“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Anderson
Cooped up and getting hot, Carolyn and I head to the Payson area to start off the month of May. Caitlin and Kevin join us for the weekend and we enjoyed the cooler weather, with a backyard evening fire and a hike near Pine. Day is warm but sunshine and freedom, is a good thing. After our hike we head to the Old County Inn for some beer and food. If you ever get to Pine you have to go to there for excellent pizza and some great staff that work there. A former student of mine is one of the managers so we enjoy catching up and the excellent food.
Our next bigger hike is one we have never done, West Clear Creek Trail #17. Just beautiful. We head down a dirt road to get to the trail head at Bullpen and there are quite a few vehicles parked. We would soon discover that most were there not for a hike but a swim in the creek. The area is lush, green, running water, and for us a whole day of solitude. We got a later start then we planned but encountered nobody on our hike out and about four hikers on our return trip. It was hot but you could cool down in the creek if one wants to since you are going to cross it about four times.
On our way back to our vehicle, we walked directly towards the sun and it was hot. Our total adventure ended up at 9.5 miles hiked and multiple memories on a trail that was less traveled on a Thursday. Tired and thirsty, our next stop was Sedona.
We checked in at the Hilton (furloughed guys still get employee rates) and headed to one of our new favorite watering holes, the Sedona Beer Company. Good local brews, good food (Grilled chicken sandwich was excellent, and a good vibe with good patio seating. Kicking back enjoying life away from the city, socially distancing on the trails and the brewery. We even made some new friends that enjoyed hiking and traveling and who were doing their own staying at home in their airbnb that they owned. Great day and a great evening.
Headed back to the heat and the valley of the sun as restaurants/bars seemingly are coming to life once the stay at home orders were lifted. I’m still out wearing my mask at Costco and other high trafficked areas. Back to the canals for some hot bike rides that now have hardly anybody on them due to the heat.
Memorial Day weekend rolls around and once again Carolyn and I head back to Payson and once again are joined by Caitlin, Kevin, and “Grandma” Carol. Highlights include a nice secluded trail that leaves the Pine trailhead where there were many campers due to the three day weekend. Carolyn, Caitlin, Kevin, and I took off on the Oak Spring Trail and hiked a total of 7.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1040 feet. We never encountered a single person on the trail and had some great views, solitude, and Mother Nature.
Next stop was to the County Inn for post hike beverages and appetizers. This place was packed and no social distancing in sight. Carolyn and I began to plot out our next adventure coming up which was originally taking us to Carlsbad, CA for some r & r time.
Flexibility is key and coming up next is a big break from our stay at home days. As a reminder one must have sunshine and freedom, and don’t forget that little flower.