Chino Valley/Jerome AZ. Autumn's warmth is disappearing quickly. I must head south. But I want one last hike in some things I really hate to give up: grass, honest-to-goodness soil, ponderosas, and oaks. Feeling a bit weepy and nostalgic, we went on our "last" hike before skedaddling south to the lower elevations. In fact I become a weepy sap every autumn, just before I migrate south. A carpet of small oak leaves on the trail reminded me of how fond I've always been of oak trees, leaves, and wood. We were hiking in the midst of some no-name hills; volcanic knolls actually. The rocks were sharp, dog-paw destroyers, but there was enough soil and grass to keep the dogs happy. It was only a short hike, but steep. I never cease to be amazed at how little you have to climb before everything looks different. Our hiking club specializes in saddle-bagging, instead of the more usual peak-bagging, and indeed we found several saddles between the volcanic knolls. The lig
Early retirement, mainstream-media-free, bicycling, classic books & history, RV camping, and dogs.