into the wild due to her injuries, so she will play ambassador instead.  At age 4, she is still speckled and won’t become fully brown with a bright white head until she is 5.  It was interesting to learn that desert Bald Eagle females weigh about 15 lbs while Alaskan Bald Eagle females weigh in at double that.  Here she is again with Michael and her handler (check out her talons).  For those of you who know who I’m talking about, doesn’t Michael look a bit like Whitney?

Alrighty then, that’s it from the desert.  I’ve got to hit the books…the hip bone is connected to the leg bone…

Stay tuned!

Anterior Superior Iliac Spine

May 4, 2011

Who loves Massage School?????  I do!  I do!

We have completed two days of orientation and 3 days of actual classes and I’m loving every minute of it.   You may remember the school I chose is the Arizona School for Integrated Studies or ASIS, and as you can see in the title of this post, ASIS could also refer to the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine, more commonly known as the hip bone.  Taaaaah Daaaaaah!  I’ve been studying bones, can you tell?   And today we started our muscle overview.  Who knows what the gastrocnemius (gas-trock-knee-me-us) is?  Anybody?  Anybody besides Devin and Carol?  It’s the calf muscle which actually lies on top of another calf muscle called the solerus.   It’s awesome.  (not the muscle, but the school)  In addition to getting to color in my Anatomy Coloring Book every evening, there are really cool online anatomy arcade games where I can  reinforce my learning by playing such games as Whack- A-Bone, similar to Whack-A-Mole, but with bones.  What’s not to love?

School is generally set up so we have lecture in the morning and massage practice in the afternoon.   The first lecture series is Anatomy & Physiology followed by the first massage modality, Swedish Massage.  Over the 6 month course, the lectures will change as will the massage modality, so by the end, we will have had 800 hours of both academic and hands on learning resulting in a certificate and at least a basic working knowledge of the Body and how to massage it.  Cool, huh?

There is not a desk in sight and class usually begins with quite a bit of yoga like stretching and breathing.  There is a lot of circle sitting, occasional poetry, occasional dancing, lots of tangents, and lots of class participation.  I’ve never experienced a learning environment like this and I must say that I really like it.  Information is sticking to my brain like glue, even all the weird bone and muscle names taken from Greek and Latin.  Go figure.  Perhaps if my Business Law or Corporate Finance classes had more dancing and circle sitting back in college, I would have attended more often and learned more instead of skipping out to ride around on Fraternity fire trucks while swilling beer in the middle of the day, but I digress…and that was a long time ago.

The class consists of 16 students and 4 teachers in training.  Our ages run from about 19 to 60 or so.  There are 4 males, the rest females and to add an international flavor, included are 2 from Japan, 1 from Dubai, and 1 from Amsterdam.  I am the only one from Alaska, though I understand there was an advanced class taught over this past weekend that had an Alaskan in attendance.

Here are some shots I took over the past couple of days.  This first one is of Joe, our delightful Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) teacher, fellow student DeborahLynn, and Mr. Bones.  DeborahLynn is working her way through naming all the bones.

And here we are in the afternoon doing the lecture portion of Swedish Massage.  At the moment we are learning a few basic strokes, but are mainly focusing on our own body mechanics (how to stand, hold our hands, place our feet etc), so we won’t hurt ourselves over time and how to effectively communicate with each client.

After the Swedish lecture is complete, we pair off and set up the massage tables.  In the photo below, you can see the lovely Tanya giving a demonstration of the techniques we just discussed.

Once she has completed the demonstration, we head to our respective tables with our partners for the day and practice on each other.  Tanya and the teachers in training are there to offer helpful tips and gentle corrections as we go along.  So, yes, you are right.  I’ll basically be getting some sort of massage every day for the next 6 months.  How ’bout that for some schoolin’?

That’s it for now because I’ve got to walk the dogs, hit the books, do some serious coloring and online gaming.  Lot’s to learn ya know, so stay tuned for more from the ASIS Clarkdale Campus.

