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How to enjoy Apache Junction, Arizona


I've spent a lot of time in Apache Junction. I have a friend who lives there, and I visit as often as I can, and I've spent a lot of time house-and-dog-sitting. And I enjoy Apache Junction a lot. If you've never seen what I've seen, I'd like to share it with you, so please walk with me.

And that's where you start. Get out of your car, and more than that, get out of your car mentality. If your first thought is to drive somewhere, and drive somewhere else, and then drive somewhere else, that's fine, but you'll never see what I'm seeing. Lace up your shoes. And no, I don't mean your hiking boots, we aren't going to see if we can find the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. That doesn't matter to me. If you walk with me, you'll see the magical world that the grownups never understood when I was a kid walking around my Grandma's neighborhood in Minneapolis. If you can remember that fascination, you know what I mean.

There's a quality of light there that I've never seen anywhere else. I wish I could describe it to you, but you really have to see it. It's a wonderful warm glow (that can be kinda painful in the summer!) that washes the landscape. There's a sound of the desert, and the comforting human sound of things that people do in the background, like cars, or maybe someone revving up a power tool. The best way that I can describe it is that it's like the sounds people make in the background after a heavy snowstorm. There's a sharpness there, as if the clarity of the air carries it with more precision.

I like looking at the weeds. Of course, there's no such thing as a weed really, they're just a "plant out of place", and in the desert there are a lot of plants that would be out of place in a suburban yard that are just exquisite in the desert, with amazing tiny flowers and foliage. I also look at the rocks, both the ones beneath my feet and the big ones in the background, called the Superstition Mountains. I like rocks. I don't know what they're called. I don't label them, or categorize them, or count them. I just look at them.

I especially like walking with a dog. There's just something nice about walking along slowly, looking at stuff, and standing there looking at more stuff, when you have a dog. I just feel less self-conscious, as if I'm there just to allow the dog to sniff around. Dogs like to look at stuff with their noses, I like looking at stuff with my eyes.

When people ask me about places that I've visited, they're often puzzled that I didn't go visit a particular restaurant, or that I didn't go watch a movie, or go to some other pre-packaged entertainment. I could tell them that I was too busy looking at weeds and rocks, but I try not to say that. But it's true, and I highly recommend it as the best way to enjoy the most magical places in the world, like Apache Junction.



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