It seems being married brings on additional symptoms of midlife, in that husbands become less adventurous. Wives on the other hand tend to kick things up a notch during their midlife, am I right?
As was the case this particular Sunday for us three girl friends. A spur of the moment idea, a day trip to Flagstaff for a hike, a brewery tour and a visit to Camp Verde. Granted, my first reaction was "What time are you setting off?", and my second reaction, irrespective of the early start time, a resounding "Yes!"
My husband didn't want to get up early and had a ton of work to do, another wanted to stay home and watch the baseball and the third wanted to take his new car for a spin... yawn! Midlife man symptoms, this is why you need girl friends ladies!
From Scottsdale, Flagstaff is just a two-hour drive along a mostly scenic route across the desert. Climbing in altitude along the way it starts out with the cactus-loving rugged terrain of the low desert and eases up into the lush green conifers and evergreen foliage, of which the ponderosa pines are among the most common. There is also a drop of 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's a great place to escape the summer heat of the Phoenix valley!
In Flagstaff we met Austin, our friend's son who was to be our guide. A young man still far from the symptoms that our midlife husbands display, so he was up for the adventure along with his adorable girlfriend and Luna the dog. I mentioned none of these midlife concerns to his sweetheart, besides, the fact that we three showed up husband-less may have been a red flag!
We hiked the Lockett Meadow on the Inner Basin Trail, about 12 miles north of Flagstaff on US 89. Warning, it's at 8000 ft elevation and the single carriage dirt road up to the trail head is long and winding with no barrier guard. I didn't fare well, intermittent screaming, lots of hyper ventilating made worse by the thin air, and almost on my friends lap much of the way. Nothing like a day out full of exhilarating excitement!
The hike was totally worth the aggravation of getting there. The aspen trees, which I had never seen before, grow abundantly along this trail and in October their leaves turn yellow and it will be a sight to behold.
The hike is steep but not rugged, so if you have good lungs and are reasonably fit, it's not too difficult. Scottsdale and the Phoenix valley is at about 1000 ft above sea level, and this hike starts out at about 8000 ft... just saying!
Next stop, a trip to the Historic Brewing Company in Flagstaff. Some of our other tennis friends were in Flagstaff that day, so we were able to coordinate a beer fest! A first for me, since I didn't drink beer but was easily persuaded after the adventures of the day thus far.
The brewery is in an industrial area on the outskirts of Flagstaff. Our hiking guide happens to work there, so we were rewarded with a tour and a peek into the art of beer making. I think he does this often, if you happen to stop by, tell him I sent you, it'll make up for the earlier screaming in his ear!
Even though this is where they make the beer, they have a bar set up among the fermenting equipment and have 15 of their regular, seasonal and limited release beers on tap as well as a taco themed food truck open Wednesday through Sunday. You can sample any of the beers before you order and it's $5 a pint.
Onward to Camp Verde, about an hour from Flagstaff and an hour from Scottsdale, located in central Arizona, sitting on the bank of the Verde River. This place is lush, green and peaceful, picket fences and horses give it an English country vibe. Camp Verde is the gateway to the Verde Valley wine region with vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms spread across the area, now we're in Karen land! It's also the home of the 104-acre Out of Africa wildlife park.
It was a short visit to say hello to friends. The locusts were busy in the trees singing their sunset songs whilst the neighbor's horses chomped on their supper. The mosquitoes munched at my dusty tired legs and I drank another beer and didn't care. It had been a grand day out!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50