.......... .. .. ........... "Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places If You Look At It Right" :Robert Hunter

All of the music recordings on this site are recordings of independent origin (ROIOs) Music that has not been officially released. If you are an artist or a legal representative of an artist and you do not want your ROIO shared on my site for free among your fans (and creating new fans), just tell me in the comment area and I will remove them. By the way these recordings exist. They won't go away. All of them can be found at various places on line. Sharing just keeps the fans that support the artists from having to get ripped off by purchasing them on auction sites, and it also introduces music to people who would never have known the artist, creating a stronger fan base.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slide Rock State Park, Arizona, Part Two

In the summer in Arizona we are always trying to find a way to cool off. And that often includes taking a swim in one of the many creeks that come down from the rim country. One of the most visited spots is Slide Rock State Park. I already did a post on this but with temperatures at 107 this week in Cottonwood and over 115 in Phoenix I decided to go back to cool off and here are some more photos of that special spot. 

The thing that makes Slide rock special is not just the water but the many different ways to enjoy it. Of course there are the water slides.
And then even more water slides!
But along with that are the many deep pools where you can jump off rocks.
And if that is not enough and you want some some bigger thrills, you can jump off some pretty tall cliffs into some real deep pools that are under the highway bridge!
Here is one of the brave ones hucking his body off the ledge into the water below.
But for me I like taking a walk up stream away from the crowds to the more secluded spots.  This next photo is looking back downstream as you leave the people behind. 
Upstream you will find some beautiful locations, where it is more quiet, and has a more wild feel. 
Here there are some nice pools and some places where the cliffs close in on the creek reminiscent of Clear Creek but much easier access. 
This is why so many people flock to Slide Rock and Oak Creek Canyon every summer, and why they come back year after year.
Now Slide Rock State Park is $20 per car to enter, but you can park upstream and hike down. There is a "redrock" pass required to park anywhere in the canyon however. There are some other great spots in the canyon where you can enjoy the creek this is just the one with the most to offer.
Here is the link to Slide Rock State Park, Part One, in case you missed it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It All Goes Back In The Box

The death of my father made me think about how short life is and with that how do I make the most of that finite resource. The thought of time being limited tends to make you hurry up. In fact most people today are obsessed with hurry. That’s why so called “fast food” restaurants are on every corner. That’s why we all have cell phones, texting, and, e-mail, because we insist on instant communication. We can’t wait for anything anymore. We have invented these things to save us time, but it is never fast enough for us, and as it gets faster we just do it more and really have less time. So why are we in such a hurry?

Often we are in a hurry because we are working hard to get more or better things. We are consumed with getting the latest phone, computer, car, or a bigger house. We strive to get the better Internet service and the cable TV with 700 channels so we can have thousands of choices, yet we are too busy when the show we want to see is on so we record it and try to watch it when we have the time. And often we never have the time. And when we do get the next, better, or bigger thing it does not keep us content for long because there is always a newer, better, or bigger one. So because of this we continue to hurry and hurry to strive to get to the next goal, but never reach that place of contentment and many of us are too hurried and busy to do the things that are of true value. We make excuses like “once I get to a good place” or “when things slow down”. The problem is that all the stuff we are trying to obtain really has no lasting value. In fact when you are on you death bed, will it matter if it is in a big house or a little one? Will it matter what kind of car is out in the garage? Will it matter if you have 20 pairs of cool shoes in the closet? Will that so called standard of living really matter? And what happens is we just have to work harder and take more time to to maintain it. And all it does is put us in a chain gang of our own making. Volunteered Slavery

So what will matter in the end? I have never heard of a person on his death bed saying he wished he has spent LESS time with his children, spouse, or friends. But we as a society we get so busy that we don’t make these things a priority. If you wait to do what is important in life until you have the time, you will never have an important life.  Hurry is the great enemy of a spiritual life. You can’t love in a hurry. Jesus always had a lot of things to do but he was never in a hurry. In fact he always stopped and took the time to reach out with compassion for others. Jesus talked in Luke 12:13-21 about those who were busy in life trying to obtain abundant possessions. Jesus calls those types fools. FOOLS! The word Jesus uses to describe the people who forget that life could end tomorrow and that when it does those possessions will have no meaning or value.

