It's been something of a difficult summer here in the Old Pueblo... Not in an easy way to write about, but no less troubling for it. Between the unrelenting heat that would have impressed even the most jaded Sonoran lizard, the lackluster (if not downright mean) monsoon season, political rivalries and missed opportunities I think it's safe to say that it's a banner year I hope never flies over my head again.
But here we are - the first week of fall. The first blush of cool air, yellow leaves littering my landscape and the undeniable smell of freshmen at the grocery store. It's prime hiking season in the desert Southwest, the time when we head for the hills and the lowlands, eager to reclaim what the sun had stolen from us just a few months before. This is what I LIVE for!
And here I am, nursing a sore body (which I didn't even have the decency to earn!). I'm stuck grading papers in a house nearly buried under renovation dust and discarded scraps of shipping plastic. I can't even find joy in a game of scrabble online because...well, I'm losing most of them. Desperately needing a pick-me-up, I began going through the various Wendy sumissions that have been piling and piling and piling up since, August of last year. Gads. There are a lot of them. And, double gads...they're all fantastic. I felt even more useless and limp and blek.
But you know - it was perfect. It reminded me of two critical lessons that I had nearly dismissed from my consciousness:
1.There's nothing so bad in life that great times with great friends won't make it better.
2. Moments of triumph, joy and exuberance never stop giving. Thank gawd for digital imagery!
The third lesson is new, but equally valuable:
3. Even a useless, lazy blogger can still be redeemed with a few witty quips and some fantastic landscape photos!
So, in no particular order (other than the way they came into the blog interface after import)...
Jannelle Kayaking Lake Dillion in Coloroado.
Sarae, Melissa and Sheila in Maxwell Creek in AZ's Rim Country. That was a Wet Wet hike!
TeWa in the San Juans in Colorado. It's a Wendy with Altitude!
Nothing more spectacular than a sculpted sandstone arch for a backdrop - Janelle in Arches NP
From oceanwithin - Point Yucca California is clearly more fun than it sounds...
Paul Hubbard on the Massacre Falls hike - DEFINITELY more fun than it sounds!
And of course, we couldn't finish the day without a Wendy at the big gash...I mean Canyon
Paul at Bug Springs, with a sky that just screams 'come get me!'. Paul is a prolific poster of panoramic paucity (I just needed a P word...he posts lots of Wendys!)
Mitten Ridge in Sedona made Paul's companion elated...and makes me long for some red rock action.
Picacho Peak - probably one of the most interesting vistas in AZ...nothing but the flat alluvial plain in all directions, and crazy people trying to fly away!
Siphon Draw is one of the more unique hikes in the Phoenix area...and elicits lots of happy moments.
The Horseshoe Bend overlook - and photogirl caught some Wendy's the weren't even planned!
Ray on Flatiron...Still on my list, though it's good to see the move's been well covered here.
Also in the Superstitions, the Praying Hands loop and some fun with silhouette
And back on Flatiron, in less than ideal hiking conditions. Not often you get to play in the snow within view of the valley...
The Salt Trail is a little traveled track in the Grand Canyon, and that's always cause for joy...
Discovering mines in the depths of the Grand Canyon, cause for Rob's celebration and...well...I'm not sure what the other guy is doing.
The Artist-formerly-known-as-Page-Rob has perfected the shadow Wendy...and it's more than a mere shadow of the original ;)
Hole house may be full of ghosts, but this one seems harmless enough...
On my first Royal Arch trek, -Kent threw a spontaneous Wendy that I didn't learn about until after we got back!
Angela always represents, here on her 2010 trip to Glacier with Ambika. Saint Mary's falls definitely make a great backdrop...
Sirena is also a regular on my list...here she conquers Agua Caliente hill, and that's one you don't soon forget!
Sirena spent two weeks in May this year on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Lucky b*"#h.
But at least she thought of me on my birthday!
Sirena and the X-Hiking club on the top of the Thimble in the Catalinas. Great. One more for my increasingly impossibly long list!
Sirena in the Grand Canyon calls for a full-double-hiking-pole-Wendy!
Sirena in fall color - giving "Throwing a Wendy" a whole new phrase.
Sirena at the top of Weaver's Needle. There is no limit to what this amazing woman can do!
Suaz on one of the Spires near Windy Vista on the Mt. Lemmon highway. You can see the Thimble in the Background...
Switchflare exploring the sea rocks at Cinque Terre
I missed the hike in Sycamore Canyon with the guys...but they thought of me on the way home. How sweet!
Angela hiking the Kachina Peaks in AZ.
Toddak - Big Canyon. Awesome travertine volcano!
Here's Todd in the White Box...Floating a Wendy
Wally on White Mountain
Angela caught me doing this one on my way down into the GC...on my favorite stretch of the South Kaibab trail.
This was my last day at Olsson Associates...I couldn't tell if my co-workers were glad for an excuse to eat lunch, or if they just wanted to get rid of me ;)
The Arizona Backpacking Club at Coyote Arch in Utah...them's my peeps!
Ambika after she climbed Courthouse Rock... I'd be relieved to be done with that, too!
Angela and I at Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon. And she thought she'd never do anything so crazy!
Angela dragged her niece up Picacho Peak for a hike - I'd love an aunt like that!
Another group on Weaver's Needle - AZ Pride's instructions may have been to do the YMCA, I'm not sure...
Randy threatening to be buried by columbines on Mt. Wrightson
Not really at the Peak of Mount Baldy - but a better view here anyway.
Bill suspended forever in mid-air-mid-Wendy in Sycamore Canyon near the AZ-Mex border. That's what I call international relations!
Brian is another regular of the Wendy club...Here he is proving that he's the man at Zion NP
Behunin Canyon in Zion
Sundance Canyon - under a fine ephemeral mist...
And at the bottom of Sundance - even more reason to celebrate!
More folks atop the Weaver's Needle... This point looks SUPER spooky to me!
Cindy's companion went for a full Wendy-with-leg-added near Kolob Arch
And Cindy in the Kachina Wilderness, looking so at home with the beautiful aspens!
A nice water wendy - in a skirt no less! In Mormon Canyon, Chiricahuas
Here Cindy is on one of her most recent accomplishments: summit of Mt. St. Helens. SO jealous!
Coanbru got this image of Teva Joe - the originator of the Wendy brand...on the summit of Humphery's
and here, with a GIANT helping out!
a double-wendy...both the frozen and fully thawed versions ;)
And Coanbru's shot from the White Box. Why is everyone floating but me ?????
Don said that he put his back to Tucson on purpose. I hope he also threw the poles in for extra effect. From Pusch Peak
Drskill at Thom's Thumb in the MacDowell Mountains
Angela going to the sun, or actually taking the Highline in Glacier National Park. The next year, the snow would prohibit such activities...
My favorite HippiePunkPirate caught these souls lost in the sage brush jungle on the Praying Hands loop.
When Angela, Randy and I did Humphery's, we were there with the Nogales Highschool Hiking club. They were very glad to see the top!
Angela and Ambika at Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park - doing a "almost walking on the water Wendy".. brrrrr....
Can you see the little tiny Wendy way off in the distance? That's what the West will do to you! Calico Basin, Colorado.
Janelle in Salome Canyon with another floating Wendy...makes me want to break out the tubie!
I was going to turn this to the correct angle, but realized I preferred it this way! This is Jim on Teton - he's the man!
It's a cairn-Wendy Teva Joe!
And a Up-a-tree-Wendy Teva Joe style!
And last but hardly least, a shadow Wendy by Kenny on Mt. Ritter.
So if you're feeling low, down, or just bored - think about the moments that define your life and know that you're just around the corner from the next one!