ANOTHER GOOD FRIDAY PILGRIMAGE ON CALVARY HILL ARIZONA

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.

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RETURN TO CALVARY HILL ARIZONA, PINNACLE PEAK, TOM’S THUMB

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 – https://youtu.be/EnnefkWXsVk

El Condor Pasa in Boynton Canyon, Sedona, Arizona – https://youtu.be/CdY0MpWBzDY

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.

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UPDATE NOV 11, 2016

VETERANS/REMEMBRANCE DAY HIKE TO PINNACLE PEAK, AND MORE…

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

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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.

HALF PRICE FOR VETERANS

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.

PINNACLE PEAK HIKE

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:

EL JEEPO: NOW A “TOURIST ATTRACTION” IN ARIZONA

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.

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“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.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

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UPDATE NOV 19, 2016

RETURN TO TOM’S THUMB

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…

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FAREWELL TO ARIZONA!

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A VIDEO MESSAGE BY BOB ALTZAR DJURDJEVIC

Today, Aug 22, I recorded a video message as my farewell to Arizona from this long, hot summer.Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 1.40.38 PM

On Monday, I fly back to Maui. Elizabeth is staying on longer to spend more time with her kids and grandkids.

So without further ado, here’s the message…

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Bob 2015-08-22 at 11.12.45 AM IMG_4340 IMG_4341 Bob 2015-08-22 at 11.12.19 AM

UPDATE AUG 23, 2015…

Pinnacle Peak – from the ground up

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TRIP TO SANTA FE OPERA: PETRIFIED FOREST, TAMAYA RESORT

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INTRODUCTION

Everybody knows that Phoenix is a desert city.  But not everybody realizes that Phoenix is also a cultural desert in summertime.  I have not spent a full summer here since 2007.  So I had forgotten how the desert heat dries out the soul and not just the body. I can take the heat but not a life without music and arts.

Enter Santa Fe opera. Elizabeth and I have been to many of the world’s most famous operatic and concert venues. But we had never attended a performance at Santa Fe opera.  Ergo, Richard Strauss’ “Salome” on Tuesday night was the primary reason for this trip.

Of course, as always, many other interesting, and at times exciting, things happened as well. So read on…

Aug 10-11 (AM), 2015 – Part 1: PETRIFIED FOREST, TAMAYA RESORT

On our drive from Scottsdale to Albuquerque, New Mexico, we stopped at a rock shop in Holbrook and the Petrified Forest National Park.

The last time we were there was in Oct 2013. All national parks were closed while our Washington leeches argued with each other about who would get a bigger slice of the loot they call income tax.

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Anyway, the weather was overcast which made for a pleasant drive even if that meant the petrified wood colors weren’t the brightest.

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After having dinner in Albuquerque, we got to the Tamaya Resort just before sunset. This was my third and Elizabeth’s second visit to this delightful place, hidden in the desert, about 30 miles northwest of Albuquerque.

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The next morning, we went for our usual walk through the beautiful Sycamore forest that brackets both banks of Rio Grande.

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Everything was fine until I pointed out to Elizabeth the trail marks that a snake leaves in the dust. From there on, she was on pins and needles. And not in vain.

Because soon afterward, Elizabeth was the first one to spot about a 4-ft snake crossing the trail right in front of us. She ran back while I tried to nudge the snake to complete the crossing. Tamaya NM map

“Don’t worry, this is not a rattlesnake,” I told Elizabeth who hid behind me as we were passing the spot where the snake had been moments earlier.

The posted signs warned of rattlesnakes in the area. Which is probably what contributed to Elizabeth being spooked so much.  I figure this was probably a Bull snake. They range from 48 to 72 inches in length and are active during the day.  They feed on rodents not humans.  So the two of us would have been a little to much even for this Bull to swallow. 🙂

But in a battle between reason and fear, the former will almost always lose.  So we spent the rest of our walk with Elizabeth jumping up and down over every sound in the bush, and even a little rabbit.

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As a result, I  had a hard time talking Elizabeth into posing here near the famous Rio Grande river. She kept looking over her shoulders as if a snake would morph into a giant dinosaur and jump out grab her from behind. 🙂

So I don’t know how she managed that angelic smile. Must be an actress lurking behind the facade of an artist. 🙂

The mountain in the background is also famous. Its name is Sandia. Which means Watermelon in Spanish. Guess that’s the color the mountain sometimes takes on at sunset.  Such as in this file photo…

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Before we left Tamaya, I purchased this beautiful butterfly sculpture (below left). It now joins the three other butterflies at our home, the Eagle’s Nest in Scottsdale, which flew in there in December 2013.

