Weather is Delightful

Time is passing by fast. We’ve been here (Mesa, AZ) two months and it seems like we haven’t really been doing and going much to truly enjoy the beautiful weather (sorry north friends). But as we look back on some of the few pictures we’ve taken, we can see how we really have taken advantage it. On December 7 we hiked the Lost Dutchman Trail in the Superstition mountains. Got a cool picture of a formation with the moon poking through. Look close, it’s there.

Roland had been on this trail several times and was eager to show us the way to the Lost Dutchman’s gold (failed to find it of course). Susan and Ed tagged along reluctantly, but Connie was eager, as usual. It was a great day…Roland drove us to the trailhead; and Susan provided a tasty bowl of split pea soup on our return. Is that an oxymoron…tasty split pea soup?

Connie hiked South Mountain with sister Carol and hiking friend Kerry on December 11 and we were in the groove of walking a 3 mile stretch of the canal path in early mornings with Roland and Susan…They got sick and had to hold back, and Connie’s ankle was started to give her problems. So our walking routine is on hiatus right now. Oh…but we did walk a block to McDonalds for an ice cream cone.

Sunday after church December 10, we took a lovely trip through Payson, Cottonwood, and Sedona to Harding Springs, primarily to get our water jugs filled, but to enjoy the journey and ever changing beauty of the Arizona landscape. The Sedona area is illustrious with red rock formations and picturesque views, like the Midgley bridge, gateway to Oak Creek Canyon, in route to Harding Springs.

We still endeavor to put in a few hours at Twin Palms RV Park. Connie took on staining the gate entrance from the park to the canal; and Ed managed to change out several site water meters. Before and after below:

We haven’t seen many quail come by this year…at least not yet. But we did have a visit from some Rosy-faced Lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis). Reportedly these fellows were first sighted in Arizona in the eighties. There were actually three that came by.

Geez. What’s this? Fishing the canal? Yep, that’s our old Twin Palms pal, Don, evermore fishing for carp! Yes folks, carp. He doesn’t keep them, or eat them…just releases them back into the canal. Why? You’ll have to ask Don I guess. It is convenient for him though, just a few steps from his trailer and out the gate.

A recent highlight of our life in Arizona was a trip to St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery near Florence…about an hour away. Note St. Elijah Chapel just to the right of the entrance sign. Sister Carol and husband Roger were our guides as they had been there before.

The first thing we see when entering the grounds is St. Anthony’s Church. The inside is quite ornate with many pictures of saints and mosaics. Note the humongous brass chandelier where candles represent the “heavenly church.” There are no lights (except for 2 small ones on the chanter stands). No chairs! Nearly everything is from Greece. Carol, Roger, and Connie stand in amazement as they look around at the incredible fixtures. In addition to the church, there are 5 chapels.

The monks will not allow anyone on the grounds if they have any skin showing other than face and hands. Women must wear a head scarf as well.  The men must wear long sleeve shirts. No sandals. Fortunately, they have a supply of loaner clothing.

The monastery was established in 1995. It is absolutely incredible what they have done to the property in the few short years since. The grounds, fountains, and chapels make up a lush oasis in the middle of the desert.

The interior of one of the Chapels appears very similar in design to the main St. Anthony Church, yet somewhat smaller and exhibits an artistic incredible inlaid wood ceiling.

St. Elijah Chapel, the newest and fifth “chapel”, is still under construction, but attacks the eye’s attention from it’s hilltop setting. Each of the chapels, as well as the monastery itself, have deep rooted history from the early Greek church.

While we don’t attend a Greek Orthodox church, we could be accused of church hopping when we’re in Arizona. We first attended Harvest Chandler, then moved to Harvest East Valley, and we currently attend Christ Church in Gilbert. Actually, they are all the same church, just moving, growing, and renaming. Loving the music and the Bible based messages that dig in to the Bible. We miss Foundations in Loveland, but love Christ Church too.

 

 

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