Today, I did my annual Good Friday pilgrimage on Calvary Hill Arizona.  It is a 6-mile hike with an elevation difference of 1,600 feet, plus another 6-mile bike ride (see the map).

It took me 3 hours to do this bike-hike–bike round trip pilgrimage from my Scottsdale home.  The temperatures were in the upper 80s, which is normal for this time of the year.  But for some reason I felt quite tired at the end.  It must be that darn desert pollen this year and the allergies that it is causing.

Anyway, I paid my respects to Yeshua as I do on every Good Friday.

“This is my church service,” I explained later on to my son-in-law who is visiting here from Vienna, Austria, with my daughter and their four children this Easter week.

Four years ago on Good Friday, Master Sananda (Yeshua, Jesus) took me to a place in the McDowell Mountains above Scottsdale that resembled the Calvary Hill in Jerusalem on which he was crucified two millennia ago.  And he left for me to find there some very special sacraments (see my 2013 Desert Quest (PDF))

Ever since that Good Friday 2013, I have been returning to this holy place in the Arizona desert whenever I needed Yeshua’s counsel and guidance. Over time, I identified on this rough mountain trail the 14 stations of the cross. In the fall 2013, I even created the music I play while on this pilgrimage.  It is timed to coincide thematically and geographically with each Station of the Cross.


On my way down, I also stopped and prayed at this beautiful Pachamama rock that resembles a Native American shaman with a buffalo spirit inside. I discovered it originally in 2008, just under the Calvary Hill summit.

 * * *


Elizabeth and I just got back from a drive to the west side of Phoenix where we got a Cinco de Mayo cake at the Rancho Mercado, a wonderful Mexican store. (no, this is not our actual cake but it gives you an idea).

The main event, however, happened when we got back in the I-17 to drive back home. The temperature gauge on our car read 111F. Yes, I kid you not – 111F (44C) in early May!

Even for an old desert rat like myself, this is some kind of a record. I have never seen temperatures this high in the Phoenix area for Cinco de Mayo. Even back home in North Scottsdale, the temperature was 107F (42C).

By the way, Cinco De Mayo is a Mexican holiday which commemorates the Mexican Army’s surprising victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. But here in the southwestern United States, it is yet another excuse to party, drink and sing and be merry.

So Happy Cinco de Mayo!



Expect the unexpected. That has become a modus operandi for me during my Arizona desert hikes. Today, I discovered the “Standing Stones” at Pinnacle Peak, a Scottsdale mountain I have hiked dozens of times over the last 30 or so years.


Expect the unexpected. That has become a modus operandi for me during my Arizona desert hikes. Today, I discovered the “Standing Stones” at Pinnacle Peak a Scottsdale mountain I have hiked dozens of times over the last 30 or so years.

I had no idea they existed when I was guided to revisit the Pinnacle Peak trail. I had intended to dedicate the hike to the Spring Equinox which will take place in a few hours.


Scottsdale, Arizona is my home town. Well, as much as any place on this planet is, I suppose. I have traveled millions of miles around the world and have lived in so many places and countries that I feel I have earned the right to choose my “home town.” And I choose Scottsdale.
How can I be sure?
Well, my kids grew up in the desert. And because I have always returned to it.
I have tried to leave Arizona several times. First, in 1996 when I bought a beautiful 10-acre property in Western Australia (see the Bolt Hole – ( It was pure magic that lasted 9 years. But I eventually sold the property in 2005 and returned HOME to Scottsdale.
The day after 9/11, when there was no air travel in this country, I hit the road in my 1992 Infiniti in search of a new home. I drove through 10 western states, and even looked in Alberta, Canada. But on my way back, when I turned off the I-40 at Flagstaff and heading down toward the desert, my heart fluttered. I was coming back home.
And so I stayed. Until 2009. That’s when Elizabeth and I moved to Maui – another Garden of Eden in Paradise on Earth. That adventure lasted 8 years. And only a few days ago – March 9 to be exact – we returned HOME to Scottsdale.
So you see… that’s why Scottsdale is my home town of my heart’s desire.


