This past weekend we went adventuring again. My daughter, grandson and I drove from Phoenix north to Prescott to visit a park called Watson Woods. We packed a picnic lunch and expected to find a picnic table in the shade by a small lake around lunch time.
By the time we reached Prescott, 7-year-old Cameron let us know in no uncertain terms that a picnic lunch didn’t hold quite the excitement that a cheese burger did, and after much discussion, we stopped for fast food.
At that point I didn’t know how much interest ‘nature’ would hold for a contemporary child of his age. I sincerely hoped we would stumble across a snake or a toad.
There are two kinds of outdoor parks. There’s the kind that have shade trees, picnic tables and bathrooms fifty feet from the parking lot and to which you could easily take your Grandmother or toddler. Or there’s the kind with no facilities and you need to carry a bottle of water for each person, and pack your pockets full of bug spray, sun block and toilet paper. Watson Woods turned out to be the second, and we had to pay a fee to park ($2).
It turns out that this park is a hiking trail made from a previous railroad bed. It’s smooth and flat, and although it took us an hour to reach the lake, it was worth every step. Advancing towards the lake from the parking lot, we suddenly broke out of the woods and marshland into pristine rolling hills, wildflowers, and the sight of the entire lake from end to end. With not a cloud in the sky and a variety of wildlife which included gray squirrels, quail, lizards, dragonflies, jumping fish and a mix of water fowl, even Cameron was impressed. We also came across a small family of sleek, healthy and happy cows, with a baby, and two horses, grazing in a private alpine-beautiful field adjacent to the trail. The awe-inspiring scenery made me reach for my camera, which I’d forgotten to bring.
Getting back to the car took some real effort, and we all agreed it was a good thing we’d stopped to eat before our hike. We would have never been able to carry our cooler all the way to the lake and back! As it was, the picnic lunch was eaten before we reached home, as some of us had worked up quite an appetite.
We’re looking forward to returning, and being much better prepared.
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