Sheldon Street Lodge
Despite of (or because of) all the planning and worry, the Arizona trip kicked off with few problems. I woke plenty early going over things to pack. I managed to wash, dry, and fold sheets as well as take Blue for a walk, though she was very upset we didn’t get to stop at the neighbor’s for a treat. I got to the airport in plenty of time and even got to park in the first row of the lot, though the shuttle pick up spot was several rows away. The airport was empty, the flight was easy and soon I was in Denver meeting up with Mom. Denver airport was extremely crowded and claustrophobic feeling after 18 months of social distancing. I was glad for the mask mandate. We waited 20 minutes for Chick-fil-a, then walked the mile to our gate. Soon after we arrived, they announced a delay because they had to check the brakes on the plane. Which was okay by me. I like brakes.
Apparently the brakes failed inspection and we needed to move gates. At least we got our steps in! Once we finally boarded, the flight was rather short and the views of a canyon we presumed to be Sedona were amazing. Flagstaff airport was surprisingly small. A large room housed the gates, baggage claim and the rental car counters. The lack of sleep was starting to get to us, so our first stop in Arizona was Flagstaff. Then on to the liquor store and Whole Foods.
Soon we were on the road to Prescott. We realized we were at 7000 feet in elevation, so I felt better about my shortness of breath. The drive was only about an hour and a half, but we were wearing down. We were so glad to arrive at the Sheldon Street Lodge, a small, kitschy, but homey cowboy-themed motel. Mom was very reluctant, but a good sport about the place. And they have lots free snacks!
We were very hungry so we make the short drive to La Planchada for margaritas and tacos. We struggled to stay up much later, but spent the evening watching the storms roll over the mountains from the porch of the lodge while we enjoyed drinks. I fell asleep in record time, but jet lag struck a little after 3am. I spent a couple hours reading before falling back asleep. Surprisingly, Mom roused me a little after 7:30am.
My phone struggled to charge in the middle of the night, so our first stop in the morning was Target for a Qi charger. Then more Starbucks before driving to Watson Lake. We ate our breakfast sandwiches watching the people and ducks. We explored further by car. Jagged rocks rose steeply from the resevoir, providing terrific shelter for critters. But I worried about the storm clouds on the horizon. So we drove to Granite Lake, a tiny reservoir high in the Ponderosa forest and a must-bird location. We explored the trails around the car, but didn’t have to go far to see dozens of delicate desert wildflowers and several new species of bird. Being in the dry mountain air among the pines and pinyons was invigorating. We also stumbled upon a memorial for the Hotshot Firefighters lost in a 2013 fire. It was a beautiful area, but it was also past lunch time. So back down to Prescott for a salad and pizza at a deli/liquor store. Prescott is certainly an interesting town with a very lively courthouse surrounded by blocks of charming houses and unique stores.
Post lunch was another round of Starbucks and then a trip up to Goldwater Lake and the Groom Creek Schoolhouse Loop. We didn’t do any strenuous hiking today, but we sure spent plenty of time in the woods. Not sure what we’ll do for dinner, but heading out soon.