Dan with Molly, Tip, and Max Hike to Sand Dune and Broken Arches in Arches National Park, Utah

Throughout the morning Owen (9) has given his all rock scrambling and climbing the sandstone monoliths on the eight mile trail to and from Double O Arch.  Four hours later he is whooped.  He chooses to hang back in the car with his Omi while we four (Max, Molly, Tip, and moi) hike the two final arches.

Molly’s family loves to capture “jump photos” whenever they travel. Here is Max at Broken Arch.

With this being our last day in Arches National Park, we find a parking spot across the road from the trailhead, which leads first to the nearby Sand Dune Arch and then out across the prairie to the Broken Arch.   

Mid-day at 6000’ in mid-April 2022, I join the other three on the side trail up a slot canyon (a narrow gorge amid sandstone walls) to the sandy beach of a trail to the Sand Dune Arch. 

George Mason U Molly at the slot canyon to the Sand Dune Arch

Wading through luxurious sand, we very quickly find ourselves in front of the aptly named Sand Dune Arch.

With Molly under the Sand Dune Arch, the guys always appreciate her enthusiasm
Molly and Tip at Sand Dune Arch mid-afternoon

On a day going to the mid-80s and with the condo association pool awaiting us 30 minutes away in Moab, we four have a winding one mile trail across a prairie of greening tumbleweed to the Broken Arch.

The prairie trail to the Broken Arch

The Broken Arch isn’t really broken, but a large crack at its top gives it that name.  We add this final arch jewel to our charm bracelet of rusty red stone landscapes.

The Broken Arch is so named for the crack at the top center of the arch
The crack that gives the Broken Arch its name.

By 2PM we are whooped.  Even so, we make one last stop at the Balancing Rock.

Balancing Rock

Returning to our sweet VRBO for a late lunch, we have a chill afternoon ahead.  For my part, I enter first drafts of each of today’s two hikes into my laptop, edit the pictures from my iPhone 12, and then surrender to a quiet bedroom in our now quiet condo.

The others have the Rim Village pool to cool their jets on a mid-80s afternoon.  The warm pool and then the even warmer hot tub are therapeutic for what ails Owen and a joy for Max. 

A travel tip if you are looking for wine in Moab.  There is one small liquor store with hours Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 PM.  Snaring a fine Black Box, I was 12th in line at the one cash register open.  When I finish on this mid-afternoon Monday, there were 16 others behind me. 

With our “grapes,” the adults toast another day in paradise.

Dan and Hannah Hike to Landscape Arch and Double O Arches in Arches National Park, Utah

Our VRBO condo in south Moab, Utah is just fifteen minutes from the entrance to Arches National Park.  With a timed reservation (we must enter between 7-8A), we have an uncrowded park morning ahead of us in mid-April 2022 in search of more magnificent arches of eastern Utah.

Arches NP in east central Utah

Driving to the end of the park at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, Hannah and I with our daughter Molly’s family of Tip, Owen, and Max will soon have an Avenue of Arches for our viewing pleasure. 

Hannah and I first came here in 1992 with our three kids (Molly [then 12}, Robyn [10], and Will [8] on the first of our four consecutive family cross-country trips (1992-1995).  She and I have returned again and again as we love the outdoor vibe of Moab, the warmer weather, and the being-away-ness of the place.  The at-home “to do” lists just dissolve. Today we get to share our love of this uber-popular national park with Molly’s family (she is now 42) that includes hubby Tip, and our grandsons Owen (nearly 10) and Max (nearly 8). 

All the sandstone climbing you could want. Max with his Omi.
Owen, the rock scrambler.

As we set out at 8A, we six have a mission to hike the two mile winding, slightly ascending trail to Double O Arches.  Along the way, we’ll have side trails to multiple other arches, including the Granddaddy of them all – Landscape Arch. Though temperatures will go to the 80s this mid-April afternoon, this morning we all start out in long sleeve tee-shirts or sweatshirts.

Almost immediately, we have a side trail the Pine Tree Arch. 

Early morning Molly and Tip at the Pine Tree Arch

Taking the sandstone trail northward, Owen and Max get more Fitbit steps than Hannah and I do as they haven’t met a rock side or sandstone summit they couldn’t climb.

Owen, the sandstone scamperer

Our next focus is the classic Landscape Arch that stretches some 300’ from side to side though is only 11’ wide at its center.  All rock formations at Arches National Park are temporary as water shapes and transforms the sandstone.  They will eventually all crumble. In fact, in 1991, a 60 ton slab of stone fell from the center of the arch when visitors were allowed under the arch. As you might imagine, no one is allowed under this arch anymore. My pictures are taken behind a fence some 300′ from the arch itself.

Landscape Arch accentuated by the deep blue Utah sky
Brothers Forever, Max and Owen

We then find side trails to Navajo and Partition Arches.  Our what we thought we might be a simple four-mile roundtrip hike to Double O stalls as we celebrate two more arches.