Colorado National Monument and The Grand Mesa

April 26, 2011

Elo, Carol, and I spent our last day in Moab hiking the trails in Arches before moving on.  Here are Elo and Carol in the Devils Garden.

After hiking that wonderful trail, we met up with our Ranger led tour group to explore The Firey Furnace, which is a 3 hour walking tour covering two miles of an area of Fins and Canyons called the Firey Furnace.  Shoot me now is what Carol and I said to each other after about the first hour or so.  It’s a cool area of the Park and we learned lots from the Ranger, but taking 3 hours to cover 2 miles was slow going to say the least.

By the time we finished the tour and got back out to the entrance where Dora was parked, the rains were coming and it was getting dark, so the 2.5 hour drive to Fruita, CO was interesting as it was my first time driving Dora in the dark, in the rain, on a narrow winding road, with open range cattle sporadically scattered in the road, and other than the boulder that jumped out at Dora’s exhaust pipes in the very dark State Park in Fruita, all went well.

We decided our first day in Fruita would be sort of a lay day, so Elo grabbed her fishing rod and headed out to try her luck in Colorado waters while Carol and I headed about 25 miles east to The Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat topped mountain standing at 10,000 feet.  We left the semi-desert of Fruita and headed up to the top thinking we’d stop in at the Visitor’s Center, but this is what we found.

To learn more about the Grand Mesa, click here  I bet tons of folks come here from the surrounding area  in the summer to enjoy the many lakes and escape the heat and in the winter to ski and snowmachine.

Over the next couple of days, Elo and Carol could be found zipping around the single track trails on their Mojos while I was hiking and geocaching in the Colorado National Monument…another preserved piece of gorgeousness with a wonderful history.  Check it out.

Here are some shots I took while out and about.  This one was taken from the valley floor while I was hiking the Monument Trail.

Here is a shot of Monument Canyon with Independence Monument standing broad and alone in the center/right of the shot.  It’s called Independence Monument because John Otto, the “founder” of the area summited the monument back near the turn of the century on the 4th of July and placed an American Flag on top, a feat which he repeated each year thereafter.  Carol and I can’t figure out how he scaled the monolith, especially with the technology (or lack) of the day.

And next is another shot of Monument Canyon with the “Coke Ovens” to the right (a fine example of differential erosion) and the top of the Grand Mesa in the distance.

And two shots I really like taken while switch-backing my way out of the canyon.

As all things must, our time together came to an end.  Elo flew out first, then Carol, and then Dora, Lil Pea, the dogs, and I hit the road for Cottonwood, AZ.  I really wanted to drive back through Ouray and Durango, but the passes are over 12,000 ft in that neck of the woods with very narrow, shoulderless, switchbacking, roads, and every possibility of snow or freezing rain, so I opted for the less lofty road through Telluride and the single 10,000 ft Pass of Lizard Head.   A good decision, if I do say so myself since I found myself driving my 57ft, 26,000 lb rig over Lizard Head Pass is a snow flurry.  The road was relatively dry and sans ice, so I continued on up and over to the beautiful Gateway Canyons below where I followed the Delores and San Miguel Rivers past numerous ranches boasting newborn colts, lambs, and calves frolicking in the Spring grass on the valley floor while the snow-covered peaks kept guard above.   Oh my, are you laughing and rolling your eyes at that last sentence?  I am.  Ha!  Anyway, it was quite a lovely drive, which ended 6 hours later in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Cortez.

The next day, found me fighting very strong and gusting winds all the way back to Cottonwood.  7 hours.  Whew, boy was I tired after that, but I did get a chance to drive through the 4 Corners which is where the states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet.  The 4 Corners is located on Navajo Land, so I pulled in and paid the $3 entrance fee, worked my way past the numerous fry bread and bead necklace hawkers, and took the following shot of the brass marker.  Take a look.

