Take a Walk – Central Park Saturday

June 4th, 2016
Author Jenna Kernan with statue of Hans Christian Anderson in NYC's Central Park

Author Jenna Kernan with statue of Hans Christian Anderson in NYC’s Central Park

How was your Saturday?  I enjoyed the sunshine and a lovely walk in  one of my favorite NYC spots, Central Park.  I walked from the Metropolitan Museum of Art all the way down to the Plaza at the Southeast entrance.

 

Walking a shady grove past artist and vendors in NYC's Central Park

Walking a shady grove past artist and vendors in NYC’s Central Park

There are so many statues, grottoes, lakes, ponds, rocks and buildings to explore.  There’s even a zoo, a castle and an outdoor theater.

Beautiful Iris bloom beside a pond in NYC's Central Park

Beautiful Iris bloom beside a pond in NYC’s Central Park

I love visiting familiar favorite spots and poking around to discover new sights.  If you haven’t been, you must go. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera.  You will not believe the size and all the wonderful places to visit without even leaving the park.

Turtles!  NYC's Central Park has plenty of wildlife.

Turtles! NYC’s Central Park has plenty of wildlife.

The Dairy is a great place for information and that perfect Central Park t-shirt.  Mine was so old, I had to replace it.

The Dairy is a great place for information and that perfect Central Park t-shirt. Mine was so old, I had to replace it.

Rent a boat or enjoy the fountain as you name all the movies that have been filmed on this spot.

Rent a boat or enjoy the fountain as you name all the movies that have been filmed on this spot.

On my way up to the Chess House where locals and out-of-towners settle for a game of chess or checkers.

On my way up to the Chess House where locals and out-of-towners settle for a game of chess or checkers.

 


 

Sedona Visit & Vortex

June 1st, 2016
Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Sedona has been on my bucket list for some time.  It exceeded my expectations.  There are a few places I have visited that are truly breath-taking.  This is one.

Photos and descriptions of those red rocks at sunset just do not do justice to the majestic beauty of this place.

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan's hike

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan’s hike

The natural splendor of Sedona is reason enough for a visit, but in addition to the absolutely amazing rock formations, there are Vortexes.  I went there not really knowing what a vortex was, aside from the general understanding that it is a place where the earth’s energy is either magnified or released.  The website Wild Sedona says that a vortex is ” a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy.”  As they suspected, I was skeptical but open to an experience.  I’m always up for a trip outdoors that involves hiking boots and vast quantities of drinking water.  The only thing I like better is one that also involves a rock hammer.

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

If you pay attention, you will notice that in certain places the trunks of the trees begin to twist.  Before visiting, I thought to my clever self that this must be due to wind.  I believed this because I have seen trees on the coast in the Northeast that are twisted and bent by the savage winds.  But these places are not subject to any particular winds that would not affect the trees growing in close proximity.  Yet they twist.

I visited three vortexes.  Two on purpose and one by accident upon arrival on our first hike.  The first was at Bell Rock.

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

I paused in the vortex without knowing it.  It was the only place we stopped on the hike.  Why there?  It was beautiful and it just felt right.  Only after sitting and having some water did I notice the twisting trees.  I could not leave without promising myself to return someday because I did not want to leave.  Promise made, we continued on.

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The second vortex was reached after making a great climb up Cathedral Rock to the saddle.  You can reach the vortex from the parking lot and do not need to climb, but I the view is worth the effort.  This place was devoid of trees but was one of the most magnificent vistas I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to linger and did delay for as long as possible.  But the day was heating up and we still had to climb down.

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

The last vortex we visited was Airport Vortex.  This was very easy to reach and, for me, was the most peaceful.  Where Cathedral Rock was exhilarating (perhaps because I did not die on the ascent), Airport Vortex just made me want to linger.  Sitting on the trunk of a twisted tree, I felt a deep sense of calm and found myself smiling.  I’m not generally tranquil, but there I certainly was and felt completely at ease with my surroundings.

