Apache Junction Lost Dutchman Days

Bare backYesterday, Liz, Mike and I attended the 51st annual Lost Dutchman Days festival. The event has been around longer than Apache Junction has been incorporated -AJ was incorporated as a city in 1978.

AJ has a population of around 34,000, and amasses 34 square miles. The population grows three-fold from October through May when the snowbirds migrate from colder climates.

Apache Junction has no city property tax. While taxes are levied for the board of education and fire district, as well as Pinal County, the city is funded by sales tax.  This consumption-based tax system is the fairest, in my humble opinion. Those that have, pay.  Those that do not have, are not forced to spend what little they have. Read more

Lost Goldmine Trail

IMG_8106The Lost Goldmine Trail is a ridiculously easy hike, much more the surprising that we did not encounter more hikers on the trail. I suppose the majority hit the Peralta Trail, just a mile beyond.

We wanted a quiet hike with a change of scenery. We are on the opposite side of the Superstition Mountain than usual. The Lost Goldmine Trail takes you across the base of the mountain to the Hieroglyphic Trail if you opt for the entire 8-mile hike.  It is a one way trail, so you had better prepare in advance to have a vehicle waiting at the end, or reverse course. We had plans for the afternoon, so opted to hike a mile and half in, then return along the same course.

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History or Hyperbole?

The History Channel has outdone itself, if you count hyperbole and sensationalism. The video is episode one of Legend of the Superstition Mountains. Watch it, it is interesting, if not factual or accurate.

The so-called documentary meets all of the criteria for “reality television” in that it is based loosely on history, and even more loosely on historical fact. Read more

First Water Creek and the old corral

hike routeWe took a short hike this weekend. It was less than 2 1/2 miles, an hour and a half.  After several 8-mile hikes, this one seemed rather short.

We decided to revisit the abandoned corral, and then hit the Second Water trail, follow the First Water Creek to Great Enchantment Trail and back to the trailhead. Read more

Ringed-neck Turtle Doves

ringed-neck turtle dovesWe didn’t hike this past week. Liz had a busy week at work and needed to use Saturday to do some necessary procurement of edibles. And with the frequent recent precipitation, our back yard was in dire need of tending. This week I promise I will get out to the mountains.

The recent rains have certainly replenished the spring beds and washes; and speaking of spring – the desert will be in bloom in the coming weeks.

ringed-neck turtle doveIt is free dump week in AJ, so I made a run yesterday afternoon. Take advantage while you can! The local landfill has a free dump week once every quarter.

With the warm weather, I spend most of my free time on the patio. A pair of Ringed-neck Turtle Doves has adopted me, visiting me daily.  With each visit they get bolder, encouraged I am sure by the handouts – I feed them kibbles of dog food.

At first they sat on the wall, watching me, and waiting for dinner. One day I wasn’t paying attention, and the male flew under tha patio and hovered to catch my attention. Now, he just flies up to the table next to my chair, and stares me down until I provide some chow.  I think it will only be a matter of time before I have him eating from my hand.

As you can see, my life has been less than exciting the past few weeks. Sometimes that is a good thing.



IMG_8018The Peach-faced Lovebirds are back. They visit our yard every winter, arriving in group of thirty or so, and taking up accommodation in the desert willow trees behind the house.

Despite their bright coloration, we hear them before we see them.  They hide in the dense foliage of the trees, and announce their presence with their short shrill chirps. Read more

Kirk McBride website updates

website Kirk McBrideKirk McBride made some major updates to his website this week.

We updated his 2015 workshop schedule, and he added dozens of new paintings to his galleries.

Hackberry Spring, an unexpected detour

Hackberry Spring hikeToday, Liz and I hiked the Hackberry Spring trail. We had intended to hike only to Hackberry Spring and back, a short hike. We missed the turn off for the trail, and instead headed all the way to Garden Valley. Our five-mile hike turned into more than eight miles.

The hike to Hackberry Spring begins just north of the horse trailer parking on First Water. he path becomes rocky very quick, heading into a pass between two mountains. The trail follows a wash; and there was a lot of water in the spring as we wound our way along the trail.

The trail criss-crosses the wash, and with the lush vegetation was a bit convoluted at times. This trail is rockier than most, although still considered easy. Read more

Ringed-Neck Turtle Doves

Ring-Necked Turtle DovesWe have a variety of winged wildlife frequenting our yard. Most are desert birds, with plumage of varying shades of gray and tan. Even our hummingbirds are a Sienna brown.

The larger doves seem to control the territory, and dictate what other birds they will tolerate in their kingdom when they are around. Read more

Black Mesa loop

Black Mesa hikeToday Liz and I hiked the Black Mesa loop. This is a 9-mile hike with a 900 foot gain in elevation, considered a moderate hike.

It took us 5 1/2 hours to complete – we took two 15-minute rest stops along the way.

The day was wonderfully overcast, lending to some great photo ops and a pleasant afternoon. We never got too warm.

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