Monday, June 30, 2008

Crown King four days ago

As a rule, I sleep somewhat late; I had noted in my early morning fog that the sunlight coming in through the clerestory windows had a somewhat red tinge, but it wasn't until I arose at 9 a.m. and looked out the window to see a sky hazy with smoke that I realized we had a forest fire somewhere near Prescott. A click on the Fire Alert link at right revealed that the location was near Crown King.

Approximately 250 people live full-time in Crown King, a forest inholding about 30 miles south of Prescott. Sometimes as many as 1,500 people can be recreating on the forest in the remote area on the weekend, according to the Prescott Courier. The fire was started late Saturday night by a lost hiker who stupidly set a signal fire. Sson and I were there just this last Friday.

In case you haven't visited this old mining town at the south end of the Bradshaws, it's a favorite summer retreat for Phoenicians. The business district consists of two saloon/restaurants, the general store and a small souvenir shop. You buy your gas at the general store ($5.14/gal.) The Courier mentioned that Crown King is about 30 miles from Prescott. That's if you are a crow. If you are in a vehicle, 4-wheel-drive preferable, you can make it down the mountain range in 4-6 hours on the old Senator Highway. Almost any car can drive the long way, around the mountains on the Interstate and then across the desert and up the road that was formerly an old narrow-gauge railroad grade up the side of the mountain. Maybe an hour and a half time for the "30 miles" this route.

The general store serves up curios and deli goodies and stuff for the tourist trade. A corner serves as the local post office.

The chapel is a new addition since I was last in town; a new structure, called with suitable irony the Crown King Mall, was also under construction. There is also a one-room schoolhouse.

Popular rides in this mountain enclave include jeeps and their many derivatives, not to mention quads and other ATVs. Far more important are the civic vehicles (below) -- the ambulance and, to the rear, fire equipment.

Most of the trees which died in the past couple of years from beetle infestation were already taken down in the immediate area of Crown King, though big equipment was still much in evidence. It would take dozers like these to topple the tall trees; out in the forest nearby, I saw many dead trees that had simply been uprooted, lying on the hillsides. Eventually, they will be sawn or possibly just moulder.

Many of the houses in the Crown King area are scattered through somewhat remote forest areas. Most of the residents were evacuated on Sunday, though, fortunately, the fire has moved away from the town site at last report. One home and a small sawmill burned, however. Tower Mountain (below), a handful of miles north of Crown King, is an important relay point for modern-age communications, as well as housing a fire look-out station.

Note: both Tombo and Karoliina were up early enough to photograph the red sun shining through the heavy smoke this morning.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Prescott stars in blogger's photo debut

The Old Firehouse Plaza has added a collection of scupts along the back entrance (next the city garage) -- a group of fire hydrants! Couldn't resist photographing them on the way to the Ian Russell Gallery (below), celebrating its first birthday.

I had been invited by Rich, who also blogs Prescott. He was making his debut as an artist, with a collection of strange and remarkable photographic prints, primarily of the Dells. It's been a fascinating evolution to observe, from high techie to a possible new career in the arts.

While at the gallery, I couldn't resist photographing this warrior; with Norwegian ancestors, I have a weakness for Vikings.

Here are the principals -- Ian Russell, gallery owner and artist, and Rich, my blogging friend. It was neat to have a chance to see more of Russell's work; a print of his Kitchen Opera has been in my SIL's kitchen for years!

Another blogger of my acquaintance, Sadira, she of Fooleswoode, tells visitors about Rich's photographic approach.

And the Sson had a long conversation with Rich, also about how he turns high quality, standard photos into a science fiction experience. You should take a look at his work at the gallery or visit him on-line.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The well labelled trail

Thursday, while I napped, the SSon & family climbed Thumb Butte. Granddaughter K. tried out her new camera and I must say that the gods of Serendip smiled, resulting in a series of photos worthy of her GrannyJ, as you shall see.

We know that Interpretive Signs are all the rage on publicly managed lands, such as Prescott National Forest. However, the newly minted photographer discovered an entire new genre of labels in the wild:

Namely, those wee grocery store fruit labels with numbers so that cashiers who know from nothing about an ugli or a star fruit can punch in the right number at the register. So we have been trying to imagine this troop of youngsters making certain that they carried a full market basket of different fruit on their climb; both trails, by the way, according to Grandson. Above, peach and, below, either a banana or a pineapple. (Do imagine handling the Hawaiian goodie while hiking, will you?)

...Nectarine and apple. Oh yes, each has been carefully placed inside a limb scar.

...Peach and avocado...

...Two mysteries, one of which will keep you alive forever, if Dole is to be believed.

...Anybody have an idea what Bionature is into, aside from being a likely "organic" grower? And (below), it appears that the modern defuzzed peach is a popular fruit.

...Another peach and a Dole twofer (below) as the grand climax.

As a species of graffiti, this is pretty cool. The labels are small and should deteriorate reasonably fast, in the meantime posing all sorts of interesting conjectures as well as encouraging kids to eat fruit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not your everyday junkyard horse!

No, this critter that we saw at Discovery Works today might be a junkyard dog, except that his legs are too long. And I looked in vain for his ears. Maybe you can figure out he might be.
Whatever he is, I wouldn't want to mess with him! Those are some mean fangs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Here they are, fresh from Cajun country, drying out in the Arizona sun. The eldest is trying out her new camera, a birthday gift from Sson and DIL.

Here's her brother, who doesn't rate his own camera yet. He takes some pretty good pix on his Mom's camera. What's going on, you ask? He's looking down at the kitchen lizard which his Dad (hands) is holding and photographing.

But in a world with a wonderful outdoors, where is one most likely to find grandchillen? Monopolizing GrannyJ's computer, of course.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The halls of justice

I had occasion today to visit the County Court House on the Square. An actual courtroom, to be exact, for the hearing concerning friend Georgene Lockwood's challenge of incumbent Carol Springer's nominating petitions. (Later note: too bad but Georgene lost the case; there are comments worth reading at the above link, but I'm disappointed in the Courier for not updating the story online!)

I had not been in a courtroom since my divorce from my first husband, some 50 years ago, and so looked with interest at the setting: rich dark wood in severe lines as we searched on floor three for the hearing.

A mysterious door covered with Venetian blinds (above) and a door with a combination lock (below).

And, down the hall, this elegant old safe.

A hallway bench that turned out to be a lot more comfortable than the courtroom seating.

Finding the crowd told us that we had reached our goal.

Entering the courtroom. Two stories high, the room is designed to dwarf and awe the ordinary citizen.

The judge appeared as if by magic from his own door.

The severe theme was carried out on the window wall and the interior wall as well (below).

A reminder that this is, after all, the West, where a man's best friend is likely to be his hat -- underneath the unpadded folding seat is a brass hat holder.

But a real problem for my old bones: out of these attractive grills came blasts of the icy air keeping the room comfy (maybe) for four people: three lawyers and the judge, all wearing dark suit jackets. Even if my teeth hadn't been chattering, it was impossible to hear the proceedings. So I left long before the evidence was complete and finally warmed up.

Linkage: #1 is more pelicans, this time from Alone on a Limb; his birds are out at sea. Tombo has been "spelunking" again in the catacombs of Prescott and found more elaborate graffiti. BTW, he linked to some great pictures of the area by local photographer Brandy Young over at Flickr. Finally, go visit k, who has four posts on her recent visit to the Everglades. A gator, of course, but also interesting epiphytes (be sure to scroll down).
Photo Blog Blog Top Sites Blog Directory for Prescott, AZ

Local Blogs - Blog Top Sites