We have had sunny weather for a week now, and I am nowhere near bored with it. The opportunity to go outside and squint into sunshine, or put on hiking boots and go for a walk among Sedona's red rocks, or to watch a sunset (I am never up early enough to watch a sunrise, though I hear they are beautiful too) - is such a treat for this Pacific Northwesterner.
I'd avoided putting on my hiking boots since I hurt my back last May. But the doc I saw most recently said, "You had an injury. You're recuperating from the injury. Nerves take a long time to heal." Then he said the magic words. "Don't be afraid of your symptoms." He told me to do whatever I want. Even if the symptoms temporarily worsen, they'll go back to their baseline within hours, which is slow recovery.
So I put on my hiking boots for an introductory hike on Tuesday. We chose an easy trail - just 2.5 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 400 feet. I stocked my daypack with water and trail mix and sunscreen. I collected my hat, a zip vest and a midweight hoodie. We found the parking area and set out.
At 4500 feet, I was breathing a little harder than usual for the first half mile or so, but then my body remembered how to work exercising at this altitude. We walked to the Coffeepot Rock formation, had a snack, and came back down. It was wonderful! Thanks to the doctor's words, I was encouraged to take that hike with no consequences.
We took another hike today, in a different area of Sedona. We were looking for the Llama Trail, one of many between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. Somehow we missed a trail marker and ended up on the Trail With No Name, where we wandered for a mile or so before coming upon a main trail again. Tomorrow we're going to make attempt number two to find the Llama Trail.
We're planning a hike every day for the next week. None of them have to be long. Our favorite is the 4.5-mile one around Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. We've done it on two previous visits. These early ones are warmups. After all, I haven't been hiking recently, and I've got to get back in the groove.
I decided to resubmit my book manuscript to correct some typos I found after it was published. It costs more when you don't catch them before sending the manuscript in for the first time! I kick myself as I work my way through the book and find discrepancies (like "US" five times and "U.S." seventeen times, or like "Viet Nam" 50 times and "Vietnam" 9 times). I want this work to be the best it can be before I start sending it out to places that serve vets. As a friend pointed out, I want people to read about the vet's story, but the writer has to be credible. And with typos or inconsistencies that credibility is compromised. Arizona evenings are a good time to fix those things.
I looked up cost of living comparisons between Brier, Washington, which is where I live, and three Arizona cities: Tucson, Prescott, and Sedona. Not that we're thinking about moving; a winter destination is a more likely outcome once we've checked out all the places that look interesting and have sunshine in the winter. It turns out that Tucson is 31% cheaper than Brier, Prescott is 18% cheaper, and Sedona is about the same. That's surprising! I should probably check out Ecuador, too, since we'll be there next month for three weeks.
This bird was standing on its rock in front of our condo for half an hour this morning!