When I was thinking of my dad’s life I thought what kind of lasting memorial is there for him, and what will there be for me. About 10 years ago a short little guy I called “Jesus Freak” named George stopped what he was doing and took the time to pray for a man who was depressed because it looked as if he and his wife would never be able to have children. He was in the middle of doing his work, but he noticed a man in sorrow, and stopped to ask what has got you down. And then he took the time to pray for that mans needs. That man was me, and a little latter my wife found she was pregnant and the conception date was when George prayed for me. Soon I was a father, and soon after that George died. George was a meek little man who drove a beat up van that said "Jesus Loves You" on it.  He wore old jeans some beat up boots and a bandanna around his head as he sweated installing wood floors (a carpenter). I went to George’s memorial thinking not many would show up for this little insignificant man. But when I got to the church on a Wednesday afternoon during work hours, the parking lot was full and cars were parked down the street. I found the church packed with standing room only, all to say goodbye to this meek poor little unassuming man. I thought that George and I had a special and rare relationship because of how he had cared for me, and changed my life forever. But what I found was it was only rare from my perspective, in fact it was an everyday thing for George. The pastor gave the microphone to people to let them express how George had impacted their lives and people lined up around the room, and for hours I heard the stories just like mine of how George took the time to love, care, and reach out. Many of the people had come to know Jesus and their lives were changed forever because of George’s acts of kindness, and I was one of them.

So how are you spending your time? Are you too busy to notice others who are in need? Are you focusing on that phone call, or that computer, and your work, while your child watches TV alone? Are you busy texting but rarely talk to the people you love face to face. Jesus says in Luke 12 that he is a FOOL who lays up treasures for himself and that where your treasure is there your heart will be also. And I think that your time is your greatest treasure, and how you spend it shows what you love. Nothing says love to a child louder than TIME.

So there is George’s lifeless body in a casket, and there is my dad’s ashes in a “box” so what is left? What is left is how they impacted those who continue on, but for them the game is over. So do you play the game forgetting the most important thing, that simple fact that for every person the game ends, and we never know when or how soon? John Ortberg a well known pastor once gave a sermon called “It All Goes Back In The Box” and in it he makes an analogy to life being like a Monopoly game. We strive to acquire to win the game but in the end acquiring has little value because “It All Goes Back In The Box”. Even the physical matter that makes up our bodies is just on loan to us and it too literally just goes back in the box. Here is a link to hear that great John Ortberg message that teaches this better than I ever could.
It All Goes Back In The Box
What is typical of God is that while I was pondering this my Pastor (Jeremy Peters) taught this message on Fathers day that deals with many of the same things, but just comes at it from a different angle. So if you have the time give this a listen to hear the 10 things that will make you a father that has a life that makes lasting impact. http://ccachurch.org/media.php?pageID=53

To show you more of how short this time can be.  As many of you know my father passed away on may 21st, since then my aunt (my mothers twin sister) has had a massive stroke leaving her paralyzed, and then my oldest sister has been diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer.  For every one the game will end, we just don't know how long or shot a time we have.  Please be praying for my aunt, my sister, my mother, and my family as we go through these difficult times in our lives.  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mountain Biking Mount Elden, Flagstaff AZ

