Break me into bigger pieces, so some of me is home with you.

Hiking

Love, the outlaw

Remember this post, when I said I was going to try to make this summer better than the last two?  The last two that included climbing to the roof of Africa and rafting the Grand Canyon?  I think, with Joanie as my partner in crime, we’ve succeeded in creating the best summer ever.

We rode our bikes a ton, and during 100 Miles of Nowhere, we rode well over 100 miles and raised more than 700 dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association.  We made 6 trips back to Colorado to spend time with friends and family during weddings, reunions and adventures.  Our annual Utah trip to Crumbly Rock was a blast.  And then, something special happened at the beginning of August.

Judge for yourself…

 

Yup, that’s right!  I’m making an honest woman out of Joan.

We’re gettin’  hitched!

“When two people meet and fall in love, there is a certain rush of magic.

The bottom line is that people are never perfect, but love can be.  Loving makes love.

If love is the outlaw, the most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice.

Love belongs to those willing to go to extremes for it.

True, most lovers don’t work hard enough at it or with enough imagination or generosity.

Who knows how to make love stay?  What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start.  It’s hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.

Now that I’m in love, I haven’t a clue.  Now that I’m in love, I’m completely stupid on the subject.

Love is the ultimate outlaw.  It just won’t adhere to any rules.”

-Excerpts from Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker

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…and it begins.

The summer of 2014 has officially begun for me.  I just got home from my last class of the spring semester, I’m not taking any summer classes, and we’ve started packing for our first road trippin’ adventure.

This milestone gave me the opportunity to reflect on my last couple of summers.  It was a nice trip down memory lane.  I’ve had some pretty incredible summers.  Monumental.  They’ve included travel to exotic locals, outdoor pursuits, laughter, joy, pain, tragedy, love, family, friends and so much more.  I’m so excited for this summer, and we’ve got some crazy cool plans for the coming months.

Taking a look back, 2012 gave me the opportunity to climb the highest peak in the continent of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in an effort to raise money for the Cancer Climber organization (founded by my buddy Sean Swarner.)  I met the most amazing people and was humbled by the beauty and challenge of Africa.

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At the summit: 19,304′ above sea level.

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Approaching high camp, a.k.a. garbage camp.

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Truly a life changing experience.  That summer was liberating, challenging and mind-blowing.  I also went skydiving, gallivanting with old friends and explored several 14ers in my backyard.

The summer of ’13 was similarly impressive.  I rafted the Grand Canyon.  Yes, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  I spent 16 beautiful days with 16 beautiful people in one of the most amazing places on earth.  We hit the tongue and rode it straight (mostly!  Oops, Lava!) for over two weeks of laughter.  Thanks to LBK (Josh Kruger) for giving me the opportunity to take the trip.  It was another one for the books.

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Head first into the spray!  Face shots for dayz.

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Exploring the countless side canyons was a true highlight.

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We live here right now?!?  COOL!!!

grand canyon 13 095_edited-1That’s why I come out here: nature.

So what does this summer hold for Joan and I?  Sooooo many things!!  Five trips back to Colorado, including a bachelor party (sorry Joan, I’ll be going solo for that!), the Dolores River Festival and 100 Miles of Nowhere, and a Rockies Reunion.  We get to enjoy our family in Colorado a couple of times and play with our nephews, siblings, parents, cuzes, etc.  We’re performing several times and teaching a three-week circus camp (Funtown Circus!) and exploring our new home in Flagstaff.  We’re leaving for a week long camping trip in the vast deserts of Utah tomorrow.  Life is good and summer is just beginning.  Here we go!

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Home and away…

“This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”

For best results, please have the following tune playing (loud) whilst reading this post…

 

 

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Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
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I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(So I) guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong . . nothing
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Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
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Never for money
Always for love
Cover up say goodnight . . . say goodnight
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Home – is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
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I can’t tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be
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Hi yo We drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
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I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
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And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead
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Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head Ah ooh
Adventuring in a new home.  Exploring the love.

(Thanks, LJ, for the care package.  And obviously, I own zero rights to Talking Heads property and I’m broke so don’t sue me.)


Grand Canyon sunrise

Across the room, the shining red digits of the clock taunted my restlessness.

2:57 am

“Just close your eyes, the more you dwell on it the less you’ll sleep,” I told myself.  I drifted in and out of consciousness for what seemed like hours and gave myself permission to check the clock again.

3:12 am

Damn it.

On the other side of the bed I could sense a similar sleepless agitation from Joan. We tossed and turned for a while longer, with the optimistic hope that sleep would come and give us passage to a more reasonable hour of the morning. “Want to get up and catch the sunrise at the Canyon?” I asked sarcastically.

A long pause.

“Umm…yeah!  Let’s do it!”

We had already been planning on taking a day-trip to hike around the Grand Canyon.  Sure, we weren’t planning on leaving for another seven hours, but what the heck?  Neither of us was really getting any rest.  How cool would a sunrise at the 7th natural wonder of the world be?

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Turns out, really cool.

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Yes, I look incredibly smug in this picture.

We found an excellent perch away from the crowds and prepared ourselves for a breathtaking dawn.

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We were started cold but knew the sun’s warmth would soon be upon us.

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And in came the sunshine…

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Sunshine!  Woohoo!!

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Boom!

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The sun began to spread, showering the landscape in light.

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As the the day began, so did our hike.

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Signs warned of the dangers of heatstroke.

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The trail crisscrossed and lead us down, down, down.

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Cheerful morning hike!

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A look back at where we started.

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Walls all lined up.

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Desert beauty.

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Deadwood.  Ooooor live wood.

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The return trip.  All uphill from here.

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Adventures need good partners.  I’ve got the best.

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The view from the top is much different from being down on the Colorado River.  This was my first trip to the rim of the big ditch, and Joan’s second (but first in adult life.)  In case I’m stating the obvious, it’s enormous.  Like, really, really big.  Friends, come and visit us and we’ll got check it out.  Seriously, it’s only 90 minutes from our house.  How crazy is that?

Here’s to making yourself feel small once in a while.  Cheers.