Early 2018 Update

Let’s see: ASPT, Rotator Cuff, Zac engaged, Jill changing companies, & more…

ASPT.  That stands for Arizona State Parks and Trails.  Starting late last August I began volunteering two days a week at their offices as “Volunteer Assistant Site Steward Coordinator”, helping out my friend, Dr. Will Russell, Archaeologist, who is the actual Site Steward Coordinator for the state.   Biggest problem, funding and priorities.  The Site Steward program is so far down the list of priorities at State Parks that it takes MONTHS to get approval for a simple newsletter out to the 800+ site stewards.  Very discouraging.

Rotator Cuff: Tore mine on March 1st while out hiking on Agua Fria National Monument – which I was still trying to do on a weekly basis.  Now up to over 880 prehistoric structures documented, close to 20K photographs and over 1,500 km of hiking.  The rotator cuff debacle occurred as six of us were heading into the last 1/2 km of a 3.5 km hike – from Horseshoe Ranch, up Indian Creek to Long Gulch Creek, up the creek for 1/2 a km, then up to the south onto the top of Long Gulch Mesa, visit a couple of sites there and then back west to the Jeeps.  The “back west to the Jeeps” involved climbing down off the mesa – which the young BLM ranger with us was able to do by hop/skipping/jump down from basalt boulder to basalt boulder in front of us.  As he was looking up at the rest of us, I jokingly told him he’d have to wait for about 30 minutes for the rest of us old folks to work our way down to where he was.  Then I took two steps, lost my balance and fell backwards onto my right elbow and shoulder.  I heard a distinct “POP” and felt lots of pain in my elbow and shoulder – mainly the latter.  As the ranger and others hurried to help me, I rolled over onto my back and discovered my right arm was worthless.  Total inability to raise it up at all.  It just laid there.  They bandaged up my bleeding elbow, we took an easy trail back to the Jeeps, I struggled in with some help from others, and then drove myself to emergency care.  No broken bones, but could be torn tendons – which an MRI a few days later confirmed.  Now I’m scheduled for surgery on March 23rd.  Followed by 6 weeks of slings and 3 – 5 months of physical therapy.  😦

My son, Zac, is getting married in August.  On Macinack Island in Michigan.  To the wonderful Kasey Campbell.  So excited.

Jill, my lovely wife who is a mortgage originator, is now back working with Veritas Funding out of Utah.  Nice people, great products and wonderful support for Jill.  She has her own office only a mile or so from our house (along with an office in our house).  With her thirty years or more of experience in real estate and mortgages, she is probably the most knowledgeable and experienced mortgage originator in the area, if not the state.  I’m so proud of her, her accomplishments and her reputation.  She even teaches mortgage licensing and law all across the nation.

Well, time to get back to work.  I have a meeting today with Parks folks to go over 2018 Site Steward award nominations and another meeting at 12:00 noon with the Cultural Resources Committee for the Friends of Agua Fria National Monument.  I’ve been working with the latter group for over 9 or 10 years now and find it very rewarding.


Remember me? I blog. Sometimes.

Yes, I know.  It’s been awhile.  Again.

I have continued to hike Agua Fria National Monument (which is currently threatened by the Trump Administration’s “review”  of monuments set up over the past 20 years – but, that’s another story and I’ll cover it later).   I’m up over 16,000 photographs, 730 habitation structures documented, 300 plus trips to the monument and over 1,450 km hiked.

I also tried to get back into running last fall.  Jill (my absolutely better half) and I signed up with a 3 month training program designed to get you running a 10k.  The program was done by the local Runners’ Den and included group runs every Saturday.  We were in the slow/beginners group.  I jogged.  Jill walked.  We did it together.  Slowly.  Our miles were about 18 to 20 minutes each.   At the end of the program you were registered to run in two different races.  The first one was 10k and we finished.  We were so spectacular that we had a police escort right behind us.  Motorcycles, bike and patrol car.  And right behind them were the city workers picking  up the orange cones marking the race course.  Yes, we finished dead last.  For the second one we downgraded ourselves to a 5k and finished it, too.  And there were a few people who came in behind us.  Maybe 10?  So we weren’t last.

