Tuesday, January 17, 2017

FOGGED IN, ATOP CORONADO PEAK AND ‘OUR LADY OF THE SIERRAS’ SHRINE

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VIEW FROM ATOP CORONADO PEAK THIS MORNING

Not often we encounter fog out here in the Southwest but when I stepped out with Pheebs at 5 a.m. this morning we were totally socked in.  Just 8 hours before I had been gazing up at a clear starry night sky.  Thus are the ways of the weather Gods. 

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Didn’t figure there was any point of me departing my recliner and climbing out of my jams until the big cloud sitting right on top of us got up and moved itself out.  Waited and waited but……Think it was around 10 with the cloud still sitting on us that we decided to head on in towards Sierra Vista in case it was clear over that way.  And sure enough just minutes after rolling out and heading west down the highway we drove right out of the cloud into big mainly sunny skies.  We didn’t waste any time heading due south toward the Mexican border then swung ourselves west to climb up the southernmost end of the Huachuca Mountains.  It was Coronado Peak we were headed for and it was Coronado Peak 20 minutes later we were standing.  Last time up there we had Aunt Jean with us:))

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HEADING INTO THE CORONADO NATIONAL MEMORIAL

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I had figured it would be very windy and cold on the Peak but we caught a nice break for a change with only a light breeze.  Glad we were dressed warm though.  Think this was maybe our 4th time up there and if you type Coronado Peak in our ‘Search’ bar you might find my posts and photos for those other times.  Always border patrol vehicles in the large parking area and with some construction going on we wondered if they are maybe building a more permanent facility for border patrol personnel.  Coronado Peak is an excellent vantage point for all their electronic gear scanning the valleys below looking deep into Mexico itself.  We could see evidence of the Monument Fire which swept over the mountain a few years ago too.

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ROAD BELOW IS THE ONE WE JUST CAME UP AND OF COURSE THE ONE WE WILL GO DOWN

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KELLY LOOKS OFF TO THE SOUTHWEST

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THAT LAND OUT THERE FOLKS IS MEXICO

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BURNT TREES STAND AS EVIDENCE OF THE JUNE 2011 MONUMENT FIRE THAT SWEPT OVER THE SOUTH END OF THE HUACHUCA MOUNTAINS

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SPOTTED THESE 2 FELLAS ENJOYING THE VIEW OFF TO THE WEST

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IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY YOU CAN SEE THE BORDER FENCE DIVIDING AMERICA ON THE LOWER LEFT AND MEXICO ON THE UPPER RIGHT

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AMERICA ON THE LEFT AND MEXICO ON THE RIGHT WITH NACO PEAK ON THE HORIZON

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WITH MY 300mm TELEPHOTO LENS I SAW THIS TANKER TRUCK TOWING A TRAILER FAR BELOW AS IT CAREFULLY MADE IT’S WAY AROUND ONE OF THE HALF DOZEN HAIRPIN CURVES

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STILL A BIT OF SNOW AT THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS

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KELLY SNAPS A PICTURE OF THE BORDER PATROLS HI TECH SURVEILANCE EQUIPMENT

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It’s quite a road leading up and down from the peak with easily half a dozen hairpin turns and sections where if 2 vehicles meet one is going to have to back up.  No guardrails and steep drop offs for most of the way.  Not a road for the faint of heart but a fun road to drive if your a driver and your not afraid of heights.

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WE BEGIN OUR DESCENT DOWN THE WINDING DIRT ROAD

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BLIND CORNERS MAKE THINGS INTERESTING

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ONE HAS TO PAY ATTENTION HERE OR ELSE YOU ARE OVER THE EDGE AND GONE

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THIS IS THE SAME HAIRPIN TURN THE TANKER TRUCK WAS GOING AROUND

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MOUNTAIN DRIVES ARE JUST THE BEST

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BACK DOWN ON THE VALLEY FLOOR….HEY MONICA OVER THERE IN FLORIDA, THIS IS WHERE WE WERE DRIVING WHEN YOU PHONED US TODAY

Our main objective today was to find a Shrine called Our Lady of the Sierras which Kelly had read about online so on the way back into Sierra Vista we spotted the Shrine on the side of the Huachuca mountains, located the road leading to it and drove up to see what we could see.  It’s not a long drive off the highway and we soon found ourselves in the lower parking lot.  Could have driven right up to the Shrine itself but we elected to take a series of steps leading up through a number of crosses Catholic folks know as the Stations of the Cross.  The climb reminded me a bit of the Ghost Mountain climb over near Borrego Springs and it had all three of us puffing by the time we reached the top.  Yes Pheebs went too.

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THAT’S WHERE WE ARE HEADED

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Whether a person is religious or not makes no difference, this is a nice place to visit and marvel at the amount of work that has gone into it’s construction.  Rather than try to describe it to you I will let my slightly out of focus photos tour you around. 

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WE UNDERESTIMATED THE STEEP CLIMB ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF THE SHRINE

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THIS CROSS IS 75’ TALL

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INSIDE THE TINY CHAPPEL

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ALTHOUGH I WAS UNABLE TO SEE THE SPEAKERS THERE WAS THE NICEST SOFT MUSIC TO BE HEARD…LIKE A CHANT

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THIS WAS ALL REBUILT NEW AFTER THE MONUMENT FIRE DESTROYED MOST EVERTHING

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KELLY’S DOWN THERE RESTING UP ON A BENCH

From the Shrine it was back down onto the floor of the San Pedro Valley and into Sierra Vista we went.  Kelly had read on TripAdvisor about a great German sandwich place.  A blog reader also recommended the Bread Basket.  It was 2:10 and we were 10 minutes late for the daily Schnitzel special so we settled for sandwiches and soup which of course were very good.  Kelly had Forest ham and I had Turkey.  Soup was Texas Corn Chowder.  And the ladies in the shop spoke real German too.

