I moved to Arizona in December, but coming from a place where December weather is inside weather or play in the snow weather, I didn’t quite realize that in Arizona December-March weather is the most glorious hiking weather.
So, last “winter” I spent doing my normal winter activities: making soup, curling up with a book, and unpacking boxes. By mid-February it was already in the 90’s and summer with truly heinous hot and sticky weather arrived in short order. By June I had major cabin fever.
This “winter” I decided to spend as much time as possible outside in the glorious blue-skies-and-low-60’s weather. I puttered with my plants. Mr. Blue Eyes and I added a giant kidney-bean shaped garden to the front that is almost to the stage where I can plant it (I say “and I” but he did most of the heavy-duty lifting, like, shoveling out gravel and shoveling in truck load after truck load of dirt). And, because Kayla told me to, I started hiking.
Hiking through the Arizona desert and hiking in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains are not the same. But, after spending many hours wandering through the cactus, I have come to appreciate the desert trails and find their treacherous beauty (cactus spines, yo, they are no joke!).
Being outside but not roasting was so good for my soul. For my birthday Mr. Blue Eyes gave me a guide for 60 hikes within 60 miles of Phoenix. I hope to be able to check every one off while I live here, or, you know, at least all the cool ones.
A huge bonus of hiking in January-March is that everything is ridiculously green, I mean, I felt like I was in a cactus garden most of the time. There were wildflowers and green cactus and other spiky desert plants everywhere. I wouldn’t know what they look like in July because when it is 120 degrees I will not be wandering around in a shade-less state park. BUT! Right now? Everything is gorgeous.
I will state a caveat about this adjustment to Arizona winter: I still had to go find some snow. The elevation increases rapidly as you drive north from Phoenix, and Flagstaff gets snow storms on the regular. Blue Eyes and I drove up there simply to find some snow, we played in it, photographed it, drove around in it, he snuggled into his beanie and I reveled in freezy cold air on my face. I’m adjusting, but this adjustment is a slow one for me, and I am trying to honor and respect that without pushing myself too much to embrace the desert. (Also, as reported earlier, do not hug the cactus!)
But sometimes even a cactus needs a hug 🙂