Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Back from the desert, mountains, etc.

I'm back.

Had a great vacation. One of the best ever.

I'll publish the journals here forthwith. Get right on it. No excuses. Time lays before me uninterrupted. A great resource to plumb, or waste on YouTube, television and trash novels.

A few highlights off the top of my head.

-- Cutting steps through three foot snow drifts at 9,000 feet on a Sunday morning and getting water from a cow pond Monday morning in the desert north of Oracle, AZ.

-- Going three days without seeing another human being (or roads or houses), then going another three days without contact after walking through crowds of tourists at Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven.

-- Getting picked up on a lonely desert dirt road by Steve, who just so happened to be the landowner and leader of a 10-acre hippie commune in the desert somewhere between Tucson and Florence. I stayed there the last four days of the trip and made many new friends, including the leader of a biker gang, The Seekers (despite not having any tattoos)!

-- The hitch down the control road off Mt. Lemmon, which I took because I didn't want to deal with any more deep snow, was one of the craziest ever. I rode in the bed of a pickup truck as the driver did everything possible to nauseate me, including taking hairpin turns at such speed I could feel my cheeks receding from the G forces.

-- Seeing a family of javelinas (desert pigs), including a boar with long tusks.

-- Crossing roaring, 100-feet-wide Sabino Creek, barefoot.

-- Almost falling down a 50-foot cliff as I tried to find a saner, narrower, place to cross.

-- Camp fires and cook fires. Mesquite, juniper, cedar, and palo verde. Good wood. Fragrant. Gave a nice, smoky flavor to my mac and cheese. I've improved immensely with my fire cooking skills. Only spilled once. Hint: Find two rocks with flat faces, space them apart, put on pot, direct coals from fire underneat pot, build secondary fire with small sticks, stir often to avoid scorching food.

-- Slept outside every night. Spent less than $180 the whole trip. Didn't use the credit card.

-- Found much-needed solitude, then met cool, interesting people just as I was getting lonely.

Last year's trip was an escape. This year's a true adventure. Affirmation of the Goethe quote about the genius, power, and magic of boldness. Or, to quote the magic bus trip immortalized by Kesey and Wolfe: FURTHER!

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