After my last crazy long, full post, I thought I'd share a lovely outdoor experience I had tonight. Granted, it's nothing compared to my old outdoor adventures. But, I've decided it's actually pretty perfect for someone like myself who can't seem to go two steps in Arizona wilderness without a bit of a panic attack.
Enter, the riparian preserve. Right next to our library, this lovely area is surrounded on all sides by very well developed Gilbert cityscape. But, when you are out on the very wonderfully groomed trails, it does really feel like you're in the middle of nature.
The huge plus side for me is that the likelihood of encountering a big predator (i.e. mountain lion) is about the same as encountering one at our house. Pretty darn small.
This means that I can explore the trails solo without deciding that every little sound is a lion out to eat me (this doesn't mean that every little sound doesn't make my heart race a little, but I'm at least can overcome it).
Saturday afternoon, since I had to take a trip to return some library materials, I decided that it would be silly to skip the opportunity to wander the preserve, so off I went on the trails. It was definitely bustling with others enjoying the beautiful, if brisk, afternoon.
The entire preserve is made up of different ponds that hold much of Gilbert's water as it seeps down into the aquifer. Different ponds are periodically drained, so that they can be kept as effective as possible. The pond above was being kept with less water, which made the local birds quite happy.
I probably was only walking for about 30 minutes, but walking 30 minutes in nature was a luxury I never would have enjoyed in California (or even in the "real" Arizona wilderness). As I said, perfect training wheels for a scary-cat like me.
At least until the weather gets unbearable again, I'd like to come here at least once a week, maybe even with running shoes, instead of walking ones. It may not be a huge expanse of nature, but it's a comfortable, beautiful one, and one I'm so glad is just a few miles from home.