A Hot Summer in Arizona

Hiking Edition


Soohee Shin

Soohee atop a mountain in Arizona

Phoenix, a sweltering city in Arizona during the month of August, was permeated from its broiling sun which made me feel as if I was in an overheated sauna. All this started when I was on a 47-day road trip with my family to travel around the United States. Through this chance, our unexpected stopping point happened to be Phoenix where our dad’s friend inhabits in the southwestern America. The temperature there had been escalated dramatically by the time our family returned to our car from a breakfast place. As we were, our dad’s friend informed us that it was going to be much hotter in the afternoon, but we would ultimately get accustomed to it in the next few days of our four-day visit. However, it turned out to be the total opposite; we all rushed into the car for the beloved AC to dry all of our damp sweat. I instinctively knew I had to be prepared for the next day of much hotter sunlight which was intending to burn me to death when hiking at Sedona.

About eleven o’clock next morning, my family and I began climbing up along the Broken Arrow Trail guided by our dad’s friend who was willing to take us to the highest point. Whereas there seemed to be no one but us who were hiking under the 120-degree intense heat, we decided to depart for this long walk ahead of us. For not only had we been hiking in a while, but also that we were very enthusiastic about letting ourselves into the magnificent nature of Sedona that embraced us: soil, rocks, twisted trees, and the sky upon them. After roughly ten minutes of slogging up the bumpy trail, my mouth parched from thirst; I asked for a water bottle from the backpack cooler which Dad carried throughout the walk. We sometimes stopped for grape tomatoes which were also freshly packed inside. As I looked up hopelessly to the peak of the trail located very far from where we were hiking at the moment, I thought to myself, would I possibly be able to get to the top? I began to look at the path within just a few inches ahead of me and focus on each step I made, picturing myself being up there on the summit. First and foremost, I let myself enjoy every moment because they were counted as part of the journey. The tropical walk continued, seemingly endless. The unstoppable sweat enveloped in my upper face, dripping down the cheeks. To my relief, there was a bit of cool breeze every once in awhile which led us to a short pause.

When we finally reached the very top, we shared rest of the tomatoes and slices of cucumber—how sweet was it after all the sweat exuded from our body! The fresh oxygen we inhaled was the exclusive air which we as five could only breathe in at such location. We all then simultaneously enjoyed the moment as gazing at the awe-inspiring masterpiece of the view. As we checked out our dad’s friend who fell asleep from exhaustion with a loud snore, we all soon lied down altogether in a row, directly facing the sun as if it was welcoming us for achieving the goal. I believe our lives as college students must maintain mindset towards hiking; our dreams might seem inaccessible for now as we are yet initiating as first two-year college students. Inexperienced and apprehended, we will have to challenge ourselves with umpteen difficulty on the road.