This Week In Awkwardness

I learned how to throw spears using an atlatl during V-Bar-V Heritage Site‘s Archaeology Discovery Days.  After a half-dozen throws I was getting halfway decent at it; my last spear actually hit the board, although not any of the ground sloth targets painted on it.

I discovered a PBS show called Time Team America that follows a group of specialists helping out on archaeological digs all over the United States.  They spend three days on a site, using high tech gear to help the group conducting the dig accomplish a specific goal, like finding evidence of a building they’ve been looking for.  The show covered a wide range of topics from throughout history – everything from 13,000 year old Paleo Indian sites to Civil War era prison camps.  If you’re into history or archaeology it’s definitely worth a look.


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

Clark Memorial Clubhouse, Clarkdale, Arizona


Added to the Travel Map:

A Train Wreck in the Woods, Near Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

RKK Energiya Museum, Korolyov, Russia – space museum.

Museum of Soviet Arcade Games, Moscow, Russia – pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Star City, Russia – once secret cosmonaut training/residential facility.

Gallery: Crescent Moon Recreation Area

Crescent Moon is a small but very pretty recreation area just outside of Sedona, right along Oak Creek.  In hot months it would be good for swimming.

Other people’s trash that I packed out:

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Prints of some infrared photos I took at Crescent Moon are now available for purchase here.

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Gallery: West Fork Trail (Call of the Canyon)

This is easily one of my favorite hikes.  The trail follows the west fork of Oak Creek for almost three and a half miles as it flows down through the canyon.  The trail is fairly flat, with soaring cliffs on each side as a backdrop to the forest.  All along the trail were signs of flood and fire damage, and even a few patches of snow.  It crosses the creek 13 times, including several that require wading through ankle deep (and ICE COLD) water.  The first ford turned back at least two large, obnoxious groups of hikers, so I wasn’t too broken up about having to get my feet wet. >:D

Prints of photos from this series and others taken at Oak Creek Canyon are now available for purchase here.

Other people’s trash that I packed out:

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This Week (and Last Week) in Awkwardness

I attended the Sedona St. Patrick’s Day parade & festival (which is apparently a big deal, even though I’ve never seen a single reference to anything Irish anywhere in Arizona before) where I saw this gem of a float, labeled “Flags for Freedom”:

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Book Finished:

Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi

I was generally aware of the Manson Family murders but had never studied them in depth.  Bugliosi prosecuted Charles Manson & a few of his followers in the trial of their most famous crime spree, the Tate-LaBianca murders, so the book is an in-depth, mostly first person account of one of the most sensational events in recent history.  I didn’t expect to be genuinely creeped out, but the idea of one crazy person so thoroughly controlling his followers is pretty terrifying.

Favorite Quote:

“‘I think historically the easiest way to program someone into murdering is to convince them that they are alien, that they are them and we are us, and that they are different from us.’ [Dr. Joel Hochman, psychiatrist for the defense.]

Krauts.  Japs.  Gooks.  Pigs.”


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona
West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Heritage Museum, Sedona, Arizona


Added to the Travel Map:

Memphis, Tennessee – just because I’m heading that way I guess.

Mojave National Preserve, Kelso, California – sand dunes & whatnot.

Fort Carroll, Edgemere, Maryland – abandoned, now a bird sanctuary.

Gallery: Snow on the Red Rocks

I was hoping for some snow and New Year’s Eve didn’t disappoint.  It snowed all day long and ended up with a couple of inches on the ground.  It’s not very cold so it’s sticking to everything and ever though it’s a little odd to see desert plants covered in snow (I wonder if they get confused?), it’s also very beautiful.  I’m used to snow softening everything, rounding out the sharp edges, but somehow it makes the mountains seem sharper.  I like winter, for the most part, but I was in Florida last year so I haven’t had it in a while.  It’s nice to get a little bit, even if it’ll probably melt tomorrow.

Destination: Oak Creek Canyon

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Climbing up from Sedona to Flagstaff, Highway 89A winds along Oak Creek, passing waterfalls, quaint lodges, and beautiful picnic spots.  Surrounded by forest, it’s easy to forget that there’s a desert just a few miles back down the road.  The several picnic areas along the way all require a parking pass, the Red Rock pass works for most of them and can be purchased as daily, weekly, or annual.  Aside from Slide Rock State Park, it’s all run by the U.S. Forest Service so a National Parks pass also works.  If you really want to immerse yourself there’s four campgrounds in the canyon.


Call of the Canyon (West Fork Trail)

That being said, none of the Red Rock or Federal Lands passes work at this spot like they do all the other picnic and hiking areas, so forking over $10 to park here is mandatory.  If you’re looking for a day trip the trail meanders about three and a half miles through the West Fork canyon; I didn’t go all that far but still managed to spend over an hour just taking pictures and drinking it all in.


Mayhew Lodge

On the West Fork Trail, Mayhew Lodge began as a small cabin on the banks of Oak Creek, became the set of a movie and then grew into the vacation destination of presidents and film stars.  The lodge was purchased by the forest service in 1968 and burned to the ground in 1980.  The remaining stone walls and foundations are now being overtaken by trees and ivy, looking like some kind of secret garden.  A more intact chicken coop and a cave used for food storage are located right on the other side of the trail.


Banjo Bill

This was the only other picnic spot I stopped at.  No idea why it’s called Banjo Bill.  It’s a beautiful spot with a waterfall pouring right over the driveway of a lodge up the hill.  I love the rocks along here.  They have the most incredible textures, and this time of year there’s colorful leaves laying all over them.  A lot of the trees have grown the rocks right into their roots.

Prints from this post as well as others from Oak Creek Canyon are now available for purchase here.