This weekend a group associated with the Friends of the Tonto National Forest did an archaeological survey up on Perry Mesa.  The west half of Perry Mesa is Agua Fria National Monument and the east half is Tonto.  I got to participate.  There were about a dozen of us, including a retired Tonto archaeologist and a professor from ASU as leaders.  We had lots of fun.  Found five or six field houses, lots of pottery sherds, a rattle snake, a horney toad and several petroglyph panels.  I normally walk alone up in those areas because I love the peaceful nature of it and use the opportunity to clear my mind.   However, the benefit of a dozen extra pairs of eyes in locating exciting archaeological artifacts or features cannot be underestimated.  Afterwards, several of us stopped in Rock Springs on the way back for their third and last 2017 “Hogs in Heat” all-you-can-eat BBQ event.  Spent several hours eating, talking and watching the local Black Canyon City folks whoop and holler as they danced to the music of both a band and a DJ.

Later this week I’ll try and remember to spend some time typing up a blog entry about the Trump administration “review” of national monuments.  I need to gather more information and also stop ranting so much or what I blog will be nothing but curse words.

Every ten years or so…

Every ten years or so I go on a workout kick, mainly jogging or running.  Since I have gained about thirty pounds since Jill (my wife) and I stopped the diet we went on last year, and since I am just about to turn 70 years old (two months from now), I decided it was time to start my “every ten years or so” workout regime.

When I went on Medicare at age 65 it was pointed out to me that I was eligible to participate in “Silver Sneakers”, an old folks workout program at selected local gyms.  It doesn’t cost you any out of pocket cash in that it is covered by Medicare.  They feel that if you are participating in a Gym program you will be more healthy and they will have less medical coverage for you down the road.

I initially joined Silver Sneakers at a Bally’s Gym about three miles from my house.  To compliment the program I signed up with a trainer for the first few weeks so that someone would be able to show me how to properly use all the gym equipment they had.  They had an indoor track, too, and that allowed me to do walking and jogging.  Unfortunately, within the year that Bally’s was sold to another gym chain and they dropped Silver Sneakers.

After the demise of my local gym, I checked out other gyms in the area with the Silver Sneakers program, but none of them were as close or had an indoor track.  After that I sort of lost interest in the program.  Eventually I began to rationalize my weekly all-day hikes on Agua Fria National Monument as being my workout program.  To an extent, those hikes did help, but they weren’t often enough and they didn’t necessarily always include all the cardio that my body requires.

This last week, after thinking about that weight gain, and beginning to worry about whether at my age I would every get back into shape, I decided to see what was out there in terms of indoor tracks.  Heck, at this time of the year, July and August, the temperatures never get below 105 during the day and frequently exceed 110 degrees.  As a result, you absolutely need to find something that is inside, unless you want to get up and exercise outside in the dark around 4:00am.  Since I sleep until around 7:00am, that isn’t an option.

After looking on-line for gyms with an indoor track offering the Silver Sneaker program in the Phoenix area, I found that the nearest one was about 8 miles away in Glendale.   So, I hopped over there about three weeks ago and checked them out.  They also have a pool, but it is outdoors – which creates somewhat of a problem if I want to utilize it, since I am prone to skin cancers.  But, that is another story.  Anyway, I signed up with them and then promptly left with Jill on a week’s vacation to mid-state New York.

A few days after we returned, I went to the gym for a test run of their track and facilities.  Everything seemed okay, but I was really out of shape.  Couldn’t keep up with the old ladies walking the track.  I did figure out that I’d need a towel, a bottle of water and a hat to avoid the sun while walking from my parking spot to the front door.  Oh, and to fit in with the “In” crowd, I’d need to bring my ear phones so I could listen to music on my iPhone while using the track.

Since then, I’ve logged five days so far, each day traveling more laps on their ’13 laps equals one mile” indoor track.  On the second day I tried to jog one of those laps and got pretty winded.  As of today I’m up to 26 laps (2 miles) and I’m walking three laps and then jogging one lap, repeating the same sequence until I quit for the day.

To put some of this in perspective: My walking/jogging mile is accomplished in between 18 and 19 minutes.   When I was in highschool I could run a mile in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.   Today I quit after two miles.  When I was in the Air Force in Germany in the ’60s, I could run for fifty miles without stopping.  And that was wearing military Brogans (boots).

