July 25, 2009 8 Comments
What is it about some landscapes that makes them so beautiful they take your breath away? Whatever it is, Sedona has it in bucketloads. Even the dullest bits would be major tourist attractions if you could move them to somewhere else.
For this weekend’s hike I decided to go to the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, but when I got there it was so stuffed with people that I’d have had to insert myself sideways and rely on Brownian motion to get anywhere. So instead I picked one of the hundred other trails around Sedona and headed more-or-less at random for Bear Mountain.
This was a little bit quieter. Just a bit. In fact I had the entire mountain to myself. All of it. Not a soul anywhere. Of course, this might have had something to do with the midday temperature hovering around 95 degrees in the shade. And there wasn’t any shade. Also, a trail that climbs 1,600 feet in the space of two miles is the kind of thing that tends to put off a few of the more elderly tourists.
But it was a beautiful hike. Arizona just blows my mind. It’s like living in technicolor. The scenery was painted in saturated, almost primary colours. Vermilion cliffs, emerald bushes and an azure sky: RGB. The air was dry and clear, the rocks glowed with warmth and even the lizards seemed deliriously happy. Whether all this visual intensity is overstimulating my brain and I’ll never again be able to appreciate scenic subtlety, I don’t know. But I don’t care either. This landscape just makes me want to pretend I’m Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to the top, because this started to happen:
And then this:
And it gradually became borne in on me that I was on the crest of a mountain and the lightning had just me and a couple of creosote bushes to choose from. If it came to a contest about who’d been the naughtiest boy lately I’d be fried, so I decided to head for a lower altitude.
Why am I telling you all this? Is there some clever analogy about dynamics coming? Am I going to illuminate some obscure aspect of biology? Nope. I purely and simply want to make you jealous, that’s all.
And the photos are for Dad, who is in hospital at the moment.