she flies with her own wings
Our original plan for the winter was to head to the coast of Oregon, but somewhere along the way, we had decided to go south to a spot near, sort of, Kingman, AZ. It is cheap to stay there. That was our main reason for choosing it. We also thought we’d be less distracted and more able to focus on some projects we were each wanting to do because, while the desert areas of New Mexico and Utah are magical places full of distractions for a hiker and with feasts for the eyes of a daydreamer, the deserts around the SW region of Arizona were not as much to the tastes of either one of us. Sure there would be some beautiful places nearby. We had read about them. But not near enough to make it easy to get to on a daily basis. But, shortly after we arrived in Zion, Gail had been looking at a map. On that map, the close(ish) proximity of the Oregon border became apparent. That started some musings in our minds, and some calculations as to the amount of time it would take to get to the coast of Oregon. Research on potential places to stay. Discussions of pros and cons of desert versus coastal Oregon in the winter. And a relatively quick conclusion that we were ready for a change of scenery and the coast of Oregon was back on the table for our winter sojourn. A phone call confirmed we would have a beautiful, non-parking lot, place to stay in Gold Beach, which then sealed the deal. We were going to Gold Beach, on the southern coast, west of the Coastal Range, north of the Redwoods, and central to sea stacks and the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.
a whole lotta luck
But first, we were making our way to Vegas to see my brother and sister-in-law. I had been hoping to see them, hoping that the timing would work out that we could intersect. Shay and Heather live in Champaign. They were coming to Vegas to celebrate Heather’s grandmother’s birthday. We wouldn’t have much time with them, but that didn’t matter. If we could coordinate it, it would be worth it. We also had to pass through Vegas on our way to Oregon, as that was the best route to go. Our first stop south from Zion was Valley of Fire State Park. Oh. My. No reservations for the campground there. They don’t take them. And again we got lucky. We arrived in time to get the very last RV spot, with water and electricity. It was also, in my estimation, the best spot in the entire campground. Snuggled up kind of close to a stack of fire red rocks that screamed for clambering, overlooking a wide, scrubby plane that led to desert mountains in the distance, and a large spot with neighbors not too close. It was perfect. The only challenge in this park is absolutely no connectivity. Which is only a challenge if you need it. Otherwise, it’s great to get away from the need to connect, even when you don’t need to connect. I made the most of my time there, relaxing a lot and even spent an entire day reading. With the scenery right out our door, there was no need to rush around trying to see things. It was good to unwind from the daily on-the-go time at Zion. I did some scrambling up those rocks beside our site. Explored the backside of the outcropping, saw the Beehives, and meditated on a flat piece of rock overlooking the campground. Gail and I hiked the biggies in the park, with our favorite by far being the Fire Wave. We managed to hike this early in the morning, which meant we shared the spot with only one lone woman and gave it over to a group of four just as we were leaving to make our way back to the car. The Fire Wave felt like a nice substitute to hiking the well-known Wave in Coyote Butte in northern AZ. While that would be a dream hike, getting a permit is a matter of extremely good timing and a whole lotta luck. All year long. There is no off-season for that hike. And you need a 4WD vehicle to access the trailhead. That would not be in the cards for us this year.