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[at-l] Weather and Weekend

Weather here in Phoenix was COLD with a dusting of SNOW! However, i wasn't in
Phoenix this weekend, but up in Laughlin, NV. Sunny, cool (probably high 40's
to high 50's) on Saturday. Cloudy and cold (30's-40's on Sunday) with snow at
the higher elevations.

Activity for Sunday: driving back to Phoenix through snow covered mountains of
saguaro and Joshua trees. Way cool.

Activity for Saturday was a very new thing for this mouse potato. 

The day was sunny and bright with the red and gray and black and white
mountains surrounding and enclosing and opening to splendid vistas below. The
cactus, bushes and small trees are all dry right now. The wind was blowing
briskly with a whistle by your ears and a rattle in those dry bushes. Too cold
to leave anything but hands and face exposed. All around the mountains poke up
so very starkly....so unlike those gentle southern Appalachians (yes, even
Albert....and anything in the Smokies, too....or steep ol' Roan) i've known. 

Initially there was a short rock scramble up to a low ridgeline. Down below in
the valley in the distance was the town of Laughlin along the Colorado River
(miles below Hoover dam). Up above an unknown (to me) sawtoothed swathe of
mountains. Around a couple of curves in the dirt road was a mining venture
with "Danger Expletives" (or was that "explosives"? <G>) signs. 75 feet from
the car were a couple of targets, below and scattered about the car, shell
casings. Truly a friendly and benign part of northwestern Arizona.

We followed the ridgeline some little distance to rest on the leeward side
just below the crest in a natural recliner. It was actually warm enough to
remove the fleece jackets! Such a stark place! Such a beautiful place! Such a
view....and of course, it was earned and special in it's own way. : )

A quick side step down the slippery slope of scree (sounds like some place in
Ireland) returned us to the road and back to the car then off to explore
another scrambling area. So i thought. 

It was there that my companion chose the next spot for adventure. Carrying
frightening gear in a white duffel bag....made of cotton, no less....we
scrambled up yet another slippery slope of scree. There is a lot of that out
here. Sometimes i am so far from familiar gentle mountains that it feels like
i'm on the moon.

Halfway up this collection of rocks, cliff faces, scree and jagged peaks, we
paused on a small ledge while my companion removed the frightening equipment
from the white cotton bag. Standing there, exposed to the wind and shaking,
but not from cold. Watching my joking chatter dwindle. Refusing to whine or
complain or even state just how petrified i was about what was to come. I
watched him knot and tie straps to some rocks on this ledge before he quickly
disappeared below. But soon he reappeared beside me.

Some may have visions of being tied up or strapped up or whatever certain
configurations of nylon and webbing may occur to them. I tried to help tighten
a harness built for Twiggie around my generous frame and disbelieved that they
could make double D "rings" (which were more rectangular) into such a tight
clasp. Carabiners of size deemed massively too heavy to carry on a thru-hike
were clamped snappily upon my trussed body.

Having spent years previously married to a man who was spooked about my
passion for going to the edges of the mountaintops to look over and down....i
now was accompanied by a man telling me to step over the ledge, hold on with
only one hand, lie back horizontal to the ground and walk down a cliff

I am so excitedly proud of myself. Me....the kid always last picked for any
team from elementary school dodge ball to high school field hockey. Me, the
mouse potato. I went repelling for the first time in my long (44 year) life.
Ok. So, it was a weenie 30 foot cliff. And ok....so we didn't rock climb that
30 feet, but walked up around back of it while on a day hike. I can honestly
say i haven't been so scared in years nor full of such a rush.

Thank you, Mike.

Second Chance
Springer-Damascus '98
Damascus-???? '99
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