No. Not slot machines. I’m not in Vegas this trip. Read on…
Many years ago I somehow got involved in caving. I’m not sure how it started but it was a very exciting time. My friends and my older brother got involved as well. We became members of the local caving club (often called a Grotto). I explored many caves and even re-discovered a cave that had been lost for 40 years. That cave had virgin passage (never seen nor touched by humans). Exploring those passages are as close as I will get to having a “first man on the moon” feeling. It was dark, dirty, and dangerous fun. Many fond memories were had exploring these dark places. After caving we discovered slot canyoneering. It’s similar to caving except with open sky above you (most of the time). We were all living in UT at the time and UT is a mecca for slot canyons. They are deep, foreboding, and dangerous as hell if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve seen some amazing places that canyons hide and made memories that can only be described as priceless. The places are not easy to get to. If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
It’s been many years since I’ve done any canyoneering. Most of the time you find me on a bike. I live in Arizona now and it’s an amazing place. It’s a shame to not take advantage of the variety and beauty that abounds here. In fact, Arizona has one of the granddaddy of all slot canyons in the known world. I’m not referring to the Grand Canyon either. It is however northeast of there. Well, the call of the slots sounded again. It beaconed me and I did answer. There is a slot near the Phoenix metro that in some books is unnamed. Rather, the author makes up a name, but on maps there is no name listed. It is near Tortilla Flats. It looked interesting enough. So a buddy and I put on our explorin’ hats and set out one Saturday to do just that. Needless to say, I was impressed. It was even cave like in some spots. Browse through the gallery and take a look. Enjoy.
It’s been a while since I posted as I have been doing just as the title of this post describes. Out of band as they say in tech circles…and perhaps other circles for all I know. When one is “out of band” or “off the grid” and travelling as I have been, it provides much time to think and ponder. (My brother is a truck driver. He knows too well what this is like). I have reflected on much the past two weeks and I have much work ahead to get to where I want to be. I will admit that I am guilty sometimes of thinking about the past. It’s sometimes hard to let it go. It’s getting easier as time progresses but that’s true of many things. Time heals most if not all things.
So, we move forward. It’s what we must do. What I must do. I’ve reflected on the choices I’ve made and I am reminded of a wise rule: “Fret not where the world will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.” – one of the rules (If you know where this is from you win a prize!).
The flow of my travels have taken me to a few new places and I was able to capture some of that here. Many of these pictures were captured in the high country above Show Low, AZ. After that trip, AZ is becoming one of my favorite places to ride.
The desert is a beautiful place. When in bloom, it’s spectacular. Here are a few photos I took while out mountain biking at Usery Park, Mcdowell Mnt Park, and Tumbleweed park (I wasn’t mountain biking here. I was assisting on a photo shoot). While mountain biking out at Usery, my biking buddy suggested stopping, closing eyes, and just listening. Without the sound of dirt and gravel crunching underneath tires and the wind in your ears, I heard a dull, yet surprisingly loud, rushing sound. Much like you hear when you are near a busy road. It wasn’t road. It was the sound of thousands of arthropods (bees and all variety of insects). It was a mass harvest while the flora are in bloom. The only time I’ve heard such a “roar” was being in close proximity of a beehive. Not so this time. It was wide open desert and it had something to say. Shhhh. Listen. It speaks. It’s fascinating.