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Hiking

Brief getaway to Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona

Brief getaway to Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona

— After spending several months hanging around the Valley waiting for things to return to normal during the global pandemic, Kathryn and I finally decided to get away for a couple days to a higher elevation and cooler weather. With two other couples from our church, we rented a vacation cabin for two nights in the Oak Creek Canyon area. Although the mailing address of the cabin was Sedona, the reality is we were almost a half-hour north of town.
Ramping up the Camino prep

Ramping up the Camino prep

— Now that I’ve been home from Mexico City for almost a week, I’ve begun ramping up my preparations for the Camino de Santiago, which I anticipate starting just after Easter. Specifically, I’ve been hiking more. Although I want to work out my walking muscles and increase my stamina, I’m not trying to create a typical week of hiking — partly because I have other things to do while I’m home, and partly because I don’t want to leave everything on the hills near Phoenix and not have anything left for the Camino.
Sunrise selfie

Sunrise selfie

— Notwithstanding the nasty weather in Phoenix earlier this week, it’s hiking season here again, at least for me. I like to start my hikes really early in the morning. I don’t wait for dawn. I prefer to get underway at the beginning of civil twilight. Sometimes I start even before that. One of the great things about getting an early start is seeing a sunrise along the way. On a recent hike at Shaw Butte a couple weekends ago, the sun was just coming over the horizon at the same time I was reaching the high point of my trail.
I’m way behind on my posts, so here’s a brief status update from Montpellier

I’m way behind on my posts, so here’s a brief status update from Montpellier

— I was doing so well at publishing a blog post at least once a day, and then when we got back from Lourdes it kind of fizzled out. Well, have no fear, we’re doing well here in Montpellier. Yesterday I finally posted about our road trip to Sommières, which happened last Thursday. Last Friday we went on our highly anticipated hike up Pic St. Loup, along with a little bit of beach time before returning the rental car.
Safe arrival, nice dinner, and an early morning hike in Cottonwood

Safe arrival, nice dinner, and an early morning hike in Cottonwood

— We arrived at the campground yesterday early enough that the ranger station was still open. That’s quite unusual when we arrive on a workday. Kathryn and I have a rhythm of who does what we we set up our campsite, so we had everything as we wanted it within the hour, well before sunset. Our campsite at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona. After setting up the campsite, we took a break for a few minutes and then, since both of us had eaten early lunches, decided we were ready to head over to Pizzeria Bocce for dinner.
Sunday morning sunrise hike at Pima Canyon in Phoenix

Sunday morning sunrise hike at Pima Canyon in Phoenix

— Kathryn has been petsitting for the past ten days or so at a home in another part of Phoenix, about a thirty-mile drive south from our own home in Phoenix. Last night we spent the night there together and woke up in time for a sunrise hike at nearby Pima Canyon, an area in the South Mountain Preserve. It was a relatively easy yet enjoyable hike. We started at first twilight at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and walked up the Dirt Road Trail until it ended.
Surprisingly, a sunrise hike in Phoenix never gets old for me

Surprisingly, a sunrise hike in Phoenix never gets old for me

— It’s getting to be about that time of year again, where every weekend hike in Phoenix could be my last before October. On those hot Phoenix summer weekend mornings where the outside temperature is 90 degrees before I’ve finished brewing my coffee, I don’t hike. I either go to the gym or, more often, stay home and get fatter. This morning, however, was a May blessing. It was about 70 degrees when I woke up, falling to about 68 degrees before I left the house.
Hiking along Horton Creek Trail

Hiking along Horton Creek Trail

— Last weekend, Kathryn and I decided to take a break from our usual summer routine of doing absolutely nothing in the sweltering Phoenix heat. Instead, we made a day trip to the slightly cooler Payson area to do some hiking along Horton Creek, just under the Mogollon Rim in Tonto National Forest. We got an early start Saturday morning, leaving around 6:30 to make the roughly 90-minute drive to Payson. We had a hearty breakfast at Crosswinds Restaurant, a diner at the airport, before continuing the last half-hour or so to the trail, arriving around 9:30.