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Attractions Chandler Arizona

Basha’s Art Gallery: A hidden masterpiece

It’s no secret that corporate offices throughout the country are filled with famous works of art. Paintings, sculpture, multimedia creations from nationally-known and regional artists occupy the walls, cases and pedestals of corporate galleries, lobbies, hallways and lounges. But it’s a little known fact that Arizona supermarket giant, Basha’s, has maintained a vast collection of American Cowboy and Native American art, basketry, jewelry and artifacts in its Chandler headquarters.

Basha’s Art Gallery front hall features works by Joe Beeler

The Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and Native American Art houses over 3,000 pieces in a wide range of media: oil, watercolor, acrylics, charcoal and pastels on canvas and paper as well as three-dimensional works in bronze, wood, granite, marble. The Pima and Apache baskets, Zuni and Navajo jewelry and Hopi kachinas not only “catch the eye;” they entice the visitor’s curiosity.

Bronze piece shows intricate details of animals

Zelma Basha Salmeri was an aunt of board chairman and CEO Eddie Basha Jr., who died March 26. Zelma passed along her love of art to her nephew and encouraged his hobby as a collector, so this collection is a tribute to her. He began collecting these works in 1971, and continued to expand the gallery throughout his life.

Contemporary pieces include ink and watercolor paintings

Many of the artists can be identified with the organization of western artists, Cowboy Artists of America. Joe Beeler, James Reynolds, Howard Terpning and George Phippen are represented here as well as John Clymer, who is known for his western art and his famous magazine art used on 80 front covers of “Saturday Evening Post.” Display cases created with hammered copper and glass boast fine examples of silver, turquoise and coral jewelry, Zuni fetishes and seed pots.

Paintings often depict an eventful scene as in John Clymer’s

Basha’s Art Gallery-goers should opt to take a few minutes to read the captions – to learn about the scene’s background and become acquainted with the artist. Then one can ascertain how each work is the sum of much historical data collection, creative imagination and technical interpretation. These artists must have also carried a fierce determination, as if it’s a parallel to their subjects and the spirit of the American frontier.

One part of the Kachina (or katsina) collection

There is no charge to visit the gallery, located in south Chandler, at 22402 S. Basha Road. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the website.

Yavapai, Navajo, Apache and Pima tribes represented in the basket room

Note: This blog post first appeared April 21, 2011. I wanted to reprise an updated version now as kind a personal tribute to the late Eddie Basha Jr. I believe this amazing art gallery that Mr. Basha opened to all demonstrates how much he cared about his community as well as Arizona’s diverse history and cultural heritage.

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Categories
Hikes

Seven Falls Hike — April 2011

I had an old friend that used to joke, “you know, I think I’ve lost my speaking ability — between eating my words and biting my tongue… I don’t have much left to say.” That’s what I remembered when we finished our hike to Seven Falls, just outside of Tucson at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

I had suggested to my hiking friends hours earlier that I thought this Bear Canyon Trail hike was a “fairly easy” one and that sometime we should combine with a loop around Sabino Canyon by connecting to the East Fork/Sycamore Reservoir trails.  Afterwards, I wanted to eat my words. And half way up the trail, as my lungs were heaving and my heart was pounding, I wanted to bite my tongue, but the words just fell out: “Is it very much farther?” I asked some returning hikers. But they reassured me: “It’s just a bit, but it’s well worth it.” That was enough for me!

The hike is only about four miles from the trailhead, if you take the shuttle from the Sabino Canyon visitors center, otherwise it’s about eight miles round trip. My advice: save your money and walk along the road to the trailhead.  By the time you wait for the shuttle bus, you could have walked that far — it’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the center to the trailhead. And when we came back we raced down the trail back just to catch the bus, but missed it anyway.

The trail for the most part, is a combination of seven creek crossings and gradual climbing, up to the Seven Falls. The hike indeed, is moderately easy for most, but I would rate it more “moderate” and less “easy.” Especially the last mile or so, on the southern side of the creek, takes the hiker up at least half of the 800 feet total elevation change. It took us about one and a half hours to the falls, and about 45 minutes back. I would recommend taking more time to enjoy the trail. It’s “well worth it.”

Water from the creek flowing at Seven Falls
Pools of water provide cool dips; Large rocks are perfect for sunbathing
Trees provide some shade for a lunch break
The road to and from the visitors center is an easy access to the trailhead.

