We just returned from a vacation out west where we visited my mama and stepdad in their newly established retirement abode. I'm working on accepting the fact that they are retired. Suppose my parents will always seem young to me. That aside, my mama and stepdad did it up well in true western style. They literally have a place in the middle of nowhere, but you would never believe how incredibly beautiful "nowhere" can be.
I mean, you've got to be kidding me - is this gorgeous or what?! I also have to mention that I feel there is some sort of sick joke I'm playing on my stepdad. The poor soul debated with me all through high school and college about protecting the environment and hugging trees and that sort of thing. He actually vouched to never recycle another can after I left for college, and I kept thinking I must have failed miserably at convincing him of the importance of conservation and recycling. Well, he and my mama planted themselves into a self-sufficient universe where he was forced to use nature and the technological advances man has created to live in the middle of nowhere. Upon their amazing property now sits a multi-bedroom home that is fed water from a pump powered by none other than the mighty sun, and they power their home with a combination of solar and wind. It is a wonderful victory for this tree-hugging naturalist. Mostly I'm just proud and very impressed.
Back to the trip... We took close to 400 pictures on this trip, partly because my husband cannot avoid the urge to take a million pictures of beauty, but also because we have the cutest kid on the planet and he was one continuous photo opportunity. Yes, we had an amazing vacation.
When we arrived after our two 3+ hour flights, a layover, and a 1.5 drive through the desert (I'm so sorry mama that Germany is only going to make that a much longer trip!), Big R could think of doing nothing else than hiking to the top of the closest mountain (I call it a mountain because although it was clearly just a hill, the peak is probably over 6,000 feet - that, my friends, is a mountain in most of the continental U.S.). He wanted to see the view from the top and get a picture of the house, barn, and rest of the property from a point in the sky. Little did he anticipate though that he would be facing snake season. Yes, snakes. Big R's biggest phobia. I have to admit, I'm not exactly a fan of rattlesnakes, but my fear is no comparison. We took the fancy 'mule' to the base of the mountain, and we weren't walking two minutes with our trusty walking sticks and he screamed like a school girl. Right under his feet was a snake - just a gopher, but I think his face turned white. Being warned of the possibility and facing the fear in person are two very different things. Needless to say, we hiked that mountain at a snail's pace, using our trusty hiking poles as snake diverters. I wish we'd had it on video because I'm certain it was pure comedy. We did make it to the top though, and we have the pictures to prove it!
Here is a pause about half way up.
Here we are all proud. I think we were happier to have reached the top without a snake bite than we were to enjoy the view. That disolved quickly and you can see why here:
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