Please remind me NEVER to say never.
You’ll recall last summer when John’s unexpected heart issue put the kibosh on our east coast RV adventure. Because of this we sadly canceled all reservations deciding to hunker down in Show Low, Arizona (closer proximity to John’s Cardiologist) in case his heart issue arose again.
Well… it happened again this year just before Valentine’s Day.
John’s ticker decided to act up necessitating another heart catheterization. Luckily, all went well – freeing us to travel to the east coast…we thought…
But then BOOM! COVID detonated our plans.
SCORE: DISAPPOINTMENT – 1 EMMERICH’S – 0
Yes, as the rumor mill rumbled of State shutdowns and RV campground closures, we scurried like squirrels to find a place to hunker down for the summer. However, every campground I called had no openings for an RV our size.
Until…and this is where the “never-say-never” comes in- I called the Venture In in Show Low. As a result, the town we said we’d never visit again ended up saving the day for us – and we grabbed the ONE remaining long-term site.
loving the challenge
It’s weird but relationally, John and I kind of turn into Super-Partners during crisis situations. It seems we handle biggie-sized problems better than daily irritations in our marriage. We tend to focus and communicate clearly during troubled times (like COVID) – probably because we’ve often had to practice crisis management in twelve years of being together.
It always seems easier to find hidden joy when the world is spinning out of control. Does that make sense to you?
in the cards
Show Low is a funny little town. For instance, originally the land was owned by two ranchers. Each man wanted the entire acreage, and eventually decided the winner of a card game named “Seven-Up” would inherit the valuable real estate. The main road through town is appropriately named Deuce of Clubs. Additionally, Venture In RV Resort is located on Clark Road, named for the gentleman who lost the card game.
Shhh. Don’t tell anyone
The cool summer temperatures in these high mountains entice sweaty residents from “The Valley” (a.k.a. Phoenix) each year. Lush green golf courses, shady Ponderosa Pines, gorgeous summer cabins, charming restaurants, and shimmering lakes cause the population to swell from 12,000 residents to nearly 170,000 beginning each May.
What to do in show low?
A week after our arrival John and I wondered out loud what the rest of 2020 would be like? Without a vaccine for COVID it seemed highly probable that self-quarantine would continue.
Ugh. We were CRAVING a physical challenge and adventure.
Earlier in the year we had begun planning a spring of 2021 Thru-hike of the 800-mile Arizona Trail.
As our conversation continued, we tiptoed around the idea of a Fall thru-hike of the AZT. Could we possibly train and be ready in five months?
It took all of about 12 seconds to conclude that we could and should do it.
Immediately our focus turned to preparation and training. For instance, we cranked out spread sheets of elevations and daily hiking mileage. We binge watched YouTube thru-hiker trips soaking up their tips and wisdom. Additionally we researched and purchased ultra-lite backpacking gear and calorie dense freeze-dried foods.
My amazing and loving sister agreed to fly out for a six-week stay with Penny while we were gone. As a result our physical training began in earnest.
Part of our preparation included a recon trip to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff area – marking “way points” for the location where we’d drop our water caches the week prior to our trip.
It was awesome to have this ultimate challenge to train for. Every other day we’d load up our backpacks and head to beautiful trails, increasing our hiking mileage each week.
Every ounce counts when you plan to carry it 750 miles so we bought this gram scale to weigh every item in our ultra lite backpacks.
By mid-July our confidence soared as our legs logged long miles.
But then the wildfires began…
We hoped they would simply blow over (pun intended) but weeks went by and weather reports worsened. Over 130 miles of the AZT were trapped in active fire areas and we could not believe what was happening. Reports on the AZT website and Facebook group strongly suggested canceling any thru hikes until late spring of 2021.
Here we go again
Facing the fire facts caused us to become sullen and depressed. This resulted in two culprits, COVID and massive Wildfires, extinguishing our joy. The score was: Disappointment – 2, Emmerich’s – 0
Yes, our long Thru-hiking trip has been postponed again. It’s true that “Disappointment” may have a few points on us, but we’re determined to get on the scoreboard later this month as we hike a non-burned 100 mile section of the AZT.
evening the score
I won’t say I’ll never be back to Show Low and I learned my lesson of “never-say-never”. However, I’m looking forward to the day the scoreboard reads Disappointment – 2, Emmerich’s – 2 when that elusive vaccine arrives and we can move on to new adventures!