30 December 2008

Gates Pass


Here's a shot from the top of gates pass, looking back down over the desert valley. From here, it was about 200 -vertical - feet to the top of the pass.
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27 December 2008

Chill out!

No, this isn't about anger management. Just a really cold ride.

First day of training camp here in Tucson, AZ, and we rolled out for a 37 mile ride. The first ten or so miles was just rolling through the city towards Mount Lemmon, flat stuff, lots of traffic lights.

Mount Lemmon is a different story. It's a 26-mile climb with over 7,000 vertical feet. I should have known it was going to be bad when a sign said chains or four-wheel-drive was required above mile 8. Notice it says 'above,' not 'after.'

We only did the first five miles of the climb today, and it was all uphill. No flats. No downhills. Up, up, up. But the view was gorgeous. We entered Coronado National Forest, which appeared to be a forest of cacti and scrub brush. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw five different types of cacti. Nasty stuff.

Honestly, this could be the most beautiful place I've ever been, including Guatemala. Up on the mountain, we could see the silhouettes of other mountains in the distance, and sun glancing off the roofs of houses down in the valley. The mountain is cut all over with canyons, and snowy mountain streams flow out of them.

On the way back down, we stayed between 30 and 35 mph. In the shade and 35 degree temps, it was freezing. It took me a good hour to stop shivering once we got back to base.

Now it's time for a hot shower and a warm bed...

26 December 2008

Friction of life

So I learned another lesson today: don't waste an hour in the Verizon store trying to get a phone fixed that isn't broke on your last night at home for six months.

I figured it'd be a quick fix, but I should have known it wouldn't be when the parking lot was overflowing. Dad said it would take an hour. It did. And it's my last night at home.

In two months, I'd lay down fifty bucks to spend half an hour with my family. My phone cost fifty bucks. And the time is worth way more than that.

21 December 2008

Walk in the park

Just got back from a hike in the Flushing Township Nature Park, and my fingers are still warming up: it's -13 degrees with the wind chill. The snow is beautiful, undefiled except for the tracks of a few brave squirrels.

When my nose is frozen, it's hard to imagine I used to run those trails shirtless, sweat stinging my eyes.

On the way back on the trail east of the meadow, the snow was knee deep in places. And the wind picked it up and spun it around out in the open, like a dust devil. Feels good to be in the house now, with homemade bean soup on the way...

17 December 2008

Some nut in his underpants

Here I am, in my own bed for the first time since June sixth. It's a little short, but it feels good. And it's sturdy, now that my dad has repaired the same frame my great-grandparents slept in way back when...

Since when did home become a vacation? Spending ten days here, where I grew up, wrestling with Luke, getting bear hugs from dad, and eating my mom's home cooking - it's the best vacation I could ask for right now. Why didn't I realize this sooner?

10 December 2008

Love song

You walk on waves
You run with clouds
You paint the sky
For me to see
Your majesty
Your majesty
Is why I sing...

... and this is my love song to you...
... my life is a love song to you...

We sang that at GODchasers tonight, and as I walked the tizo back to my dorm, looking up at the bright moon and stars, which shed just enough light on the mountains to see the snow... I couldn't help but sing it again.

It's so real.

It's so love.

01 December 2008

Three thousand words

Since I have no camera out here, this is the best way to describe what I saw tonight:

I headed up to my spnonsor's spare bedroom for a little Bible study/prayer, and when I looked out the window, I found myself amazed. The sun, hiding from me behind a cloud that seemed to run the length of the front range, peeked from underneath and set one of the foothill ridges aglow.

This orange glow quickly spread over the whole city, and the words of "God of this City" echoed through my head:

"Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done
in this city..."

Next, the sun lowered until it was right behind the summit of Pike's Peak, and for a brief minute, the mountaintop was covered in a hot white blaze, the rest of the mountains obscured to mere silhouettes.

Later in the evening, the sky turned black and a crescent moon shone down, joined by two stars. Under that long cloud, a deep blue sky now formed a band over the mountaintops, and the snow on their peaks still sparkled a little.

Our God is an awesome God.