2017 in the Rear View Mirror

Happy New Year!

What a fabulous year Willy had! Here’s to a new year with more incredible adventures ahead! With the new year comes new opportunities. Make them count! That is Willy and my resolution, to make our moments, our days, every adventure count by cherishing our loved ones and “taking it all in.” We want to let those moments capture our hearts, take our breath away, and truly live and be present in each moment we have with those we love. With the New Year, Willy and I have decided to try something new. We are going to change the frequency of this blog to twice a month instead of every week; at least through the winter.

Now sit back and scroll through Willy’s 2017 memories. Willy and I picked out some of our favorite photos to share with you. Enjoy!

 

 

Thumbs Up!

Willy and I hiked a Prescott landmark trail up Thumb Butte.

I grew up with this Prescott Landmark practically in my back yard. However, I never hiked up it all those years. I recently put it on my bucket list of trails for Willy and I to conquer.

There are two ways you can hike this 2.5 mile trail. If you go to the left your first .75 miles is paved but extremely steep. Willy and I opted to take the trail to the right like the nice person who took this photo suggested.

 

The trail is well maintained and loops around at a gradual incline to the base of the rocks. I think we made a good choice taking the path to the right.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike. We enjoyed hitting the trails before the busyness of the holidays and while the weather was still nice.

There were plenty of places to stop and rest along the trail. We took our time and enjoyed the fresh air and scenery along our way.

The trail winds through the oak brush, pinon pines and even some prickly pear cactus toward the back side of the butte.

We made it to the top! Another hiker was nice enough to take our picture at the trail summit. Yes, to truly go to the top of Thumb Butte we would have had to scale the boulders behind us like some of the hikers were doing. Willy and I, however, were completely satisfied with calling the summit good enough.

At the summit there is an informal memorial dedicated to our beloved 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots.  The movie, “Only the Brave”, was made about these brave men.

We locals lost so much when we lost these men. There are very few of us who were not impacted in a very personal way through this tragedy. Clayton Whitted (top row 3rd from the left) was very dear to our family’s hearts. He was a youth group leader at our church and impacted so many lives in a positive way, including our daughter. This little memorial was an unexpected surprise. We paid our respects then headed down the steep 3/4 mile trip to the bottom.

 

From the top down the trail is paved with plenty of rails to stop and enjoy the gorgeous view and at the bottom is this revolving gate. Willy was fascinated with it.

Of course, everywhere we go Willy makes a new friend. Everyone loves Willy and Willy loves everyone!

Another wonderful day spent doing what we love!

Aspen Creek Trail

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Mary Davis

To be in nature is therapy for my weary soul. To hear the breeze blowing through the pines is peaceful and soothing. Willy and I needed this hike – we needed this time in God’s creation to rejuvenate.

We did meet one couple along the trail – Willy never meets a stranger, he loves everyone. But, the rest of the hike was just us and nature. We never did figure out why it is called Aspen Creek – there aren’t any Aspen trees.

We were not alone in the forest, we were surrounded by animal life, we even saw some deer! They were too fast to get a photo, unfortunately. Willy could not understand why I wouldn’t let him chase them.

Willy had a blast exploring along the trail. He tried to get the squirrels to come out of the trees to play, but they opted to stay up at a safe distance.

The golds and reds of the oak leaves were a glorious splash of color against the pines. Willy loved rolling in the leaves and running through them to hear the crunch beneath his paws.

Sometimes we just have to be reminded to slow down. Willy helps me remember that. Without him, I would just keep hiking – pushing myself. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you don’t stop and take breaks, you miss the beauty.

Until next time, be sure to slow it down every once in awhile. Don’t miss the beauty.

Another Local Dog Friendly Discovery!

Willy and I recommend the newly opened Rafter Eleven Coffee & Wine bar.

They have a beautiful Dog-friendly patio where you can sit and enjoy a cup of specialty coffee with a scone or a glass of wine. They are located in Prescott Valley, Arizona in the Entertainment District, right next to Buffalo Wild Wings.

