Thursday, April 2, 2009

The beauty of desert hiking

All this training and fundraising is a lot of work. If you read this blog, you get that by now. It's sort of like a second full-time job.
But it's also been a lot of fun, and one of the best parts of the experience so far has been re-discovering my love for Arizona.
AZ is a great state to live in. We have sun nearly every day of the year, we don't have to brush snow off our cars, we have professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey, and everyone bonds over the fact that we're all from someplace "back East."
I miss my family and friends back home, of course, but whenever I miss the seasons, I can drive up to Sedona to see the leaves changing or visit Flagstaff to see pine trees and snow.
And it's a beautiful state to hike in. You can drive 20 minutes from your front door and feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, with only the blue sky and the occasional lizard (like this little guy, who was chillin on a rock at Shaw Butte) to keep you company.

We're in the middle of wildflower season, which means Kelly and I will be wandering through a maze of green and brown for an hour and then suddenly come across a clump of bright orange flowers, or a newly bloomed cactus like this one:

We'll talk about how long we think some of the plants have been around, like this stoic saguaro at South Mountain that must be about 150 to 200 years old, judging by the length and number of his arms:

Sometimes I forget how beautiful the desert is. But then its beauty will make my jaw drop when I'm out on a trail, pause to take a sip of water, glance to my left and see this:


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