Christmas Shopping And A Hike In The Valley


After struggling for several years to shop for Christmas in Flagstaff, I finally decided to go down to the northern fringe of greater Phoenix to take care of business. This turned out to be a good idea, even though it costs $30 or so on fuel for my vehicle. It really was much easier to just run through the outlet mall and a couple of chain department stores and get things done.

I needed some time in the sun. By the standards of the Valley of the Sun, it was rather cool. That tells you how cold it has been in Flagstaff. The sun felt great! It was like visiting spring from the beginning of winter. We are almost to the solstice (just got there as of this publishing)!

Pollo fundido at El Encanto

I'd hope to fit in more activities than proved to be possible. After I got the shopping done, I went to a highly rated Mexican restaurant called El Encanto. It was not disappointing! I got the pollo fundido with a side of fried rice. The fried rice somehow differed from the usual we have in Flagstaff, and what I've had elsewhere. They also supplied abundant chips and three types of salsa: tomato salsa, hot tomato and pepper salsa, and a mild salsa verde with guacamole salsa. I ate as much as possible. Full recommend!

Trail in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

After that I almost headed straight home but decided instead to turn into a trailhead for the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a walk. Unfortunately there were signs saying not to leave valuables in your car, indicating previous break-ins. Since my car was full of Christmas presents, I decided to just walk a short distance up two trails. Even though it was a short walk, probably less than half a mile, it still felt great to be out in the desert again.

The Sonoran desert is beautiful at this time of year. The seasons are inverted. While most of the temperate zone is cold and dead, the desert comes alive. The air temperatures are reasonable and everything grows and blooms. I saw three Gambel's quails just within a short distance of the parking lot.

The strange thing about going to the valley is the drive home usually seems faster to me than the drive down there. I usually hate shopping but it went well and I enjoyed my day in the sun.


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