The marker is also a Geocache, so I got to claim the find, which was an added bonus.

That’s it for now.  Since I’ve been back, I’ve started several thousand dollars worth of dental work I recently found I need and have made an appointment with a chiropractor to see if he can help my neck and shoulder.  Massage School starts on Thursday and I’m very much looking forward to it, so stay tuned.  Oh, and by the way, Elo has indeed purchased the Ibis Mojo she rented and rode while in Fruita.  It is being shipped as I write.  Way to go Elo!  Have you bought the larger pair of shorts you’re going to need?

This Land Is Your Land. This Land Is My Land.

April 24, 2011

I am humbled by the beauty of our Country and am so pleased there are still protected areas where wild things can be wild and nature can carry on as intended.

If you wish, you can see and sing along with Woody Guthrie here.

You’ve already heard about my time in Monticello/Canyonlands with Alaskan friends, Devin and Ron, so we’ll move right on to…

Moab, Utah.   Mountain Biking Mecca, USA.

We worked this trip around Elo’s Spring Break dates, which happened to coincide with the 45th Annual Jeep Week in Moab.  Oh my.  Mountain Bikes vs Jeeps.  It’s like sailboats vs motorboats,  skis vs snow machines, and hikers vs ATV’s .  There are those who prefer the power of an engine and there are those who prefer a less mechanized method of motion.  We are the later, and were a bit nervous about all the motorized vehicles and their owners, but our fears were groundless, thank goodness, as we were really never inconvenienced or bothered by their presence or their noise which you may find hard to imagine when viewing the following photo (provided by Jim) of a group of them all lined up for their “safari”.

Can you imagine anything worse?  Think of all the dust everyone but the lead jeep must endure for hours and hours and hours as they proceed bumper to bumper at a crawl up and over the rocky, desert roads. Goodness.  But as they say, they look at the bikers and hikers and think we are the crazy ones.

Moab has long been hailed as THE PLACE to mountain bike in the United States.  Carol has been there numerous times while this would be Elo’s and my first time.  I should mention that both Elo and Carol are avid mountain bikers each owning  big name, fancy schmancy bikes like Carol’s Ibis Mojo or Elo’s Novara Bliss (which I suspect may soon be replaced by the top of the line Ibis Mojo).  Me?  Since I am by no means an avid mountain biker, I have a blue one.

Unfortunately, I was only able to go on one ride before I discovered that my wonky shoulder wouldn’t tolerate mountain biking in its current condition, so I had a great time hiking all around Arches National Park while Elo and Carol enjoyed lots and lots of biking.  The local bike shops very helpfully kept bikers in the loop as to where the jeeps were going to be on any particular day, so the bikers could plan accordingly and go elsewhere.

This is the one picture I took on my one ride.  When I get a few of their shots from their rides, I’ll be sure to post them.  Here they are getting ready to cut left onto some desert single track.

Arches National Park, Utah.

Since I spent most of my time hiking, I’ll move on to the Ab-Fab Arches National Park.  I don’t know how anyone could choose a favorite NP since they are all so wonderful in their own ways and Arches is no different.  Like all the others, I loved it!  Check it out.  There are over 2,000 arches in the Park.

Both Devin and one of the Rangers I spoke to told me that the Devils Garden area is a Must See, so that’s the first place I headed.  My plan was to head out past Landscape Arch to Double O Arch and then take the primitive trail back to the start, so that’s just what I did, but before I could park my car at the trailhead, I ran into (almost literally) a fellow Alaskan.  Jim- from Kodiak.  Jim and I seem to be on similar paths as he recently rented his house and is off exploring the lower 48 for up to 4 years.  We had the pleasure of his company for two evenings before he set off for points North.  Everyone say hello to Jim!

After leaving Jim in the parking lot I hit one of the most amazing trails I’ve ever hiked.  Here are some shots I took along the 7 mile loop.  First there was Landscape Arch.

