From the monthly archives:

September 2011

The Longing for HomeThere are times when even the most seasoned of travelers can become deeply homesick.

Today is one of those days for me.

It doesn’t happen often – I don’t trend toward nostalgia and homesickness – but they have caught me off guard every now and then when I’m on one of my numerous outer journeys.

Today was different.

Today, a distinct and wholly unexpected longing for home came up.  Since I am not enjoying an “outer journey” at the moment (I’m at home) it took me by surprise.

Really, it was all Captain Picard’s fault.  Yes I mean Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, he of Star Trek: the Next Generation fame.  Since discovering this series in re-runs on BBC America’s cable channel this summer, I’ve [click to continue…]

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The Dragonfly
Creative Commons License photo credit: pr0d1gy

Recently this story about a journey crossed my path.  You may have run across it yourself; it’s often read at funeral and memorial services:

The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, [click to continue…]

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Camelback Mountain
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale

My tales from the outer journey continue.  If you didn’t catch the first one, check it out here.

I thought after meeting Daniel in the foothills of the Chilean Andes it might be a while before I ran across another wise old man on a mountain.  Little did I know I’d meet Sam barely a month later.

Early in August I made a trip to Phoenix to see my new baby nephew who is, without question, way cuter than the average newborn.  Coming from south Florida, I knew it would be hot in Arizona, but I am at least somewhat used to (and gravitate toward) heat.  I figured there’s a good chance that ninety-five and humid in Florida is equivalent to 110 degrees in Arizona.  And if you read my first post on the outer journey, you’ll know I can’t go anywhere without trying to squeeze in some outdoor native terrain time.  Thus, my rationale for deciding to summit Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, the hottest month of the year in that desert city.

Camelback, Hiking, and the Arizona Desert

For those unfamiliar with Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is unique in that it literally sits smack in the middle of the entire city, not just Phoenix proper but the whole metro area.  So, it’s an ultra-convenient outdoor escape into the native Arizona environment for urban residents.  Easy to get to, challenging for a beginner, fast yet fulfilling for a pro, Camelback boasts an elevation gain of 1,200 feet from its base and two different one-and-one-half mile trails to its 2,704 ft. summit.  People hike to the summit every day.

I’ve done it before myself on several occasions, although always [click to continue…]

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