Rho Is Here!

(Rho is here with a new feature that we will try and get out to you roughly once a week for a number of weeks. It is about a circle trail in Prescott, AZ where she and her husband moved recently. Of course she is our Caminoheads South West Bureau Chief. And here she is bringing news of a local trail in her area. She will give you all the details plus she will walk it for the first time and relay the news and views from the different stages as weeks go on. So here she is!)

The Prescott Circle Trail.
(photo R Densmore)


Ideas start with vision, and a vision plus desire, plus what happens next depends on the person or the people who have caught the vision When Phil first formed the idea for a Camino in his own backyard it began with a desire to hike the Camino, and the thought (at that time) that he could not go to Spain to do so. His desire along with his vision, combined with much effort, created what we have all come to know and love as Phil’s Camino.

In the early 1990’s here in Prescott, Arizona an idea for a circle trail was brought to the Yavapai Trails Association. The vision was to create a non-motorized trail open to hikers, horses and mountain bikers, and would surround the city of Prescott which is over 44 square miles. Throughout the years it has taken many volunteers and organizations to help this vision to take form. Some trails already existed but needed to be connected by new trails. There was also the issue of the various land agencies who would need to be involved. Once completed the circular trail is would be largely on Prescott Forest Land but it would also traverse private land, State Trust Land and Federal land.

This vision came to fruition many years ago and the Prescott Circle Trail is now a 56-mile loop around the city of Prescott. With an elevation of just over 5,300 feet, this area has a remarkable and diverse landscape which you can experience for yourselves as you venture out upon the trail. Some paths wander through the Ponderosa Pine Forests, while others take you along the shores of 3 of the local lakes. You will also venture out through the grasslands at the lower elevations along with winding your way along riverbeds or through the Pinon Pine and Juniper covered hillsides. What makes this journey even more approachable is that the entire circle trail has been divided into 11 sections with most of the sections are between 4-6 miles and each section can be reached by an easy, accessible trailhead.

Recently my husband Jim, my black lab Milana, and I have begun this journey and our plan is to hike 1 section a week for 11 weeks. Once completed we will have a much better understanding of the natural aspects of our new hometown, and we will also receive acknowledgement that we completed the entire Circle Trail the form of a patch, bumper sticker, or a bolo. It may not be a credential like the one in Spain, but it will be an acknowledgement none the less. In the meantime, I will be writing about our experiences and discoveries as we hike our way through each section and sharing them here on Phil’s Blog. I am also excited that a good friend who has hiked the Camino in Spain, and his wife, will be joining us on this venture beginning in the middle of May. I hope to gain some Camino wisdom from him while we walk this part of our lives together.

Rho Densmore


Felipé smelling the roses, 2014.
(photo K Burke)

Met with the Cyberknife doc this morning after my number 5 treatment. Got discharged and am a free guy. The sun is out here and after a little mower repair I have to mow like the wind. That’s my plan.

But the party was really last night. A couple from Montana showed up with their daughter from Seattle. The daughter was Becky who I wrote about several months ago who I met at the entry door to the hospital. She saw my Phil’s Camino patch and went nuts. So we got connected and she came out to walk in the winter at some point. And she got her folks, Susan and Curt, over here yesterday. They were bearing gifts and an almond cake with the cross of St James on top that they had baked. What a way to tapa!

So, they will be here for the Oasis along with Leigh and Corrie who were here Sunday. The Oasis is really shaping up. Are you coming?

Well, I am celebrating being done with my Cyberknife Monster Mash treatments right now and I am going to continue!

almond cake loves, Felipé.

It’s A Wednesday

Cellular Landscape Cross-Section Through A Eukaryotic Cell by Evan Ingersoll and Gael McGill.

In between day today. I’m back in the city but am here to see my oncologist, Monster Mash treatment is tomorrow. Looking forward to being back at the ranch after this week. Too many trips to the big city.

Making plans for the corn planting coming up in two weeks. Talked to Patti today who gave me a lot of help last year and she will be out this year too. I so want her to meet Jim and Gloria.

Yea, I see Farmer John in Iowa is already done with his corn planting. He is such a show off. He has some 300 acres in corn and soybeans. My little patch is way less than one acre. But we are loud!

I think Susan and Curt will be here this afternoon or maybe tomorrow afternoon, one of the two. They are here from Montana so hope that I can catch them on this trip. Looking forward to meeting them.

Well, I think that I will wrap it up. These days have a lot of moving parts and to keep things simple we will keep things short.

loud loves, Felipé.


The big three!
(photo P Volker)

Getting there! #4 took a few minutes longer than previous treatments. They had to keep coming in and getting my body aligned. I got chastised for moving around. I guess they are talking in millimeters because I wasn’t really moving around. I mean I felt like running away, that would have been moving around! Maybe it was a good sign in that I wasn’t totally frozen in terror.

Yea, one more treatment to go and that in on Thursday. Tomorrow I have my visit to Nugget and get my Keytruda infusion. Ah, variety.

It is about two weeks away to corn planting. My old friends Jim And Gloria are coming from Buffalo to help out. And I have some finishing touches to put on my new layout of the corn rows. In a minute I am going out to do some more fertilizing. And then one or two more tillings it will be ready.

Well, off I go.

🌽🌽🌽 loves, Felipé.


Tapas in the sunshine, April 25th.
(photo C Kraatz)

Back to the ranch after a whirlwind morning of medical procedures. Cyberknife Monster Mash session number three was very first on my lineup for this week. Yes, it was still frightening. I found a very short vid of the very machine in the very room at Swedish Hospital.
Also consider that for me the machine lurks around my head and neck area, up close and personal. I’m smelling it’s breath.

Cyber-Pilgrim Experiences

OK, then I careened through the city to get to the 1025 ferry to make my eye doctor appointment on the Island. My life careening from one doc to the next. Geez.

But that is Monday, today. Yesterday we had Steve-O here and then we had two wonderful women here for the afternoon walk and tapas. It is pretty much like we are open 2019 style again.

Our pilgrim guests were Leigh and Corrie. They do have a wonderful way and have great Camino moves that they have plans for. You will meet them at the Oasis in August. I will have a blog post on them and their efforts here soon.

So the beat goes on. Phil’s Camino rises from the ashes of 2020. It’s true, it is happening!

happening loves, Felipé.

Cyber-Pilgrim Experiences

Cris’s mate. Picture taken while on vacation. March 2021 (by Cris)

Cris here reporting from a cool sunny morning in the south of South America. Hopefully, the boss (aka Phil) is snoozing as I write today’s post and will feel a bit less frazzled and be able to relax and enjoy breakfast with his Rebecca and Steve-O aware that he doesn’t need to rush to write the blog today. (We know him and he may come to report anyway, but an attempt to give him a rest doesn’t hurt!)

As I read the posts these past days, I couldn’t help thinking of Felipe. Phil has had a number of “intense” days, but I have no doubts they were way more intense for Felipe. Let me explain this.

Felipe’s world is about walking, with a tidy, humble, very basic and very simple bag-pack. The days as pilgrims are so simple. They are full of amazement as we walk through the sunflowers fields, are so full of laughter as we sit in the tapas tables or the pilgrims menu dinners, or the “bocadillo” stop at midday, that the weirdest thing that happens is perhaps to type a long password for the wifi. These days, Felipe has had to coordinate times, follow ferry/drives schedules, follow protocols are entering the Swedish  Institute, wear a mask, use sanitizer, keep the distance with other humans, get tattoos for the target points, get into the radiation machine… Definitely, too much.

Glad Phil and his rationale mind takes the lead some of these days, but Felipe might feel like when a bunch of elderly Spaniards from Galicia start talking to each other and he couldn’t catch a word and there is no remedy but smiling!

Anyway, what I was thinking as I read the blog these days, is how becoming pilgrims has shaped the way we live our lives after that experience. And I say this, even when my daily work revolves around complicated medical/scientific stuff and things I will never be able to see (very much as an act of faith, even when science is seen as the opposite of faith). But that is what I do for a living, but not how I live my life, which is very much rooted in walking instead of finding the fastest way to arrive somewhere by taking highways and speeding, very much about “less” than “a lot”, and definitely a lot about tapas tables than ascetic sanitized environments.

Why am I trying to explain this if I know you know what I am talking about, right?! Well, then it is time to heat up more water for my mate, and wish you all a simple Sunday!

Pilgrims Love,


Forks And Spoons

Lucky shirt!
(photo H Volker)

The big news is that I made it through my second knifing. I’m starting to refer to the procedure as the Monster Mash after the old Halloween song. I was a little better prepared for the experience than I was for the maiden voyage. Got some more appropriate tunes on Spotify with Van Morrison that helped.

I have the weekend off and then have treatment sessions next week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. This means that I will be gone for the morning walks on Monday and Thursday. But still open Tuesday and Sunday afternoons.

Underneath all this I am not making fun of our incrediable medical technology. Nor am I ungrateful for it in my own case. The point that I make is that the experience is darn weird. There must be some sort of medical specialist that handles making things somewhat warm and fuzzy for the patient. Although I find as I go along that the patient is sort of expected to put up with it all.

My Cyberknife doctor described the basic action of the radiation beams as follows. It is akin to starting a dry leaf aflame by concentrating the sun’s light with a magnifying glass. We all can relate to that idea, Mr Wizard showed us. So a number of relatively harmless beams converge at a very tiny spot in the target with each shot and the tumor is entirely dealt with over the five sessions, one little bit at a time.

I am trying to keep this is mind when the dinosaur is inches from my face and I am studying the business end at extremely close range. It does appear to take many shots through my face to hit the target way back behind my ear. My Rebecca said, “Creepy!” Yes, what am I telling you.

And beside that my headache still persists, no relief yet. My cough has been back burnered. So, that life right now. Sorry to subject you to all this but feel like I must report the news.

Off to more cleanup here at the house. Over night guest coming. Have walkers coming tomorrow for the afternoon walk and hope the weather brightens up a little. Pretty Northwesty out there right now.

Monster Mash loves, Felipé.


Lucky shirt!
(photo H Volker)

Got my first Cyberknife treatment accomplished and have number two this afternoon. So I’ve been knifed. And it is totally painless although still have this stinking headache. I don’t use “stinking” often but when I do I mean it.

So glad that I have the first one under my belt because the second session couldn’t possibly be as strange as the first. I don’t use “strange” often either. But this was a weird one. Sometimes I don’t think these medical folks appreciate what weirdness they put patients through. It is just everyday to them but when you have just driven in to the hospital from your own world of spreading fertilizer, fixing the mower and loving your wife it can be a different planet.

My Rebecca described the Cyberknife machine as a big white dinosaur. Maybe I would say a big white plastic dinosaur on seeing it really close up. Or maybe a big white plastic alien. And that is what the treatment felt like, an alien abduction and you know the part where they give you the medical inspection, that part. Poor me immobile on the table and alone in the room with this strange being that seems to have a life of his own. It’s moves all around my head and gets under me and in my face up close. Yike.

I think there was thirty five minutes of that although time can stretch when tied down to a table. Well, there you go. And I have to work on the music too. They have Spotify.

Yea, a day in the life of Felipé. And this morning off to clean out the guest room which is going to be occupied this weekend when Steve-O shows up. This is all part of opening up after Covid and I better get with the program.

get with the program loves, Felipé.

Off To Cyberknife

Cellular Landscape Cross-Section Through A Eukaryotic Cell by Evan Ingersoll and Gael McGill.

The long awaited for day is here. Time to start radiation treatment for the little growie in my skull bone. This adventurous little guy has got to go, the sooner the better. He is way off the reservation.

So there is that. Then Steve-O is visiting this weekend, which means he is staying over night, which means he is using the guest room, which means it has to be cleaned out, which hasn’t happened for the time of Covid. Who knows what is going on in there, some kind of Darwinian stew brewing. Might need Hazmat.

Yea, things are opening up on the isolation scene. Cracks are developing. We have to figure out how to deal with it. Not only that but how do we do it in a better way than before? How are we going to be a better version of ourselves? That is the calling.

I think I will go and make sure I have all my ducks are lined up for the drive to Seattle. Oh, and Zoom later this afternoon with a cancer support group that I momentarily forget the name of.

and Earth Day loves, Felipé.

Phil’s Camino Walking Schedule 4/21/21

Phil being Phil (Picture by Jim M)

The trail doesn’t get more beautiful than it is right now. Morning and evening sunlight raking across the landscape. Flowers are blooming and tree blossoming. The bees are starting to buzz and the birds are busy, ravens, eagles, swallows. We walk through all this.

I go slow any more, no race. My stamina is low but that gives us more of a chance to look around and talk. Bring your mask as we are still careful.

Monday 0900-1000
Tuesday 1600-1700
Thursday 0900-1000
Sunday 1600-1700