#BrightSquare 30: Bright Destination – Seven Sacred Pools

#BrightSquare #30, Restless Jo’s Monday Walk

This is it! We made it!

Remember It truly has been a wonderful month, thank you all so much for squaring with me. If you have not had a chance to join in the fun of the squares challenge, why not join us today on this final day. Everyone is always welcome. The theme is bright, and the only rule is that your photographs must be square. If you can’t join us today then no worries, Squares will be back in July! There will also be a Bright Square gallery this weekend.

Becky B

Sedona Old Soldier Pass Trail #4

So far in the last three days, we’ve made it 1/4 mile on the Old Soldier Pass Trail and side tours all the way to Devil’s Kitchen.

  • We learned that there are a total of 8 Devil’s Kitchens geological structures in the United States alone. That doesn’t count other countries. Do you know where the other structure/s are in the world, and when they started using the term.
  • Sadly, there are also restaurants called Devil’s Kitchens in the Untied States.
  • We’ve seen roses on the path.
  • We’ve tentatively identified the rock formations: Brins Mesa, Coffee Pot and Tea Cup, and Wilson Mountain.
  • We’ve exercised a total of nearly 7,000 steps on this hike alone.

The wind blows here a lot. I usually cover any bald spots along my forehead with bangs. In spite of the wind, we made it to Seven Sacred Pools, our goal destination. Joining us were two jeep tours. They did not come the same way or leave the same way we did.

I’m super glad that Vince had the foresight to postpone our walk from Thursday to Friday so that we missed the heavy thunderstorms that hit Sedona. The result was excellent for us. The sacred pools were filled. These reminded me of huge Indian grinding holes which we found in our foothills in California.

Without a book about this trail, I couldn’t find much information about the Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona, not Hawaii. They are filled by a natural stream, which we did not see. It was well-worth the easy 1/2 to 2 mile hike in from the trail head.

On the way out we teamed up with a young couple and hiked the creek bed, which was flat, shady and full of boulders to climb over, trees to climb and rocks to take home. (That’s a joke, Mr. Ranger.)

Our friend had to put quite a bit of muscle into lifting the rock off the ground. Vince, a more experience rock tackler, didn’t even need to flex his muscles.

What’s Next

Any great plans between now and July? I’m going to head over to Natalie the Explorer’s and see what she’s been up to and leave a link.

There’s something new coming with Writer’s Quote’s Wednesdays next week just to keep you off Balance.

A new Story Chat publishes on Tuesday, May 11 by my Scottish friend, Anne Stormont. Story Chat is the brain child of Hugh Roberts who first submitted his short story as a guest post then we followed up with YOUR comments as you chatted. It’s been great fun, but May is my last story. Without YOUR stories, Story Chat dies.

There are several Challenge Host Interviews in the works which I’m excited about. This is open to anyone who hosts or participated in photo or writing challenges and wants to talk about how the challenges affect their lives.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my trips. I’ll look forward to Becky B’s next square contest. 🙂 I hope that squared everyone up. See you next time. 🙂

#BrightSquare: Bright Spot in Hike – Miracle Marker

#BrightSquare#29, Restless Jo’s Monday Walks, Cee’s FOTD

By the way there is now less than a week left of bright squares, where has the time gone? …Remember all I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.

Becky B

Sedona Old Soldier Pass Trail #3

As you noticed, I divided this amazing hike into four parts to work with the last four gloriously bright days of Becky’s BrightSquares. Today I promised you an official view, and I will deliver. But first, a marker!

In all of this walking, we have still supposedly not gone the 1/4 mile to see our first landmark, Devil’s Kitchen, one of eight Devil’s Kitchens in the United States alone. The countertop looks more like a grand piano to me. I hope my kitchen never looks this bad. Fortunately it did not smell as bad as a kitchen in this shape would.

You can’t appreciate the depth of this sinkhole from this picture, but I did not want to get close. There was no handrail, trees or anything to hang onto, and just getting as close as I did made me a bit dizzy. According to one of the sites, water caused all this damage by eroding the limestone. It happened in the 1880s. If it made me dizzy to see the aftermath, imagine hiking in the 1880s and watching it happen!

Submitted for Cee’s FOTD

According to my plant guide, this shrub is a Cliff-rose or Pushia mexicana that is a chaparral that grows in rocky slopes. The online Bing dictionary defines chaparral as “a North American vegetation consisting chiefly of tangled shrubs and thorny bushes.” I think the guide book for plants, animals, birds and reptiles, Discovering the Wonders of Sedona by Suzanne Clemenz described this bush accurately. It was the only flower we saw on the entire path.

For the most part we headed towards Teacup Rock but when I turned around, I saw this beautiful vista of the Brins Mesa, where you can go on a steeper five-mile trail.

We have one more bright day left, so you will get to see if we made it the next 1/4 mile to our bright destination. This is the first time I’ve participated in the entire month of Becky B’s squares. I don’t know about you, but I found it to be as rigorous as hiking up this 1-4 mile trail, depending on what you read.

