My location in north central Arizona held a wealth of travel destinations in all directions. Through out the summer I explored many of them.
On my days off at Happy Jack, I would sometimes kayak on one of the area lakes. Places like Lake Kinnikinnick, Blue Ridge Reservoir, and Woods Canyon Lake were among my favorites. Other trips took me further afield to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and Hopi Indian reservation.
My first trip to Sedona was on June 30th, 2007. Leaving the cool 80s of the mountains I descended into the Verde valley area with the famous Red Rock formations and a stifling 102 degrees heat wave.
After riding around the valley, gaping at the rocks, a/c going full blast, I decided to return when the weather was more temperate. Driving north in my car I came upon a canyon overlook, parked and got out with my cooler. I walked to a nearby shelter, got comfortable at a picnic table, and began to eat my lunch.
Next table over, a lone, slender, blonde-haired woman was standing, glancing furtively about and mumbling while laying out plastic bags on her table. I wasn’t too concerned but I didn’t turn my back on her either.
Within twenty minutes I’d finished my picnic and packed up my cooler. It was then that the woman approached me, asking if I could help her. Her story: she’d recently returned from traveling and found that someone had spray painted graffiti all over her mobile home. The police were notified and she was out here waiting for them to “firebomb” her trailer. (No, it didn’t make any sense to me either!)
She drew a deep breath but before she could prattle on, I asked how I could help. She asked for food. Easy enough! I emptied my cooler; giving her a bag of grapes, multigrain chips, and a bottle of Gatorade.
Clutching the food with both arms, she peered over into the cooler and said, “ I was hoping you’d have some crackers and cheese.” I was stunned, “Nope, that’s all I have!” She reluctantly thanked me. I snapped up the cooler and walked back to my car.
Driving north again I thought about the old adage, “ Beggars can’t be choosy.” Well, I’d just met a choosy beggar. Will wonders never cease!
(aka Tin Can Traveler)