They run up and down the very small hill, delighting in a simple pleasure of childhood.
The animal looks like a cross between a porcupine and a pig; yet, its closest living relative is the hippopotamus (although distantly so).
The mountains look like a painting—a perfectly balanced mix of colours and shading that are a testament to the artist’s great experience.
The fair is tiny, but perfect, and M-girl delights in pressing the button that makes it come to life. Further down, dinosaurs roam among orange trees, and even further, a perfect Lego city has been settled around the railroad tracks. In yet another display, several Spidermen ride on top of a train, while another perches on the tunnel through which the same train passes.
She runs along the path, and my heart races. The trail is beautiful, but it’s challenging. And if you’re not careful, you’ll end up rolling down a hill… into cacti. We remind her not to run, and she listens for a while, but the joy of the desert has got a hold of her, and she finds it hard to contain her happiness. Even with my heart in my throat, I can’t help but feel my heart bursting with love for this little girl, whose joy is unmistakable as she skips down the trail at Tonto National Forest.
They squeal in delight as they spot the castle, and run towards it, despite requests to “walk, please” from us. A whole castle inside a library—it’s too hard to contain the excitement. They explore the area fully, and K-girl is happy to explain who the elf on the wall is. She also spots the magic mirror on the wall, and G-boy doesn’t waste any time in going to explore the second storey.
On our way to Tonto National Forest, we make a stop at a free camping location—Horse Trails Boondock in Arizona. There are a number of RVs and a couple of tents there, but there’s still plenty of room for us. It’s a nice place to stay for the night, but it’s sad that in the middle of a wilderness like this, you can’t see too many stars. The lights from Phoenix are too close.
She stands behind the counter, and says hello to tourists as they come in. I always feel awkward coming in to artisan shops when I know I probably won’t buy anything, but Monika seems to enjoy watching people enjoy her art, whether or not they make a purchase.
The sky is a gorgeous blue, and the clouds lay like rolls of cotton across it, like a sea of white coming to rest atop the mountain.
We arrive at the church 15 minutes before mass begins, and barely get a place to sit down. My knees gave out once already today, so I’m glad for the seat. Until we got here, we had no idea that this church is over 200 years old.