I love the outdoors and hiking off-trail. But as I sit and itch with welts on my legs from having traipsed through many hillsides of unknown plants, I question my love of hiking these desert hillsides. Our first excursion "through the brush" was up to a ridge above the Prescott National Forest. Later trips were around Lynx Lake and down to Indian Creek waterfall, a hidden gem off of a dirty beaten path. Every time we followed Moses, Matthew's Dad's, lead through some crazy bramble and on/off established paths.
Moses seemed to know his agenda more than he knew the trails. Every turn and step was a cue for potential improvisation. He seemed to favor the "direct" routes even when clearer and cleaner paths beckoned. Thankfully, I wore long pants on the first hike, which seemed to be the trickiest of the three hikes.
But that was before we discovered that half of the Lynx Lake hike was roped off due to bald eagle nesting area preservation. Did that stop Moses from cutting his own path, above the fenced off areas and through the brush? No, of course not. I worried that we would get caught trampling through protected vegetation, but thankfully, we did not get noticed. Instead, the vegetation clawed at and scratched up my legs. It itched and looked almost like a heat rash. I vowed to never go off on a "hike" in shorts again (but of course did the same thing the next day at the waterfall trail.) In any case, my legs will heal and I really did enjoy the hiking destinations. I took lots of photos and made some lovely memories with my sweet Matthew.