It was fun taking you for a week on our Las Vegas Vacation, then home to our former home in Elderwood, California. Then we had a day rolled into a week of car shows at Prescott’s Gateway Shopping Center where I got my two COVID shots, and finally, almost a week showcase of our day trip to Sedona’s Old Soldier Pass Trail. I can see why people look forward to Becky’s Squares, and how it can start you on your own series of photographic journeys, if you want to do that.

Thanks for joining me this month. i hope to see you tomorrow for our #Brightsquare farewell post.

Don’t Forget

If you’ve gotten dizzy after this month of bright squares, join me at Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays and get your balance back. 🙂

#BrightSquare: What’s Older Than Red Dirt?

#BrightSquare #28

By the way there is now less than a week left of bright squares, where has the time gone? If you haven’t yet taken part, why not get organised this weekend. I have now approved all of yesterday’s amazing square contributions, so do visit yesterday’s post and scroll through the comments for inspiration. Remember all I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.

Becky B

Sedona Old Soldier Pass Trail #2

Yesterday we barely started on the trail. Sadly, I thought that we would get to the first official view point today. But sadly, for you I took more pictures than I thought. Those bright views so far are unofficial. I had my mouth open in amazement of such beauty most of the time. (No, not to help me breathe!)

We headed in the general direction of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness Area, which I am assured is steeper than what we experienced. As you can see there was clearly another choice of path with no marker and now no other hikers.

Wilson Mountain ahead

We veered left, and kept going in that general direction until we reached our goal. Apparently bicycles are allowed in this first 1.2 mile section of the pathway.

We also went up whenever we could. I’m not sure how difficult it would be on bikes. The total rise in altitude is only 450 feet and you barely feel it because it is gradual in most places. There were places where it was not so flat.

Vince is wondering what takes me so long and whether or not my balance is holding up. He accidently wore his street shoes, and got them filthy, not to mention they were a little slippery in places. I wore my stabilization/hiking/tennis shoes/trainers and I did fine, but there were a few places where he helped me up or down.

We are very cute now that we are older than red dirt, in case you didn’t know that.

Tomorrow in my next BrightSquare I promise I will get you to Devil’s Sink Hole and tell you how it came to be. So for today, Signing off from Sedona, AZ, about one hour’s drive from Prescott

Have a happy Hump day from these beautiful humps. How’s your week going?

Don’t Forget

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays today. The topic today is Balance. What could be more appropriate?

#BrightSquare:Old Soldier Pass Trail

#BrightSquare#27, Restless Jo’s Monday Walks

“ All I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.”

Becky B.

Only four more days of #BrightSquare including today, just enough time to take you on a new walk and to wish Beck a happy birthday. If you haven’t joined in, you still have time.

Sedona Old Soldier Pass Trail #1

We started our newest Sedona adventure at Butterfly Hamburger Restaurant which we highly recommend for hamburgers and the ahi tuna. The tuna was cooked to perfection, not poke. Our tiny waitress, a hiker and biker, highly approved of our planned adventure and hoped we’d find parking because we couldn’t park on the street.

The art festival traffic on State Route 179 caused the worst stop and go traffic we’d ever experienced all the way into Sedona where we hit Highway 89A. After a short stint on Old Soldier Pass Road, we pulled into the parking area just as someone was leaving and motioned us into their spot – the only one.

Warning don’t wear your bright shiny Las Vegas-style shoes on the Old Soldier Pass Trail just because it’s classified easy to moderate. Vince forgot to wear his hiking shoes. He came home with red toes, and you will see why in a second.

Easy is a subjective term. Some of the references say it’s four miles long, others say two. The sign says that the trail was constructed in cooperation with Red Rock Jeep Tours. We wondered how jeeps could travel those trails even though they were broad enough for two people to pass each other comfortably.

According to one sign, E-bikes were not allowed, so we were glad we left ours at home. We found a couple of bikes chained to a tree.

The USDA. Gov website said, “Motorized access beyond the trailhead requires a permit. Get more information and apply for a permit at Soldier Pass Motorized Use Permits. As of Jan. 8, 2020 Recreation.gov will be handling motorized use permits.”

Vince had to go ahead of me because I stopped every two seconds to take pictures. Even at an elevation of 4,400 feet, the path looked easy enough as we started out. It was flat with no potholes or small boulders to trip you if you looked at the gorgeous views instead of your feet.

The weather was a perfect 70 degrees with no winds. It rained the day before, so we hoped that the Seven Sacred Pools would be filled to the brim.

As soon as we rounded the first bend, the famous Sedona Rocks jutted into our sights. Don’t quote me but this might be Coffee Pot Rock. There are so many formations and they are parts of other formations that it takes a while to ferret out all the correct names. The sky was really that blue, the clouds that bright, and the dirt that red. No Photoshopping necessary on this trip.

