This post took four tries to finish. Consider yourself lucky if you are reading this one. The first draft I wrote was an attempt at explaining a book I read last week, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance *by Robert Pirsig. I was so impressed with the book I decided to write a short essay of my impressions from reading the book—kind of a reflective paper, if you will. But before I get to where I’m going I’m going to derail a bit. Writing can be a bit fluky for me; when writing I try to be brutally honest and type whatever comes to mind. Then I go over and revise a little or a lot, but if I am lazy or tired I will post what I have and call it good. The next morning I wake up and read my own blog, sometimes in shock at what this guy has written for the world to see. Then I’ll take down the post or maybe I’ll leave it up there for a lesson, or if it was never posted it’ll be sent to the depths of my hard drive to never be touched again and I’ll start over. Ok, I wrote the review of *Zen and luckily for me I didn’t have internet access to post it, so the next morning it gets sent to the depths and I start over. You get the idea; this happens often; in some ways I am glad I can write candidly; other times I wish I would just shut up.

One more sentence on the book: Truly it’s a fascinating read, some would probably say it’s written by a deranged mind, others would say this guy is true genius, so check it out on Amazon.com—read the reviews there; I’m not going to attempt any further explanation because I’ll ruin a masterpiece.

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. Stuff has happened since last Wednesday. Friday I hiked Humphrey’s peak with Jesse and James. As has been the case every other time I have hiked it, this time was quite different than the others. I seem to have figured out my leg issues, at least they didn’t show on this trip. On extended uphill or downhill hiking trips –like descending into Grand Canyon, or hiking up Humphrey’s—my calves cramp up and get wobbly, increasing the risk of sprains or other nasty stuff people don’t mention when they’re on the trail. It’s bad karma to talk about things like that. But Friday was fun and I had no lingering soreness after the journey. It’s only a 9 mile round trip, but the trail is very rough and steep most of the way.

At the saddle (11,800 elevation), we stopped for lunch at the cave-like rock warmed with the sun and sheltered from the wind. Walking was difficult with wind on the saddle at 50-60 mph sustained with higher gusts, according to the consensus of a variety of people huddled in the shelter eating lunch. Some weren’t going any higher because of summit wind; some stopped by on the way down, haggard but happy, with tales of 100 mph winds that had blown one girl off of the ridge and threw her a ways down the slope. I was excited by this opportunity; how often does one get to go for a walk in sustained 90 mph winds? The others in my group were a little skeptical, but followed me up into the roaring world.

The trail stayed just below the summit ridge most of the way, keeping us out of the direct wind and allowing us to hike most of way by grabbing onto boulders and such, but the last several hundred yards were completely exposed and had to be crawled to avoid being blown over. To stand unsheltered on the summit was impossible; even while crawling around up there it felt like we would sail any second. On the summit there was a pile of stones to shelter us from the wind. Conversation was impossible and we just gazed with respect upon the bleak and hostile environment surrounding us.

Saturday I cruised all over Flagstaff in the beater U-Haul truck picking up furniture for Habitat store. It’s a diesel truck that puts out an impressive cloud of black smoke at green lights, but doesn’t back it up with performance. I try not to grin too wide when I fog someone out.

I journeyed to Phoenix in the evening, or The Valley, as Flagger’s call it. I’ve got a couch down there I can crash on anytime, thanks to Roan, and the comfortablest leather recliner I ever did sit in, and I say that with authority because I stayed in it all Sunday afternoon. I spent night and hung around all day Sunday, getting back to Flag in the wee morning hours of Monday. Every time I’ve driven home from Phoenix late at night I’ve seen elk along the road close to Flagstaff—this time, too. I like seeing elk.

Monday and Tuesday were consumed by homework; this morning after class I mounted my second art project from graphic design class. I’m still no artist, but when stuff is mounted and matted it looks pretty professional. Then it was off to Denny’s for lunch with a friend, then to the gym with another, then to dinner with same, then to the park for a round of disc golf, then back to room where I am typing this now. People are starting to trickle back to campus after a few weeks off and I don’t live in a ghost town anymore.