Last weekend Candyce treated me to an official 30th birthday present–a trip to the White Mountains in Eastern Arizona. It was as magical of a white Christmas you can have this side of heaven. The cabin was stunning (thanks Megan!) and comfortable. Candyce made my favorite food and beverages, including Bobby Flay’s favorite jalapeno cheese grits. We ate like a king and queen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In between we listened to Christmas music and sipped coffee.
Here are some photos from the weekend, including many from when we played outside…
For those who are interested, I snapped those photos with my week-old camera, the Canon PowerShot SD 880 IS. This is the pocket digital camera I’ve been waiting for: small but still takes excellent photos. Plus, it has a wide angle lens, which allows me to capture more engaging scenes.
Shouldn’t They Have Closed This Road?
The drive home turned out to be difficult and frightening. The 50 mile stretch between Show Low and Payson is wilderness, so even in the best weather it’s a little unnerving to drive. There are no gas stations, no restaurants, no nothing. It was all about steep inclines and declines, snow and ice. Had I known the danger we’d encounter, I would have never have left Show Low.
In normal conditions, you can make that stretch of the trip in less than an hour. But it took us two-and-a-half hours, and every minute was horrible. We saw two wrecks, one of which was a semi truck that had spun out of control, tore through guard rail, and then flipped upside down in the snow-covered median. We crawled past the thrashed truck illuminated by the spinning lights of a police car. It was a terrible thing to see.
And how do you deal with these semi trucks? At first I was happy to follow a pack of trucks because they carved a good path for my own wheels. But having a big truck behind me was claustrophobic. Twice I crawled down the mountain side to see the headlights in my rear-view mirror growing stronger brighter and closer. Was he sliding? Has he lost control of his truck? For a full hour I tried to maintain a healthy space between the semi in front of me and the semi behind me. It’s not enough to keep your own car on the road–you have anticipate everyone else on the road.
I believe that was the most persistently scary thing I’ve encountered as an adult. In between Payson and Phoenix the snow turned to rain and all Candyce and I could do was to gush about how relieved we were to be alive. It was surreal to eat pizza and watch the end of the Suns’ game in the comfort of our own home. Because just two hours before, we didn’t know if we’d be alive.
We got up early the next morning to go to Mass to thank God for taking care of us. It’s crazy how an experience like that can weld a close relationship even tighter. We hug each other more than we did last week.