“Continue on Soldier Pass until you meet and pass a jeep road at around 1.2 miles.  You will see a fork in the trail.” Arizona Hiker’s Guide Forks were plentiful.

Signage was not as plentiful as promised. This would have been the perfect “Which Way Challenge” because there were at least three or four directions to turn, and we could see people on every trail.

We found distance to be relative as we talked to people coming back as we started our journey. Our goal – to see the Seven Sacred Pools.

Vince looks like he knows where he’s going, but we asked everyone if we were going the right way as we headed toward our goal.

At this point we had not even hiked 1/4 mile. We might have retraced our steps, though. I liked that there were no steep cliffs on either or both sides of the path.

Directions to Old Soldier Pass Trail #66

Location: 28 miles south of Flagstaff (1 mile north of Sedona) on paved and dirt Forest roads in scenic red rock country.

Access: From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 89A west 1.2 miles to Soldier Pass Road on the right. Go 1.5 miles to Rim Shadows Drive, then right 0.2 miles (keep straight ahead where Rim Shadows branches left) to a gated entry road to trailhead parking on the left.

GPS (Map): 34°53’03.4″N 111°47’01.8″W

USGS Maps: Wilson Mountain

Have a happy week. Stay safe and enjoy a Bright adventure this week.

#BrightSquare: Four Tips to Take and Create Better Car Show Photos

#BrightSquare Day #26

And if you have not yet joined in with squares, why not join us today. All I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.. You can visit our square galleries for inspiration.

Becky B.

Becky is gone for a few days, but she will be back to checking your posts. If you are new to participating in the squares challenge.

#Prescott Car Show #7 Mostly Orange

Today is mishmash day in this series of car show photos. I will also address techniques I’ve learned for taking more professional looking car show photos – or sometimes in my case – what not to do.

Look don’t touch

It’s always a good idea to take CLEAR pictures of the identification cards or record shots. In this case, I was just browsing not photographing a car show professionally. They had attached the card by placing it under the windshield wiper. Since the owner was not present, I couldn’t touch the car to get a better view. If you get too close, you could scratch it with your coat zipper or an extra camera. Vince estimated that it was a late 1930s Plymouth.

Take a record shot

My dad always told me to take pictures of signs if there were any. There weren’t any signs on this car that I saw, but I had never heard of a Henry J car, so I took the picture. I could have straightened the sign a little, but I liked the tilt.

Cropping Rules

How do you treat photos that might be better uncropped when you meet the criteria of the square’s challenge?

My Canon Rebel EOS XTIi camera may have a way to shoot a square picture, but I haven’t found it. These photos are all squared in Photoshop Elements 15, which I was fortunate enough to be able to load back into my new computer because I saved the serial number.

The conservationist part of me hates to cut either back or front ends. Who knows which is most important? In the case of this first photo, I decided mostly by size and proliferation of color in the front. The interest in the split front window also influenced my decision. Besides, I already had a picture of the back.

When I crop car pictures, or even focus on a smaller part of the car, I’ve learned that closer is better. I loved the ghosted Plymouth name on the side of the car. Because I got so close to the car, in the crop I had to eliminate some of the other decorative painting when I squared it.

Of course, you can’t get a picture of the entire car in a super close up shot. In this picture the entire painted section shows up. As pretty as the painting is, if I hadn’t taken the close up shot, I would have missed the ghost painting.

I got lucky on this photo and didn’t have to chop anything. The poles annoy me a little. If this was a professional photo I’d get rid of it. In Photoshop and Elements 2021 it is easy to get rid of poles, but I haven’t tried it in Elements 15. The sky is beautiful in this picture because of the direction in which I took the picture. If it hadn’t been, there are quick edits in the 2021 Photoshop Elements program to quickly change it.

In this photo I decided that the detail in the 56 Chevy door was more important than having two headlights in the square. I wanted to keep both front bumperettes in the picture, and it worked out perfectly.

I love woodies. This old surfer dude dressed to go perfectly with his car. His expression and the fact that he was busy with his other admirers, made me decide not to stay and chat. In the case of the second picture, I decided that the door was not important.

Eliminating Unwanted Background

I opened with this 1953 Henry J. It had one of more interesting paint jobs at the Prescott Car Show. It also had the unlucky spot of sitting next to the porta-potty.

You probably have similar edits in the processing programs you use. I used the Guided Section Fun Edits of Photoshop Elements 15, to eliminate unwanted background with a paintbrush and some texturing.

Canva will eliminate all the background like I did on my Zombie Van photo two days ago, but it also eliminated part of my watermark. I tried unsuccessfully to fix it afterwards in Photoshop Elements. I could have started over, and if anyone wants to buy this picture, I’ll go to the effort of making it perfect! LOL

Have a great week. I’m Onward to a new Bright series tomorrow to finish up the month. are you doing a series or individual posts for becky’s brightsquares?