Sunday, December 26, 2010
Yesterday was my 2nd annual Christmas Day hike. Last year, I hiked Squaw Peak and this year it was Camelback Mountain. Instead of waiting until mid-day to hike, like last year, I got an earlier start. I started from the trailhead at about 8:25 am with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. There are two ways to summit the peak and I took the Cholla Trail, which is on the east side of the mountain.
The trail starts as a series of switchbacks up a moderately steep slope. This alone is a pretty good workout. The first two-thirds of the hike is like this. Then, you crest a ridgeline and this is when the fun starts. Not only does the trail get steeper, but the majority of this section of trail consists of scrambling over rocks. Good times. It took me about 50 minutes to summit, where I took a 20 minute break to drink water and eat some cashews. The return hike to the trailhead took me 40 minutes.
It was a very pleasurable hike and a good workout. My hips, thighs and glutes were a bit sore this morning.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
In last week's episode, I had lunch at The Farm at South Mountain. I returned this week to have breakfast at the Morning Glory Café. It was a cool, sunny morning with chirping birds and crowing roosters. There was a slight breeze, but it was deflected by the natural canopy over the patio. All of the seating is on the outdoor patio and it's very informal.
My meal was delicious and made with fresh, local ingredients. I highly recommend this place; not only for the food, but also for the setting and ambiance.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I was a Cincinnati Bengals fan for 35 years; that's enough nonsense for anyone. So, instead of spending 3 hours on a Sunday following a ridiculously amateurish sports franchise, I've decided to use that time for more productive and pleasurable pursuits, such as having a quiet lunch at an outdoor café or gouging my eyes out with a dull spoon. Today was lunch at The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix.
There are 3 restaurants at The Farm: The Morning Glory Café for breakfast and brunch, The Kitchen for lunch and Quiessence for dinner. I had a leisurely lunch at The Kitchen, then walked the grounds. It was a beautiful Fall day under warm and sunny skies. I think I'll go back next Sunday for breakfast at Morning Glory Café.
Grilled chicken on a bed of spinach with tomatoes, dried cranberries, goat cheese and spiced pecans. Blueberry scone on the side.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
(Ed. note: A recurring theme in my posts is that of "disrepair." I try to post a few pictures that show a place or thing that has fallen into disrepair; I'm fascinated by it. This entire post is on disrepair. I'm not going to lie, I was giddy as I toured the mine.)
On the recommendation of my brother, Steve, I paid a visit to the Vulture Mine, which is about 12 miles southwest of Wickenburg, AZ. The mine has been closed since 1942 and has been privately owned by an individual since the late 60s.
According to the caretaker, the son of the owner is doing a little mining as there is still, supposedly, a lot of gold below ground. At one time, it was the most productive mine in Arizona.
The entry fee was $10 and it was worth every penny.
The Assay Office - "to assay" means to analyze ore to determine the amount of gold, silver or other metal in it. So, every mine had an Assay Office.
The Glory Hole - "In 1923, some "personal miners" were working in one of the large underground chambers. The Vulture Mine, a hard rock mine, had no need of support timbers. The mining company found it necessary to leave about forty percent of the ore in place as supporting columns. One large chamber had ore columns that were very rich in gold. The personal miners were chipping away at these columns when they suddenly gave way. One hundred feet of rock over their heads collapsed on them. The cave in killed seven miners and twelve burros. There was no hope of rescue.
"Above ground, what had been a small hill became a pit. The collapsed chamber area became known as the "Glory Hole." Ironically, the miners soon discovered that the new Glory Hole was an excellent place for personal mining."
The Main Shaft - it reaches a depth of 3,000 ft and goes down at a 35º angle
The Ball Mill-
The Power House - in a metal building near the Ball Mill is the power house. A big diesel engine ran a generator that provided electricity for the mine.
The Hanging Tree and Wickenburg house - Henry Wickenburg was the mine's original owner and owned it from 1862-1866. At the age of 85, unable to care for himself anymore, he shot himself in the head with a Colt revolver. The town of Wickenburg surrounds his grave.
Random disrepair -