They  have a good selection of coffees, lattes, wines and scones on their menu and the atmosphere is quaint and inviting.

I had a Chai Latte and a Chocolate chip scone. Oh my goodness!! Delicious!

Willy enjoyed the one on one time with me, it has been hectic around the ranch as of late. This was a welcome reprieve. Willy thought so too.

He even got to get his photo taken with the owner of the establishment, Dawn Wasowicz. She loves Willy and enjoyed his visit! Now, to be completely honest, we know Dawn quite well. Her and her husband, Jeff, have a Jack Russell from our very first litter. Also, my husband manages the Fain Ranch, whose brand is the Rafter Eleven. That is not merely a coincidence, Dawn’s maiden name was Fain, and it is her family’s ranch. Although I know the owner, this review is completely honest and without bias.

I have not been inside the store yet, since city ordinances only allow dogs on the patio. However, they also carry a wide selection of  wines, specialty olive oils, Balsamic vinegar and spices. I plan on a trip to do some serious shopping for oils, spices and quite possible a bottle or two of wine before all my holiday company arrives.

The Fall weather is beautiful here, a perfect time of year to visit and see for yourself just how quaint Rafter Eleven Coffee & Wine bar is. The patio is open and the wine is rolling in!

 

 

Goodbye Summer … Hello Fall

Seasons come and seasons go.

The temperatures are cooling off here in Central Arizona; Fall is in the air. Summer is over; another chapter is closed. We had a great summer with so many wonderful adventures and memories. We enjoyed sharing them with you.

We went on several different hikes together and discovered some beautiful places to explore locally.

We also went on some trips away from home and visited some gorgeous places along the way. I hope you enjoyed following our summer adventures as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Now … bring on the new season … Hello Fall!

 

 

 

A Day at the Lake

Willy and I explored the shores of Watson Lake.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike around the shores of Watson Lake in Prescott Arizona. It is no secret that Willy loves the water, so this was definitely his kind of adventure!

One just does not take Willy anywhere near water and not let him go swimming. Oh how Willy loves to play in the water!

As we hiked around the shores we saw some people in their kayaks. Willy thought that was pretty cool. Personally, I think he was hoping they would offer him a ride.

Watson Lake is surrounded by Granite boulders. I had a lot of fun with this photo shoot. Gorgeous scenery, beautiful water reflections and a very handsome dog. It made my job fairly easy.

Willy didn’t care so much about the photo part, but he did really enjoy climbing the boulders. I think it made him feel like he was on top of the world!

Sometimes you just have to do something that makes you feel glad to be alive!

Until next time, get out and go on an adventure of your own!

 

 

Willy Explores Historic Downtown Prescott

Visiting Prescott Courthouse Square Willy style!

This is actually “Act II” from last week’s post. The same day Willy had lunch at Barley Hound he played tourist at the Historic Prescott Courthouse Square. It really was a magnificent day. This is my hometown – born and raised, but believe it or not, I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually spent time on the square.

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We enjoyed the historical statues of Prescott history. Prescott was the Territorial capitol of Arizona before we became a state. Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders originated here in Prescott.

We have a rich military history with the Calvary at Fort Whipple, but Prescott also has a rich cowboy and ranching heritage as well. We really liked this statue of a Cowboy at rest.

My son, Tyler, came with us. Tyler is a veteran. This monument honoring the local veterans who gave their lives serving our country was especially meaningful.

In typical Willy style, he enjoyed every moment, even the moments we took a break to rest a few minutes.

Willy enjoyed seeing all the sights, smelling all the different smells and meeting the different dogs who were also enjoying a stroll on the square. Willy enjoyed making new human friends as well.

We ended the day relaxing on the lush grass, soaking up the summer warmth and clean mile high air.

 

 

 

What’s on the Menu?

Willy went out for lunch and dined in style!

I decided that Willy and I needed to explore our own hometown and discover new adventures to be had locally. We discovered a fabulous, dog friendly cafe in down town Prescott, Arizona called The Barley Hound.

