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Archive for the ‘Mayor Jim’ Category

Several months ago, my camping buddies decided to search for a camping site in the Ouachita Mountains West of Little Rock. Unfortunately we were not the only outdoor enthusiast to have the same idea. We were about to give up when one of the guys suggested we go to his farm … less than an hour away. The rest is history and an unforgettable camping night. Just take a look at the pictures … again, ARKANSAS THE NATURAL STATE.

Nothing like a night in our beautiful Arkansas … the Natural State!

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Fancy carving was done by Master CarversSpencer and JC

Hiker Admirer Crew
Then there were the Breakfast Chefs and their Epicurean Culinary Milestones …

Finally … what could be better than a perfect Fall Weekend with best friends, amazing food and the beauty of Arkansas the Natural State!

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For years we have celebrated a Charlie Brown Christmas by decorating a tree in the wilderness of the Arkansas’ Ozarks

This year we embarked on a traditional fall camping trip … Kyle’s Landing near Jasper, Arkansas on the Buffalo National River (America’s first National River.)

Campsite at Kyle’s Landing
Big surprise … Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin appears

With nine friends, a beautiful weekend, too much food, a little hiking and artistic pumpkin carving, the first ever Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin annual campout serendipitously and spontaneously occured … Life is Good!

What a beautiful place to be!

In closing, please allow me to speak to traditions … most notably, traditions with family and friends. My personal friend examples include: weekly lunch and annual guys trip (for over forty years), annual hiking trip to a National Park with three other guys, annual Charlie Brown Christmas camping/backpacking trip … and, now THE CHARLIE BROWN GREAT PUMPKIN IN THE OZARKS … camping adventure.

Finally, an apology. This post is not complete because I ran out of media space for all the pictures I wished to show such as night time shots around the campfire with the candle lit pumpkins in the background. I have upgraded my account so hopefully I can edit once the upgrade is in place. In addition, WordPress has a new format and I am still learning. Ouch!

Thank you for viewing and thank you for your patience!

Yours in blog world … myLastpairofboots@wordpress.com

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I’ve always loved science and astronomy … from the time I was a kid saving my quarters to buy a mail order telescope.  Admittedly it wasn’t much … a couple of sliding cardboard tubes and simple glass lenses.  I remember, even then, reading about the 1911 Halley’s Comet hoping to be alive for the 1986 return.  Well, I was alive and just like the telescope, even though I saw it, it wasn’t nearly as impressive as I had envisioned.

Since then, I’ve seen partial solar eclipses, one total solar eclipse,  several total and partial lunar eclipses, many meteor showers … including one Leonid when I got the kids up at 2:00 AM and it was the wrong night for the peak.  Needless to say … I do love this stuff.

Last Saturday night was another celestial highlight … Comet NEOWISE.  My wife, my baby sister … who eats this stuff up too … and my brother in law set out to see the comet starting at one of the highest points in Little Rock.  Unfortunately, the sky was hazy and the city lights were too much.  However, I did get a couple of respectable evening sky shots of the horizon with Pinnacle Mountain in the foreground.DSC02947

Around 8:45 we made the decision to get in the car and drive out West beyond the city lights.  When we pulled over and got out of the car, I glanced to the NW and … yes, there it was … even with the naked eye.  We were all mesmerized … my sister, almost giddy.  Well, I am certainly no night sky photographer but here are a couple of shots  I took with a 200mm lens mounted on a tripod.

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NEOWISE VS. 2017 TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE.  No doubt …. NEOWISE was one of most awesome celestial  events I have ever seen but I must still give the nod to my favorite …  The August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.  To make that even more special, it was our 51st wedding anniversary.  How can anything top that?   The eclipse is featured in a 2017 blog but I simply had to include a couple of my photos from that day.

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I will wrap up by saying to everyone … get away from the city lights, look up and Be Awestruck … It’s a spiritual experience. What a magnificent Cathedral.

Here’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Think me not unkind or rude … that I walk alone in grove and glen … I go to the God of the wood … to fetch his word to men.

