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Tue, Feb. 25

Witucki: Nature trips still require some effort

Watson Lake is just one of many natural areas to explore in the Prescott area. (Courier file)

Watson Lake is just one of many natural areas to explore in the Prescott area. (Courier file)

Here’s an interesting New Year’s Resolution: Explore Prescott.

My busy schedule has prevented me from exploring many of the more natural wonders that surround us. I still haven’t visited Lynx Lake or Goldwater Lake. I have visited Watson Lake Park, which was great, but I didn’t get to explore nearby Watson Woods. And as much as I love animals, I haven’t even visited the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. That’s definitely on my Prescott bucket list.

My lack of exploration may also be due to habit. For most of my life, I haven’t lived near woodland. To explore in a city usually means exploring man-made neighborhoods and businesses — not mountains and streams and trees. It takes an extra effort to prepare for a trip into nature — an effort that many “city people” are not used to making. It’s not that they don’t want to do it, they just never had the chance.

Again, such exploration also requires time. While a quick drive to Lynx Lake for the afternoon is better than nothing, it’s unlikely you could get the full effect of the place unless you take the time to walk around a bit and relax. That time to walk around can’t be too long if you need to be back home before it gets dark. I’m not even sure if a week would be enough time to see every natural wonder in the quad-city area.

I have enjoyed reading Nigel Reynolds’ “Amazing Places” stories in the Sunday editions of the Daily Courier. In his articles he shows us nearby places that I’m sure many local residents haven’t seen. Of course, when I say “nearby,” I don’t mean near the freeways. Consider the sheep corral built a century ago. Or the mysterious graves on Mingus Mountain. I’m not sure I’ll ever match Nigel when it comes to exploration and discovery. His columns are a treat for the armchair explorer.

I think the secret to any kind of travel is to plan for it as best as you can. While we can’t control everything, we can certainly prepare as much as we are able to. If you don’t have the time to camp out, then you can plan your day around what you do have the time for. We’re blessed to have a pretty good system of roads to take us to at least the borders of some amazing natural places. You could plan one day at Lynx Lake, the next day at Watson Lake, etc. And from there you could branch out to discover your own hidden natural treasures.

So in 2020, let’s plan for some more local adventures. Although I think I’m going to wait until things get a little bit warmer…

Steve Witucki is community editor for The Daily Courier of the Prescott News Network. Email him at switucki@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1104.

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