<i>Weekend Getaways</i><BR>Scenic hikes abundant nearby<BR>

Photo special to the Miner

Ken Westfield examines a Haitian girl during a February trip to the strife-torn Caribbean island nation.

The eye doctor said his 10th trip to Haiti was not affected by riots and the overthrow of the country's president.

Westfield makes the trips for a doctors' organization created by a Haitian woman.

Their mission resulted in eye examinations for 718 patients, 78 surgeries and hundreds of pairs of glasses distributed.

"Things we take for granted in the U.S.

can result in total blindness there when medical care is not accessible," Westfield said in a news release about his trip.

"This has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life," Maupin said.

He worked with a team testing patients for glaucoma.

Westfield said he and Maupin have been friends for quite some time.

"He and I go back a long, long way," said Westfield on Friday during an interview with the Miner.

Prior to Maupin's first trip three years ago, Westfield said his friend had been bugging him about going along "for years."

The recent upheaval in the Caribbean nation was evident at times during the visit.

A rebellion began on the seventh day of the trip.

"We didn't even know about it until we got back to Port-au-Prince," Westfield said in a Las Vegas Review-Journal report.

"We never felt threatened or endangered, and it certainly didn't keep people from coming out to the clinic."

Three weeks after the men left the island – which is split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic – Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned and flew into exile.

Westfield said there were fewer people than usual on the streets of Port-au-Prince this year.

The capital's walls were sprayed with slogans supporting and denouncing Aristide.

"The graffiti looked like a 50-50 split to me," he told the Review-Journal.

"Politically, the only thing we saw was the graffiti spray painted on the walls and houses along the way (to Lascahobas)," Westfield told the Miner on Friday.

It can take three to five hours to make the trip from Port-au-Prince to Lascahobas because of poor conditions of the mountain roads, and the medical team must haul much of its supplies, according to the Review-Journal report.

This includes equipment, surgical tools, prosthetic lenses, thousands of bottles of eye drops, and hundreds of pairs of glasses.

Westfield called the need there to be "the greatest I have ever seen." Physical conditions such as malnutrition – especially Vitamin A deficiency – cataracts, glaucoma, malaria and intestinal infestation are the most common encountered.

Westfield told the Miner on Friday, "the only difference that we saw was more patients and did more surgery, and there was a greater need."

The volunteer medical group was assembled under the auspices of The Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti Inc.

Lascahobas native Estelle Dubison started the organization 20 years ago by collecting funds from fellow employees in the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y.

Today, the organization feeds 300 children daily and sends 150 more to school.

A new clinic was funded entirely by private donations collected by Dubison.

Westfield, who serves as chief of medical operations for The Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, plans to return to the island nation an 11th time.

"Unless they're over there shooting foreign doctors, we'll go back," he told the Review-Journal.

Westfield sees Kingman patients on Thursdays at Mohave Eye Centers.

He has been seeing patients in Kingman once a week since 1981.

If the thermometer is any indication, then spring – or summer for you folks from the North Country – is here! That means it is time to dust off those boots, break out the canteen and kiss that little extra around-the-middle spread that has been gathering since Thanksgiving goodbye.

It is time for fresh air, cool mountain breezes, some of God's finest handiwork and quiet mountain trails.

New York prides itself, as it should, on a wonderful array of city parks of which Central Park is its crown jewel.

San Francisco is privileged to have the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an almost pristine wilderness experience, just across the Golden Gate from the city proper.

Kingman, however, has the best of worlds, an enviable city park system and central location to a trail system, as well as hiking opportunities that range from a quiet Sunday afternoon stroll to true wilderness experiences.

With that in mind, I present this partial listing of opportunities to experience some of what makes Kingman unique.

• Mohave & Milltown Railroad Trails: Since these trails are in the Colorado River Valley area, it is highly recommend they be avoided during the blistering heat of summer.

Getting to the trailhead begins with a beautiful drive on the pre-1953 alignment of Route 66, west across the Sacramento Valley and then into the rugged Black Mountains.

Continue west through Oatman to the fork in the road.

Turn right on to Boundary Cone Road and continue approximately two miles to the trailhead.

The trails are for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

For the majority of the hike, about seven miles, the trail is along the old railroad bed with the exception of the sections that have been washed out.

Another aspect that makes this a great trail for the beginning hiker is that it runs downhill, from 1,960 feet to 850 feet.

• The Cherum Peak Trail: Spring, summer or fall is the best time for this little adventure.

The reward for the 2.5-mile climb is absolutely breathtaking vistas and views.

The trailhead can be reached by any vehicle with moderate ground clearance, but in the winter the road can be snowy and after rains it can be muddy in spots as well as rutted; road conditions can be checked by calling the local Bureau of Land Management Office at 928-692-4400.

On Highway 93, drive 20 miles north to milepost 51 then turn right on Big Wash Road.

This road skirts the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area as it climbs high into the Cerbat Mountains via a series of sharp, steep switchbacks.

As a result, trailers are not recommended.

The trailhead is about 13 miles from Highway 93, just beyond Windy Point and Packsaddle recreation areas.

It should be noted that both recreation areas feature campsites, most with fire rings, picnic tables and trashcans.

But Windy Point also features vault toilets.

The trail, about 2.5 miles, is relatively easy climbing less than a 1,000 feet in that distance.

The awe-inspiring views from the road as it runs along the ridgeline pale in comparison to those found at the summit of Cherum Peak.

• Wabayuma Peak Trail: This adventure begins with the four lane.

Head west on Interstate 40 to the Alamo Road exit near Yucca.

Follow Alamo Road to its junction with Boriana Mine Road (the Boriana Mine was, during the 1950s, one of the worlds largest producers of tungsten), then travel 16 miles to the trailhead.

Alamo Road is graded but can be quite rough.

For the Boriana Mine road, ground clearance is highly recommended and a four-wheel drive is advisable.

The trail is just over 2.5 miles each way, but it is quite steep – about 1,600 feet.

According to material obtained from the Bureau of Land Management, "the first two miles of Wabayuma Peak Trail follow an old jeep road into the Wabayuma Peak Wilderness.

At about the two-mile mark, you will find yourself in a saddle; a wire fence will be on your left.

Look for the narrow path leading up the slope.

"…blaze marks on large ponderosa pine will serve to guide you to the top." The trail ends about a half mile south of the summit, but a relatively easy cross-country hike will get you there.

The views are panoramic of the Black Mountains, portions of the Hualapais and the Aquarius Mountains.

These are just a few of the organized trail systems that have been developed in the immediate area.

From the Hualapai Mountains to land of the Havasupai, there are numerous others.

And when combined with enumerable historic trails and roads, there is sure to be a hike for most everyone.

For more information about these hikes as well as numerous others, stop by the local Bureau of Land Management office at 2475 Beverly Ave.

in Kingman.

Then make yourself a promise that this year you will experience what makes Kingman a truly one-of-a-kind place to call home.

Jim Hinckley is the Miner's travel/automotive writer.