After spending several years mostly at home, I’ve been trying to make a point of going out and doing something—anything, really, so this might not end well—on a regular basis. Good mental health and all that stuff. I’ve taken a bit of an appreciation to hiking, though I use that term loosely.
I also consider just going downstairs a hike, so let’s not get wild here.
I had tried to ease into wandering the wilderness a few years ago, but now that I have enthusiastic companions to join me, my interest has been renewed.
My first recent ‘hike’ was through Papago, and you can find those pictures on Instagram or Facebook.
A couple of weeks ago, Clara mentioned going to Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona for a hike to see the fall leaves. In Phoenix, there are minimal leaves to change. Or plants that don’t hate everyone.
I was game, and we set the date for October 16th, but realized too late that there was a calendar-related conflict. So we decided to bump it up to ‘immediately’ and went on the 7th. We got a slightly later than planned start, namely because someone (me. It was me.) was across town and hadn’t brought the right shoes. Actual hiking shoes had been on my to-do list but didn’t happen, so it had come down to a choice of sure-to-die shoes and slightly-less-likely-to-die shoes.
Once the latter—and coffee—had been secured, we were off. The weather was nice and Clara keeps me on a steady diet of music I’ve never heard before. We didn’t stop for pictures in Sedona, because you can just Google those and see every view from the road anyway.
You can tell long time residences of Arizona when they ‘meh’ their way through Sedona 😉
In Oak Creek Canyon, it became apparent that despite it being a Wednesday morning, everyone in the entire southwest had the same plan. They were parked in every nook and cranny. We weren’t entirely sure the location of the trail we wanted, which is fine, because it’s a canyon. You’re not going anywhere but one direction.
When we did find the trail, it had been blocked off at maximum occupancy. Instead, we went farther down where the creek was accessible and enjoyed the weather while pondering if the water bugs would bite if I went into the creek (didn’t test the theory, not even for science).
We also met a man with a pug doing his best to hike along with his dad and having a grand time of it. He was friendly and adorable and was apparently on a trip around the area. I did manage enough restraint not to paparazzi the pup. Gold star.
Some of the leaves in the area had turned yellow, but not entirely what we had hoped to find, so we headed into Flagstaff for lunch and a look around.
We had lunch at Salsa Brava, and then strolled downtown, masks in hand. Well, on our faces, as it were. The parking meters had been closed off and posted signs stated parking was free to support local businesses. We checked out a bookstore (of course) and pondered an enormous Biden bus in the street with the driver taking a cigarette break.
In the end, we did find some of the trees we came for.
And sunflowers with bees, but they were a bit difficult to capture without becoming too close acquaintances.
Then it was time to head home. We went back through the canyon and stopped at another location.
Once we were on the road, though, we got boxed in by semi-trucks by the Bloody Basin sign, which is not at all ominous. Traffic slowed to the point where you think, good thing I used that last restroom.
Clara, ever road-trip ready, had An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer prepared. We listened to Amanda yell about ukuleles and Neil Gaiman coo about statues and saucers as we lamented about how much we missed our dogs.
We got in late, but the dogs were ready for their greeting duty. Now would be a great place for a picture of said greeting canines, but it would have just been a blur anyway 😉