"A New Day"
14" X 10"
We hadn’t been camping in I-don’t-know-how-long—more than a year (the horror!). We planned to meet up with our dearest hiking and camping compadres near Flagstaff and camp near Sunset Crater. We were beyond excited.
The first day a few of us hiked up out of Lockett Meadow towards Inner Basin. It was steamy, but beautiful climbing the trail through the dense aspens. One of our younger hikers, 8-year-old Joe, said, “This place is like a dream.” It was.
The next day, we went from wandering Wapatki in the intense heat to shivering around the picnic table that evening as it poured down rain. In classic monsoonal fashion, the storm gathered itself for an afternoon show, starting with cracks of lightning and rolls of thunder that rattled your bones. A few close strikes had us involuntarily erupting in shrieks and squeals—quickly covered by nervous laughs. We huddled under a tarp for a cozy dinner—enjoying the adventure. Eventually it stopped raining and we lit a fire that somehow steamed into life. The stars were lovely, but after several hours of cold and wet, warm sleeping bags called our names. After we’d snuggled in and called out “Goodnight John-Boy” tent to tent, it started to rain again, a soft patter off and on through the night.
In the morning, we found blue skies and I seized the opportunity to paint this meadow, glowing green from recent rains, framed by the San Francisco Peaks still shrouded in clouds. Later, once again the clouds thickened and gave us a bit of rain. But by the time the dinner dishes were done, the skies had cleared, giving us plenty of time to sit around the campfire laughing together as we had so many times before.
Come morning, we packed up to go our separate ways: our friends heading to the west, while we turned to the east. It was so hard to say goodbye.