Off The Beaten Path

Our version of Slide Rock

Beauty is what we find

When we follow our hearts,

Rather than a paper map.

Joys is what builds inside;

It’s what we are,

When we choose our path.


I avoid crowds.  It’s not that I’m anti-social; it’s just that I don’t like to be around people.  That doesn’t seem friendly.  Let me try again.  I don’t want to step on toes, rub elbows with, or bump into dozens of strangers when I’m on vacation (or anytime, really).  In crowded places, I experience chest pain and trouble breathing – I feel trapped.  I do what I can to avoid that feeling.

So, I guess this means I don’t like to be around people 🙂

We travel to Sedona, Arizona several times a year.  I’ve lived in Arizona for….well, more than half my life (not going to reveal exactly how many years because that makes me feel old!) and I’ve never visited Slide Rock State Park.  The cars parked on the narrow shoulders for a mile before and after the park entrance can only mean one thing:  tons of people.

Picture of slide rock taken from our moving car!

Of course, Slide Rock is a big draw during the summertime because the Arizona desert is hot and the creek water is cold.  You slide on mossy rocks as the water carries you down the creek (says my husband, who has done it.)

The first picture on this post was our version of Slide Rock.  We spent forty-five minutes in that area and only one other person passed by.  My older son let the current carry him a couple hundred feet, squealing the whole time.  I know the rocks were quite slippery because I lost my footing as I stepped gingerly into the creek.  Good thing hubby has quick reflexes or I’d have a broken tailbone and bag of ruined phones and cameras right now 🙂

The point is, we rely too much on maps, guidebooks and websites.  We’re often too focused on the destination rather than the journey.  When we stick to the beaten path, we miss the rest of the world that’s just waiting for us to take it in.

Find beauty.  Feel joy.  Have fun.  Explore!

26 thoughts on “Off The Beaten Path

  1. chlost July 11, 2012 / 6:01 AM

    I am right there with you! We love to find places where it feels as if we are the first ones to have ever discovered it. Of course, there are places where we do run into large crowds, and I hate it. When we travel to those places, we have to do it in small doses, then go on to another spot that is quiet and is ours alone.
    That creek looks wonderful!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:37 PM

      Sounds like a good way to travel, Chlost. Sometimes just the thought of going someplace crwoded makes me want to not leave the house. I’m trying to work on that…we’ve got a trip planned later in the year that I’m afraid will test my crowd tolerance.

  2. suzicate July 11, 2012 / 6:04 AM

    Looks like fun! We stumbled across a slide rock area in a designated wilderness area last summer…there was a youth group enjoying it so we moved on. I wanted to go back by on our way out, but got hit with an unexpected storm and had to GPS a quicker route out.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:39 PM

      I hope you get to go back and check it out, Suzicate. My younger son didn’t do it because he thought “it was too dangerous.” I didn’t do it because I was too chicken 🙂

  3. braintomahawk July 11, 2012 / 7:45 AM

    We had the same experience on vacation last month. Where would the other path in the fork of the road take us. The results were great (on both!) I will make a note of that for a future post. Thanks for sharing, glad your photos/camera didn’t take a dip!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:42 PM

      It’s always fun to have the freedom to make an unexpected change in plans, Braintomahawk. I’m glad it worked well for you and I do hope you share the experience!
      Oh, I’m glad I didn’t take a spill, too. I fell roller skating several years ago and I thought I was going to die (of embarrassment and physical pain!)

  4. Sandra July 11, 2012 / 7:58 AM

    I share your dislike for masses of people, although with kiddos, it’s hard to not go to places with swarms of peeps, like Disney World. Yikes! That slide sure looks like fun! I actually think I may be inclined to do that slide! I like what you said about destination versus journey. Thanks for the reminder, and I’ll remember that as we go on a short road trip next week!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:51 PM

      I haven’t even attempted Disney World. The thought makes me feel faint. Disneyland makes me shudder.

