Carolyn took the month of June off from work in what Southwest refers to as Emergency Time Off. What that amounts to is that you receive a small portion of pay for helping the company reduce labor cost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The best news is we get the whole month together to do things we might not normally get to do. (I’ve been furloughed since March) So lots of reading, organizing, some cleaning (not much), and of course some hikes.
Fathers’ Day weekend consisted of us holding our big yard sale in Payson. It might be a pain but still lots of fun and Jordyn came up and helped us out. For Fathers’ Day we hiked along the Arizona Trail on a section south of Pine for about a nine mile roundtrip. The reward after was a stop at the Pinewood Tavern for some pork nachos and a craft beer. Good stuff.
Since we were staying at our old home in Payson and Carolyn’s mom is there for the summer to get out from the heat and do some social distancing away from the city. It was decided that we would take a road trip to Petrified Forest National Park, the Painted Desert, and stop at an Arizona State Park, Lyman Lake. We packed up the cooler with lunch and waters, took our dog Roxy, and off we headed on a Sunday morning. Our drive took us up through Heber and towards Holbrook. We entered at the south entrance and proceeded into the park for some hiking and exploration of areas that I’ve never been to. Due to COVID-19, there were very few visitors so social distancing was a breeze. We ended up hiking three shorter hikes to give us a taste of the area and it did not disappoint. Our hikes included Giant Logs, Long Longs, Agate House, and Puerco Pueblo. These hikes are fairly flat and easy so all of us, including Roxy, were able to get out and enjoy.
To see so many petrified trees, interesting rock formations, petroglyphs and ruins, and all of the history in the area was exhilarating. Our drive took us to the north entrance by the Painted Desert area where we stopped for our picnic lunch.
After our stop, we got back in the car and headed over to Lyman Lake. This was another stop that we had never been to before. The lake is formed from a dam along the Little Colorado River and it has nice campgrounds, boating, swimming, and some hiking. We took another couple mile hike to some more petroglyphs before having our celebratory Arizona State Park craft beer brewed by Arizona Wilderness. They are a brewery that has that outdoor Arizona theme and they teamed up to brew a pale ale where some of the proceeds go the state park system. So it was appropriate to have one at Lyman.
We got back on the road in time to head home and watch the second episode of the new HBO series, Perry Mason and the premier of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. Both of these shows are really good and it was a great way to end a great day road trip.
I’m not sure why I have never been to the Petrified Forest, but Carolyn and I want to go back. There are many beautiful trails and things to see so we plan on revisiting where we can spend some time down off the beaten path. The park is clean and unspoiled, has few travelers (think social distancing), lots of history, and the petrified trees are something else. The Painted Desert area has some decent hikes as well so it might take several trips. The entrance is about 120 miles from our front door in Payson. I’m thinking that Fall might be a good time to get petrified again. But in the meantime, our next stop is Sedona.