USA Road Trip: Days 17-19

Saturday April 13, – Monday April 15, 2019

Adventure awaits but first we have to do some chores. We were so happy to see the sunrise on Saturday morning and realise we could leave our noisy and not so clean or functional hotel room.

Just as well stores open early, we hit Walmart and Safeways to complete our shopping for resupplying the New Mexico section of our Continental Divide Trail hike.

It was a beautiful warm day. And with the shopping done we went to Kierland precinct for brunch. Being such a nice day the cafes were buzzing. We went to Press Roasters and had a great coffee and brunch. The rest of the morning was spent looking through the beautiful local stores. The grubbiness of our overnight stay was cleansed and was receding into a distant memory.

We checked into the new hotel which was superb for what we needed to do. It was conveniently located and provided a large room to spread out our gear and repack our supplies.

By lunchtime Sunday there was not much more packing to do. We explored the logistics and options for perhaps having to flip sections of the trail due to hazardous conditions. This is most likely to happen when we reach Colorado as the San Juan mountains have had unprecedented levels of snowfall over the winter months. We won’t know what the conditions are really like, till we get there towards the end of May but it’s good to be prepared. The CDT online community is a good resource for getting information from hikers who are ahead of us.

Being such a lovely day we got out to visit downtown Phoenix and later took a drive to South Mountain lookout. The high rise of downtown was impressive but the streets appeared to be deserted except for a few homeless people.

The lookout on the other hand was buzzing with visitors. And no wonder, the view of the city below was outstanding. It gave us perspective of how big and spread out Phoenix really is, with a relatively small downtown high rise section. The Saguara cactus lined mountain stood in such contrast to the urban sprawl below.

The view from the mountain to the Gila Valley to the south really showed how much water shapes the colours of this landscape. We were glad we made the effort to get out and see some more of Phoenix.

With our hiking chores almost done, all that was left was to post the parcels when the Post Office opened on Monday. And boy were we in for a surprise, the queues at the Post Office stretched out the door. We learnt that today was the last day for US citizens to lodge their tax returns. And for some reason which we could not work out, it required certified mail posting.

With that last chore done we indulged in a little Frank Lloyd Wright fandom by visiting Taliesen West, FLW last home before he died in 1959. The residence is located near Scottsdale a suburb of Phoenix. It was so interesting to see his design principles applied in a desert setting and using local materials. All the elements of his work which I saw when I visited his first home in Oak Park, Chicago were evident in this rough rock and concrete building. It feels like a real bonus to have had the opportunity to visit Taliesen West.

Tomorrow we return the rental car, and catch a bus to Lordsburgh in New Mexico. It will be Day 0 of our Continental Divide Hike which we’ll be starting on Wednesday.