      The first time we had a 3-day pass to Disneyland, our older son was two (no younger son yet). The third day consisted of sqeezing inside the park, being jostled by strangers and leaving half an hour later. The last time we went was four years ago and it wasn’t any better. We were hot and tired and I was trying to find a table so we could sit and eat. I finally saw one, but it was up some stairs with railing around it. I tried navigating the stroller there anyway and actually made it up the stairs. As I neared the table, someone jumped over the railing and sat down at the table. I lost it. Haven’t been back since!

      I hope you enjoy your road trip next week, Sandra. Maybe you’ll see something unexpected!

  5. newwhitebear July 11, 2012 / 9:05 AM

    Nice and amusing! It would be beuatiful to stay here.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:54 PM

      It is a beautiful place to visit 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Newwhitebear!

  6. pattyabr July 11, 2012 / 9:56 AM

    Love the poem and you post today

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:55 PM

      Thanks, Patty! I’m glad you liked the post.

  7. Debbie July 11, 2012 / 11:09 AM

    What lovely photos! I’ve never been to Slide Rock, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like the crowds, either. That’s one reason I don’t like some of the festivals we have here — all those sweaty, noisy people! Glad hubby caught you before you fell!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 6:59 PM

      I’m glad you liked the photos, Debbie. The thing about Sedona is, I can’t take a picture that does it justice. I’m with you on avoidance of sweaty, noisy people 🙂

  8. Widdershins July 11, 2012 / 3:01 PM

    Yep! … some things we’ve got to make up our own minds about. I’m like that about anything that gets reviewed in the public arena … movies, books, works of art, music.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 7:03 PM

      Reading others’ opinions is good, but you’re right – we need to make our own choice. As for books and movies, I find that the more awards garnered, the less I like it. Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to get it 😉

  9. judithhb July 11, 2012 / 4:12 PM

    Sedona has been on my Must Visit list for ages. I am envious that you can go there “several times a year”. I don’t like crowds either and one of the joys living in this little nation tucked away down in the far end of the world is that one can get away from people. On the beach yesterday afternoon I passed only one other person. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 7:06 PM

      I hope you make it there someday, Judith. It really is a pretty place. We camp there, so the main expense is the gasoline.

      Now, I’m envious that you pretty much had the beach to yourself. That’s nice!

  10. pattisj July 11, 2012 / 9:29 PM

    I’m with you, I love to explore places, and not necessarily the same ones everyone else is visiting! 🙂 Glad I’m not the only one.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 9:47 PM

      Whew! I’m glad I’m not the only one, too 🙂 I see enough of people in the city (about 4 million in the metro area) – I like to find me some space and quiet! Thanks for stopping by, Patti.

  11. Carol Ann Hoel July 12, 2012 / 6:15 PM

    Walking in a park is a great way to vacation. Exploring the wonders of nature created by God could be the most memorable time spent anywhere. Your photos are splendid! It’s hard to imagine that you snapped some of them from your moving vehicle. Blessings to you and your family, Janna…

    • jannatwrites July 13, 2012 / 9:18 PM

      Thanks, Carol Ann. I’m glad you liked the photos. I like exploring when we go campling because it seems like I see something different each time.

  12. Eric Alagan July 14, 2012 / 4:55 PM

    I can relate to your sentiments Janna – beauty can be found everywhere and not neccessarily in the spot marked “X” on a tourist map.

    After a good run, I once sat by a lonely bench and for the few minutes there, I spied an entire eco-system of insects, woms and other tiny critters under a log. What a community – what harmony.

    Perhaps no quite what you intended – but your post triggered this memory…

    Thanks, Eric 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 14, 2012 / 5:29 PM

      It’s the same idea, Eric. The point is taking a different route – or stopping along one we usually take to see something new. It can be such a surprise when we discover a world that’s been right there all along.

  13. cuhome July 17, 2012 / 7:46 AM

    Beautiful what we can find in nature, but only if we spend the time and give it the focus it deserves… love the photos! (Oh, and I have no desire to learn how to enjoy being in crowded places! That’s just me. Not on my bucket list!) 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 17, 2012 / 7:32 PM

      I don’t know if loving crowds can be learned, Janet….but I don’t plan on trying either 🙂 Thanks for checking out the pictures!

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