My intention is to gradually increase the number of laps that I can squeeze into a 30 or 45 minute exercise routine and do that routine 3 to 5 times per week.  By gradually increasing the speed (jogging more laps) and covering more distance, I should be able to build up a little endurance, lose a little weight and improve my physical shape somewhat.  Anyway, that’s the idea – and I’ll work on it some more next week.  Today was Friday and I won’t be able to break away over the weekend, since Jill and I have lots of other plans.

And for sure, I don’t want to wait another ten years until I resume the routine.

June 2013 Update

My last post was almost two years ago today exactly (6/8/2011).  Since then I’ve taken 58 more trips up to Agua Fria National Monument.  I’m currently at 10,000+ photos, 900+ in kilometers hiked and 527 prehistoric habitation structures located.

This spring I showed a public Power Point presentation at the Arizona Archaeological Expo.  It was held on March 16th at the Horseshoe Ranch along the Agua Fria River in the middle of the monument.  It was titled, “The Rock Art of Perry Mesa” and had over 100 of my favorite images of petroglyphs from the vicinity of the monument.

Agua Fria National Monument is just over 70,000 acres of mostly wilderness area located on Black Mesa and Perry Mesa east of I-17 and between Black Canyon City on the south and Cordes Lakes and Dugas on the north.  We generally refer to the whole area as “Perry Mesa”, but it is quite a bit more.  It includes Black Mesa just to the east of Sunset Point Rest Stop, the Agua Fria River Canyon, Perry Mesa to the east of that and several small mesas to the north, including Sycamore Mesa.

My trips there over the years have included my favorites which are one day hikes just by myself looking each time at new areas, archaeological surveys for ASU and BLM, special tours for AAS, FAFNM and friends, and occasional days spent participating in special events or planning meetings for the joint oversight group comprised of BLM, AZG&F and Tonto National Forest.

There are times when I stay away from the monument: Wet days during and following rain storms when the roads are so muddy you can sink in up to your doors; and, days when the temperatures are up over 105 or 110 degrees.  Those latter days it is sort of dangerous to be out bush whacking cross country by yourself.  You can easily be overcome by the heat since you normally are wearing lots of protective clothing and hiking boots along with carrying a backpack, camera equipment, fanny pack and other miscellaneous gear.

During those times I’m off the monument (which include a good deal of the summer), I work on other projects related to my interests there.  Those currently include managing my Garmin waypoints and information collected about sites I’ve found along with working on a set of cards for identifying and understanding the various types of pottery sherds found on Perry Mesa.  In addition, I have a library of books that I’m working through which explain much about what is known and not known regarding prehistoric cultures of the Southwest.

Enough for this update.  More blogging later.

Blogging Rationale

Not that it needs explaining, but my blogging intent is to get back to where I was with a previous blog, “Hidden Petroglyph”.  It was hosted by Microsoft Spaces and disappeared when they got rid of Spaces in March, 2011, – along with about ten years of stories, reminisces, photos, etc.  Yeh, I know, they gave us six months notice so we could transfer it over to WordPress, but, I wasn’t really paying attention and the deadline passed without my taking action.

As a result, I lost the story about hiking with my daughter, Kimberly, and son-in-law, Scotty, on the Havasupai trail when we got caught in a flash flood and “search and rescue” was out looking for us.  I also lost the opening gambit of that blog which was a poem-like piece of writing about me and petroglyphs.

Anyway, my intention with this blog is to create similar pieces and, over time, rebuild a blog that will capture some of the essence of my way of life as I go through my sixties and seventies.  And this time I will see if I can do something to have it in more than one place – or protected from some idiots destroying it.

Them’s my thoughts and I’m sticking to them.  More later.  Chores to do right now…  🙂

Hello, Friends!

Hi, Everyone!  Well, this blog is MINE!  No idea where it will take us, but I suspect it will have to do with my experiences on weekly hikes through the Agua Fria National Monument and about subjects relating to Southwest Prehistoric Cultures.  Should be fun.  Since I’ve been playing with setting this up for the past two hours and it’s way past bedtime now, I’m going to shut down and revisit tomorrow or the next day. Talk to you later.