Posts Tagged With: Where shall we go hiking?

Maine or Bust 2022: A Sample of the Arizona Trail

Reg is hoping to set foot on as many of the country’s national trails as possible.

Flagstaff, Arizona welcomed us yesterday with some bitterly cold snow and ferocious nighttime winds. We huddled in bed under two blankets and a thick quilt as the trailer rattled and shook. What would the morning bring?
We awoke to sunshine and temperatures expected to soar into the 50s. Perfect hiking weather.

Before heading east, Reg was hoping to sample a section of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, a trail that stretches 800 miles through Arizona from Mexico north to the Utah state border. We found the Fisher Point trailhead just south of town. The relatively short 8-mile out and back piece of the Arizona Trail promised an endpoint view high above nearby Walnut Canyon.

Our guidebook warned us of an 846-foot overall elevation gain, but as we followed the trail it seemed to take us more downhill rather than the uphill we were expecting. We marched on until we came to a fork in the trail. As we turned to the left, Fisher Point rose from the valley floor. It looked like we were going to make the majority of that elevation gain all at once.

There it was…the climb we were promised. Fisher Point awaited us at the top.

We climbed up through evergreens, stepping over rocks and around downed trees until finally reaching the top. It is a gorgeous view, however Walnut Canyon lies far below, mostly hidden by the trees and steep walls. We were able to catch a glimpse by creeping up to the edge where the rocky ledge offered a natural bench for our picnic lunch. It was a good day!

Categories: Maine or Bust 2022 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Mammoth Walk in California

Full disclosure: We did not walk up the mountain. Our intention was to wander around up top to get a feel for the altitude, so we chose the gondola for a quick and easy ascent. We were met with gorgeous 360 degree views from what felt like the top of the world.

Reg struck up a conversation with a couple who had made the walk up from the main lodge, claiming to have completed the 2,000 foot climb in about 2 hours. They seemed a little surprised that we had taken the easy way to the top. Feeling a bit wimpy and wanting to salvage our pride, we decided to walk back down the mountain.

It turned out to be a great decision. The hike was well marked, not too steep and filled with jaw-dropping scenery. The trail filled our morning, depositing us back at the lodge right about noon…just in time for lunch!

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pacific Crest Trail – Wildflowers Galore

We put our hiking legs to the test Sunday morning and drove up to Mount Ashland where we picked up a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. Southern Oregon has been experiencing hazy skies due to multiple fires burning in the area and in Northern California, but at the 6,300 foot elevation level the sky above us was clear and blue…and spring was in full bloom. Wildflowers of every size, shape and color decorated the hillside, some just past their prime while others were at their peak.

They say it’s good to stop and smell the roses…or, in this case, whatever flower is right under your nose.
California’s Mount Shasta was barely visible through the haze of smoke. A recent heatwave stripped much of the snow that normally remains through the summer months.

Hiking south, the trail wound up through open meadows to switchbacks and along a ridge line that offered 360 degree views. The occasional northbound hiker passed us, always with a smile and a nod, still cheerful after hundreds of miles traveled and with hundreds of miles to go. A large group was gathered about the drink-filled ice chest left trailside by a compassionate trail angel. The guestbook was filled with a colorful list of the trail names and dates of trekkers who had previously enjoyed a respite.

Just over 5 miles in and after thousand feet of climbing, the trail took a downhill turn, plunging into a thick forest with no end in sight. Deciding that we’d had enough, we turned and retraced out steps back out to the car, thankful that we didn’t have to search for a tent site for the night.

Categories: Ashland life, Day hike near Medford, Oregon, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Timing is Everything

Because Reg and I both were quite sick in early March, we are entering into our fourth week of self-isolation at home in Oregon.  Did we have the virus?  Who knows, but timing, as they say, is everything.  These past few weeks have given us much time to reflect.

We may be stuck indoors, but we enjoy the ever changing view out our front window.

We returned from England and our South West Coast Path adventure last year in early October.  As it turns out, over the past six months, our timing has been extremely fortunate.  Two days after returning home, I found myself driving 600 miles south, to California, to assist my 93 year old father who was still living in my family home…alone.  I bullied him (yes, I did) into a move to an assisted living facility, both for his safety and our family’s peace of mind.  A fortuitous move as his health declined rapidly over the next couple of months.

We said goodbye to my Dad (pictured above) three days before Christmas.  He was the last of his generation on either side of our families.  He hoped to one day celebrate his 100th birthday, but that was not meant to be.  In January, with the help of an amazing realtor (who snapped the official “sold” photo of Dad’s house) we sadly closed the door of the home and life he loved.  Our boys and their partners all made the trip out to California, joining us, along with my brother Kenny, as we said our final goodbyes.

Reg and I returned home in February, feeling somewhat lost as we came to terms with the fact that we were now the “older” generation.  As we settled back into a routine we began to feel the pull of adventure once again.  Perhaps another distance trek would get us back on track.  But where?

As you can see, we are not at a loss for ideas.

Once again, timing proved to be everything.   The decision of where to go was taken out our of our hands.  For the time being, we will remain armchair travelers, experiencing adventure through our television programming.  While not as exciting, it has allowed us some pretty amazing adventures…ones we’d never dream of attempting.  For now, we’ll focus on remaining healthy and settling  for walks around the neighborhood.

 

 

Categories: Ashland life, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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