Now, it is always interesting to see how other see us. Like the winter visitors to Scottsdale, for example, the veritable “snow birds.”
As if reading my thoughts on the subject, my longtime Canadian friend from Ontario sent me a link to this travel story:author-pic
Ten Reasons Why Snowbirds Need to Fly to Scottsdale, Arizona – (by Amandalina Letterio)
To which I want to add the 11th – HEAVENLY SCENTS. But only during the month of March.
Citrus blossoms at this time of the year give Scottsdale a heavenly scent. There is nothing quite like it. You just have to experience it to fall in love with it, especially in the districts like Arcadia, where the citrus trees abound. And I guarantee you will want to keep coming back, year after year.
Cactus League? (which also takes place in March).
Nah. That’s for the baseball jocks. I used to like it decades ago when you can lounge around on the grass at the old Scottsdale stadium on Osborn St, and watch the likes of Barry Bonds do their magic only a few feet away from you.
But now, with the Talking Stick Ballpark that looks like a smaller version of a major league stadium, forget it. Elizabeth and I only go there when somebody buys us a ticket and a meal. Like my AZ bank did last year.
Anyway, Scottsdale is the place to be in the United States during the month of March. There is nothing quite like it.


Yeah! I have finally returned to my favorite trails in the McDowell Mountains above Scottsdale – the Calvary Hill Arizona.

This is a 6-mile hike with an elevation difference of 1,600 feet that emulates the Calvary Hill in Jerusalem, including the 14 stations of the cross. The summit is at the exact same elevation – 2,500 feet. All this was revealed to me by Master Yeshua at Easter 2013 during my 2013 Desert Quest (bob-bike-5-12-133check out my 2013 Desert Quest (PDF) and Calvary Hill Arizona-Sept 2013). Here’s also a map of my that trail.

When I reached the summit, I played two tunes on my flute for the Mountain Spirits and the Santa Tierras (land fairies): Amazing Grace and El Condor Pasa. Here are my earlier recordings of these famous tunes:

Amazing Grace by ALTZAR – Calvary Hill Arizona –

El Condor Pasa in Boynton Canyon, Sedona, Arizona –

And then I sent my love to the Santa Tierras at the Rainbow Shower who I know have been missing my music and attention.

So what took me so long to return? (I have been in Arizona over a month now).

Well, during my last days of working at the Rainbow Shower in Maui, I sustained an injury to my right knee tendons that hampered my walking. And the only thing you can do with tendon injuries is give them time to heal. So instead of hiking, during the last month I have been swimming laps every morning, gong on bike rides 2-3 times a week, and taking short walks around our neighborhood.

So today was the first serious “road test” for me knee. And knock on wood, I am still walking on it. 🙂

The temperature was in the mid 80s and the vistas beautiful. So I brought some home with me so I can share them also with you all.

On my way down, I also stopped and prayed at this beautiful Pachamama rock that resembles a Native American shaman with a buffalo spirit inside. I discovered it originally in 2008, just under the Calvary Hill summit.

 * * *

UPDATE NOV 11, 2016


How was your Veterans Day? (Remembrance Day in Europe and elsewhere – the end of World War I in 1918).


Mine started in dreamtime during the night. I had a dream in which people wearing a camouflage hat I have had for years (at least 8, maybe 10). In my dream, the hat symbolized a “peaceful warrior.” It was part of the outfit members of the new Trump Army wore. The hat features a stylized star with a diamond inset, symbolizing the sun.

You can see here at sunset this evening, along with a view of the American flags at my Eagle’s Nest home in Scottsdale.


Earlier in the day, I drove in my El Jeepo to Cave Creek to try to buy some cheap household items I need now that Elizabeth has moved all of her kitchen stuff out. The lady at the counter of the Kiwanis second hand store looked at me and asked, “are you military?” I was wearing my “peaceful warrior hat and an American flag scarf around my neck.

“No,” I replied smiling.

“Not in this lifetime,” I whispered to myself. I was pretty much finished with my warrior lifetimes by the start of 19th century. But that’s not something I would want to share at the checkout counter of a second hand store in Cave Creek, Arizona.