Sedona's red rocks at sunset

Sedona’s red rocks at sunset

My experience in Sedona has left me believing that there is power in those red rocks and the wide blue sky.  If you get a chance to go – grab it.  If you visit, don’t forget to pack water, hiking shoes and an open mind.

For more on Sedona: Visit Sedona website


 

Walking the Highline, NYC

May 16th, 2016
Jenna Kernan at the north entrance to the Highline on 34th St. West.

Jenna Kernan at the north entrance to the Highline on 34th St. West.

Death Avenue to Urban Sanctuary 

I have to hand it to NYC Friends of the Highline for seeing possibilities in the rusting elevated, abandoned train track that once ran on above Manhattan’s Lower West Side.

“I am grass.  Let me work.”  Carl Sandburg

I finally made it to the Highline.  This is a walk I have had on my list for years and apparently I am not alone because I was one of nearly six million visitors each year.  This elevated train track, abandoned in the eighties was slowly rusting away, but along the way grass grew up.  Seeds deposited by birds, traveling on the wind found precarious purchase on the abandoned stretch.  Trees began to grow above the street between the trestles’ and along the track.

Redbud blossoms on the L track over 10th Avenue

Redbud blossoms on the L track over 10th Avenue

WEST SIDE COWBOYS

Originally this track delivered food to the city replacing the 10 Avenue train the past the sailors boarding houses stretching along the river and through the meatpacking district of the Lower West Side.

At the entrance on 34th Street, I greeted by a black and white photo of what looked like a cowboy preceding a train.  Having done no research beyond how to reach the park, I did not know that these men were hired by the New York Central Railroad to precede the train waiving a bright red flag to help clear the tracks of crossing pedestrians with mixed results judging by the earned moniker Death Avenue for the number of collision between iron horse and human pedestrians.

Railroad ties make for modern seating on the Highline with Author Jenna Kernan

Railroad ties make for modern seating on the Highline with Author Jenna Kernan

MOLDERING METAL TO URBAN GREEN SPACE

Built in the 1930s and defunct by the 1960s, moldering through the 1980 and scheduled for demolition 2001 but repurposed beginning in 2004 until the lower section of the elevated park opened in 2009.

I first heard of this 1.45 mile walk from my editor.  She warned me to avoid weekends as they are super crowded.  But I went on the weekend and…it was super crowded.  But it was a special opening of the spring season and there was music and dancing and food all along the way.  Not the fastest walk and definitely not a power walker.  But that’s okay because there was so much to see and do.  We strolled this lovely promenade enjoying view of the city, the street and Hudson all along the way and pausing to appreciate the clever landscaping and flowering trees.

Open space for public performance.

Open space for public performance.

WALKING THE HIGHLINE

Being above street level gives an interesting perspective.  I really approve of the conscious plan to mimic the plants, grasses and trees that arrived unassisted to the abandoned stretch of track.

The architecture fits seamlessly into the walk and echoes the tracks.  There are plenty of pull outs and stopping places including some innovative seating.  I admired the seats that looked like stacked rail trestles.

We reached the end of the Highline all too soon but continued our adventure through Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District that is now a very hip neighborhood that buzzes with activity.

The south end of the park has several eateries, a store and live artist performers

The south end of the park has several eateries, a store and live artist performers

WHERE: The High Line is a public park build on elevated rail line from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

More Information:

Highline Website

Highline blog


 

Apache Reservation Visit

April 24th, 2016
Sculpture of an Apache Warrior greets visitors to the San Carlos tribe's casino

Sculpture of an Apache Warrior greets visitors to the San Carlos tribe’s casino called Apache Gold

I drove up from the south with a brief detour through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, but don’t worry, I didn’t lose my shirt at Apache Gold, the tribe’s casino.

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The view from the lower cliff dwellings once home to the Salado Indians around 1300 AD

This photo was taken from the Lower Cliff Ruin in the Tonto National Forest.  Beyond the Saguaro cactus you can see the turquoise water of Roosevelt Lake.  We hiked up to the top and I had an idea that I’ll be using in the second book in my upcoming Apache Protectors: Tribal Thunder series.