 

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Covid19 … Colorado 2020

After months of isolation we decided it was time to take a road trip to Santa Fe and Frisco, Co. with our dear friends.  It “was” different … fewer people, many places closed and thankfully a majority of people respecting the Covid protocols of face masks and social distancing.

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I’ll not show pictures taken in Santa Fe because I’ve posted most of the high interest spots in previous blogs.  However, I do want to show a photo of our lodging in Santa Fe. Pictured above is one of the units of a small B&B … Pueblo Bonito … just a short walk from downtown. I have no problem recommending this historic adobe option. In lieu of all guest gathering, breakfast was brought to the refrigerator in our rooms …  fresh fruit, tamales, yogurt and coffee.

On to Frisco, Colorado .., lunch stop in Antonito

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In the past we have simply blinked and driven right through this little town of 781.  This time we were hungry and an outdoor (albeit on the highway) restaurant was perfect.  Excellent service and food at Das Hermanas.  Plus, directly across the highway. was this wall mural pictured above.  It was painted by F.F. Haberlein and dedicated to the people of Antonitio.  One never knows what surprises reward a slower pace.

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Frisco is almost like a second home.   

We have been vacationing in Frisco for years and have toured the West extensively … but there’s a special feeling and atmosphere in Frisco that keeps bringing us back.  Maybe it’s the cool mountain air at 9100 feet.  Maybe it’s the little shops and restaurants.  Maybe it’s the biking and hiking trails. Maybe it’s the refreshing power of roaring rivers and snow capped peaks … it’s all these and more.  However, with Covid19, our 2020 return was a bit different!

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In addition to signs like this and most people “actually” wearing face masks, Frisco Main Street was closed.  The photo below shows how this closure transformed Main Street into a “people place” … a place for more social distancing, a place for restaurants to add additional outside seating and a place for bikers, walkers and shoppers to comfortably share the space.

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We spent more time eating in and embracing outdoor activities … having picnics, Jeeping 4WD roads and having fun creekside.IMG_2893DSC02880

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We covered a lot of territory on Jeep roads but the most fun was on Mayflower Gulch.  I have hiked it several times but this was a ball in a 4WD Jeep.

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Of course, the Photo Op on Loveland Pass at the Continental Divide.

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Picnic and fun Creekside …

I cannot express how enjoyable it was to have a picnic along the Snake River or the Ten Mile Creek.  And to make it even more enjoyable …  our wives brought bubble making tubes.  What fun, what a treat, what a way to share time with friends.

 

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The new normal ….

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New Snow on Mount Arkansas near Leadville.   Arkansas River starts here!

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I think this shot “says it all!” 

If you would like the Vimeo slide show … click here.

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I guess I’m looking for contemplative moments maybe even solace to help me get my arms around the two major issues of our nation and world today … COVID-19 and RACISM.  With the senseless murder of a black man … GEORGE FLOYD … by a Minneapolis policeman, we are once again reminded there is still a long way to go before achieving equal treatment and justice for all.  Both issues are health issues … both are sicknesses …  both can be deadly … both weaken our economy … both clearly point out our human weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  The irony is this … with the will to do so … BOTH CAN BE SOLVED.  

Included in the photo above is our beautiful natural world.  Within this photo we see  commerce and government.  We see history … the Arkansas Territorial Restoration in the front, the Arkansas State Capitol against the far skyline.  We see where people live and work and we see where people play.  But we often fail to …“see the people.”

On the state level, our Governor, Asa  Hutchinson, does see the people.  He has been an amazing leader both with COVID-19 and with the George Floyd killing protests.  He has been open, transparent, available and he listens.  Thank you Governor.

On the local level, our first directly elected African American Mayor, Frank Scott, has shown understanding, compassion and selfless leadership and … he listens.  Thank you Mayor.

Clearly, it takes leadership but equally important is the role of each citizen … if nothing else … TURN OUT AND VOTE!  your collective voice can make Little Rock a beautiful picture for all.

 

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I was on my morning walk at the old Little Rock City Golf Course … War Memorial. As I passed a hedgerow, I noticed thorny bushes with colorful berries … Arkansas Wild Blackberries …WOW !!! Right here in the city!

Of course, I stopped … taste tested … and picked a few that will top my cereal tomorrow morning.

