Monday, April 26, 2010


Suzanne and I went hiking through Aravaipa Canyon last Friday. We've been there once before and Suzanne drove both times. I should really get a map and figure out exactly where we were. Several people have asked and I don't really pay attention when I don't drive. I know we drove through Superior and drove through Kearney and it was about 2 1/2 hours total. I can't pinpoint it any closer than that. But it is a pretty drive and it is a GORGEOUS canyon!
We put this on the calendar a while back because you need a permit to get in the canyon and there is a limit of 20 people per day. So we planned it about the same time we went last year. Last year it was hot and we saw lots of wildlife (javelinas and a huge scary snake). So this year we left at the crack of dawn to get there before the heat of the day. When we arrived at 9:30 am, we opened the car door and questioned whether or not we could do a hike involving splashing through water all day because it was COLD outside.
Is this just gorgeous or what?? The hike consists of some trails that are along the banks of the creek, then you have to cross over to the other side. The water is very shallow, probably no more than a foot deep and most often shallow enough to just cover our shoes. It was chilly at first, but after about 15 minutes of hiking, we were warming up and never did feel cold through the day (although we did keep our light jackets on all day). A plus side to the cold -- no snakes!
I chose to wear tan and green. Blend in, natural colors, be one with nature, etc . . .
Suzanne on the other hand wore an outfit that said, If we get lost in this canyon, I hope someone can spot me! The hike is very level. It just follows the creek bed so there are no elevation changes outside of climbing up and down the banks of the creek. But there is definitely a workout factor in walking on a bed of rocks and trudging through sand. We had to make regular stops to dump out the little collection of gravel out of our shoes. That gets a bit uncomfortable after a while.
The canyon is 11 miles through to the other end. I think Suzanne calculated that we hiked just short of the halfway mark and then back . . . so roughly 8 or 9 miles?
It started to rain at one point in the day. We climbed up under a pathetic little tree next to the cliff wall and pretended that we were protected from the elements. Suzanne is the eternal optimist. Half the sky was perfectly blue and clear and the other half had ominous dark storm clouds. She just said - "look how clear the sky is, the rain will stop in a few minutes." I took the 'glass is half empty' thought pattern into my head and was wondering how we could stay dry and comfortable if we were trapped in an uninhabited canyon overnight, caught in a storm. But I guess the glass really was half full because the rain stopped after about 10 minutes and the sun was out off and on through the rest of the afternoon.
It couldn't have been a better day.
As we were talking all day while driving and hiking, I discovered that my friend has an addiction. Seriously, we may need to stage an intervention. We were talking about what we packed to make sure we had everything we needed for the day. And you know what was in her bag? A book. That's right . . . . a book. Why in the world would you need a book on a day like today? She was driving. We were going to be hiking. Then driving again. Suzanne, when exactly did you think you would be reading? She kind of said it was impulsive - that she can't go anywhere without a book. What if she gets somewhere early and has a few minutes to spare? What if she breaks down on the road and has to wait for the mechanic? What if, what if, what if? Ok, so what if we break down and have to wait for a mechanic. Are you really going to get out your book and read? Would you want me to just sit politely and quietly in your car for an hour so you can read while we wait for the mechanic? Were you going to get your book out on our hike and sit on a rock somewhere and read? I just thought that was funny that you were compelled to bring a book on our day trip. (The funny thing is, after we had discussed this and had a laugh about it, we got home and cleaned up and Suzanne was meeting some people for dinner at a restaurant and got there 10 minutes early and DIDN'T have a book with her. haha)
Anyway, we are going back to Aravaipa Canyon in September if anyone wants to go. We are getting a permit for a carload of people. Any takers?
The next morning, I had to be back out at the crack of dawn again. The women in our stake were going up to girls camp to preview the hiking trails and to go through the supplies in the storage closets up there. I ended up hiking another 5 or 6 miles near the always beautiful Mogollon Rim. The youth camp leaders went with us and two of the 16 year old girls led our hike. I love the fact that the youth can take the reins and take on leadership at camp. We've got a history of strong youth leadership in our stake and I love seeing the girls take charge. They do such a great job.
After two days of hiking, Sunday came around and we all passed out for a wonderful Sunday afternoon nap. Sometimes our house looks like there has been a carbon monoxide poisoning with all the sleeping, nearly unconscious bodies all over the beds and couches. But what is Sunday if not a day of rest? Sadly, a couple of Melanie's friends came over for lunch (well, not sadly that they came for lunch . . . ) but after lunch I thought they were going to get out board games so I layed down. When I woke up hours later, I found out they were too polite to ask Melanie if we could give them a ride home and they walked home. (Ok, it is a walkable distance, but still . . . sorry Brennan and Jordan.)
So how was your weekend??

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a day off?

