Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail 4/25/2009

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail (North & South Loops), Sat. 4/25/2009, 12:30-16:00CDT
Distance: 4.7 miles Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Sunny, mid to upper 80's, light breeze, hot.
Gorgeous day. Wild azaleas are in magnificent bloom. Many birds singing and busy with their daily activities. A good number of motor boats on the lake today. A few people at trail head with a grill but did not see anyone on the trail. Picked up several ticks - got three off of me; one attached on my upper right thigh. I used repellent, wore long pants, and tight fitting socks. Must be many ticks in this area. Guess it should be avoided until cooler weather returns (sigh).

Was great to get out after five straight 12+ hour days at work. Thank YOU, LORD. I thought a lot about (and prayed for) a person I love and who has been heavy on my heart lately.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Trip Journal - Phoenix Arizona - Spring 2009 - Page 6

Friday, April 03, 2009, 09:18MST

Happy Birthday Glenn!!!

Readings from Matt, Mark, & Luke this morning. Looked at the Resurrection account. Our LORD is Alive and Real and Relevant!

I never imagined when I first visited Phoenix in the summer of 2007 that I would be back two more times. This has been a tremendous experience for me. The skills gained from Honeywell Automation College certainly help me on the job, but what these trips have done for me spiritually is much greater. Thank YOU for working in my life, LORD.

The Valley of the Sun is a great place to visit but Prattville is home. I am continually amazed at the volume of life (flora and fauna) present in the Sonoran Desert but I prefer the Creation with trees, forests, and water!

Waiting at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport – I’ve found waiting to be a major factor around airports – for Northwest Flight 1920 to Memphis and then on to Montgomery. Should be home by 9:00pm (that’s 21:00 Emily). Looking forward to seeing everyone – yes, I have missed you all!


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Trip Journal - Phoenix Arizona - Spring 2009 - Page 5

Thursday, April 02, 2009, 07:13MST

Reading for this morning from Hebrews 1-2 and 12.

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…” – Heb. 2:3

GOD is continually calling us to HIMSELF, but I fear that we seldom listen. We are wrapped in our own personal “worlds” and driven about by the mad rush of our age. How many of us are truly blind, stumbling, and bumbling about without a real clue as to what matters and what our ultimate destination will be?

For those of us who have a personal relationship with CHRIST, our lives should be characterized by purpose, passion, and a personal relationship. More about this later…

My plans have changed for today. Since I’ve been out to The Superstitions several times before, I am planning on heading southwest toward the Sierra Estrella Mountains – to Rainbow Canyon Trail. It is touted to have great spring desert wildflower blooms. We shall see!

Thursday, April 02, 2009, 20:43MST

Wow what a day! I got on the Rainbow Canyon Trail in the Sierra Estrella Mountains at 08:30 this morning. This park is not crowded at all – didn’t even see anyone else on the trail until near the end. But this park is FULL of local fauna! All types of desert birds were in abundance. Hundreds of lizards from small ones to some that would have probably weighed a couple of pounds. Snakes were also in residence. One small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake had staked a claim right in the middle of the Rainbow Canyon Trail and was not predisposed to move. I took his picture, which he was agreeable to and then I gave him a wide berth as I continued on down the trail. He watched me carefully, but he never rattled. Believe me I watched the trail a little closer after that. Altogether I made a large loop through the mountain preserve utilizing the Rainbow Canyon, Toothaker, Pederson, Gadsden, and Butterfield trails. Total trail distance hiked was 9.4 miles and I completed the hike at 13:00 (that’s 1pm local time). The Octotillion was in bloom but not much else. I was a little disappointed not to see desert wildflowers in regal array but the park was beautiful. I certainly enjoyed my hike and time with GOD.

During the last half of the hike I kept having the impression that I needed to go to The Superstitions again. So after a quick lunch at McDonalds in Goodyear, AZ I pointed the Chevy Colorado eastward toward The Superstitions. Since Hertz gave me a 4x4 pickup truck this time I decided to hike the Peralta Trail to Freemont Saddle and get a glimpse of Weaver’s Needle. The Peralta Trail is supposedly the second most popular trail in Arizona (after Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon) but I only meet three couples on the trail. I knew I was going to be rushed a little since sundown comes about 18:30, but I calculated that I should have enough time.

Let me tell you that GOD saved the best for last! The Peralta Trail was a serious physical workout being about 1360’ total elevation gain (and all going in to Freemont’s Saddle). The trail almost “kicked my fanny” and I almost considered turning back before the saddle. I asked GOD for a little encouragement and almost immediately my cell phone rang and Diane was on the phone. She was just the encouragement I needed to get a second wind and get up over the saddle. I had seen pictures of Weaver’s Needle before, but as was the case with the Grand Canyon, I was not really prepared for the panorama that greeted me. Weaver’s Needle is the icon of The Superstitions (even more so than Flatiron) and the magnificence of the sight touched me.

In addition to Weaver’s Needle I was greeted by a glorious spring desert wildflower bloom all along the Peralta Trail. Birds, bees, butterflies, and the ubiquotus lizards were everywhere. I’m not certain what was putting out the wonderful fragrance, but I was bathed in the lovely sweet scent all the way to the saddle. The cliffs of The Superstitions ringed me in on both sides (the Peralta Trail basically follows a wash up to Freemont’s Saddle) with the ever-present Saguaro cacti standing guard. There was a small cave just before the saddle but the ceiling was very low and I was not about to crawl inside. You have to wonder how many ancient Indians and wild animals may have sought shelter in that cave through the ages. Total mileage for the Peralta Trail was 5.7 miles and time was 15:45-18:25. (Bringing the day’s total trail mileage to 15.1 miles!) I will probably feel it tomorrow.

LORD GOD, thank YOU for this special surprise YOU saved for last. I cannot adequately express in words what I felt on this hike. Thank YOU for getting me up that 1345’ to the saddle. I saw several large, high soaring birds (not sure if they were some type of eagle or vulture), but I remembered YOUR words, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)