"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth..." -Frost
Always opt for the road less traveled. Like Frost, it's made all of the difference in my life. Arizona's Scenic Route 89A, between Flagstaff and Sedona, may not be any less-traveled than its parallel interstate, but it seemed so as we ventured through the towering pines filling Coconino National Forest.
It was just us and the trees. The road leading south from Flagstaff seemed like a ribbon, curving neatly over the rolling hills.
"Shoot! That was the overlook," my mother-in-law exclaimed from the back of the minivan.
We were filling every square inch of our vehicle: two teens, two in-laws, the hubs and I, and enough luggage and travel goodies to care for a small army.
"Looks like we'll have to catch it on the way back up," the hubs said. "It's not exactly easy to turn around right now."
The highway had squiggled up into a bunch of switchbacks as it descended through the canyon. Towering pines were replaced by rust colored rocks whose jagged surfaces elicited many 'oohs' and 'aahs' from our crew.
While Sedona enchanted us, I looked forward to the return trip through the canyon I'd instantly fallen for. Since I can't run away to Neverland, I do my best to appease my inner-child. Slide Rock State Park was calling my name.
Much like my home state's shut-ins, the creek rolled over smooth rocks, creating natural slides. Unlike the smooth granite of Missouri's shut-ins, Slide Rock wasn't as slippery. My daughter and I left with raw backsides. Word to the wise: wear shorts!
The ice-cold water was incredibly refreshing, and the kid in me was highly satisfied after the rush of jumping from some rocks into the crystal clear waters below.
After drying off, we began our journey up through the canyon. Pulling into the scenic overlook, we were treated to the most perfect light playing off distant rock formations.
Oak Creek Canyon did not disappoint. While thousands flock to neighboring National Parks, my encouragement for you is to take the road less traveled. For me, it has made all the difference.
Born with a severe case of wanderlust, I'm always searching for new adventures and sharing those stories here.