Another Year…

*I have got so much to give, I swear I do.
I may not have nine lives, this one feels brand new.
Yes I’ve lived a good one.
I have tried to be true…

*-Jenny Lewis

Another year, another town, another time; another chapter, another page to turn; so life continues on, playing scene after scene, holding me in suspense and awe. I’m back in Flagstaff after a splendid holiday vacation. Winter is in full swing and there’s a foot of snow on the ground now. In the past two weeks I drove 2,700 miles, covering most of Arizona and a few remote parts of the Midwest. The Subaru is still happy and square in its element, covered as it is in thousands of miles of slush, grime, and dust—interior littered with trail mix, ski poles, and backpacks. I did pull a bunch of tumbleweeds out of the grill after my little drive across Texas; beyond that, it still boasts grime and gear from several states and as many adventures. Tomorrow I unpack.

The drive to Kansas was fairly uneventful, except for the experience of driving in strong winds across Texas, Oklahoma, and the bottom part of Kansas. Driving on two-lane roads for so long with so much wind was an event that I do not wish to repeat. Tumbleweeds were thick and plentiful—hitting as many as I could was more fun than trying to avoid them, was the only way for me to stay sane. Or maybe that was after I had lost it.

My parents, Lonetta, and Weston & Lydia all managed to meet at the big house and we had a regular family Christmas away from home. Well, not really, because there was very little gift giving and very much eating this time. I’m not going to give a play by play because, suffice it to say, options for activities in a cold windy Kansas town over holidays are pretty limited. I enjoyed the lack of activity and food aplenty.

Lonetta rode back to Flagstaff with me on Monday. We spent one day at Grand Canyon, hiking down South Kaibab trail a little ways to see more of the canyon. It was cool and clear; on the rim there was a foot of snow, but we hiked down to where the snow quit at Cedar Ridge. Wednesday we went to Sedona and hiked the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, spectacular as it was with snow and ice everywhere. At noon it began snowing so we went indoors and checked out some art galleries and headed up the hill again. Up in Flagstaff it snowed all week; we walked around downtown and went to some of my favorite places: Macy’s, Bookman’s, Pita Pit, New Frontiers, Bangkok Thai Restaurant, and we drove up to watch the skiers at Snowbowl one afternoon. Finally we gave up on waiting for unsnowy weather and headed down to Phoenix on Wednesday evening. The snow quit and the roads were dry 40 miles out of Flag. Where else could I drive from deep snow to 70 degree weather in 2 hours? That’s what we did, staying the night at Roan’s house in Surprise.

Thursday (today) was very enjoyable. I got a nice sunburn from being out in hot sun all day. We intended to hike Squaw Peak but the trail was closed due to a rescue operation from a sick or fallen hiker. There were a lot of fire trucks and a helicopter at the park so we decided to hike Camelback instead. Well, that was a bust, too; after waiting in line half an hour to find a parking spot we decided to drive back to Squaw Peak and hike there. Luckily we got there right after the park reopened and were able to find parking.

We went to a sidewalk café in Scottsdale and had a nice outdoor lunch then I dropped Lonetta at the airport and went back to hike Camelback myself, but alas, they were doing a rescue there and had that trail closed. Must have been too many people attempting to walk off Christmas in the heat on steep trails… I returned to Camelback a third time after the park reopened and waited in line again, but it was not to be. The lines were too long, it was getting late, and there was no way I would be able to climb the trail by dark. I cruised swanky Scottsdale and worked up an appreciation for that area of Phoenix. I think I could enjoy living there. At least during the winter.

I spend New Year’s Day, my last day of vacation, unpacking and cleaning the car and my room. I need to make a bunch of food because I’m tired of eating out every meal. Being in warm weather got me all enthused about running and mountain biking again; both things that are kind of hard to do in Flag now because of all the snow. And there’s all that Christmas to burn off. Totally worth it tho…