Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Hiking Anniversary

'Twas 9 years ago today when we started day hiking.  We'd both hiked here and there now and then throughout our lives.  Susun loves a tale of her and Craig carrying cast iron skillets on a backpack trip into the San Juan Mtns.  I once did a 30-day backpack in the Sierras.  We both hiked a lot in the Grand Canyon. 

Everything changed nine years ago today.  We turned day hiking into an obsession--an expression of our AOCD. (Acronym alert! See glossary.)  We bought our first Red Rock Pass and began a Great Adventure.  One step led to another and before we knew it, we were hooked.  It didn't take long--maybe the first hike or two--to realize we needed to day hike every day or we wouldn't day hike at all.  Thus began our "streaks."  The very first one lasted 45 consecutive day hikes before a blown fuel pump messed up the streak.  We got on a roll that summer and went 125 straight day hikes before something happened that broke the chain.  We had a lot of streaks in the 30-50 day range and another long one of 130 days in 2002.  I got on a solo streak in late 2004 that really got out of control and went 310 days before something snapped it.

Those two summers of day hiking on the Oregon Coast in 2002-2003 were the most memorable.  Otherwise, our favorite place to day hike will always and forever be Red Rock Country.  There are something like maybe 120 official trails within 20 miles of the Sedona "Y."  It's a genuine day hiker's paradise.  And, as most of our LBR's know, the Bell Rock-Courthouse Loop ranks #1 in our day hikers' rating book.  We started our day hiking gig 9 years ago on the Bell Rock-Courthouse Loop and hiked it for maybe 7-8 days in a row before we finally had our boots, packs, sticks, water and food gig rigged the way we wanted.  Over the years, there have been many other memorable moments on that classic (and close) loop.  Perhaps the most memorable was a time in December 2004 when I went alone on that loop during a downpour.  Little did I know what lay in store for me.  Those two iconic rocks are quite literally covered with waterfalls.  It's amazing and inspiring.  We now look forward to really wet phases that end in a crescendo rainstorm.  That's when the waterfall action peaks and becomes surreal in both visual and auditory splendor.

We haven't been very fortunate at getting a streak going again.  As you know we had a mini-streak going last April but it ended on the return trip to Idaho Falls.  This summer's OCD camping and river running frenzy pretty much replaced the day hiking routine. What now?  Who knows?  We may not be able to start up a streak until sometime after the holidays.  In the meantime, of course, I only know one thing for sure--if it's December 6th, there's only one place we're gonna be: The Bell Rock-Courthouse Loop.  Hey, it's a Day Hiking Anniversary!

Happy Trails!  jp

PS:  Most people don't know that Arizona has one of America's finest hiking websites.  We've been using it since January 2002 and are one of its earliest members.  It is without doubt THE best day hiking resource of All Time.  We so dearly wish every state had a resource such as this one.  it would be impossible to describe all the wonderful aspects of this website.  All we can say is--click here to check it out.

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