Walking in an autumn wonderland

On Wednesday, I did something I’ve wanted to do for several years: I took a hike through a grove of maple trees in Oak Creek Canyon.

As you might imagine, there’s a short window for really spectacular leaf-peeping. Too early and the leaves haven’t turned. Wait too long and they’re all on the forest floor. My boss scouts out the grove and writes a feature for our Outdoors page when the time is right.

Last year, I read the article and talked the Boyfriend into going … but it rained all day the day we planned to go.

Chicken, squash and nut butter.

This year, I was going to go no matter what. So when we put Wednesday’s paper together Tuesday night, I decided I’d go it alone, ASAP. As if I needed any added incentive, I figured I’d count it as my Best Body Bootcamp workout for the day.

I fueled up with a somewhat strange (for me, anyway) breakfast of chicken and leftover acorn squash topped with a scoop of almond butter. It was surprisingly delicious.

Then, armed with the map my boss drew for me, I headed down the switchbacks and found a place to park. I waited patiently to cross the road — no easy feat with all the traffic heading up and down 89A — and then stepped into the grove.

I I thought I’d died and gone to maple-leaf heaven. Everywhere I looked, there were brightly colored leaves. Scarlet, orange, peach … all gorgeous. There were so many leaves that I couldn’t stop snapping photos. I ended up with 40+ images, all of which I posted in an album on my blog’s new Facebook page.

A sneak peek:

And this.

A PicStitch collage featuring a few of my favorites:

Maple grove in Oak Creek Canyon

From the photos, it might look like a stroll in the woods, but I can tell you I wasn’t slacking. Clambering over/balancing on all those rocks was hard work. My calves and thighs are feeling it. I won’t let that stop me from tackling Workout B this morning, though. Must stay on track!

When I re-crossed the road, I walked past my Focus and into the orchard along the creek. The scenery there was very different … so different it’s hard to believe they’re in such close proximity. But they are.

A look at the sights:

The other side of the road …

Not my beloved maple leaves, but still beautiful.

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