What a serendipitous find … no doubt I shall pass this way again.

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Amazing afternoon and night …

Amazing as it was … it was a bit warm and a little humid.  However this did not dampen out spirits nor our enjoyment of one more night of camping in ARKANSAS THE NATURAL STATE.  And yes, that’s a battery powered fan next to my coffee cup.  Felt pretty good for the first couple of hours in my tent.

Lepidopterist I am not … but that did not stop me from thoroughly relishing the site of this colorful adornment to our camp area.

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Out of state visitors often comment about the trees and the “green” of Arkansas.  The Ouachita National Forest is one of the most naturally beautiful areas in the state … actual mountains, heavy forest and pristine streams and creeks. A great place to hike, camp and refresh.

What a way to socially distance during Covid 19 Pandemic.  YES!!!

 

 

 

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War Memorial Golf Course is a significant piece of the recreational history of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Now it is closed!!

I loved this golf course … partly because it was short, partly because it was in the middle of the city and partly because this is where I spent much of my time attempting to learn  to play this mostly fun, often frustrating game.

In reality, the game of golf has been on a national downswing … Pardon the pun!   Courses have been closing all over the country due to reduced rounds of play and other recreational choices.  I must admit that I too, very seldom play any more and have probably had a cavalier attitude regarding the closing.  So why the big deal today?  …               COVID-19 isolation, fitness center closings and my need for a place to exercise and get some fresh air.

What better place than an abandoned golf course … 

For the past week I have been going to War Memorial where I power walk the cart paths.  Rather than drive the fairways, chip from the fringe or putt the greens, I now enjoy the fresh air, soak in the Redbud tree beauty and refresh my spirit with memories of three hundred yard drives, eagle putts and that occasional  hole in one …  I Wish!!

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What about that 3 under par?  Here’s how that came about.  As I walked from hole to hole I began to remember specific rounds from the past.  I remembered the eagle from 125 yards on number 12, the sloping side hill 40 foot putt on number 7, the blind over the hill to two feet on 15 and …  on and on and on for 18 holes … I was mentally playing a phenomenal round of golf.  Maybe it was a compilation of best shots from multiple rounds or maybe it was just fatuous dreaming or oxygen depletion … regardless I was having a ball and all I can say is  …  I was having the best round of my life!

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Back to reality … sure, the golf course is closed. And maybe it’s only hitting me now, but I do feel sad about the closing.   I don’t know what the future uses will be but I do know this beautiful spot on the map will always be for our citizens to enjoy and celebrate. In the meantime, I offer this suggestion to anyone who wishes to get a little exercise, walk the dog and breathe in the beauty of Arkansas the Natural State … It’s right here for you at the Former War Memorial Park Golf Course in Little Rock.  Enjoy!

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Eileen and friends … Jeff the photographer.  The picture says it all!

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Stanley Ski Team 2020

A 41 year bond of friendship …

Yes, for over four decades a group of guys has shared lunch together once a week and an annual trip … the first three decades we went to ski country … now we go to Scottsdale, Arizona.  The pictures are almost self explanatory … however I will add brief comments.

Most all flew from Little Rock but JC and I drove so we could hike in route.

These next few photos are from the Acoma Pueblo area, then a few from Window Rock and then from Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Northeastern Arizona.  The canyon is beautiful and our hike to the bottom was awesome.

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Below are photos from Scottsdale.  We have stayed in this beautiful home for several years where we enjoy cooking in as well as eating out and where we explore the museums, golf courses and other many assets of Scottsdale. 

First … our group … matching shirts of course.

Tim, Loyd, John, Renie, Bart, Bill, Jim, JC

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One of the most important parts of a full healthy long life is the power and bond of friendship.  We are blessed to have this shared life story.  We are unique individually and we are unique collectively.  As we age I even say ” we are every bit as smart collectively as we once were individually” … LOL … We are a beautiful mosaic of different opinions, political persuasions and upbringings.  Truly, we are a special tale for the ages.

I doubt there is another group like ours … SST … 41 years and Counting.  Thank each of you for holding this family of friends together.  May God allow us a few more!

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