It’s been over a month since my last blog post, which is the longest streak since my blog was born, so I thought I’d post about my hiking trip in the Sonoran Desert.
I’m an avid hiker. I hike most weekends, whether it’s in the woods or along the riverfront of downtown Cincinnati. It rejuvenates me from the weekly grind, while allowing me to reflect on life’s happenings. I’m inclined to hiking the way many people are to yoga, or just working out at the gym. It’s something I couldn’t do without, and will keep on doing until the day my legs give out.
Last month, I traveled to southern Arizona to hike in the Saguaro National Park. Arizona is one of my favorite states in the country, mostly because of the desert scenery all around. I’ve had a thing for the desert of the southwest U.S. for as long as I can remember. I owe it to my days of watching Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons. I had researched about the Sonoran Desert, which is how I came across the Saguaro Park. After countless days of pondering the idea, I decided to make the trip.
The weather was absolutely perfect for a hike, and there were only local hikers in the park, so I felt like I had the place to myself. I went hiking by myself, might I add, which is likely causing some of you to drop your jaws. This wouldn’t surprise me. I have a unique gift for appreciating solitude, so for me this was just another typical day. Despite the hazards (killer bees, rattlesnakes, gila monsters), everything went smoothly. For miles, all I could see was a sea of green giant cacti, which look more like giant green corn on the cobs from afar. Just being alone with my thoughts and God allowed me to recharge and look back on everything I had accomplished since last September. I would definitely recommend this kind of trip to anyone with a taste for adventure. I would (and plan to) go back and hike in this national park again someday.
Interested in hiking in the Saguaro National Park? Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned from my experience:
- bring a gallon of water, sunscreen, a hat, and a whistle (if you’re going alone)
- the fall and spring is the best time to hike. A local I met told me that the temperatures are pleasant, and the cacti are not in full bloom yet (less likely to run into swarms of killer bees)
- wear light color clothing and hiking shoes are a must. Parts of the park are rugged and require climbing up hills. Sandals are a no-no.
- hike in moderation and know your limits. Stop periodically for rest and replenishment
- bring some snacks for the hike. I brought along beef jerky and granola bars.
- A word about killer bees: unfortunately, they are present everywhere in the park. They say if you come too close to their colonies, they will repeatedly “bump” into you as a warning. Heed this sign and go the other way. These bees are notorious for swarming you by the thousands. The worst thing you can do is kill one because they release a scent which alerts other bees in the area, which will mean you’re done for.
- Carry a fully charged phone with you in case of emergency, though coverage is limited in the park.
- Take a moment to pause in peaceful reflection during your hike. It will help you appreciate the moment.