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Also see…

TO BE CONTINUED…

FOURTH OF JULY HIKE ON TOM’S THUMB TRAIL

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HONORING FALLEN SOLDIERS IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Today, July 4, Independence Day #239, I returned to Tom’s Thumb trail. This time, I came equipped wearing football boots with cleats.  The trail is quite steep and slippery in some places because of loose gravel.  The cleats made a world of difference (also see St Vitus Day on Tom’s Thumb trail).

This time, I made it all the way up to the saddle of McDowell Mtns, elevation 3,700 ft, roughly the same as the foot of Tom’s Thumb.  From there, I can have about 270-degree vistas. The panorama shot above depicts about a 225-degree view from the saddle.

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Along the way, I said similar prayers to those on St Vitus Day , less than  a week ago (see below).

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On my way down, however, I was surprised by a Hummingbird. It was the first time ever that I have seen a Hummingbird on this trail, and never at this elevation (about 3,500 ft).

And then I realized why. Here’s the post I had made this morning about the Fourth of July and the Hummingbirds:

AN AMERICAN HUMMINGBIRD

Independence Day 2015. Only in words. Because we are no longer independent. We only have different oppressors now from those 239 years ago. Our new rulers have usurped our government and turned it against the American people.eagle-crest

All the while, we have had the Eagle, a symbol of freedom, as our idol, both in our crest and in our hearts. And just look where it got us.

So on this Independence Day 2015, how about we turn a new leaf, adopt a new idol, one which, like the eagle, symbolizes freedom and courage, but also beauty, grace and love: The Hummingbird.

Hummingbird US crestThe Hummingbird’s purpose in life is to travel great distances spreading love and life itself. So it stands for endurance and gentility. The Hummingbird never harms anyone. So it also stands for peace.

Would’t that be a marvelous new role model for America?

Just think of how far we could get as a nation if we were to travel around the world doing good, spreading love and life?

The sky would be the limit. No. We could go right around the universe and back.

And now, while you contemplate that, here are some Hummingbird images for this Fourth of July.

Rainbow Hummingbird 2 Hummingbird and flower Bee Hummingbird Rainbow Hummingbird 1

PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD AND LIVING

‘You’ll have to keep coming back and dying countless times until you also learn it was all for naught.”

Along the way, I kept saying prayers for the souls of all IMG_4213participants in the American revolution.

“You all gave your lives in pursuit of glory and honor, or for domination of one over another,” I said. “As I had also done countless times in my past lifetimes. But now those of you who have ascended know it was for naught. We were all all just actors in a play without beginning or end. Until we learn to write our own ending – in love and light not blood.”

“So I salute all those who realize that today,  And to those who are still trying to get the upper hand battling one another, I say, ‘I also pray for you to learn sooner rather than later: that you’ll have to keep coming back and dying countless times until you also learn it was all for naught’.”

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FRONT AND BACK OF EAGLE’S NEST IN SCOTTSDALE ON THE FOURTH

Here’s what our home in Scottsdale looked like, front and back, on the Fourth of July…

During a family barbecue this afternoon, I blurted it out without thinking that this was the first time in 8 years that we had spent the Fourth in Scottsdale. Upon checking my diary and the travelogues, by golly, that was true. It has been that long. We have missed out on a lot of good old Arizona desert heat. 🙂

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ST VITUS DAY HIKE ON TOM’S THUMB TRAIL LEAVES MY KNEES NUMB, HEART FULL

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HONORING FALLEN SOLDIERS AND OTHER WAR VICTIMS OVER THE CENTURIES

Today, June 28, is a very special day in history (JUNE 28, ST VITUS DAY… A MOMENTOUS DATE IN HISTORY).  So this afternoon, while Elizabeth took her kids and grandkids to a circus in downtown Phoenix, I headed up to McDowell Mtns over Scottsdale.

This time, I went to the backside mountains (east), where the trailhead for a pretty arduous hike to Tom’s Thumb begins (see CLIMBING UP TO TOM’S THUMBEASTER UNDER TOM’S THUMB, EASTER PARTY

The weather was good but hot. The temps ranged from 105F to 108F, higher at lower elevations.

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I made it to just under the Thumb, elevation 3,500 ft, before deciding to turn back. I wanted to make sure I had enough left in my gas tank to get back down to the trailhead. Take a look at how small Pinnacle Peak looks from this vantage point, and then compare to the shots from ground up the last time I climbed it (below).

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PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD AND LIVING

‘You’ll have to keep coming back and dying countless times until you also learn it was all for naught.”