 

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Categories
Hikes

Butcher Jones Hike: Ideal for wildlife and wildflowers

I thought our 11 a.m. start on the Butcher Jones trail may be too late and we would encounter more of a crowd. But on this particular March Friday morning, the part-year residents and spring break stragglers weren’t out and about, and we had the popular Saguaro Lake hiking trail almost to ourselves.

A few research checks on two popular Arizona hiking websites hikearizona.com and arizonahikingtrails.com alerted us about the Tonto Pass, a $6.00 recreational parking permit — necessary if one plans to park their vehicle in the Butcher Jones parking lot. This day permit is available at the Tonto N.F. Mesa district ranger office, as well as many retail locations, and there’s a listing on the Tonto National Forest website. As we pulled up to the parking/picnic area at Butcher Jones, it’s evident not many improvements have been made in the last 5-10 years. The picnic area is overgrown and tables are neglected, the parking lot pavement looks cracked and potholed.

We started out at the trail head, located at the southeast corner of the parking lot. The trail begins as asphalt trail and looks like it once could have been set up as an ADA accessible trail for a floating fishing pier which is now closed, because of extensive high water or storm damage.

Looking back toward Butcher Jones “beach”

Previous reports made for this trail on other sites described a path laden with trash. While the trail isn’t exactly pristine, it is relatively clean, with only some paper cups washed in to Peregrine Cove from boaters. Overall, the hike is fairly easy. There’s a few ups and downs but accessible for most hikers. I would recommend sturdy shoes as the trail can be rocky with some jagged-edged protrusions — so I’d leave the flip flops at home. This is one of those trails that often requires concentration so allow yourself stopping break time for wildlife sightings, photo ops and scenic viewing.

Start early on the trail for the best opportunity for solace and wildlife sightings
Orange desert mallow along the trail

Late March and early to mid-April are the best times to see the desert in bloom. Many varieties of wildflowers and cacti are in bloom.

Hedgehog cactus in bloom

The “in-and-out” hike takes about three hours round trip for most leisure hikers. There’s little reason to remind people to bring plenty of water. We use our 100-ounce Camelbaks. And don’t forget to pack some snacks or a light lunch. Besides the end of the trail, there are two short side trips down to water’s edge of the lake that make nice picnic locations.

View of Four Peaks from Burro Cove overlook
Grassy area of Burro Cove
Without all the speed boats, Saguaro Lake can be tranquil
The coves of Saguaro Lake are perfect fishing spots
The low, grassy cove areas were once favorite watering spots for range cattle
With great views, Butcher Jones hike is easy, accessible — a great place to take out-of-state visitors

Although we didn’t get to see any bighorn sheep that day, they have been spotted before — usually at dawn or dusk on the bluffs overlooking the narrow inlets.  We did however, sight a bald eagle soaring overhead, scouting the fishing possibilities. It’s always good to watch the trail for flowers, footing and snakes during the spring, but try to take enough breaks to look up once in a while.

Doug came from Ohio for a week: a little spring training baseball, outdoor recreation, visiting friends and family: a perfect Arizona Getaway

 

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Categories
Hikes

Hieroglyphics Springs – February 2011

My first post describes my hike along the Hieroglyphics Springs Trail in the Superstition Mountains on Feb. 13. I haven’t made this hike in about a decade. Lots of improvements have been made such as directional signs to the trail head at each turn along the weaving roads of Gold Canyon, and a fully functional parking lot at the trail head. Plus there are many more hikers, of course!

Chuck, Molly and I in front of the forest service sign

Not always do you see a clear, warm winter’s view from the Superstition’s foot; we got lucky that day — very clear and sunny!

Getting to the hieroglyphs at the end of the trail early, we avoided much of the crowd who visit most Sundays. Many of the rock-writings are still in tact, but some more recent scribblings have been added, unfortunately.

A few wildlife sights along the way:

Small rock overhang near the end of this trail:

Even horse and rider make it up the trail, which can be very rocky in places, but for the most part, it’s an easy, gradual climb to the hieroglyphs.

I’d recommend this short day hike for both kids and seniors, and anyone vacation in the Phoenix area. For more details about the hike, please visit hikearizona.com

 

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