I didn't have to teach seminary this morning. I always consider the weird test schedule days at the school to be little bonus vacation days. My ideal plan was to enjoy Tuesday evening catching up on e-mail/blogs/facebook while watching American Idol, not worrying about lesson prep or bedtime. Then I would turn off the alarm clocks and sleep until my body got done sleeping, then wake up slowly and read for a bit before getting up and tackling the day. I have a lot of odds and ends business that need to be taken care of, but nothing too big or too hard.
Here's what my day actually was: doing Brady's taxes until midnight last night. Waking up at 5:30 a.m. because I needed to drive Melanie's carpool to her seminary, hiking for a while because if I went back home, I'd never go out again. I planned to be out an hour, but I got on an unfamiliar trail and ended up doing a loop that took longer than I planned. I got back to the car in an hour and 45 minutes. Then out to the cannery because I got a reminder call that I signed up for dry pack canning this morning (I had forgotten). At noon I had to rush to get my office work done, at 2 I had to leave for Tempe to help Roxanne with some stuff, at 6 I was rushing to Paradise Valley to pick up Melanie who was stuck at her friend's house a little bit too long. At 7, we finally sat down to dinner which "SuperDave" made while I was scooping up Mel. (Thank you Dave. You hunted the elk, and you grilled the elk. It was DELICIOUS!) Now 24 hours later, I'm back to the same routine, preparing seminary lessons and setting my alarm clock. It wasn't much of a vacation day, but I did enjoy a beautiful sunrise hike, canned 3 cases of food storage, got a chunk of my day's office work done, spent a nice afternoon with Roxanne and Dave, ate a delicious dinner and have a minute to relax. I guess I can't really plan my life, but I usually enjoy what comes my way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Our ward has been camping 3 times in the last 12 months. I'm not sure why so often, but it's been kind of fun. We went to Camp LoMia, so there were cabins, bunk beds, a kitchen, bathrooms etc. It was pretty easy camping - pack up a bedroll, a jacket and a change of clothes and off we go. But Dave can't camp quite as simple as that. He packed the dutch oven, his guitar, a set of tools, a tractor and a trailer. He entertained the masses, took kids for a ride on the trailer, made repairs around camp and cooked the most delicious cobbler in the campfire. He's a good guy to have around.
There were plenty of cabins available so Melanie and her 3 amigos took a cabin of their own. I don't know when or if they slept, but it is nice having kids old enough to take care of themselves. Parenting Melanie is so easy these days.
I was going to go off on a hike after breakfast, but Dave had ALL the kids with him on the trailer and all the adults were enjoying having time to just sit around the fire and chat. We had a pleasant morning while Dave did all the childcare. Go Dave!! (There were a lot of happy parents.)

walking at sunset

The parks around here are closing their gates earlier in the evenings because of budget cuts. But Dreamy Draw Park has a bike path that starts from the surface streets so I parked outside the park and just walked on the bike path through the desert while the sun set tonight. It is usually is a busy path, tons of bikes and runners and strollers etc. But tonight, I had the whole place to myself. I only saw 2 people in an hour. It was a perfect temperature, with a pleasant breeze and a beautiful sunset. It couldn't have been a nicer hour.
But then I had to remind myself that I should be a little nervous because I was very, very alone out there. And it was getting dark. And the gates were closed.
But it was just too perfect to worry about that too much.
(Should I worry more??)
(Actually the pictures look a little darker than it really was. I had a flashlight with me, but I got back to my car before I had to use it.)

odd stuff in our yard today . . .

Guess where I took this picture? Standing in our front yard! It was just Saturday afternoon irrigation water and the ducks seemed to enjoy an impromptu swim in the yard. I think they may have been a bit confused when their new pond quickly soaked in and disappeared.

Another surprise I found in our backyard today is this little beauty:
I've got a little flower garden in the back yard and among all the flowers, I've got a few vegetables and herbs. I don't know why I planted a tomato plant in the corner that gets zero sun all day long. And yet . . . a little red tomato appeared this week. Yum!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

check her out

Melanie has a new blog. (This should be interesting!)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

a random week

I was substituting on the organ last Sunday. I was given 3 songs that were not particularly easy so I was already feeling a bit nervous, but my fingers were on the keys ready to start in when they announced a different hymn . . . one I had NEVER HEARD OF!! I waited for the music conductor to pipe in that they had made a mistake and had announced the wrong song, but he didn't. He just stood there waiting for me to start and I was then creating a very awkward pause. I turned to the new hymn, and not only had I never heard of it, I was suddenly very unsure about my sight-reading skills. I don't like to test my skills on the job like that.
I got bit by a dog this week. I don't think I've ever been bit by a dog before, so I guess I can check that off my bucket list.
Melanie, Suzanne and I went hiking at the Cave Creek Regional Park, 6 miles or so. Fun day. Suzanne took some great photos. You can see them here .
Melanie is on spring break this week. I have been reading blogs about great road trips, adventures, projects etc that wonderful moms around the country are enjoying with their kids during spring break. Melanie's spring break consists mostly of chores. I took her out to lunch today to ease my guilt.
Dave and I have been hanging sheetrock in the attic. The project from last year that I thought would never end? I was right, it's never going to end!
I thought of some great April Fools Day pranks, but executed none of them. But all my ideas are saved in a secret file on the computer so I am ready for next year.
I offered the following unhealthy items for breakfast at seminary this morning - waffles, butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, boysenberry syrup, powdered sugar, whip cream, chocolate chips, butter, honey, sprinkles and a cherry on top. (if it means anything, i also had some healthier options - bananas, strawberries, eggs, milk)
I talked to a friend who is planning to paint her oldish piano and make a stunning artistic piece. We brainstormed some fantastic ideas. She is very creative. I'm anxious to see how this project unfolds.
I stopped in at the Wide World of Maps. We might be (maybe? possibly? hopefully?) planning a big trip for our 25th anniversary this year!
Well, that was my week.