For my book project, I just returned from a trip to what's known as the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in Eastern Arizona. It's beautiful country, out in the middle of the desert, in the middle of what looks like nowhere. Yet, I was definitely somewhere amazing during this wilderness retreat. You could see canyons, saguaros climbing the hillsides, and desert scrub for miles and miles. I even saw for the first time a mesquite bosque--a forest of mesquite trees--so green and lush. I've never seen anything like it before. But because of the underground river, the Aravaipa Creek, the water is plentiful for the wildlife and plants that dominate the desert here. I loved it. I loved the subtle differences in the desert landscape. It's more lush here than where I live. It's greener. It's very remote.
We stayed at a country inn nearby called Aravaipa Farms. With only six casitas and no electronic means to connect with the outside world, it was the perfect place to be unhooked. We had no internet connection, no cell phone service, and there were no TVs in sight, anywhere. You definitely need to be okay with that if you want to come out here. There's plenty to do, though. There's a swimming pool, hot tub, and plenty of places to sit outside by a waterfall and read. At night, it gets cool, so you can light a fire. And the birds are abundant. They say there are hundreds of species of birds out here in this wilderness area. I'm sure we had at least a hundred of them outside our casita door. One cardinal in particular would knock on the shower window every morning. It was as if he wanted inside.
One morning we hiked the canyon itself. It's a water hike, so we were in the creekbed, with water sometimes up to our knees, for most of time. You can hike the full 12 miles, from one end to the other, or you can just go as far in as you like. There is no trail exactly. You just stick to the creek path. Because the number of visitors allowed in the canyon on any given day is limited, up to 50, I think, it was so quiet out there. Our host at the inn prepared sack lunches for us to take with us. The food was yummy.
I'll definitely go back.
On our way home, we decided to take a detour to find this artist commmunity that is about 20 minutes outside of Benson. It's on a dirt road, very backcountry, but we didn't find the artists. I'll go back soon to look again. I'd like to include the community in my book, if I find anything worth noting. I think I will.
If it's time for you to disconnect from the outside world, even if you cannot find a place like this, you can still unhook right at home. Just unplug the TV, turn off the cell phone, and don't answer the house phone. Let the news happen as it will. Let your family and friends leave voice messages. Skip your favorite shows, even if it's just for one weekend day. By the end of this experiment, you'll be refreshed and ready to tackle the next task. If you have children at home, it will give them the opportunity to see what life can be like without text messaging or video games. I know that one might be a tough call to make, but I think you'd find it worthwhile.
Maybe you'll play cards or a board game. Maybe you'll cook dinner together. Maybe you'll just find it nice to relax and read a book or that stack of magazines you've been meaning to get to for weeks.
Going unhooked allows you to explore the quieter side of life, spend quality time with your loved ones who live at home, and reconnect with yourself.
When was the last time you spent quality time with you?
Aren't you worth it?
All my best,