German Club “To the Watermill”

Nostalgia and Great Food

Our tour of Chilean Lake Country and Volcanoes began from the harbor of Puerto Montt, in the tender we boarded from the ship Regatta. This is a small boat carried in the hold and deployed to transport passengers to ports without docking facilities. Once on land, we met our guide for the day and boarded the bus.

I have yet to post about our first stop, Puerto Varas, a 20 minute ride and our first exposure to the influence of 19th Century German settlers seen, from our bus windows, in the architecture. Today’s post is about our lunch stop, a restaurant half way between Puerto Varas and Ensenada.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Club Aleman Molino de Agua

Club Alemans (German Clubs) are found in Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, and here. Each is a gathering place for locals to celebrate their heritage, a feeling somewhat diluted over time to where, now, they speak of themselves as “Chileans of German extraction” and the great majority speak Spanish at home and are exposed to the German language as school courses.

For past generations, the link was stronger, German was the language spoken at home and there was homesickness for the cultural traditions left behind and somewhat alleviated by the similarity of Chilean Lake Country to foothills of the Alps. Once established, the settlers duplicated the architectural features using local wood. Notably, many houses are clad with shingles from the Alerce (also known as Fitzroya cupressoides), a type of Cypress native to southern Chile and Argentina. The roof shingles of Club Aleman, seen below, were of this type.

The sign translates to “German Club: to the watermill” from the two languages used: Spanish and German. The sign reads “lunch, dinner, late night.” “Onces means Late Night.

The “watermill” is a nostalgic, sentimental reference echoed in architectural and decorative details throughout the property, such as this series of posted set to suggest a device used to control water flow. There is no water flowing through the property.

Our lunch was excellent Chilean fare, but I don’t recall what it was, exactly and I didn’t photograph the interior. For us, an plus of using these cruise tours is all the details are taken care of, releasing us to maximize our enjoyment of the surroundings.

A dark side to these settings was the attraction the area had to un-remorseful Nazis fleeing war crime prosecution. In Chile and Argentina they found refuge in the 1940’s, 50’s and were supporters of the Pinochet dictatorship. None of this history was presented by our excellent guide, nor was it reflected in these rustic charms.

I was fascinated, for some reason, by the two dormers of the main building root with the wheel-like decoration.

The Garden

A native plant encountered frequently in our travels, growing wild, and here.
Close-up of the shrub growing to either side of those large leaves.

Oak Creek Mandala

early one still morning

This quiet nook is hidden along the Oak Creek Canyon trail, though easy enough to find.

I visited there just at dawn when the air was still and the usually busy site deserted.

Oak Creek Canyon is named for the native, evergreen oak species unique to desert environments.  The leaves conserve moisture: small, thick.  I remember camping at the Chiricahua National Monument on November.  All night the acorns fell onto the metal picnic tables, a loud metallic thunk.  

The post header is a primrose flower growing on the bank of Oak Creek.

Recognize the rock from “Oak Creek Mandala”?  This is farther up the Oak Creek Canyon trail, “photograph by Pam Wills.”  I am in my warm weather photography kit of the time having passed the camera to Pam for the shot.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery. You can find Oak Creek Mandala in the Arizona gallery.  The gallery description gives more information about the site.

Click this link for another Arizona post, “Cochise Dawn.”

Rincon Peak Summit

Experience the Sky Island view from Rincon Peak

The Rincons are one of 42 Sky Mountain islands isolated from each other by the gradual warming and drying climate changes since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. While this marvelous environment of oak and pine forests only accessible with much effort on foot, it is literally visible from every point of the Tucson valley and million human inhabitants.

Rincon is Spanish for corner, the mountains are called that from their shape enclosing a space on the west, northwest until recently used for ranching and is now falling into use for tract housing. The mountains themselves are reserved as wilderness, parts in the Saguaro National Park and the Coronado National Forest.

In the past 44 years I was lucky enough to visit the Rincon Wilderness interior three times, shouldering different style backpacks onto the mountain, walking different boots. The first, during college the 1970’s, a party of six left from the end of Speedway, up the Douglas Springs trail. The climb was an exercise in desert survival that several friendships did not survive, replace by new friends met on Mica Mountain. I have no photographs from that experience, only memories and the backpack.

Reconnecting with Arizona in 2004, thirty one years after that first experience, I took no chances. My first attempt on Rincon Peak was a success. Risk and effort were reduced, not eliminated by hiring a guide for the four day trip. We made it to Rincon Peak via the Turkey Creek Trail out of Happy Valley, climbing a mountain buttress, views ever widening and lengthening.

These are some photographs from that experience and a landscape photograph of the peak at sunset, taken the following year.

Sego Lilies bloom among a stricken oak and drying grasses on the Turkey Creek trail. This is an overview of the environment, it is the winter rains that trigger the bloom.

Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!

We paused while I unpacked my gear to capture Sego Lilies growing along the Turkey Creek Trail.

Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!
Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!

Deer Head Spring, at the top of Turkey Creek Trail was a moist spot with no accessible water when we reached it April 27, 2004. With the remains of a gallon of water each we needed to press ahead to Heartbreak Ridge and climb into Happy Valley Saddle were, thankfully, the creek was low and full of algae but usable. Here are my first views of Rincon Peak, looking across the aptly named Heartbreak Ridge and Happy Valley Saddle.

Distant View of Rincon Peak-- CLICK ME!!!!
Telephoto view of Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

The view to south from Rincon Peak. The white rocks at lower right forms a Valley of the Moon wall. San Pedro River valley at the root, Mae West Peaks at left margin, Dragoon Mountains with Cochise Stronghold center. Taken around 12:30 on April 28, 2004 as a thunderstorm approached.

