Proctor Trail, Madera Canyon, AZ

The ceremonial opening of the newly repaired Proctor Loop Trail in Madera Canyon was on December 3, 2019. Thanks to day permit fees and donations from Friends of Madera Canyon this 3 year project resulted in a trailhead with a short paved handicap accessible section. Just off the parking lot, there is an honor wall.

The short paved section has informative nature signs and you’ll see bird watchers, people walking their pet on a leash, hikers and all handling the gradual slope with ease. Most of the trail is in the shade which is nice for an August day, but do not expect to see the “secret waterfall”.

Further along the trail you discover the trail is not paved, but a foot path with good signage so you know where you are. You’ll also see bat houses for any of the 17 different species found in this area. An upper loop to other areas in the canyon is with some climbing and crossing bridge and walkway.

I was here to watch for birds and in the shade I had my challenges, plus with others on the trail the birds were not as accommodating as I had wished. But I did see bridled titmouse, turkey vultures, flycatchers and many silhouetted birds. I couldn’t figure out what caught the mule deer’s attention; it was totally oblivious of me! They certainly know that are safe in this environment!

One can drive the 3 miles up the start of the canyon which is all part of the Santa Rita Mountains, fourth highest of the Sky Islands in the Coronado National Forest. The range rises 6,000 feet and has plenty to offer hikers, birders, star gazers and campers. There are 3 picnic ares, 5 trailheads and a campground. Someday I am hoping to see the elegant trogon. I want to see if that bird is really as beautiful as pictures I have seen of it!

Celebrate … With Wine!

Which wine will you have today? Are you ready to celebrate National Pinot Noir Day? A glass of wine is part of my daily routine with special attention this week to the national celebration on August 18, 2020, National Pinot Noir Day.

Unfortunately, no wine-country travel happening for me at the moment, but I have plenty of memories in discovering wine, specifically pinot noir!

Many years ago our travel brought us through California’s Dry Creek Valley area for road bicycling and we stopped at various wineries and tasting rooms. When we asked about pinot noir, one place directed us to Kokomo Winery. So down the road we went to discover this place which was only a very small tasting room. It was a new place in 2004, sort of discovering itself, so when we asked more specifically about pinot noir they recommended Papapietro Perry. Across the parking lot was Papapietro Perry that had a pinot noir, full bodied and twice the price. At that time it was difficult to imagine paying the price, so we limited ourselves to our budget. We returned other times to partake in a wine and food pairing at Papapietro Perry and now we do purchase Kokomo and Papapietro Perry wines!

A few years later we decided it was time to only focus on pinot noir wines as we did not know much about them compared to us having the old vine zinfandel wine drunk most often. When in wine country it is easy to drink and think all are delicious. But when focused on one wine and learning where the grapes are grown for a pinot noir it helped us choose what we enjoyed most.

We drove along the coast of California and Anderson Valley where we discovered Handley Cellars Winery and only tasted pinot noir. Fantastic wine tasting opportunity for us. Milla Handley was the first woman winemaker to open a winery in her own name in California and unfortunately she recently died due to Covid-19.

Another trip we visited a Russian River Valley winery called Benovia. Founded in 2005, the various estate vineyards each have distinct-tasting pinot noirs. We had a private tasting and the land is beautiful as we someday hope to stay at the guest cottage available on the land.

We now purchase the pinot noir wines from the four wineries with each having a different price point. Higher priced wine does not always mean it is the better tasting wine! Dependent on the year, the weather, the vineyard, the food eaten with the wine and whatever else, all the wines are enjoyed throughout the year which is one of the things I really enjoy about pinot noir wines!

Are you ready to celebrate National Pinot Noir Day on August 18, 2020? Get ready to celebrate!

This Old Car Still Has It….

I do love this old car!
                     I do love this old car!

What is “it” about when I see an old car and think it is really cool looking? It is not like I actually ever owned a car of this make or year to relate through a memory! That might possibly bring happiness to others as they see a particular old car, maybe similar to one he/she owned, but not me.

Old cars often sit in a lonesome spot. Have you noticed? Their colors, rusted body, broken windows, flat tires, and ancient look do tell a story, if I could only hear it. Since I cannot, I create the story. I imagine the life of the car when it had wheels that rolled through the countryside carrying a couple on their way to some special place. The car in a time where all was productive, fun, and carefree … there was action, the car was moving!

But even now as the old car sits alone, it still has “it” because I gave it a life story and reminiscing is good for my soul. In my mind, the car will always roll on…it still has it!