Ted Johnson is the hiking columnist for The Daily Courier.
Though a native of Arizona with dozens of summers under my belt, the heat this year and the lack of rain has fried my brains, so to speak. What to do?
Approaching the trailhead on County Road 177, Jimmy suggested we start hiking from a wide spot in the road, on a ridge half a mile above the closest starting point, a small canyon where the trailhead for Trail 9434 is found.
When invited to go on a hike with someone you have never hiked with, at a location you’ve never been to, what do you ask? What do you want to know about this hike? What do you know or want to know about the hiker?
“Challenging, easy hikes” might be a contradictory statement, but the reality is that there is a continuum from easy to difficult. It’s not one or the other. It also varies widely between individual hikers. Easy for me could be difficult for you, and vice versa. Strawberry Crater offers just such a paradox for hikers.
We’ve talked about “unorthodox” hiking now for a while and we will return to the topic again, soon. But you can’t always “be on,” so to speak. Intensity without an occasional break leads to weariness and loss of joy.
Surprise? Why would anyone be surprised when the trail they are on completely disappears? Stuff happens, especially when hiking in the Arizona wilderness. The real issue is your response to finding yourself off route, lost or in over your head.
Hiking conditions after a devastating wildfire are unpredictable. The Goodwin Fire came through Grapevine Canyon in 2017. How is the landscape recovering? How does this recovery affect hiking there?
Is hiking more of an exploration for you, an adventure or marching/strolling down the trail, putting one foot in front of the other under ideal weather conditions?