Along the way, I kept saying prayers for the souls of all IMG_4197participants in the Battle of Kosovo, and all those hundreds of millions who have died in various senseless wars during the last 626 years.

“You all gave your lives in pursuit of glory and honor, or for domination of one over another,” I said. “As I had also done countless times in my past lifetimes. But now those of you who have ascended know it was for naught. We were all all just actors in a play without beginning or end. Until we learn to write our own ending – in love and light not blood.”

“So I salute all those who realize that today,  And to those who are still trying to get the upper hand battling one another, I say, ‘I also pray for you to learn sooner rather than later: that you’ll have to keep coming back and dying countless times until you also learn it was all for naught’.”

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Pinnacle Peak – from the ground up

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Pinnacle Peak header

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CLIMBING UP TO TOM’S THUMB

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… AND ALSO FINDING DICK AND HARRY’S THUMBS THERE, AS WELL AS “BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE” – ALL THUMBS UP

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On Thursday, I decided to do something I have never done before: climb Tom’s Thumb. That’s one of the peaks in the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale where Eagle’s Nest is. But I experienced something I never expected: Discovered that Tom’s Thumb should really be called Eagle’s Nest. And the Eagle’s Nest should be called Bob’s Thumb. 🙂 IMG_0778

Just look at the evidence on the right. That’s a shot of the massive rock that dominates the north end of the McDowell Mtns which is now known as Tom’s Thumb. I am standing at 3,800 ft elevation right under it. (By the way, that’s the highest I have ever climbed in the McDowells). And when you look up Tom’s Thumb from that point, what do you see? You see three eagles’ nests! (actually small caves in the rock).

How do I know they are eagles’ nests? Look at the equally massive white “murals” the eagle’s had painted on the rock over the centuries. They are between 6 and 10 feet high.

Alright. That was the end, the destination. Let’s start at the beginning… as most stories do…

Forecasters were calling for rain around here on Friday. (Yeah! We have not had any to speak of in months).  I also was also facing a possible medical procedure on Friday on my left big toe, “Bob’s Lower Thumb,” if you will. 🙂 So to preempt both events putting a crimp into my hiking, I jumped into my car and headed out toward Tom’s Thumbs.

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As I said, I have never done that before although I have lived here in the Valley of the Sun for over 30 years. So even the 11-mile drive to the trailhead was quite exciting. I was delighted to discover that there are patches of beautiful unspoiled Sonoran desert still left. That not all of it has been ‘raped’ by real estate developers.

As to the trail itself, it was the hardest hike I have ever done in the McDowells and the easiest at the same time. The hardest, because it is pretty much an unrelenting 1,000 ft vertical climb till you get to the saddle. And then another couple of hundred feet or so through some pretty rough terrain to reach Tom’s Thumb.  The easiest, because most of the trail is loose gravel. Which makes it easy on the knees, although also more dangerous when you go down.

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It was also relatively easy because the temperature was only 63F (17C). For someone used to hiking in the 110F+ heat, this was a real reprieve. I felt I still had at least half a tank left in me by the time I reached the saddle of the McDowell Mtns, elevation about 3,600 ft.  Here are some shots I took from there…

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This is where I almost got fooled. As I said, this was my first hike to here. So when I got to the saddle, and saw a big rock to the north from there, I thought that was Tom’s Thumb. And that I had actually arrived at my destination.

Then I noticed another trail going up from there.  I decided to follow it. It turns out, it did lead to the actual Tom’s Thumb. Which was another half a mile away through some pretty rough terrain. I saw more rocky “thumbs” along the way.

So I decided to name that first rock that fooled me Harry’s Thumb, and the next one Dick’s Thumb, to complete the Tom, Dick and Harry rocky trilogy. 🙂

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On the way to Tom’s Thumb, I also saw many other interesting rock formations. The two pairs of rocks above right reminded me of that famous 1969 movie BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE. So that’s what I named them. :-

IMG_0768 IMG_0791Also check out some other interesting rock formations. Do you see a face in the one on the left?  What do you see in the ones on the right?

Toms Thumb closeup composite

Anyway, above is now a composite close up of Tom’s Thumb taken from right under this massive rock. It consists of four frames.

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Each of the above panorama shots consists of 4-6 frames.

And now, here are some other interesting shots from this fascinating hike…

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Finally, for those of you who are interested in geological history of the formation of these amazing rocks, which were once at the bottom of an ocean, here’s a story a hiker can read at the Tom’s Thumb trailhead. As you can see, it all started some 1.8 billion years ago.

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My hat’s off to the Scottsdale city fathers for this trail’s enablement and care. It is a great example of how to educate and bring man to nature without harming the natural habitat.