If I could tell myself at 10 years old that in 40 years I’d be working on things in space and hiking with lizards at my feet, I suspect he’d wonder what took me so long to get here. I’ll tell him about a place called Oregon and I think he’ll understand, and if not he soon will. I don’t think I would have been ready for the desert without spending so long in the Pacific Northwest first and will always be grateful for my time there. I’ve been hiking as much as I can since arriving in Arizona, I love seeing lizards in the desert even though usually they’re scurrying out of sight as I walk past. Sometimes I get a longer look such as this past weekend with this common side-blotched lizard on the Sidewinder Trail in Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, my first hike outside of Scottsdale.