Last September, Carrie and I moved to northern Arizona to experience the west. After spending the first 22 years of my life in Ohio, I was excited to spend the next year doing a plethora of outdoor activities. In the fall we had adventures on the waters around Lake Havasu, hiked the first few miles of the Colorado Trail from Durango, and spent tons of time out in the wilderness around Flagstaff. As soon as winter arrived we purchased season passes to Arizona Snowbowl and spent the winter weekends snowboarding. Carrie was always a skier, so it took her a few weeks and several hard crashes but she eventually conquered the whole mountain on the snowboard with me. All this kept us busy combined with the normal weekends out and about town. However, the spring has been the best so far. The sun shines bright every day and, although it is sometimes quite windy, the weather brings about a state of happiness that only summer can. Now is the time to explore the endless hikes south of the Mogollon Rim, out of the forest and into the desert. As you drive south from Flagstaff on the I-17 into Sedona, the road drops off and you can shift the car into neutral for miles and miles and let gravity propel your car from 7,000ft of altitude to 4,000 feet of altitude. Here it starts to get warm, and now as we go into May, you start to feel the heat notorious of places like Phoenix and southward. Around Sedona there is a mixture of red rocks, creeks, desert, and fortune tellers. One can take hikes miles off the road and find creeks, waterfalls, and caves to swim in. These places are so amazing and out of the way that you are usually alone with the earth. Not many things make you feel more alive than jumping off the top of waterfalls and hoping there are no hidden rocks that will bash you to bits. As you fall you start to count “onethousandone, onethousandtwo…” then a picture enters your mind of the sign you saw at the entrance to the trail “There will be no one to rescue you!” But the splash comes and the rush fades so you finish your wine, put on your clothes, and prepare for the hike out, which always sucks. Usually I wish I brought a tent, wish I don’t have a job, wish I could get lost in the rivers. But then I think “if this is so surreal, Colombia is sure to be heaven”.
All in all, we have put over 30,000 miles on Carrie’s Kia since we bought it in October. Before we fly out of this country, we are going to drive from here up to Black Rock City and from there west to Frisco, then back east on a slow drive through Utah, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa (really fast), and make a stop to see friends in Chicago. We will arrive back in Ohio early in October, where will be partying it up for some good friends weddings and kickin’ it till the big send off from Chicago on the 27th of October. We will arrive in Colombia and start it off with the Day of the Dead on the 31st in Medellin. Who is excited? This guy.