Hazardous Hiking

I arrived at the base of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, alone and stood reading the sign above indicating that I had to be prepared to rescue myself.  hmmm….

I was determined to hike Cathedral Rock although I had no knowledge of the landscape or terrain.  As I stood reading the sign about the possible dangers, I was reminded that I was now in Arizona, which had poisonous snakes and scorpions.  I then looked up at the peak of Cathedral Rock and started to question myself.  I had always been a solo hiker.  I loved being out in nature and exploring, but as I contemplated going up the various pathways alone, I started having fear of getting lost, falling and breaking a limb, or getting bit by a snake.  My mind went rampant with thoughts of what could go wrong.  I started to have cold feet.  Then suddenly, a woman appeared next to me.  I turned to her and asked her if she wanted to hike with me, so we began hiking up the steep and beautiful sandstone butte together.

Hiking has always been one of my passions.  I usually just show up wherever I am and start hiking, but this adventure reminded me of some of the dangers of solo exploration and how being prepared is probably a good idea.  In this case, a first aid kit, water, map of the area, a compass, food, a whistle and cell phone were all recommended.

Cathedral Rock was an amazing climb.  The rock formations became steeper with each step and had I been alone, I would not have ventured to the top, so I was grateful for my hiking companion who had hiked the peak in the past.  She led me to the top, where I sat and watched the sunrise over the the beautiful Arizona landscape.

Wherever you are hike, be mindful of the weather and what kind of obstacles or wildlife you could encounter.

Life is meant to be explored!  Be safe and have fun!

 

Desert Cities

On route to the White Mountains, I stopped off in Phoenix to do some exploration.  I knew flying in that temperatures were in excess of 110 degrees.  Being a lover of heat, I thought, no sweat, I can handle this.

I landed at the airport at 10:00pm at night.  Temperatures were still in their 90’s.  Although it was hot, it wasn’t stifling as I had just flown out of high humidity in the Midwest, so I welcomed the dry heat.

I spent the night in a Phoenix hotel and then headed back to the airport and took a flight to the White Mountains where I spent the next three days.  After completing my work assignment, I headed back to the valley where at 8:30am the temperatures were already in the 90’s.   Still wanting to explore Phoenix, and being a nature lover, I headed for the Desert Botanic Gardens.

I took Uber from the airport to the gardens and quickly purchased my ticket as there was no line or huge crowd to fight and began exploring the Sonoran desert.  I later realized that there was a reason why there were no people or crowds there, because the heat was too intense and only those brave or foolish enough would explore the desert in the full heat of summertime.

The gardens were beautiful as I walked the paths and trails to different parts of the park, checking out the variety of plants that grow in the hottest and driest parts of the world.  I saw blooming cactus and nesting Inca doves, and spent time reflecting in the Contemplation Garden.  After about 10 minutes into my journey, I felt the scorching heat radiating down on me.  Unlike the heaviness of the Midwest, the dry heat baked me like a giant furnace and I found myself continually searching for shade along the way.  Although beautiful, I gained a respect and understanding for the desert and life that lived there.  I had always loved the sun, but even in the morning, the Sonoran Desert was a rough reminder of how beautiful and dangerous the desert can be.

As I continued my hike around the garden, I found several drinking fountains and shaded areas along the way.  I stopped often to refill my water bottle.  Because of the heat, I did not explore all of the trails but headed back to the entrance.   Once back, I decided I wanted to get something to eat before I flew back home, but the only open cafe at the time was half way back into the garden and the heat was too intense so I decided not to trek back in.

If your thinking of visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, I would highly recommend it, but unless your a camel and can take extreme heat, I would recommended going at 7:00am when they open or late at night.  It’s defiantly worth visiting as there is no place on earth like the Sonoran Desert.

 

 

The Arizona Experience

I arrived in Phoenix at 10:00pm on August 4, 2019, the temperature was 94 degrees.  Luckily for me, I was flying up to the White Mountains the next morning where the temperatures were about 25 degrees cooler due to higher elevation.

Being back in a familiar place, I realized how much I had missed the mountains.  I loved the smell of ponderosa pine trees in the dry arid winds of Northeastern Arizona.  Back in the Midwest, summer was sweltering with high humidity.  The change in scenery was welcoming.  I often feel the need to leave home to find inspiration and to see the world with new eyes.  Although I had moved away from Arizona, I felt in a way that I had come home.

I had traveled back for a work assignment and decided to bring my new husband of one month and one week.  Together we explored familiar and unfamiliar trails, hiking rocky mountain paths around lakes and forests.  Our nights were spent at a local motel called Antler’s Inn where we played evening games of horseshoes and sat around a campfire watching the sunset into the mountain sky.

The trip provided a welcoming relief from everyday stressors.  I often encourage other people to travel and explore.  Life can easily become mundane and dull.  Although the White Mountains are not a new place or destination for me, they sparked and ignited my senses again through sights, sounds, and tastes.

Sometimes going away from home makes us homesick, and sometimes going away, brings us back.

 

 

 

 

Mustard Madness

I recently stumbled upon the National Mustard Museum when visiting Middleton, Wisconsin.  I entered the building with little to no expectations but was delighted to find out that I could taste test any of the hundreds of mustards from over 60 counties.

I began tasting curry mango, dill and garlic, and black truffle, and then moved onto some of the fruitier mustards.  I have always been a mustard lover and connoisseur but had no idea how many different types of mustards actually existed.  I left with a small selection of samples and had fun creating new recipes at home.

Always looking for something new and different to do, the National Mustard Museum proved to be a fun exploration into the diverse and tasteful world of mustard!

For more info:

https://mustardmuseum.com/