And after some wonderful fin scrambling there was the Double O.  Look closely and you’ll see the second “O” below the top “O”.

And then came the Primitive Trail  through the Devil’s Garden and all its gorgeousness.

Did I mention that after I got past Landscape Arch, I had the rest of the loop to myself?  Amazing.

And here are a couple of shots Jim took while out and about that day.  Isn’t the Raven amazing against the Red Rock?  I know, it looks fake…but its not.

Dwarf Evening Primrose still blooming in the morning.

And cohabitating lizards.

The next day, I hiked out to Delicate Arch, understandably the most photographed Arch in the Park.  Look!  That’s me underneath.

More shots of the general scenery in Arches.

Since it was Jeep Week in Moab and RV site reservations were limited to just a few days, our plan had us moving on up the road about 120 miles to Fruita, Colorado, which is just outside Grand Junction and has started giving Moab a run for its money as far as being a mountain biking Mecca.   Here Elo had arranged to rent an Ibis Mojo from a local bike shop and she and Carol enjoyed riding their Mojo’s all around over hill and dale while I enjoyed hiking and geocaching in the Colorado National Monument.

I’m at the laundry mat at the mo and I forgot to bring my power cord.  My power is almost gone, so I’ll post this without spell checking or proof reading and will get to the Colorado portion of our trip another day soon, so stay tuned.

Stay Tuned for more adventures on the Colorado Plateau

April 21, 2011

Hiking with Hoodoos and friends from Alaska in Southeast Utah

April 13, 2011

Just yesterday, I had the supreme pleasure of hooking up with one of my most favorite friends, Devin and her Grade A, non-husband, Ron who are down here on a month long traipse around Southern Utah.  What fun!  We coordinated a meet up in Monticello, UT and had a great time hiking out to Chesler Park in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park.

Here they are in front of some of the Needles aka Hoodoos.

What a gorgeous hike it was.  Take a look.

This was taken from the Chesler Park trail looking back at the La Sal mountains in the distance.

And these next few were taken out in Chesler Park.

And of course there was a geocache for Karma123 and Momima to find while out that way.

Afterwards, we high-tailed it back to Dora to let the dogs out for a brief moment before heading back up the road to a little known and little advertised establishment called The Roughlock Lodge and Campground where we enjoyed  Bob, the proprietor, and a delicious steak dinner complete with potatoes, salad, texas toast, and camp beans.  Bob is quite the character and says he hasn’t left the immediate vicinity since getting here 45 years ago.  You should see this place.  It’s straight from the Old West and, as a matter of fact, is used to film the occasional Western.  The Lodge sits on the old freight trail and a roughlock is the type of brake they used to help slow the wagon wheels so the wagon would not run the horses over when going downhill.  The downstairs is set up like a dining room and bar complete with upright piano and stairs leading to an upstairs balcony off which sit the hotel rooms which have such names as “Miss Kitty”, “Miss Dolly”, and “Shady Lady”.  One of the upstairs walls boasts a copy of an actual business license for Prostitution made out to Big Nose Kate, whom, if I am not mistaken, was Doc Holiday’s gal.  It was dark and we had no camera, but here is a link if you are interested in seeing more.

This morning Devin and Ron came over for a breakfast of steak and eggs before we had to head our separate ways, them to Cortez, CO and me up to Dead Horse Point State Park just outside Moab.  It was a short, but lovely visit.  Can’t wait to see them again in July during my quick visit to Alaska.

79 miles north landed me at Dead Horse Point just north of Moab and Arches NP.  After setting up camp and getting the hound dogs all situated, I jumped on my bike and headed over to the Visitor’s Center where I inquired about the 9 mile, “easy”, single track trail winding around the rim of the canyon.  Easy.  Just my speed.  Yeah, right.  I hadn’t gone 100ft before I found myself on the ground under my bike with a seriously scraped knee and a knot on same said knee swelling before my very  eyes.  So much for easy.  I got back on my bike and did my best to complete the 4.5 mile loop section of the 9 mile trail and while many sections were indeed easy, I also found myself attempting to maneuver twists, turns,  jumps, rocks, boulders, trees, deep sand, and ledges that were beyond my skill level.  Oh well.  Once Carol and Elo (friend from AK and sister) get here , they’ll be on the Black Diamonds and I’ll be on the Bunny Slope.  No worries, it’s all good.