View from Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

The Rincon Peak view looking south, southwest over the Valley of the Moon to the eastern Tucson Valley and the Sky Islands the Whetstone Mountains (Apache Peak), behind are the Santa Ritas. The works of man are overpowered by sky, rock, distance.

We made a hasty departure in front of the thunderstorm. It was a touch and go decision to attempt the peak that day, we made it with moments to spare.

View from Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

April 29, 2004 the morning after reaching Rincon Peak I set up the tripod near our Happy Valley Saddle camp to capture Rincon Peak in early morning sunlight.

Rincon Peak from Happy Valley Saddle, dawn -- CLICK ME!!!!

The day we descended to the X9 Ranch via the Rincon Creek trail. My guide’s grandfather had a homestead at the X9 and his access to the trailhead through private lands opened this route for us. This is a photograph of sunset on Rincon Peak from the X9 ranch. I am looking east from the Rincon (Spanish for corner) made by the massifs Rincon Peak, Mica Mountain and Tanque Verde ridge.

Rincon Peak from the X9 Ranch-- CLICK ME!!!!

The evening of November 2, 2006 I climbed the Saguaro National Park, East, Tanque Verde trail for about 30 minutes to reach this view of Rincon Peak and waited until just before the sun set behind the Tucson Mountains for this shot. Then hiked back to the car in twilight. In my hurry, I tripped on a stepped turn and dove headfirst into a large prickly pear. It was a very painful experience and I regretted damaging the cactus and the loss of and good hiking shirt. There were large spines in my face and tiny, pesky spines covered my chest and back. The large spines are not barbed and come right out. I needed to visit a physician to remove them.

Rincon Peak from the X9 Ranch-- CLICK ME!!!!

Last Hike

A sllideshow

Thank You for exploring the South Rim trail of Taughannock Falls State Park on the last perfectly sunny autumn day of 2019.

A sunny November Walk

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Cuteness Break.”

Night Blooming Cereus IX

Mass Bloom

It is possible to puzzled over my choice of an ungainly potted plant acquired over three years ago from the Eddydale farm stand. We popped in for tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelons after a hike along nearby Treman Park, I spotted the plant on display in the front. The cashier suggested we visit the greenhouse to view the parent, currently in bloom. Memory of the those blossoms were short lived as we lived with this collection of malformed green lobes sprouting long stalks.

Click pic for larger view in a new browser tab. If you are in WordPress Reader, open the post to use this feature.

The plant occupied a pool-side water barrel summers, a bedroom corner winters. This year, 2021, flower buds formed late July, each on a lengthening stalk, and have continued into October. “Dutchman’s pipe cactus” is a popular name, from the appearance of the flower on the end of a stalk turned up with a terminal curve.

On a September morning we were expecting guests I walked out to find four blooms fulling open. Grabbing an available camera (Sony Alpha 700 with a DT 18 – 200 mm F3.5 – 6.3 lens) I captured these images of the event.

Enjoy!!

Click me for another flower post, “Another Woody Peony.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh III

Two Huts and a Hearth

Drombeg has two huts adjoining the Fulacht Fiadh with a connecting path.

Click pic for a larger view, in a new tab. When using WordPress Reader, you need to open the post first.

Hut B incorporates a rock lined hearth that possibly served as an oven.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh II

Survey of elements

Yesterday’s post was an overview of this archeological site associated with the Drombeg Stone Ring of County Cork, Republic of Ireland. Today, we explore the elements of these fascinating remnants from the late Bronze Age, over 3,000 years ago. (

Click pic for a larger view, in a new tab. When using WordPress Reader, you need to open the post first.

It is amazing the rock wall survived human need for the valuable wall stones. Portions were stolen, though for the most part we can see enough to understand.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh I

BBQ Stew Pot?

Notice the groupings of visitors in the middle distance of Pam’s photograph, gathered around remains of late Bronze age elements.

Click pic for a larger view, in a new tab. When using WordPress Reader, you need to open the post first.

There is a sign to explain…

In modern Ireland the word fulacht means barbeque and the archeological sites with characteristics in common, such as a water source, health and pit, are named “Fulacht fiadh,” derived from Old Irish sources. In all cases the link is to some kind of preparation activity involving heat and moisture. Found throughout Ireland, Great Britan and the Isle of Man where the sites are called burnt mounds. The Drombeg Fulacht fiadh exemplifies all characterists. There is a horseshoe shaped rock walled/banked, now a remnant, enclosure, entrance to the south. In the middle is a pit, at Drombeg lined with rock, a spring on one side, a hearth on the other. A stone saddle quern, used for grinding grain, was nearby Adjacent huts, rock walls with post holes, do not suggest a settlement, but rather a temporary use.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle IX

Seventeen Stones

Pam posing with wind blown hair on the rock outcrop I used to achieve site overviews. In medium distance, other visitors gather around another site feature.

Click pic for a larger view, in a new tab. When using WordPress Reader, you need to open the post first.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle VIII

Seventeen Stones

The photograph shared the last Drombeg posting needed hours of reworking before it was ready for submission to Stock Photography services. Ireland photography is my “money maker”, so the effort is work this.

Today, I share the image as it existed in camera, to the final product. The most detailed work was removing the human figures in the upper right corner. The camera sensor was problematic, with an light accumulation of dust. Below are the two images, each alone and as slideshow for flipping back and forth.

What differences can you observe? (comments, please)

Click any pic for a larger view, in a new tab, or a slide show. When using WordPress Reader, you need to open the post first.

llllll

vvv

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved