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Spiritual Guidance in the Desert LbNA #68109

Owner:Wisconsin Hiker Contact
Plant date:Feb 7, 2015
City:Oro Valley
Found by: JoySong (4)
Last found:Feb 24, 2023
Last edited:Jan 29, 2023
Last checked/found: 27-JAN-23

Location: yenoH eeB noynaC kraP on E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd in orO yellaV. The park is about the same distance from both Oracle and Tangerine. Coming from Tangerine, go ~3 miles and turn right into the parking lot at the sign that says park entrance. Coming from Oracle, go ~3 miles. You will see the entrance on your left. Drive past it until you can make a U-turn and come back to the entrance.

Distance: ~1.6 miles round trip

Terrain: Sandy/dirt trail with some gentle ascents/descents (~100 ft elevation change). Hiking poles are helpful.

This series will acquaint you with 4 different spiritual leaders who have found a spot for contemplation in the Arizona desert.

From the parking lot go to the right and take the railed sidewalk down toward the bathrooms and ramadas. When you get to the bottom, veer slightly to the right onto a dirt trail. Follow the trail around to the right and the wash, ignoring a side trail on the left. Just after a large information sign, you will enter the wash. Go to the opposite side of the wash and then left (south) for a short distance, watching for a “loop trail” sign on the right bank almost immediately. Take this trail.

Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) (568 -483 BC) was a great religious teacher who lived in India five hundred years before the birth of Christ. Buddha means ‘enlightened’. To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. The Buddhist path can be summed up as:
• to lead a moral life,
• to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
• to develop wisdom and understanding.

"Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity." — Buddha

The trail will head west/southwest. When it curves to become more southerly, you should pass the remains of a once mighty saguaro cactus formation. Continue onward and upward. Just before you start to descend you should see a multi-arm saguaro on your right. Go to it and then take a bearing of 290°. Take approximately 60 steps on this bearing to a Siamese twin with a palo verde nearby. Remembering his Bodhi Tree, Buddha decided to seek further enlightenment by resting at the base of this desert tree. After paying your respects, please be sure he is covered well so he will remain at peace.

Jesus (7-3 BC - 30-33 AD) founded Christianity, one of the world’s most influential religions. Jesus was a teacher and prophet, and Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Most of what is known about his life comes from the four Gospels of the Bible. They tell of the miracles he performed and the sermons and parables he preached.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” - Jesus

Continue on the trail and wind your way up a hill. Travel along a long ridge until you reach fallen wooden posts near an intersection. Take the path of righteousness south for 20 steps to find Jesus fasting in the desert at the base of a saguaro. He has resisted the temptations of the devil, but will welcome you. When you leave, please be sure he is completely hidden from view with rocks and brush so his solitude is not disturbed by heathens.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was a political and spiritual leader in India. He developed a method of direct social action based upon the principles of courage, nonviolence and truth called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. Satyagraha promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Return to the main trail and continue on. Eventually you will pass a post on the sinister side but don't be tempted by the devil. Instead always stay on the righteous path, until you wind your way down to a single post, with other posts nearby. From the post take a bearing of 250° and travel uphill in this direction to a barrel cactus surrounded by palo verde. Mahatma Ghandi is resting behind the barrel. After meeting this holy man, please protect him by covering him with natural materials.

Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) (1935 - ) His Holiness is the 14th Dalai Lama and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the preservation of Tibet's Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence.

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.” – Dalai Lama

Return to the post and continue left on the main trail a short distance further to a sign where the trail enters the wash. Head north/northwest, admiring the rock walls and eventually reaching a small tunnel. Pass through the tunnel and then immediately head uphill on the right. At the top, turn right and continue on your journey until you see a saguaro with a short bulby arm on the right. Take 14 more steps along the trail and you should now see a dead saguaro on the right. Wind your way up to it. Standing about 10 feet east of the skeleton, you should see a palo verde to the south. The Dalai Lama awaits you at its base, near rocks and a branch. Honor him by recovering him well so he can remain a happy man.

Return to the trail and continue onward until you reach some ramadas and the restroom. Take the paved path up to the parking lot.

We’d appreciate an email to let us know how these spiritual guides are faring. Thank you!

Hike length: 1-2 miles