“Not unless you count working for 10 years as a war correspondent?” I wanted to say. But I didn’t. The items I was buying were cheap enough as it is.

“Just out of curiosity,” I said, “why did you ask me if I was military. Are you offering some special discounts to veterans on this day?”

“Yes, 50% off,” the lady replied.

“That’s great,” I said. “It’s a nice special tribute to our military.” An older man behind me was also smiling approvingly.


By the time I got back home, I already had my own special tribute planned out. I was going to hike the Pinnacle Peak for the first time since coming back to Arizona a month and a half ago. And to do that, I was going to take my El Jeepo to the trailhead for the first time.

The hike itself was easy and uneventful. I have done it a number of times before in various temperatures ranging from freezing to 110F.  Most people I had met smiled at me and said something nice. As I did to them.

Along the way, I also said my prayers. Including the pledge that I dedicate this hike to all the veterans around the world who fought in all noble causes and were willing to sacrifice their lives for them.

Here are some picture I brought back from the trail:


When I got back down to the parking lot where I had left El Jeepo before starting my hike, I saw a young man sort of hovering around it. He was snapping pictures of El Jeepo with his camera.

“Isn’t this a cool car?” he said when he noticed me watching him.

“Glad you think so,” I said. “It’s mine.”

“Would mind now taking a picture of me, too, with my Jeep?”

And so he did.


“I call it El Jeepo,” I explained.

The man cracked up. “That is so cool,” he said, laughing out loud.

It turns out he was the owner of that red motorcycle you can see in the above picture to the left of the two Saguaros.


 * * *

UPDATE NOV 19, 2016


One reason this 4,000-ft peak on the McDowell Mountains above Scottsdale is called Tom’s Thumb is – you guessed it – it sticks out like a sore thumb over this mountain skyline. 🙂 Take a look.

I don’t know why, but today I felt compelled to go back to this trail. Maybe it’s because they are calling for a rare rain here in the Arizona desert tomorrow and the next few days.

Anyway, Tom’s Thumb is the hardest of all the hikes in my North Scottsdale neighborhood. The trail itself is actually quite nice, fine gravel, almost sand in places. – by contrast to the Calvary Hill Arizona trail, for example,  which is very rough, big rocks and stones everywhere.

But is is quite steep. Which means, your heart and lungs work overtime on the way up, and your feet, thighs and joints on the way down.  Often slipping and sliding. Ergo, my baseball shoes with cleats.

My baseball shoes with cleats and bright orange socks attracted a lot of attention on the trail, “like traffic signs,” I used to joke when people would comment about them. 🙂

It was a beautiful afternoon and a great hike with wonderful panoramic views, especially to the north and to the east. Take a look…









Yin-Yang Maui-Sedona


When Elizabeth and I returned from our Yin home in Maui to our Yang abode in the Arizona desert (Scottsdale), all was well except for one thing. Or maybe two…

The only spot of trouble we have spotted was that neither of our two Honda Hybrids would start. The batteries are completely shot. The last time we were away for three months, there was no problem with the 2009 Honda. And the 2014 Hybrid is brand new.

Oh well, so now we know… if we stay away for longer than that, our Honda’s might die of loneliness. 🙂IMG_3812

Anyway, all is fixed now. The new batteries are working fine. And the silver lining was that I got the dealer to install a new Maui license plate on the new Honda.

So here it is (right)…


Outdoors, we found evidence of a mild winter and a lovely spring. The two large Mesquite trees we had had trimmed back in Sep 2013 are looking happy again, showing lots of new growth.

img_2500 IMG_3814 IMG_3813 img_2501

Ditto re. Citrus trees and some other bushes we planted two years ago.  And the littler birds that nest every spring in our big cacti in the backyard have done their bit in procreation. They only thing left is this lovely nest, nestled between the cactus thorns.


So our cleanup work we did today after spending four months in Hawaii and Australia was minimal in comparison to prior years.

Nevertheless, I still managed to hack myself in several places on both legs. But that’s just me – Mr Klutz. 🙂

Have a nice weekend!


