Magical Piestewa Peak, Part 3



Climbing up Piestewa Peak became one of my most favourite things to do during the last couple of months. However, the area around the peak is also very interesting and fascinating and I love to hike the many trails. However, not everything around Piestewa Peak is positive. Highway 51 cuts through the Western part of the Preserve and prevents many animals from crossing. I always was wondering why the engineers did not design a tunnel to leave the desert area intact. By doing some research, I found the answer. There had been major mining going on, mining for the highly toxic Cinnabar, otherwise known as mercury sulphide.  The production plant Rico Mercury Property was located where the Highway now goes through and the debris of the production plant was dumped beside Dreamy Draw. Now the hills are covered with Creosote, brittle bush and other desert plants. Hardly anybody knows about the history. The name of the street “Dreamy Draw” goes back to the miners walking back home in an dreamy state caused by the neurotoxins.

East of the Highway starts the area leading up to Piestewa Peak. Many little mountains and valleys surround the Peak and it is always fun to come across new things. Over time, I discovered three caves in different length, probably former copper mines. Walking into these dark caves – even with a headlamp – is always a little adventure.


This is the deepest cave ending with two arms in the far back




A less deep cave, but interesting. On the wall are white marks looking like little stars



Watching the sunset and especially the full moon is a real treat. The scenes are often spectacular!




Sunset over Phoenix




A Palo Verde  tree in the evening sun





Full moon looking like a big Cosmic Eye.



During spring after rain, the desert starts to bloom. It is most beautiful!



Yellow, Mexican Poppies and blue Lupines








The earliest plants starting to bloom are the Cacti




Saguaro Cactus not yet blooming. The holes in the cactus serve as homes for owls and other animals.



I love to collect white stones scattered on the surface and create playful patterns of animals and things. Just doing it fills me with joy.



A crane




A condor with a ring in his peak





A white blooming tree




My shadow shortly before the climb up the rock wall


Thank you for following me on my magic mountain!

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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