A Lovely Day For a Hike 

Yesterday, Friday, Feb. 10 was a perfect day for hiking here in the Phoenix area. I could easily just walk out my door and hike to the East or West into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, but I really wanted someplace a bit more out of the ordinary. Though it is nearly 20 miles away, I was drawn to re-hike the back trail up to Tom’s Thumb, a huge monolith on the backside of the McDowell Mountains. While that was my intention, I stopped at some of the interpretive signs at the park and thought I’d try a new hiking trail instead, the Marcus Landslide Trail. 

I’m glad I did, it was scenic and educational.

Since I did not arrive at the trailhead until 2 p.m. I knew I’d begin to have shadows decending down from the mountains as I was on the East side of them. But with high cirrus clouds above and still bright sunshine, this day was made for a hike and photo shoot. 

As it turns out, and as I was educated along the way from interpretive signs, a HUGE landslide broke free from the eastern side of these mountains nearly 2 million years ago and flowed outward for nearly a mile. Interestingly, it was not realized until just 2002 that this was a landslide, though now, with aerial views and having it pointed out, it seems ovbvious that something was different in this landscape. In the picture above, the land mass behind the cactus you see is a part of leading edge of that landslide. As this mass broke free and slid, massively huge granite boulders were swept along within all the debris. 2 million years ago this was a much wetter climate and with possible freezes and thawing, this helped contribute to a spectacular landslide that geologists estimated lasted less than 5 minutes before it ended. One huge granite boulder named Submarine Boulder and nearly as large as an actual submarine, was split in half, either at the end of its’ rapid decent or over millenia with the forces of nature helping to crack this boulder apart.

Submarine Boulder (it is about 3 stories tall)

With the earlier rainfall here in January, the desert is quite green now. With maybe a bit more rain and milder temperatures, this just might produce a vibrant abundance of wildflowers in several more weeks.

Being out yesterday, was refreshing for me and reminds, once again, how much more calm and at peace I am when I can get out and enjoy Nature. In the beauty that abounds all around us, whether here in the desert, on a tropical island, over grassy prairies, forests, farmlands, seashores, or mountain highlands, I find solitude, contentment and freedom from all the craziness and strife of our world.

Here are more photos from the Marcus Landslide Trail Hike:  (Read more at the end).

(In the background, Four Peaks Mountain)

(Four Peaks, 30+ miles in the distance)

And more news from my Western outpost in Arizona.

I am going to CUBA!

Next weekend, my friend Mark Nowery, a friend of his from Detroit, John Northrup, and I will meet in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. where we will overnight and the next day, Sunday, take the 1 hour flight to begin our weeklong adventure in Cuba. We are going with a very small group organized through a tour organizer, Detours with Matt. It will be a people to people, educational trip, where we will enjoy the hospitality of smaller hotels and bed and breakfasts. Trips into the country, museum tours, food, nightlife and OF COURSE, all of the old cars are a part of this adventure. We are excited to be going and being transported back in time where American car imports ended in 1961 when the US began an embargo to this island nation. I don’t think there is anywhere on earth where one can virtually go back in time and daily relive a time when 40’s, 50’s and some early 60’s cars were the mainstay on the highways. This will be like the era when I was growing up in Gibsonburg, Ohio, where I remember autos of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s very clearly. 

Since internet service is nearly non existent in Cuba, I will not be able to post any stories until I have returned to the States. Stay tuned, I’m sure to have a boatload of photos to share.

Here are some youTube links that you might enjoy:


kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012                                         Disqus Comments