As Elizabeth and I were chatting with two of our neighbors by the pool a little after 6 this evening, a young Coyote was strolling down the street.

“There is a Coyote,” I said. Which sent Elizabeth into frenzy.

“Where is it? Where is it? I don’t see it,” she said.

And then she did see it eventually.

A little while later, as we were walking back from the pool to our house, Elizabeth jumped at the sound of a bird call.

“What’s the matter now?” I said. “It’s just a quail.”

“I was afraid it was that Coyote,” she explained.

Coyotte3_05_2008 001View-of-Lot-from-Desert-CampWell, we have also seen a Bobcat talking by not more than 50 yards from where we were {see BOBCAT SIGHTED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT IN SCOTTSDALE DC RANCH NEIGHBORHOOD

“Just relax,” I said to Elizabeth. “This is their home, too.”

And it had been long before the humans raked over the pristine desert.

* * *


MAY 10, 2015

Fun and games with water in the Arizona desert…


IMG_3816 IMG_3818 IMG_3817



This is our last weekend in Arizona. Later this week, we go back to our Yin home in Maui.

So today, I went on my farewell bike-hike-bike to Calvary Hill Arizona in the McDowell Mountain s above Scottsdale. And to also honor the Full Moon in Cancer that takes place in a few hours (9:53 PM MST).

IMG_2645 IMG_2644 IMG_2646

It rarely happens, but whenever I do encounter horses on the trail, my heart jumps a little. I love seeing them in a natural habitat rather than at some racetracks or artificial paths.

The last few days have been quite cold in Arizona. The nighttime lows were around the freezing mark. So for the first time in about 5 years since I bought this woolen hat in Oxford (England), I got a chance to use it. Also in a natural habitat. 🙂

IMG_2649 IMG_2648

Adios Arizona. Sonora.

Rainbow Shower here we come…



Long Canyon cliff dwelling


We’ve all heard stories about the Sedona energy vortexes. Now this writer has a factual, physical and visual proof of one of them

Whew! What a way to end the year.  I have been to Sedona more times than I can count but have never experienced anything like what happened yesterday, Dec 30, 2014…

IMG_2636 2 Bob Eliz Sedona 12-30-14-2 Bob Eliz Sedona 12-30-14-1

* * *


Elizabeth and I drove up to Sedona yesterday for our annual hike with our good friend Karen Lynn, a longtime Sedona resident. She took us this time to the Long Canyon trail (about a 5 mile-round trip – see the maps).

Long Canyon Sedona map sedonastars

IMG_2629 IMG_2630 IMG_2631

The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. A lull before the storm? (see PS below).  The New Year’s Eve storm is supposed to dump up to two feet of snow in Northern Arizona.

At the head of the trail, deep inside Long Canyon and up the cliffs on its western side, Karen took us to an ancient sacred site. It was an Anasazi cliff dwelling maybe 1,000 years old. For, that’s how long ago anthropologists estimate these ancient Native American tribes to have lived in this area.

That’s when something quite extraordinary happened. The vortex around the Anasazi cliff dwelling literally shut down my iPhone.

But how were we then able to take these pictures?

Well, stand by for a story on that. It’s magical, just like Sedona. 🙂


A play-by-play account of Sedona’s magical Long Canyon vortex

We were strolling and chatting happily, occasionally stopping to take pictures, such as these…’

IMG_2635 IMG_2634 IMG_2633

We had not noticed anything unusual until we got to right under the big cliff above the sacred Anasazi site. That’s where Karen wanted to take a picture of Elizabeth and me. I handed her my iPhone.IMG_2632

Karen tried but nothing happened.

“Maybe you need to set it to the camera,” she opined, handing me my iPhone.

I tried to resuscitate it but the phone was dead. One of Man’s most popular and sophisticated technological inventions barely had enough power to display an icon on the screen showing a dead battery and a charging cord.

“That’s weird,” I said. “The phone was fully charged this morning. And we only took 3-4 pictures by now.”

“That’s too bad,” Karen said. “Because that scenery behind you is really great.”

“Oh, well,” I shrugged. “Guess it is just not meant to be.”

