After a week of children behaving like scrambled eggs, Friday was the day to tell them to take a hike. Get out, run, Go! Don't worry, we went with them.
First Water trail proved to be a very three and five year old friendly path with lots of lizards, beetles, and birds, and even a couple jackrabbits (thankfully no snakes...*shudder*). I don't think we even made 2/3rds of the hike before we needed to turn around so as to get back to the car before dusk, but it was so nice to get out and move our bodies and enjoy new sites and sounds. Or rather NOT experience sound. The quiet was quite literally deafening. I'm not joking, the silence was so profound that I experienced a momentary sensation of deafness only to realize that what I was not hearing was the quiet of the countryside. It was beautiful. I don't know if I should say that we were in a canyon, or a valley, I think valley would be the better description, of brush, scrub-oak, palo-verde trees, barrel cactus, cholla, and saguaro. The mountains surrounding us provided beautiful red rock-scapes that just tickled me pink.
A turkey vulture did us the honor of making the scene complete by circling overhead as he hunted his dinner.
I'm not sure what makes me feel so at home here in Arizona. But its as if there is something deep inside me that hears the singing of the desert habitat. Its so surprising, being that for a large part of my life I could not begin to imagine what living life outside San Diego would be like, and a desert environment seemed like a life-sentence. I now catch myself thinking "who wouldn't want to live here?" And I often think of the China Crisis song lyrics "The Arizona Sky, the sky is bigger (here) It took my breath away, that doesn't happen everyday." Its true, the sky is bigger here, and absolutely breathtaking, especially when the thunderheads come rolling in over my favorite mountain range.
Someday I hope to be able to claim the title "world traveler" but for now, I have a running list of places in Arizona I'd like to visit, many of them easy day trips, some of them great weekend trips. Of course the Grand Canyon is on the list, but so too are the Montezuma's Castle ruins, the Camp Verde Train, (oh how I'd love to do the Christmas train, but wow, its expensive.) The Dolly Steamboat tour of Canyon Lake, various ghost towns (I'd love to go to some of the REAL ghost-towns, not the ones like GoldField which is just up the road from us and has been turned into a tourist trap which hosts overpriced coffee shops, fake gunfights, and tacky souvenirs...not that this wouldn't be fun, just not what I want to do with my money.) Havasupai Falls, Kartchner Caverns, etc, etc. etc. We live in such a neat state, I just want to take advantage of what's available too us and I'm really looking forward to doing some camping again if I can ever get JP to say "pack it up, lets go."