One of the best parts of living in Arizona is the different climate zones for outdoor activities that are all close enough to be in whatever type of hiking you desire. So one weekend we can be in a cooler mountain area and the next we can be wandering around the desert. I’ve read of many that do these 52 hike challenges in a year and living in Arizona that is relatively easy to accomplish. Carolyn and I haven’t even tried but we have averaged over 50 a year for the last three years.
In mid October, we head to Payson for some kicking back and R&R at our “cabin”. I laugh about it being our “cabin” since Carolyn and I have raised both of daughters K-12 in our quaint little home and have owned it since 1994. Now that we often stay at our condo in Phoenix, our acquaintances and coworkers often ask if we are going to our “cabin” in Payson. That’s it our cabin. When in Payson and with weather permitting we always try for a day of being outdoors on a walkabout so we decided to hike up the Horton Creek Trail by Kohl’s Ranch.
For a Sunday, not many hikers out on the trail and it is me and my girls, Carolyn, Caitlin, and Jordyn, plus Jordyn’s husband James. It’s a cloudy day but a beautiful day for a hike. Carolyn and I have hiked this trail multiple times over the years since it is easy to access and close to our “cabin”. It was a great time being with family especially having our daughters with us on this one.
We even found some color on the leaves along the way. The trail is well marked with easy access to the creek for relaxing and listening to the water flow. Elevation gains are gradual and the trail is appropriate for all levels of hikers. Dogs are often present and it is always appreciated to find friendly ones and ones that are on a leash. Just saying.
A weekend later, Carolyn and I went to Estrella Mountain Regional Park, a Maricopa County Park. The park has multiple areas for picnics and a great visitors’ center plus areas for camping and even has horse back riding vendor if that is your thing. This park is south of Goodyear in the SW part of the Valley. Easy to get to and a very nice park.
It was quite warm for our Halloween hike in the desert but once again there was absolutely nobody on the trails. Close to the city but yet we were all alone. We ended up hiking over 6.25 miles on the Rainbow Valley/Toothaker Loop. Our total elevation gain was 600+ feet so a good workout in the heat. Usually I would add some photos but I can’t since I deleted them all by user error with me being the user. This trail is used by mountain bikers and is moderate and easy to follow. Quite social distanced and easy to get to. I enjoy the loneliness of the desert and hiking and reflecting on all things. The desert is very Biblical when you think about it. That wilderness that Jesus roamed for 40 days was a desert where He fasted and was tempted by the “Devil” before returning to begin His ministry. I’m obviously no Jesus but there is something spiritual about hiking in the desert.
While on our sojourn in the desert, Carolyn and I have worked up a thirst, Carolyn and I decided to try a new to us brewery located in Goodyear, Saddle Mountain Brewing Company. Very cool place and they have a great patio to social distance for a beer and food.
November is here so more hikes are on the horizon.