We continued our steep climb to the ledge where the sacred Anasazi cliff dwelling was located.

“This is my favorite Sedona hike,” Karen said, an expert on Sedona trails. She was clearly excited to be there again.

I did not at first realize what was so special about this place.  I had to wait another 20 minutes or saw for that revelation to surface.

“Maybe you should try turning on your phone again,” Karen suggested. “A shot of the two of you through this keyhole door/window would be great.”

I tried again.  Lo and behold, after about 2-3 minutes of struggling to wake up, the phone slowly came back to life.IMG_2636 2

“Quickly,” I said. “Take a shot before it dies again.”

Karen did. And the shot on the right was the result.

Then Karen tried to get us into a different position. But by the time we did that, the phone had died again.

“Oh, well,” I said for a second time. “Guess it is just not meant to be.”

The three of us spent about 10-15 minutes talking and examining this wonderful site and ruin, possibly 1,000 years old (see Arizona’s First People).  Then we started our descent down the steep slope that led to the Anasazi cliff dwelling.

Karen and Elizabeth went ahead.  I was the “caboose.”

Suddenly, I felt as if the Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and was pulling me back toward the cave.

“Let me give the phone one more try,” I muttered to myself. I turned it on but kept on descending carefully behind the two ladies in front.

(This part of the trail is quite treacherous. Elizabeth negotiated it mostly on all four, both up and down the steep slope).

To my amazement, the phone came alive again. Without saying a word to Elizabeth and Karen, I turned around and almost ran back to the Anasazi ruin along the perilous trail, ignoring the abyss below.sedonastars

“On the wings of Spirit Eagle” – a thought occurred to me when I saw the map of Sedona vortexes (right).

When I got back to the cliff dwelling, I checked the phone again. It was still on. I smiled and I snapped these two pictures.

IMG_2638 IMG_2637 Long Canyon cliff dwelling

This morning, I blended them into the composite shot on the right. As I was doing it. I noticed a DIFFERENT quality of light between the two source shots. The one closer to the cliff was decidedly brighter, and had a purple glow to it (the center shot above).

Could that be visual evidence of the vortex at this sacred site? Is that why the ancient Anasazi chose this particular spot for their spiritual ceremonies?

I was also able to take three more shots before the phone died again. When I blended them into the composite shot on the right, I saw once again a lighter and brighter quality of light closer to the cliff.

IMG_2641 IMG_2640 Anasazi cliff dwelling view 12-30-14


So was this a proof of and the sighting of an energy vortex? I don’t know for sure.  You have to decide that for yourself.  But there is no doubt that the two pictures and the colors were different in each of the above two sets (also see  Understanding the Sedona Vortexes – Whirling Energy – Ley Lines – Electromagnetic Forces or What?).

On our way back, after I had caught up with Karen and Elizabeth and told them what had happened, I also shared with Karen the story of how the Andean mountain spirits literally killed my laptop in Lima, Peru in Jan 2010 to prevent me from taking it to Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas (see Laptop R.I.P. – Trashing and Thrashing a Computer, Jan 22, 2010).

1_22Lima_Bob (48) 1_22Lima_Bob (45)

Penny drops upon return home

But it was not until Elizabeth and I returned to our Eagle’s Nest home in Scottsdale last night that the penny fully dropped.

Figuring the battery was dead, I plugged it my iPhone to charge it. Amazingly, the screen lit up as bright as ever. The battery charge display showed 52%!

That erased any doubts from my mind that it was the Sedona energy vortex that turned off my phone at the Anasazi cliff dwelling. So I sent an email about it to Karen in Sedona.

“So there you have it, a proof that you live in a weird place,” I said. 🙂

“Yes…I live in a weird place. LOL,” she replied. 🙂

PS: The Day After: Snow Storm in Sedona

And now, here are two photos I have just received from my Sedona friends taken during the snow storm they are experiencing right now. What a contrast to those pics we took yesterday, huh?

Clarkdale snow 12-31-14

Here are also some other snowy Sedona scenes…

Feb 21 Sedona 010 Julie_Hallenbeck_sedona_20120318132657_640_480 April Snow contest-2