During this weekend, I spent nearly all my daytime hours in the outdoors. Saturday, I took the Jeep for a long ride through a canyon, a forest, a flat mesa and over a stream or two. I brought some food, some water, my chair and my camera and had an incredibly enjoyable day siteseeing all sorts of places I had not gone to since we moved here. I watched hawks flying overhead and diving down to pick up rabbits, I saw fishermen angling for trout swimming in a deep river by the side of the road, and I sat out in my camping chair with a good book at an overlook checking out the entire valley below. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, trees and ground shrub were slowly getting back their green, and I was truly entertained and relaxed. Total cost of my Saturday? $9 for gasoline.
On Sunday, I headed out to the hills for some exercise. If Saturday was spent sitting outside most of the day, Sunday was going to be my activity day. I packed a backpack and headed out to some National Park land that I had not hiked on yet. This was one steep hike, gaining about 1,500 feet in not that long of a distance, so I had my work cut out for me. I have to admit that when we first moved here, I had trouble catching my breath at this altitude – almost 8,000 feet above sea level. (We came from actual sea level in Los Angeles, so this was a big adjustment) I am fine now, but this was a tough hike. I took my time, watching my step, looking for signs of life – lizards, spiders, new plant life coming up after the thaw, and the rare cactus or three that we rarely see here. As I climbed higher and higher the trees were seemingly all dead or dying, victims of the back beetle. The cactus were thriving here along some strange looking flowers, but the trees were getting thinner and thinner. It’s amazing what you don’t see from down below as you speed along in your car. As I approached the top, I stopped for a while on a rock to relax and watch the birds hunting for prey, and took this picture:
So how much did I spend on Sunday? $0. What a way to spend a weekend. I wasn’t stuck in a mall looking at things I didn’t need or spending a fortune on one form of entertainment or another – I was in nature, being entertained for free. I got some exercise, some sun, some new memories, and a look at some beautiful things. I think too many people skip out on the free (or cheap) entertainment right outside their window while searching for “things” to entertain them. If you haven’t enjoyed nature lately, I highly recommend it. Not only is it good for you, but it saves you money too!