If you are coming into Sedona from the north on Arizona State Route 89A, you will eventually cross over Midgley Bridge. This is a striking piece of architecture with some beautiful surrounding views. There are also a few hiking trails that head out from the small, crowded parking lot. On your walk, you will have sight lines to Oak Creek and the surrounding canyon. This is a perfect place to stop for a snack and to stretch your legs before moving on to Sedona.
The West Fork Trail is in a beautiful spot along Arizona State Route 89A, between Flagstaff and Sedona. If you are not into hiking, this is still an awesome drive to take. The hike is one of the most popular in the region. It takes you through an open pasture, across a bridge, and then alongside some rocky cliffs, with some stream crossings thrown in for fun. I didn’t hike the full length of this trail, because I wanted to hike a separate trail here, but someday I will return to try it again.
The trail for the Liberty Bell Arch starts just around the 4 mile marker off of Highway 93 in Arizona. There is a nice big parking lot, a slightly misleading trail map, and a bridge to cross under to start your hike. What they don’t tell you is that there are several different trails out there, and if you are not careful, you can end up on the wrong one even if you follow the signs. I ended up on the wrong trail that led me for a long, but beautiful, loop through the desert. All the while getting further and further from the bridge with pretty looks back towards my jumping off point.
The Austin Central Library is something to explore in awe. It is located at a prime spot along Lady Bird Lake with nice views on all sides. It cost around $125 million and has everything you could imagine a Library would have. Six stories, nearly 200,000 square feet, a three story clock with red grackles, a rooftop garden, a technology petting zoo, portables and MacBooks to check out on loan, a two story underground parking garage, and so much more. The building is full of light and people are everywhere to be seen, admiring the design and discovering their favorite reading locations. It will probably become one of my favorite spots in Downtown Austin to take a break and enjoy a book or magazine, so look for me there on some lazy weekend afternoon.
In Hermann Park, there is a small Japanese Garden that you can visit. It is a nice spot and home to several special plants, gold fish, and turtles. I was thinking that it would be great to visit in the springtime when everything is in full bloom.
It is that time of year in Austin where the evenings start getting cooler and it makes it nice to get out and walk. This evening, I started at Ninth and Congress and headed for the loop around Town Lake. There were a few art installations and groovy flowers along the way. On my return to Congress Avenue, there was a flock of tourists anxiously awaiting the bats to begin flying out from under the bridge. And of course, the sunset colors on the city were most beautiful.
I think this is why I like hiking so much. In the span of a few hours on the Cotton Belt Trail, I went from feeling good in the cool cloudy weather, to miserable and soaking wet in a downpour, to a state of awe at seeing a magnificent rainbow at the end of the trail.