They bring out water for your four-legged family member when they bring yours. They even have meals you can order off the menu for your dog! What fun! Willy ordered the steak and rice.

After we ordered, Willy waited patiently for his food. We enjoyed the beautiful day out on the cafe patio. It was a perfect day for eating outdoors.

They brought Willy’s food out on a Frisbee! Willy really enjoyed eating his lunch beside me.  He felt extra special.

When he was finished eating, he had a new toy to play with! This place is so  much fun. For all my local friends and even those who may wish to travel to visit Prescott, The Barley Hound is a MUST for your itinerary!

With a full tummy, Willy relaxed and did a little “people watching” while I finished  my lunch and dessert. The food is amazing with fun options to order such as duck fries and shark tacos! The upside down Key lime Pie … YUM! If you are a connoisseur of fine beer, like my son Ty, you will appreciate their great selection of local brewed light or dark beer.

Willy and I are having fun exploring our own “back yard” and can’t wait to share our adventures with you! Until next time, be sure to take time out of your day to relax and enjoy where you live!

**Neither Willy nor I receive any compensation for this recommendation**

Hittin’ the Trail

Willy enjoyed our hike on the Peavine Trail.

Although I was born in Prescott, Arizona and have lived in the area all but a few short months of my life, I am STILL discovering places to go and things to do in my home town. One discovery is this wonderful trail.

The 6 mile Peavine Trail is one of the few Rails to Trails projects in Arizona. It was originally built by the Santa Fe Railway in 1893. It winds around the back side of Watson Lake and the Granite Dells boulders. Willy and I didn’t hike the whole 6 miles but what we did hike was filled with beautiful scenery such as the wild Grapevines and Black Walnut trees that grow along the trail.

There are several little side trails to explore as well. Willy and I especially enjoyed this one, which took us to the back edge of Watson Lake where Willy was able to cool off.

Willy and I followed the white dots just like it said.

It was fun climbing the granite boulders. Willy felt like a real mountain climber!

Willy and I can’t wait for another fun local expedition. You don’t necessarily have to travel to find adventure. Sometimes you can find it in your own backyard.

Patriotic Pup

Happy 4th of July!

Willy and the rest of our family are very patriotic. We love our country and love to celebrate our independence. I think Willy likes the family BBQ best though. He and his buddies are “ground sweepers” at that event.

We went all out for this photo shoot! We couldn’t help ourselves. We even talked Willy’s pal Rusty into a few poses.

Here where we live is home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Prescott, Arizona and the surrounding towns have birthed some of the greatest rodeo cowboys of all time. Rodeo is part of our family heritage as well and several of our family members (including one of my sons) have competed in the past and some are still competing in this very rodeo today. I think Willy makes a great looking cowboy, don’t you?

Although we love to have fun on this holiday, we are humbled by the sacrifices made by our United States military, past and present, that allow us to continue to live in freedom. We are not only a rodeo family, but have family who have served and are currently serving in the US Military. Willy LOVES his military uncles! So to all veterans and active duty, we salute you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Willy wore his best patriotic tie to honor those who fight for Flag and Freedom.

As you and your loved ones celebrate our country’s independence, and enjoy all the festivities, don’t forget to thank those you meet who have served or are serving in our military, because without them you would have nothing to celebrate.

This past week has had its share of intense, gut wrenching moments as we stood at a distance watching our beloved mountains burn in the Goodwin Fire. The fire knocked on the doors of several houses on our family’s 5th generation ranch headquarters, coming within 200 yards of one. Thanks to our brave fire fighters, all homes and structures were saved. But the fire continues to burn as I type this.  Times like this make you realize just what matters; what truly has value. Things can be replaced – lives can not. Just one more reminder that life is about those we love – so live well and love well.

In light of those who have already lost their homes to this fire and those still in its path, I’d like to close this post with some of the lyrics from Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the USA”.

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I’d worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife
I’d thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away
And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA