Adventure is What You Make It

GrandCanyon2019 - 5

There are days my greatest adventure is getting through a trip to the grocery store without a meltdown from my four-year-old on aisle nine while other days I find the energy to pack up the four-year-old, two dogs, and myself (sometimes the boyfriend) and we head for my place of solitude. Anywhere I can see mountains, open space, and very few people. Balance, am I right? There are times I don’t give myself enough credit for just getting out of the house. In a previous life adventure to me was packing up the 4Runner and my sweet old sidekick, Sienna, headed for the Rockies or Eastern Sierra for several days of solitude out of a tent. It is my hope that one day those previous adventures will come together with my new chapter and I will be able to share that life with the little one.

At this time though any day spent outside is a great day. Spontaneity is still alive and well, the flame is still burning within. Last week we found a sunny day winter day after the big storm and put aside the daily chores, the to-do lists, and headed for the Grand GrandCanyon2019 - 4Canyon. We are lucky enough to live quite close to such an otherworldly natural wonder and the impromptu trip was a reminder to me that little moments of adventure in life are quite possible and are indeed what you make of it. Granted we didn’t make some big hike down the snowy Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, but we did stroll along the rim and take in the beauty. In fact, the greatest moment of that unexpected trip was walking up the rim with Sam, who has been there several times earlier in his four years, and hearing him say “WOW”! GrandCanyon2019Hearing that simple word with such emphasis stopped my heart. It was the first time nature had really moved him (or the first time he had been able to verbalize it). That moment reaffirmed that all of our trailside picnics, afternoons tossing rocks into various lakes and rivers, and hours carrying him on my back down trails from the sweet age of two weeks old have been worth it and will continue to be the backbone of our lives (his childhood). It didn’t hurt that we ended our visit with a round of hot chocolates at the El Tovar Hotel lounge. A must do for any visit!

 

“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

The Never Said It Would Be Easy, But It Is Zion.

Zion 2019 - 2

The last four years have taught me patience and humbled me with almost every new day. It has been far from easy to find my footing as a new mother and single parent, but it has been worth it. I won’t deny there have been days that have broken me and in those moments as I treaded barely keeping my head above water I know for certain I couldn’t see it. As a person that was very selfish in the respect that I did what I wanted, went where I wanted, and lived very minimally adding a child into the mix has opened my eyes to so much more.

In February I celebrated my son’s fourth birthday. Four years of change, four years of laughter, learning, tears, and damn, how did I manage to keep a tiny human alive for four years? Only by learning so much from him. We celebrated in a fashion quite appropriate for our little family, by heading to Zion National Park. In all truth this is the second time we have celebrated his birthday at this spectacular park. The first time being two years earlier on his second birthday.

Zion.2019

I can’t claim to have ever stepped foot in Zion during the busiest season of Spring, Summer, and Fall. In all honesty I have been scared away by the photos of crowds and rumors of heat. I can say that February is quite special though. There is generally a dusting of snow on the ground, you can drive into and through the park in your vehicle and most trails are empty. We spent two days roaming the entrance of the Narrows and many other shorter trails in which he could manage to hike the majority of the way with his own two legs. Quickly going are the days I eagerly carry him down the trail in his Deuter pack. He has gone from being a little peanut to thirty plus pounds of “I can do it on my own”.

In addition to the park being quiet, town is also very low key and hotels are affordable. All in all I highly recommend venturing out into this National Park during the off season when possible. zion-2019-3.jpeg

Monsoon Hiking in the Sonoran Desert

Tanque Verde Ridge Trail

Even with a near miss by Hurricane Odile it seems this year’s monsoon season has brought bountiful gifts to the Sonoran Desert. This past weekend I ventured into Saguaro National Park and up Tanque Verde Ridge to gain a 360 degree view of the lush desert basin. Although the summers can be harsh in the desert, the rainy season makes it worth while.

If you happen to be in the Tucson area in the Fall, Winter, or Spring I highly suggest this scenic (yet mildly strenuous) hike. Let’s just say that you earn your views and it is definitely worth every step. Although I only had time to make it up to Juniper Basin this time around, I hope to hit Manning Camp after the weather begins a its cooling trend.

Check out this fantastic hike description provided by Todd’s Desert Hiking Guide.

Here is a great map of the trail provided by Saguaro National Park: Tanque Verde Ridge Trail

Getting There:

From downtown Tucson follow Speedway Blvd. East bound to Houghton Road. Turn right and go 3 miles to Old Spanish Trail then continue another 2.8 miles to the entrance of Saguaro National Park. Stop at the toll booth to support your National Park ($10 for a week pass or $80 for a yearly pass good at any National Park for $80). After passing the toll booth, turn right and head towards Javelina picnic area. The trailhead is located near the start of the loop.

Please Remember:

Pack enough water for yourself for the day (and maybe a little extra). As I mentioned, the trail can be strenuous and you won’t find a water supply along the way.