Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life In Arizona

Aside from just trying to find a warmer place than North Carolina for the summer, I am out in Phoenix to watch over my sister's children. She is going through chemotherapy, trying to work full time, moving next weekend, and her children are out of school for the summer. It's great out here. There's good ultimate 3 nights a week, awesome hiking if you can bare the heat, I get plenty of time to work on my graduate classes, my parents are just an hour away, and it's absolutely gorgeous. This morning I hiked to the top of Camelback mountain.
As far as city hiking goes, Camelback is probably the best in America. It's very similar to Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, Alaska. It's very satisfying to see exactly what you are hiking to the top of and then get rewarded with an incredible 360 degree view when you get there. From the top of Camelback you can see the entire Phoenix area.
If I lived in Phoenix, I'd probably try to capture the sunrise from up here every few months. They say 300,000 people climb to the top of Camelback every year, and I would consider it a must if you ever come out to visit. However, city hikes are not my favorite. The top of the mountain was small and crowded with about 20 people when I got there. I didn't stay there long before heading down the backside and getting off the trail to summit a lower peak at the far end of the mountain. From there I got to soak up the scenery by myself without the distraction of so many people. I even took the time to practice some self photography.
During the week I get to entertain the niece and nephew. They are 7 and 5 respectively, and all they ever really want to do is swim in the pool. With the temperature frequently breaking 110 degrees, it's about the only thing we can comfortably do outside. Fortunately my sister has a great, little pool that offers some relief from the sun. This is key as I probably spend about 2-3 hours out there every day.

I've learned that one of the best strategies in raising children is to wear them out during the day. If I get these two in the pool and toss them around for at least an hour in the morning, they'll have no problem at all going down for their nap after lunch.
Seeing that my family lives in Arizona and I live in North Carolina, I only get to see them maybe twice a year. Fortunately, because of my job as a teacher, this is the second time in three years that I've gotten to move in with my sister for a month. It actually fits my personality quite well. I don't keep up with my friends too well, but get us back together and it's like we've never been apart. Most uncles would never have this opportunity to live so closely with their niece and nephew, even though they'd probably see them more regularly than I see mine.
It would be nice to live out here someday, maybe after I spend some time in Africa. More likely, this will probably just be a place I get to stop in for extended periods of time. I'm about half way through my time here, and I'm going to try and enjoy every last minute of the time I have left.


Bill Cummings said...

Great pics... and looks like great fun!

Chad K Miller said...

I love Phoenix. My grandparents live in Sun Lakes and we hiked South Mountain ( I think that is what it is called). I loved the lack of allergens and humidity. I live a distance from my family and find that longer periods of dedicated time is better for me to. You have so many more chances to create memories. Take care man and keep soaking it all in. I am praying for your sister as she is going through all of this.