   Well anyone that knows me, "Arizona Jones", knows that I like to mountain bike.  In the summer it can get pretty hot in Cottonwood where I live.  In fact temperatures of well over 100 degrees are nothing unusual.  So when it gets hot I like to travel to higher elevation where it is cooler to ride.  One of those spots is Mount Elden near Flagstaff Arizona.  Mount Elden is part of a series of mountains north of Flagstaff called the San Francisco Peaks volcanic field.
 Mount Elden is one of the  peripheral mountains and it rises up above the already 7000 foot high plateau that Flagstaff is on.  Mount Elden is one of the farthest south of these mountains and is also one of the smaller ones being about 9297 feet in elevation.  Some of the other peaks reach as high as 12,000 feet. 
   Most of the other mountains are in a designated wilderness area but Mount Elden is not and so Mountain Bikes are allowed.  On Mount Elden is a great trail system that gives you opportunity for many different loop or out and back options.  With the bottom of the mountain being a full 2000 feet below the summit there are also great opportunities to get in some fun downhill runs as well as the tough climbs for those who want a serious workout.  And serious climbs at this altitude will really test even the best mountain bike riders. 
But for me it is about not just the workout but the enjoyment and the beauty.  Mount Elden is covered with a beautiful forest with a variety of trees including Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, and Aspens. The eastern slopes of Elden were badly burnt by the Schultz Fire in June of 2010 but much of the good stuff is still intact. So here are some trail descriptions, to help plan a ride or hike.
Oldham Trail #1
Mt. Elden's longest trail at 5.5 miles, it begins at the north end of Buffalo Park (elev. 7,000 feet) in Flagstaff and climbs gradually past boulder fields and cliffs on the west side of Mt. Elden. You cross Elden Lookout Road several times as the trail winds higher through forest and meadows to Oldham Park and on to Sunset Trail near the summit. The trail is moderate at the bottom but gets very difficult on the upper part if you are climbing and has an elevation gain of 2,000 feet.
Rocky Ridge Trail #153
Ponderosa pine, Gambel oak, alligator juniper, cliffrose, and yucca line this western approach to Mt. Elden. This trail begins from Schultz Creek Trailhead heads east and connects with the Oldham and Brookbank Trails. Distance is 2.2 or 3 miles depending on which fork you take. Schultz Creek Trailhead lies a short way off Schultz Pass Road 0.8 mile in from US 180. Elevation change is only about 100 feet but there are some rocky technical parts on this trail.
Brookbank Trail #2
This moderate to steep 2.5-mile trail climbs north through a forested drainage to the edge of Brookbank Meadow, owned by the Navajo Tribe, then curves east to eventually meet Sunset Trail at a low saddle. The part of the trail between Brookbank Meadow and the Sunset Trail goes through some very nice forests and meadows.  Elevation gain is 1,000 feet. The trailhead (elev. 7,900 feet) can be reached by hiking or biking the Rocky Ridge or Oldham Trails or by driving a half mile in on Schultz Pass Road from US 180, then turning 2.5 miles up Elden Lookout Road.
When at Brookbank Meadows in the Dry Lake Hills area I often take an unnamed trail out southwest across the meadows to a view point that over looks parts of Flagstaff. There is a rock outcrop that I often take a break at and enjoy the view.
Schultz Creek Trail #152
This gentle 3.5-mile trail parallels an intermittent creek and also paralles Schultz Pass Road. The top is at Shultz Pass at the Sunset Trail Head (elev. 8,000 feet) and the bottom at Schultz Creek Trailhead (elev. 7,200 feet). Sunset Trailhead is at Schultz Pass, 5.6 miles up Schultz Pass Road from US 180, and Schultz Creek Trailhead is a short way off Schultz Pass Road 0.8 mile in from US 180. This is a very fun and fast downhill!
Sunset Trail #23
The alpine meadows and forests on the north side of Mount Elden offer some of the most pleasant hiking and bikling in Arizona. The four-mile Sunset Trail climbs gradually from Schultz Pass through pine, fir, and aspen to Sunset Park and on to the summit; elevation gain is 1,300 feet.  as you climb away from Schultz Pass you have some nice views back towards the San Francisco Peaks.  Latter as your head south you will traverse along the eastern edge of Mount Elden and will see below the visible scars left by the Radio Fire of 1977, and more recently the damage left from the Schultz Fire.  from different points on the Sunset trail you can view the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater, and Painted Desert.
Begin from the Sunset Trailhead (elev. 8,000 feet), just west of Schultz Tank at Schultz Pass. To reach the trailhead, follow US 180 northwest three miles from downtown Flagstaff to Schultz Pass Road, then turn right 5.6 miles.

Little Bear Trail #112
This trail is steep in places with some switchbacks is 3.5 miles long with a 1,000-foot elevation change between Little Elden Trail and Sunset Trail. This may be still closed due to the big Shultz Fire in June of 2010.  This area being burned is a sad loss.  It was a real fun and beautiful trail to ride. 

Little Elden Trail #69
This trail descends down to the east side of Shultz Pass from Schultz Tank and links to trails that wind around the base of Mount Elden. From Schultz Tank to the bottom of Heart Trail in 4.7 miles. I have not tried this area since the Shultz Fire but I'm pretty sure this area has significant damaged.

Here is a trail map I came up with to help navigate.  There are also many trails that are not named that are north of Schultz Pass Road that can be explored.  As well as several on Elden itself. 

My earlier post about the Shultz Fire   http://arizjones.blogspot.com/2010/07/fire-on-mountain.html 

Here is the best map I have found for the Mt. Elden trails by Dale Wiggins. It has many on it I have not been on. Very detailed!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fossil Creek, Part Two

I can't get enough of this place.  Fossil Creek is just so beautiful and the water is so perfect that you just want to keep going back.  So yesterday I had a day off so I took my child and her friend back for another great day in paradise. 
Since I could not get enough I thought maybe you might not of had enough yet as well.  So i took a few more pictures to share of this amazing place. 
This one is at the falls that I posted the other day but from above.  As you can see you can climb around to the top of the falls and many people jump into the deep pool from the cliff 30 or so feet above the water.  The fall is at least 20 feet in height, so I'm guessing the cliff is at least 30 feet or more. 
The stream has great waterfalls but also nice lazy and deep pools to relax in.  There is also some "white water" or rapids type areas.  I guess some people have gone down this river in kayaks, and even gone down the falls. 
Anyway I feel pretty blessed to have this fantastic place within driving distance, so I can take a day trip over there and enjoy the water. 
Oh The Water. . Ooohhh The Water. . And It Stoned Me To My Soul
Here is the link to the other Fossil Creek Post in case you missed it

And here are a few maps that might be of value. 

Anyway if you want to go here DON'T. . . . because I want it ALL to myself!  Like that could ever happen. Anyway for more information contact:
Mogollon Rim Ranger District, 8738 Ranger Road, Happy Jack AZ 86024, (928) 477-2255 FAX 527-8282
Verde Ranger District, 928-567-4121 or
Red Rock Ranger District, P.O. Box 20249, Sedona AZ 86341, (928) 282-4119