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WE HAD US SOME GOOD SANDWICHS AND SOUP HERE

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From the bread basket we headed back to the rig.  We were only there a few minutes when Kelly spotted Pat walking over from the house with a box in his hand.  UPS had delivered the parcel we had been waiting for.  Remember me saying about the auto focus being gone in my Nikon D90??  Today my new Nikon D3400 arrived:))  I already have a D3100 so the learning curve on the D3400 was not a problem.  My D90 is pretty beaten up after all these years of lugging it around most every day and with a few other problems with it I decided on the D3400.  Some may wonder why not a more top of the line Nikon with many more features.  Simple answer is I do not need a camera with all the bells and whistles and for the simple kind of photos I take the entry level D3400 is all I need.  As I’ve said before I am not a professional photographer with an interest in selling my work, I’m just a guy with a camera taking a few photos every day for my blog.  And of course there is the financial end of it as well.  I don’t need a thousand dollar camera to totally confuse myself any more than I already am.  Oh and the D3400 is smaller and lighter than the D90 so that is a big plus for me as well.

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FROM THE SHRINE LOOKING EAST ACROSS THE SAN PEDRO VALLEY TO THE MULE MOUNTAINS ON THE HORIZON

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LOOKING NORTH TOWARDS THE CENTER OF SIERRA VISTA

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MEXICO’S NACO PEAK TOP RIGHT AND BISBEE’S MULE MOUNTAINS TOP LEFT

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GROANER’S CORNER:((  The Reverend Francis Norton woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf.  So... he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick and convinced him to say Mass for him that day. As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room, Father Norton headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away. This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish.  Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!  At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"  The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not." Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. It WAS A 420 YARD HOLE IN ONE! St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?"  The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

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David: My wife beats me, doctor.
Doctor: Oh dear. How often?
David: Every time we play Scrabble!

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A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom & gloom pessimist. Just to see what would happen,on the twins' birthday their father loaded the pessimist's room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist's room he loaded with horse manure.   That night the father passed by the pessimist's room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly.  "Why are you crying?" the father asked.   "Because my friends will be jealous, I'll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I'll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken." answered the pessimist twin.  Passing the optimist twin's room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. "What are you so happy about?" he asked.   To which his optimist twin replied, "There's got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

14 comments:

  1. Al, you should read the book, Cities of Gold, by Douglas Preston. He retraced the discovery of the Southwest by Coronado and his army. Coronado actually crossed into the United States down by Fort Huachuca. (Douglas, AZ, as I recall) He did this on horseback and had to get permission to cross some of the land. He was a long distance rider, so it was fairly easy for him. Fascinating book! I read it with the book in one hand and a map in the other! It was one of the most interesting books I've ever read! I have a copy here at home, but now I'll have to go dig it out and read it for the third time!!! (Yes, it is THAT GOOD!)

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  2. That looks like you had a good hike to the shrine and nice scenery there as well. That road with the hairpin turns is not for me.

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  3. Stunning views and the Shrine is so beautiful.

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  4. WOW! What a day you three had. Thank you for sharing Coronado Peak and the
    Shrine with us today with your beautiful photos.

    Be interested in how you like your D3400.

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  5. I LOVED your photos of the Shrine! So happy that you are enjoying the full-time experience in the SW. Your photos reflect your joy!

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  6. There are many such shrines throughout all of Mexico, many with the long staircase.

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  7. You two always find the neatest places to visit.

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  8. Now how did the weather gods give you and us fog on the same day?

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  9. What a SPLENDID day !!! The photos are wonderful ....
    The shots to the horizon are fantastic......What a vista !
    Also enjoyed the dividing line photos..... CONGRATULATIONS, AL,
    on your new camera ...... OUR lifeline to this daily journey!

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  10. That shrine walk looks a bit steeper than the St. Joseph Shrine in Yarnell. Will your old lenses fit on the new camera? I'm also having focus problems for the second time.

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    1. Yes fortunately my other Nikkor lenses are compatible although my UV filter and lens hood from my older lens will not fit the new lens. They must have re-sized the front element or something.

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  11. Thanks for sharing the pics of Coronado Peak. There are some places we may not see but your pics allow us to see them.
    Beautiful pics as always Al.

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  12. Nothing more wonderful than driving out of the fog! Nothing quite as depressing as dropping down into the fog of the California Central Valley after time in the desert as we did a couple of days ago. Those beautiful brilliant photos of sunshine are such a pick me up. Was also interesting to see the Celtic Crosses at the shrine. I have some great memories of all the Celtic Crosses we saw in Ireland last year. Congrats on your new camera, looking good.

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  13. We really enjoyed Coronado NM. There is a great hike up the top where you were. Awesome views. We just happened to catch Our Lady of the Sierra's as we drove by. We are headed that way in ten days so we'll have to hike up to the shrine to check it our more closely. Thanks for lunch idea:)

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