”Your Grandfather likes to poke the bear,” I told our fourteen year old grandson, Aron, dramatically gesturing with my walking stick as we headed out on our early morning hike around this resort built right into the Arizona desert south of Phoenix on an Indian reservation.
”The trick is to NOT get eaten by the bear!” I added as Aron nodded in response to my sage advice.
The grounds on the facility are so beautiful and over the decade and a half of Aron’s young life, we’ve been here about a half a dozen times. We always have had so much fun here: from swimming in the pool, going down the water slide, the first time when Aron was a small boy and I had to hold him in my lap; to taking the gondola ride to Rawhide, a full scale Old West Town that used to be located north of Scottsdale until the tribe bought it and moved it as an attraction for their resort and casino; to ordering room service and watching movies on the big screen television in the spacious rooms; to hiking the grounds like we were doing this morning with the sound of Native American flute music wafting softly in the air.
So many memories . . . and now we had a chance to make another.
The Arizona ”monsoon” season came early this year. This late June morning wasn’t yet too hot, but it was pretty muggy, nonetheless . . . but with a bottle of water carried by each of us and my trusty walking stick for poking any bear we might encounter, we started off along a path from the hotel and into the desert.
One of the first things we saw was what looked to me like a Monet painting.
I had asked Aron who has his mother’s photographer eye to take a picture of cool things we saw on our hike with his new iPhone with which he’s quite good.
The now stark Arizona sun painted our double portrait in shadows on the path. Aron captured this moment.
Further down the trail we saw a black widow web . . .
and also a rock that had clearly come from outer space.
By the time we made the mistake of walking on the golf course maintenance path, we were now an hour into our hike, the sun was blazing, Aron had drunk all his water, and we were too far down the wrong path to want to spend 40 minutes retracing our steps
[Note: All of the photos except the balcony shot were taken by Aron Salazar with his phone camera.]
[Return Tomorrow For Part Two]
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