Here’s a shot from the bike trail along the rim.

And here is a shot taken from Dead Horse Point.  That’s the Colorado River 2000 feet below.

Two interesting things I learned about Dead Horse:  1.  The desert around here is called a Cold Desert and is called such due to the temperature variations which range from 133 degrees in the summer to -27 degrees in the winter.  The annual rainfall averages 10 inches.  2.  Legend has it that the cowboys of old used to chase the wild mustangs out onto the point whose neck is only 30 feet across.  Once the horses were out on the point, the cowboys would construct a fence from tumbleweeds and branches etc.  They would then make their selections from the available horses and take the chosen ones away leaving the rest stuck out on the point with no food or water, hence the name, Dead Horse Point.  Hmmmph.

On that cheery note, I’ll leave you for now.  Tomorrow I plan to ride the trail again (perhaps I’ll  be able to stay upright this time) and then head into Moab proper where I have reservations for the duration of our stay.

Stay tuned.

Hiking and Sightseeing in and around Sedona

April 3, 2011

Hello Everyone!

Just thought I’d check in while I’m fluffing and folding at a local laundromat.  Not too much of note has been going on since the last post other than lots of hiking and sightseeing.  I’ve settled in nicely at the Turquoise Triangle RV Park, the grass I planted for Misty and Mosely across the back of my little parking spot  is growing well, and the neighbors continue to be very nice.  The two tomato plants I planted in large container pots fell victim to a roaming band of Javelinas.  Remember the Javelinas from the Big Bend post?  The wild pigs, except I’ve since learned they are not pigs at all, but peciderms or peci-somethings which include the Tapir family.  Anyway, the javelinas only ate the top half of each tomato plant and fortunately turned their nose up at the rosemary and cilantro plants.  I’ve added a wire cage around the tomatoes, which will hopefully keep them at bay.

I’ve been hiking regularly with the Westerners, which has been lots of fun.  They focus on hikes that are not published in books or maps, so I really like that and depending on which group I go with, Amblers, Dogies, Drovers, Mustangs, or Rough Riders, the hikes can range from easy to quite challenging to don’t even think about it.

The other day we drove up onto the Mogollon Rim and hiked 4 miles down to a creek with several springs.  It was really neat to go from an arid landscape to one so lush and reminiscent of Hawaii.  Here are a couple of shots down by the creek.

It doesn’t look like Arizona, does it?

The hike back up and out was a doozy since it was in the upper 80’s and uphill the whole way.  Many of us stuck out heads, hats, and bandanas in the creek before heading up, but this was just not enough to keep me cool.  I had been warned that the hike out was uphill and in the sun, so I had come prepared with my trusty mobile shade and boy am I glad I did.  It was a life saver even though it caused quite a few odd glances and snickers.  Take a look.

Moving on to two other recent outings.

My neighbor Ted and I decided to take his jeep up Schnebly Hill in Sedona and see what we could see.  He doesn’t drive on roads like this, so I got to do the honors.  What fun we had on this high clearance/4×4 road.  Ted had packed a picnic for us which we enjoyed in the shade by an almost dried up creek called Marg’s Draw.  Here is Ted concocting some fresh egg salad.

And this is a shot of the view taken from near the top at Merry-go-round Rock.

And check out the Chapel of the Holy Cross located on a hillside overlooking the Village of Oak Creek portion of Sedona.  Here is the link if you’d like to learn more about this Roman Catholic chapel.

