This Valentines day weekend the two of us decided to make the four hour drive to Puerto Penasco, Mexico (Rocky Point as it's known in the states). To our good fortune, the two night stay didn't cost a dime. As a lease signing bonus our apartment complex hands out vouchers, not bad, huh? Crossing the border was a breeze, no Mexican official to be seen, just a gate going up and down to keep track of the count. Our hotel was right on the water with a cool pool and a huge hot tub, throw in the uber-comfy beach beds and we were quite relaxed. Having to drive there and back with only two nights we decided not to leave the hotel except for our meals. I have to say it was great! Between reading and taking the occasional cool-off dip we were content. Next time we'll explore the area. We did venture out a bit though. Finding a cab and working my rusty command of spanish was fun. Each evening we found places with good margaritas and tasty offerings.
While the landscape there was stark (ocean meets desert), the marine life was abundant. Each morning the many fishing vessels in town could be seen trolling for catch just off-shore. The tidal swing was an impressive 20 feet! It revealed a host of crustaceans and small fish, along with sea birds hunting their breakfast.
We resisted the MANY hawkers of junk while in line to cross back into the US. There is actually a sign that designates where the selling and panhandling may begin. Even the stray dogs play their part of trotting alongside looking for a bit of something to be thrown their way. All told the wait was around 20 minutes. Not long from what I've learned. At peak holidays the wait can be many hours.
All-in-all we're looking forward to another trip south of the border sometime. I guess we can resign our lease for motivation!
Puerto Penasco

Camelback Mountain

Sarah is one strong woman! Maybe Crossfit is pushing her to test her fitness not only in the gym but everyday in all our activities. Whatever the motivation, Sarah seconded for me as we climbed two pitches to the top of "The Praying Monk" on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale. To "second" you follow the leader up the climb while belaying them, removing gear, and working as a team.
While we are both new to this, I have had more first-hand encounters with the sensation of soaring heights and open air that this climb offered us. In rock climbing, the term is "exposure". As in, "Man that climb was so exposed it felt like I was on the top of the Empire State building!"
Now the exposure on this climb wasn't off the charts, but this was the first time Sarah had to follow me up a pitch where I am out-of-sight, while cleaning our gear, and rooftops look tiny below us. Please don't take this as a reason to worry though! The entire time she was safely tied into our rope and constantly belayed by me.
I could see the determination in her eyes as she climbed the final section up into view. There was no quitting, and the satisfaction on her face when she reached the top was definite. I am so proud of her!
Take a look at our photos. In the first photo of the album we climbed the wall above Sarah's head and the boulder above that. To give you an idea of scale, the boulder is around 100 feet tall!
Camelback Mtn.

Some Recent Hikes

After the heavy rains in southern California and Arizona there was quite a nice white blanket on the surrounding mountains. No sooner than the snow appeared, the Arizona sun started melting it. Knowing that meltwater flow would be impressive in Sabino Canyon we headed over and played around by the absolutely frigid rushing brook. I played at making a boulder bridge but was defeated by the strong current. Sarah laughed at me and documented, see photos.
Sabino meltwater
This past weekend I was really eager to see the snow in person, and Sarah had some errands to run so I headed up Mt. Lemmon solo. I hiked a ridge that had always been in my sights, and traversed back down. I saw some cool brushfire trees and even a lone snowman!
Bear Canyon Ridge

Lucky Visit With The Montones

Recently I was assigned a project in Allentown, PA. Fortunately while I was there I was able to visit with both the Buses and Montones. We had some really great dinners and a lot of fun. It was a rare treat to catch up on life. Most of the time we get together is for holidays, so to have a normal few week nights was nice and relaxing. The Montone girls are growing up fast and I wish I could see them more, but we made the most of our time playing games, drawing, cruising around Wegmans, and even playing Mario Kart! Thanks for everything! I miss you all :)