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Take it Easy

Lighten up while you still can

Winslow, AZ 

We finally got down to Winslow, Az.  Winslow is world famous among fans of the 1970s pop group “The Eagles,” since one of their hits “Take it Easy” features a hitchhiking vignette when the singer is “…standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”   We didn’t actually see the corner, although I looked for it and evidently drove past it on the way to Highway 87.

Burning Brush

Smoke from controlled burn near Grand Canyon 

The geography changed as we climbed from the semi-arid grasslands through juniper and back up to beautiful ponderosa pine forests. I regret that it was getting a little late and we were losing the light so I couldn’t tarry longer.  This is part of the Coconino National Forest and the Forest Service was busy burning the brush.  We saw a lot of smoke and even some flames.  You can see the smoke in the distance in the picture above. I am encouraged to see the proactive use of fire to restore the landscapes.  The park-like ponderosa forest, with its interspersed meadows, is one of nature’s most beautiful communities.  Below is a well-managed ponderosa forest.  The ones with the red bark are at least 100 years old.  Younger ones have black bark.

Ponderosa pine woodland along Highway 87 south of Winslow, AZ 

Cool Air and Cooler Sunsets

Although Arizona was experiencing a heat wave, and temperatures in Phoenix were reaching into the nineties, the air in the piney woods was cool.   The thermometer in the car registered 59.  You might think you were driving through upper Michigan.  As I wrote above, we were losing the light and I didn’t want to drive the narrow, curvy roads in the dark, so we cut sideways to catch I-17.  We saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen with red clouds turning purple before going dark.  I think the smoke from the prescribed fires contributed to the color.  I didn’t even bother trying to get a picture.  Beautiful sunset pictures are cliché.   Part of the beauty of a sunset lies in its ethereal & ephemeral elements.  Taking a picture is like trying to grab a handful of air.  

Meadow and forest along Hwy 87  

The picture above is taken near a gas station in Happy Jack, AZ.  Interesting name for a town.  We didn't see the actual town. 

We lost altitude as we approached I-17 and the temperature rose to 81 degrees, in spite of the coming of evening.   It was 86 by the time we got to Phoenix.  Back in the desert.  It is interesting that you can get such changes in such a short time and distance.


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