And finally, Montezuma Well.  I visited this National Monument yesterday with a couple of gals I met at a Meet Up hike.  This place is really interesting.  1.5 million gallons of water flow into the Well daily from 3-4 underground springs.  There are ruins high in the walls of the well and a man-made canal made by the early american natives to direct the outflowing water to the planted fields a mile away.  The water flowing out of the well is said to be sacred.  The modern day Indians have a key to the Park so they may come in an hold ceremonies at the mouth of the canal.

If you’d like, you can read more about Montezuma Well by clicking on this link:

That’s it for now.  My laundry is dry, so I’ve got to get to folding.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Sedona Hiking, Vortexes, and Astral Projection

March 18, 2011

In the last post I had moved from Sanford and Sons to the lovely Turquoise Triangle RV Park, which is still proving to be a fine decision and I was scheduled for a complimentary massage over at the School.  Well, the massage was very nice as was the gentleman who gave it.  Snowy was his name.   Snowy  is middle-aged and has long white/blonde hair down past his shoulders with just a hint of glitter.  During the massage he told me how much he loves Alaska and how beautiful he thinks it is etc.  Snowy has actually never been to Alaska, mind, but has formed this high opinion of it based on what his Spirit Animals have told him of their journeys there.  His Spirit Animals were determined by his native tribe and are the Snow Wolf and the Snow Owl.   How interesting.   Did I mention that Snowy is from Pennsylvania?

To quote from John and Micki’s Metaphysical  Site, “In addition to being a beautiful and serene place, Sedona has long been known as a spiritual power center. This is because the power that emanates from the vortexes produces some of the most remarkable energy on the planet. This energy is the reason Sedona is full of people that are “on the path”, that is, people who have made a commitment to grow and become as much as they can spiritually. It is also the reason that such a large New Age community has sprung up in the Sedona area, bringing with it a variety of spiritual practices and alternative healing modalities, and it is the reason Sedona has sometimes been called a spiritual Disneyland.”

”There are several energy centers, or vortexes of subtle energy, located in the Sedona area. The energy from these vortexes saturates the whole area in and around Sedona, and can be noticed in a subtle but general way anywhere around town.  If you actually go to one of the vortex sites, which is where the energy is strongest, it can be a very uplifting experience.  The energy you take in at one of these energy centers can stay with you and affect you positively for days afterwards.”

“The vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. The vortex energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.”

“There are four main energy vortexes in Sedona. The subtle energy that exists at these locations interacts with who a person is inside. The energy resonates with and strengthens the Inner Being of each person that comes within about a quarter to a half mile of it. This resonance happens because the vortex energy is very similar to the subtle energy operating in the energy centers inside each person. If you are at all a sensitive person, it is easy to feel the energy at these vortexes.”

I have printed the Vortex Map and plan to visit all four sites before too long.  I’ll let you know what I see and feel, if anything, and if my Inner Being feels stronger as a result.  So far, I’ve only seen what some people believe is a Portal to another dimension.  While on my first hike in the area, Fay Canyon, lovely, I noticed some people gathered around a large flat round rock up on a hillside and learned that the rock is believed by some to be a Portal.  In fact, I understand some folks come out and spend the night on the rock so they might better experience travel to another dimension. I don’t know about you, but it made me think of Jim Morrison and his peyote eating experiences in the desert, but I digress.

What fun it’s going to be –discovering and learning all about Spirit Animals, Vortexes, Portals, Other Dimensions, Time Travel,  and Astral Projection.

Here are some folks from the local Meet Up Hiking Group with the “Portal” high in the background.  Do you see it?

And here is a shot I took while hiking up Bear Mountain.

