A Special Place

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Do you have a special place?

Maybe a restaurant you meet your one and only?  A place of solitude that elicits fond memories?  A spot you go to so that you might clear your head?

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We should all have such a place of tranquility and peaceful reconciliation.  Alas, many of the restaurant / bars that my husband and I remember fondly – where we met, where we danced to quiet music, etc.  – are now no longer there.  And I’m not talking just change in names… buildings gone, and unrecognizably landscapes have taken the place of long forgotten icons.

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But we still have our special place.  It’s not a restaurant or a bar… it’s an attitude of peaceful reflection.  My husband first went when he was a boy of 10 years old.  He went camping with his dad.  His dad felt he should know how to drive in case anything happened to him.  So it’s a place, he first learned to drive with his dad – gone now some 20 years.

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My husband took me there before we were married, some 30+ years ago now.  It was then that we discovered these ruins as we looked over this grand landscape and saw this structure tucked into the side of the hill… seemingly undiscovered all these years.

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We have been going back ever since, and deem it our special place.  It is magical, tranquil, and awe-inspiring.  We should all have such a special place.

 

 

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SnowFall

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Before Fall Colors have even popped yet, we got our first snowfall.  Fall Colors dropped against the blanket of fresh snow made the maple leaves in their varying color stand out.

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I love the contrast of color Fall brings, with the green Pines, yellowing Oaks, and emerging reds amidst the scattered Maples.  It’s a potpourri of color and textures.

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The snow just adds another dimension in this already gorgeous time in our myriad of seasons we get to enjoy.

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For more of my fall color photos, check out my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/20/first-snow-2/

Grand Canyon North Rim

 

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It’s true that the South Rim is closer than the North Rim… by a bunch!  But, give me the North Rim any day.  The views are better, and the crowds less (that by itself is reason enough).

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We enjoyed the many overlooks and stunning views along the way.

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The aspen leaves were turning and the fall colors were stunning.  The roads and the hillsides were covered with their golden hue.

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You can see more of my Grand Canyon photos here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-bright-angel-point/  and here … https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-point-sublime/

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Las Vegas Wander

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I find it funny that whenever we mention to people we are going to Vegas… most will cringe and say, ‘why?!’  We don’t go to gamble so much, as we go just to wander.

… and we love the food.  There are so many great food options available in a very small space, either on the strip or off.

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There is art everywhere… whether it’s in Bellagio, or along the roads and between buildings.

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People watching always makes for interesting conversation fodder in Vegas, as Vegas swims with a wide variety from around the world.  It continues to fascinate me how much money goes through this relatively small town of only 600,000 full time residents, (more in outlaying suburbs around Las Vegas metropolitan area), with 75% of Nevada’s total population living in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas reports revenue from gambling alone of an astounding $1 B per month.

Our trips are never long, but always delicious.

 

Blue Ridge Reservoid

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We have not had much of a winter, or snow fall… or rain this summer.  As a result Blue Ridge Reservoir, our local waterway, has been pretty devoid of water.  Our recent fires haven’t helped much, with air support dipping into the reservoir for water needs to put out fires.

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Hiking into the river bed revealed the reality of the toll the reservoir has taken, when it was clear that the waterway was not only dry, but dry long enough to be covered with a fresh green grass.

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While it was a beautiful hike, it heightened our need for rain… and a good snow fall this winter.

Old Route 666

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Probably 2 decades ago, Route 666 from Clifton, AZ to Springerville, AZ was renamed for political reasons to Rt 191.  The road hasn’t changed much, and is nearly as scenic as it has been… other than the devastating Wallow Fire which went through the area in 2011.

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It was awful to see that the damage which still scars the beautiful landscape some 7 years later.  The Wallow Fire was started by an unattended campfire (an all too frequent story), and was Arizona’s largest fire in history, burning more than 500,000 acres.

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While grass has grown back, and new growth aspens, the sticks and moonscape are still burned into the landscape telling it’s story of devastation and carelessness.

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People still come to visit the area.. but it has never returned to it’s hey day, pre-fire.  Many business had to close down due to lack of tourism, campers, and visitors to the area.  Today it is but a ghost town of what it once was.  All because of the carelessness of individuals who walked away from a campfire not properly extinguished.

 

Hutch Mountain

 

hutch lo far_IR.jpgHutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona.  It is on the National  Historic Lookout Registry.  It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area.  Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.

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The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire.  The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before.  As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices.  Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.

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From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.

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The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.

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At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk.  Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.

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