Tuesday, November 30, 2010

South to North

I just realized that my last post was the 100th since I started 'A Little Slice of da Harbor' at this blog spot. If you are one of the luckiest people in the world, you have read all 100! Thank you so much! If you haven't yet, get crackin. : p

Phoenix Area
On Saturday we traded the poshness of Sedona for the 60 degrees of Phoenix, well Mesa, technically. My heart was set on an afternoon of sunbathing at our campsite. All we had to do was find a campsite. None here. (20 miles later.) None here... there's got to be one by this lake. Nope. Okay, how about here? Good gracious! Where is a place to camp?

After driving for two extra hours, we asked a host at a National Park lot where we could pitch a tent. 45 minutes after that, we were finally parked at a campground. Since the sun was going to set in an hour and a half, my dream of a suntan (or sunburn) was long gone. At least I got some sun through the car window on the way....

Camping was peaceful. I was awake a bit during the night, so I got to watch the moon pass through the sky and Orion ascend overhead. The skies were supposed to be clear, so we skipped the rainfly on the tent. As Murphy's Law would have it, it rained all morning. We waited in our sleeping bags for a break in the drops as we slowly got leaked on from the nylon above.

So much for Phoenix. We weren't even going to try to go for a bike ride. We snapped our pictures with some saguaros and drove north -- where we entered snow-and-ice-on-the-road land. At least the trip wasn't monotonous! Here is Duce and me with a couple big saguaros. Arizona trees, baby!

Southern Colorado
After passing cars in the ditch and driving an average of 15 mph in a long line of cars, we spent the blizzard of a night in Cortez, CO... our 12th state of the trip (we passed through New Mexico on our way up to Colorado). In the morning, we made our way to Durango to see our yooper friends who moved west.

Goodbye summer and hello winter! On Monday Barb, Ryan, Aaron, Duce, Teva and I hiked in 3-4 inches of snow up the Telegraph trails. The nostalgic part about this was that we biked those trails three Octobers ago. I vaguely recognized my surroundings, but it slowly came back to me. Everything looks different when its covered in snow, you know?

That was a perfect hike in the sunshine. We got a sweat on but didn't have to work too hard. Today was a different story.

You know, I keep realizing, more and more on this trip, that I keep getting physically and mentally tested. Most of the adventures I've had have been really trying on me. I rarely make it through a whole escapade without thinking, Cripes, why am I doing this to myself? I don't think I'm going to make it. Whimper, whimper.

This back country snowboard adventure for me was a tough one. Aaron and Barb skinned up the hill (skiing uphill with sticky stuff on the bottom of their skis, so they don't slip back). Ryan hiked up in boots using his snowboard as a pole. I snowshoed with a backpack and my board strapped on the back.

Oh, let me say that we started this climb at an elevation of 10,640 feet. Um, can I get a little oxygen, please? Yes, I could, when I stopped every five clumsy steps to catch my breath. I climbed part of that hill on my hands and knees. Their ski trail they packed was 2/3 the size of a trail I needed to keep my outside snowshoe from sliding down the hill.

After a while, I found myself walking zombie-style, with my hands out in front of me for balance and acceleration. Good thing everyone else was way ahead, or they might think I'm a little weird.

Two hours and two rubbery thighs later, we reached the top-enough where we were to ride down. My fingers were so cold that I almost wussed out of taking a picture, but I though of you, and got one. That's Ryan in the brown and Barb back in the green. You have to really look closely.

The powder was thick and soft. If I had the strength and the wits to ride my board down skillfully, the trek up would have been worth it. I struggled with my turns and balance. But alas, I surfed down the snowy slopes with a smile for at least part of it. They want me to go again tomorrow. Oy. We'll see....

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