In addition to the Meet Up Hiking Group, I learned about another, more organized hiking group, called The Westerners. They were established in 1961 and offer hikes 5 days a week for all levels of fitness, from the “Amblers” to “Rough Riders”.  I went on an incredible 8.5 mile hike with the “Mustangs” sub group yesterday and am still shaking my head in amazement.  What an awesome hike!  Awesome because of the beauty and awesome because it was off the beaten track.  This hike went over and around buttes, canyons, rims, and passes on little used to barely discernible to no trail at all.  Needless to say, other than at the trailhead used to access our route, we saw no one.  Wonderful.  It is a very active group, so there were about 20 participants.  We divided into two groups of about 10, each with a leader and set off and a fairly aggressive pace.  I can’t wait to hike with these guys again as they rarely hike on trails that can be found on area topo maps or in local hiking books.  Yippeeee!

Yesterday was a bit cloudy, thank goodness as the sun is quite strong already,so my photos aren’t the best, but here’s one I took during our lunch break.

Oh, and you can’t swing a cat around here without hitting a ruin.   Here are some in great shape.  You can see the mud plaster used to cover the rocks and the black charring on the ceiling from the fires.

And what’s a ruin without cave drawings?

That’s it for now.  Stay tuned for more hiking tales and metaphysical discoveries.

Welcome to Clarkdale, well sort of…

March 8, 2011

First, Happy 50th to my brother Jimmy!  May the next 50 bring you lots of joy and happiness.

The 2 ½ hour drive from Phoenix was really very pretty.  I took the scenic route instead of the interstate and went through the small town of Payson, where famous writer of western novels, Zane Grey, had a cabin.  Once up over the Rim, I found lots of snow still on the ground from the storm the week prior.  I must say it was refreshing to see snow and big Ponderosa Pines instead of cactus and tumbleweeds.

In the last post I mentioned The Rim which I have since learned is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau.  A big thanks to friend and blog follower TomANoble who provided the following informative link along with great photos of the Rim:  So this is what causes the great difference in temperatures between this area and Phoenix.  Good to know.

You may remember I had arranged to park Dora for the duration of Massage Therapy School on a local artist’s property up on a shaded bluff overlooking the Verde River.  This is what I found upon my arrival behind an 8ft chain link fence with large chain and padlock:

To the left is the “studio” and to the right is the trailer which turns out was 5 feet from Dora’s living room slide.  And next we have the 5 ft distant neighboring housing.

Did I mention the Hold Harmless Agreement about molds that may or may not be on the property that I was asked to sign?  And below we have what I like to call, the water feature, located about 8 ft from Dora’s front door.

And finally, to get a flavor of the immediate neighborhood, a photo of the buildings across the street.

Needless to say, I have made other arrangements and am now happily ensconced in one of the local RV Parks.  While on the hunt for new digs, I visited every local RV Park and learned something interesting.  Up until now, I have been staying in Parks that do not allow long-term parking, two weeks is usually the max.  Well, the parks in this area all allow long-term parking, so the look and feel is quite different.  Instead of sites being open and well spaced with lots of green natural areas and nicer rigs (for the most part), I find that long-term parks fall more into the category of standard Trailer Parks or mobile home parks with all manner of rigs from a tarp covered, ancient, passenger van with flat tires and cobbled together front porch to…well….Dora and the like.  So here I am, in a local trailer park in Cottonwood 4 miles from the Massage School where the people could not be nicer or friendlier, AND where no one even locks up their bikes.  Sweet!  I have already fenced in my little area so Misty and Mosely can roam untethered.

As you can see, there will be plenty of shade in the summer.  Oh, I’m number 10 and have a black bear sign.  The number 11 wolf is my neighbor to the left.

I can’t wait til the threat of frost has passed, so I can get some flowers and herbs and a tomato plant.  Won’t it be a treat to have fresh, homegrown tomatoes after living in AK for so many years?   Lovely.

I’m scheduled for a complimentary massage at the Massage School later this afternoon and will be hiking with the hiking Meet Up group out of Sedona on Saturday.  There is so much to see and do in this area.  The Grand Canyon (south rim) is only 2 hours north, for example, so stay tuned