Ted Johnson is the hiking columnist for The Daily Courier.
What’s in a name anyway? In preparation for a workshop on Arizona’s conifers, I returned to the Groom Creek Trailhead to hike Spruce Mountain. I was quickly reminded of two things.
When my son failed to come around the corner within a few minutes, I retraced my steps back toward the trailhead but he was nowhere to be found.
The Sheriff Deputy tried to comfort me, informing me he was trained in search and rescue with the Forest Service. Little comfort, though.
Let’s break this down, word by word. Pine, coniferous trees. But this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Hiking here since the ‘70s, I consistently come across the most interesting plants, like duckweed. Quite unexpected, even weird. That leads me to the next word.
Alas, biking in to work in Spring Valley from Cordes Jct. along a portion of Big Bug Creek, the flow of water has finally dried up. This is so typical in Arizona. The stream beds are mostly intermittent.
Last summer I said, “I’d rather hike in a refrigerator than an oven.” Then I focused on higher elevation summits. This year, now that summer has arrived (sort of), I will do what all desert rats do, hike smarter not hotter.
With money tight, my choice of activities to do with my son came down to choosing either the batting cage or the trailhead. We were on our way to a birthday dinner but had a few minutes to enjoy a little time outdoors.