Background and Journal

Satellite Photo of my world near Flagstaff, Arizona

I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 1977. Very soon I realized that my immediate environment is full of natural history and prehistory, subjects that feed my passions. Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, television and bookstores had filled my life so far with the nutrition I required. Now my cravings could be satisfied right here where I live. Even though I live within the city limits I have found archaeological evidence of human occupation within hundreds of feet of my home. Prehistoric people once lived where we live now and I have the nearby discoveries to prove it.
It is now 40 years later and I have hundreds of hiking journals and GPS records, along with thousands of photographs of my observations. This brings me to this digital presentation. I will write captions and anecdotal memories to each page telling you my experience and include as accurate as possible names of species or the geology involved. A work in progress. Constantly being updated and improved. Enjoy.

Environmental Education was my passion early in my career, like teaching kits.

“Beginnings”  I started my business on May 20, 1968 in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California. Prior to that I was a billboard artist working for Pacific Outdoor Advertising. This was a time before personal computers, everything was done by hand.

I was fascinated by the versatility of screen printing so I built my own printing press and developed the "life of a gypsy" traveling among many of the elementary schools in southern California printing students garments in the classroom supporting their mascot or some lesson plan. This was a dream life for several years until one of these shirts featuring a tiger made its way to the San Diego Zoo in 1970.

I was soon seduced into building a factory producing large volumes of tourist t-shirts. By 1977 I was printing and supplying printed animal shirts for over one third of all our USA based Zoos.

I moved it all to Arizona.

Geology, Biology, Natural history, Prehistory

I’ve become aware that human beings have lived at the base of these volcanic mountains for thousands of years. Evidence of this stone age activity is everywhere. There are discussions among scientists, that I hear, about hunting, gathering and when agriculture began… here. I find small ears of corn in many ruins. Cave shelters evolved into massive pueblos like Wupatki. Remains are still here, in the dirt.

I also become aware that most of Arizona north of the Mogollon Rim tilts geologically to the north so that every drainage that removes surface water flows toward the Grand Canyon in a giant spiralling system. Local and ancient volcanic activity is on top of much older layers deposited by oceans or forests that supported all forms of evolving life. The fossils here bear witness to this living laboratory. On top of all of this today is the largest Ponderosa Pine tree forest, Pinon Pine and Juniper, mixed with many native plants, all used in some form by the people and animals that have lived here.

Its a banquet to explore. In no particular order this photo album continues.

Cliff Dwellings, limestone overhang shelters, water...

For two years in the late 1980s I worked as a volunteer at Walnut Canyon National Monument just east of Flagstaff. I worked as a helper with a professional botanist who was doing a native plant survey, all part of a study of how things may have changed in the canyon since Lake Mary was created in 1940, which stopped the normal water flow in this drainage. It was very educational and the beginning of my wanting to learn the names of most of the local plants. I even became aware of how the indigenous people in the past actually transplanted and harvested many wild plants creating unnatural groups that proved more useful during harvest. There are some Aspen trees down there for example that were probably planted by the Sinagua cliff dwellers as the tree normally grows at 8000 feet elevation.

In my many years of hiking northern Arizona I have witnessed first-hand the rapid evolution of GPS technology. When I started doing this I carried a paper topo map of the forest and a compass. I used navigational skills barely remembered today. Before smartphones came along I owned and mastered several GPS units manufactured by Garmin, even the model that had a topo map in the background. It was marvelous. Today I use my Android smartphone and a GPS APP. I use the “phone” for everything on every outing. Between recording my day hikes and taking photos I hardly remember that it is also a phone.

     I store all sorts of maps. I have APPs now that help me identify native plants. I can edit my photos sitting in the shade of a tree and even do some uploading or share an email as I see fit. I’ve often observed illegal wood cutting or dumping on public lands and I can record it and send a report to the forestry office while in the field. When Keyhole Sink was vandalized a few years ago I am the one who reported it along with on site photos.

Peruvian Ancient Wisdom about Nutrition...
Observations... beneath my feet

Over 40 years…   Yes, I have digitized most of my hiking photos and archived them in the Google Cloud. This online platform (simdif) now gives me a way to present them in a way that overcomes the split second attention span that prevails during internet browsing. In time perhaps this project will be saved as a PDF file but for now it is a free photo album with some links that take you to my gallery of items, gifts that bring me sales that support this project and give you a lasting impression of your favorites on t-shirts, mugs, art prints and more.

No commercial affiliation.

At my age I'm discovering first hand that upper body strength diminishes with time. For 30 years I've hiked as a "tripod," using a strong hiking stick, one that would support my weight in case I needed to rely upon it during an inbalance. But it made me lopsided favoring my strongest shoulder. As I passed being 70 years old I noticed that my left arm was becoming weaker. One day while attempting to adjust my day pack with my left hand I experienced a small muscle tear near my deltoid. Healing was slow with constant pain stimulating me to consider a change in my behavior. I needed to create symmetry in my balance and weight bearing. Trekking poles became the obvious solution. Here is my product review:   "Customer feedback after first outing.

I walked up the semi-snow packed rocky hill above my house today using my new poles. I have a trail camera mounted up there and I swap out the SD Chips every couple days. My experience is positive. Clearly I am now engaging my upper body muscles where I sense that I am losing strength. I'm pleased about this. But the biggest surprise is coming back down a rocky hill. I feel safer! More secure. Nice. Good product, arriving just in time for me." I endorse these.