Trading post outside on of the reservations

Trading post outside on of the reservation in the city of Globe

In Globe, AZ there is a really terrific trading post & store that features many native art and jewelry and the raw material for making camp dresses and regalia, which can be purchased on time.

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Author Jenna Kernan at the border between the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation and the White Mountain Apache Indian reservation

Just inside the reservation I met two Apache women selling jewelry. I purchased a pair of peridot earrings because I know that San Carlos Reservation as some of the finest peridot in the world.  They asked were we were from and I told them from New York.  As we were leaving I heard one woman say to the other, “Why would anyone come all the way from New York to see this?”  Funny world, isn’t it?

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Inside the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation

Certain parts of the reservation are open to the public.  You can even rent your own lake or hire a guide for some hunting.  We visited the museum, Kinishba ruins and bummed around.  The ruins are spectacular and had me wondering about the people who once lived there.

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Salt River in the White Mountains of Arizona

The drive up to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation was full of hairpin turns and steep grades.  The Salt River gorge is spectacular.

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General George Cook’s Headquarters now a museum and historic site.

General George Cook lead Apache scouts in the Apache Wars in a series of bloody conflicts.  Many recognize Apache Warriors by their iconic red headbands.  Why did they wear them.  Some say they were order to wear them others say they chose to wear them.  Either way they were chosen to distinguish them from unfriendly Native Americans.

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Kinishba Ruins on White Mountain

We parked our car and walked in.  We were the only humans here but we did meet a few free range cows.   Maybe I should call Clay Cosin to come round them up!

The ruins are extensive with many rooms, windows and floor structures still in place.  It was hard to imagine three floors, but that was apparently what was once here.

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Tribal Police Headquarters on White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation

My imagination ran wild at seeing the tribal police SUVs that I had only seen before in photos and YouTube videos.  I kept wanting to go up and ask someone if I could speak to Tribal Police Chief Gabe Cosen.  We only spent a day in San Carlos and White Mountain Indian Reservations.  But the trip really helped me feel and smell and experience a place that until that day, I had only ever imagined.  I’m taking that frybread off on my taxes!

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Pinyon and Ponderosa Pines are everywhere in the White Mountains of Arizona and the snow is still on the mountain in February.


 

“Mayberry on Acid”

April 17th, 2016

“Mayberry on Acid” reads the sign in one of the many tourist shops that climb the main street of Bisbee, AZ.  The town sits eight miles from the border of Mexico and I visited in February because of a recommendation of a man sitting next to me on a bar stool in Tuscon.

“You should go!” So I did.

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

The town’s elevation attracts tourists because it is about 10 degrees cooler here than in Tuscon.  You might need a burro to climb the main street or reach one of the guest houses.  Many of these accommodations feature fabulous views, streets that would put San Francisco’s crooked street to shame and stairs, stairs and more stairs.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

We stayed in the Copper Queen.  You can’t miss it.  This is the biggest building in town.  I was built when the Copper Mine opened, then a hard-rock mine.  It remained there for the famous, the working class and the working-girls.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Two plaques drew my attention.  President Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, of course, and actor John Wayne, also of course. The names of other plaques were not familiar but I discovered they are former working girls and one is a resident ghost.  They still rent his room, though.

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past.

Entering the lobby and looking at the safe tucked behind the counter and the old room keys, I really felt I should ask for a brandy and a cigar.

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

There are many artists in Bisbee and creative folks.  This is a fence made of old metal headboards that I found really creative.

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Not all the sights are awe-inspiring. This is the remains of the Lavender Pit – an open pit copper mine.

900 feet deep scar sits south of Bisbee – the Lavender Pit is named for the man who founded the mine, not for the color of the stone.

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The bars that were once filled with copper miners are now filled with tourists drinking margaritas.

I sat at the bar in this popular Mexican restaurant and watched the bartender making Margaritas like a Margarita-making machine.  They are the most popular drink there, he said.  I watched a petite woman finish hers and weave out the door with her date who looked none too steady on his feet.  Seems like a one-and-done drink.