Tucked away but oh so accessible Navajo Arch
Our traveling party of six at the Partition Arch (Owen, Max, Hannah, Tip, Molly, and the blogger)

After walking though the Partition Arch, we have ourselves a modest climb
Max and Owen tucked into the sandstone with their Omi

Our destination is the Double O top and bottom arches which we arrive at three hours later.  Peanut butter and jelly, salted almonds, granola bars and lots of water sustain as we quickly stow our long sleeves for summer’s short sleeves.

Within two months of our 50th Anniversary on July 1, 2022, Hannah and I celebrate at the Double O Arch
With the Double O Arch in the background, Dan, Hannah, Molly, Owen, Tip, and Max have reached their morning destination.
I told you Owen was quite the rock scrambler.

As we return to the trailhead, we hike all the sandstone fins back to the trailhead from the Double O Arch.

By 1230 PM, we are back at our rented Toyota Sienna mini-van for nourishment.  Our hiking day of nearly eight miles is not quite done.  With this being our last day in Arches National Park, we want one more fix of arches. We’ll hike first the Sand Dune Arch and then out into the fields to the Broken Arch.  That’s next week’s blog.

Dan and Hannah Hike the Windows and Double Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

After a morning hiking to the Delicate Arch (click here for that blog from last week), Hannah and I drive with Molly’s family to the parking lot that serves as the trailhead for both the Windows Arches and the Turret Arch as well as the Double Arch Trail in mid-April 2022.

We start off on what is called the primitive trail (by that I mean poorly marked).  It’s a longer route to the Windows and Turret Arch, but as you may know, Hannah and I rarely pass up a chance at more Fitbit steps.  Counseling has not helped our neurosis. By the way, arched windows have square bottoms and an arch or half-circle on top. 

From “You Are Here” we hiked the primitive trail to the South and North Windows, then to the Turret Arch, back to “You Are Here” to the Double Arch.

Predictably we lose our way on the primitive trail but are always within a few hundred feet of the backside of the window arches themselves. We never are lost lost.

Owen on the primitive trail
Owen again with the windows in the background from the back side

Eventually back on the Windows trail we climb to the rock beneath the arch for pictures.  Agile-lite at the age of 74, I remember days gone by when I, too, could scamper up and down the sandstone rock as Owen and Max do today.

The high desert of Arches National Park
Molly complements the natural beauty of the window arch
Turret Arch with its own turret to the left

Five hours into our day, we then hike the half mile to one more arch, the Double Arch.

One half of the Double Arch in the distance
Approaching Double Arch with Molly, Max, and Tip in the foreground
The bluest of blue skies accentuates that earth tone beauty of the Double Arch

Foolishly I follow the others 35′ up to the ledge beneath the Double Arch.  Definitely not my best choice.  And the thing is, I know it as I soon as I am mid-way up the rock wall that trouble awaits on my descent.   Yet I continue. Pride goeth before the fall.

Looking out from high above the desert floor from the base of the Broken Arch.

More than ready to return to terra firma, I need all the support our son-in-law Tip can give me.  Facing the rock, knowing at any moment I can slide 35′ down the rock wall, I use Tip’s offered foot as a toehold. My whole body tightens as I somehow inch down the rock wall finding the smallest of “Free Solo” cracks in the stone.  I make multiple promises to the Universe that I will not be so foolish again. There is enough fear in my heart to make that a believable pledge.

At last, I’m off the ledge. I will live to hike another day.

After a day on the trail at 77F, Owen and Max head to the pool while Molly and Tip “chill” in the hot tub with Hannah.  Moi?  Oh, I’m back at the condo doing what I love – writing a first draft of each of our two hikes, editing my pictures for the blog, and, yes, napping.  Later I join them in the hot tub. I am no fool.

If I am to guess, I won’t be surprised it the pool and the hot tub will be the highlight of our time in Utah for Owen and Max.  It would be for me if I were eight or ten.

It’s a 77F afternoon in Moab, Utah on April 17, 2022 for Owen and his Omi.
The poolside hot tub for cooling our jets (Tip, Owen, Max, and Molly)

Dan and Hannah Hike the Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park, Utah

As Hannah and I wait with our daughter Molly’s family (Tip, Owen, and Max) at Logan Airport in Boston on this first Saturday morning of April school vacation week, it’s not a good sign when Delta announces that our jet won’t have enough fuel to make the non-stop flight to Salt Lake City.  We hear that we’ll have to refuel in Minneapolis.  WTF!  What do you mean that our schedule flight doesn’t have enough fuel when you knew it was going to Salt Lake City six months ago when we bought our tickets!

Delta wasn’t exactly ready when we were!

Using all my Zen Namaste Peace and Love-ness, I settle in and think of Doris Day (i.e. que sera sera).  We then get the explanation that it’s a fuel pump that is not working.  Then, twenty minutes later we learn that the ground crew has worked their magic and got it up and running.  Though two hours late, we are appreciatively in the air for our 5.5 hour flight to Utah.

Enterprise Car Rental comes through as they always have.  From the landing, taxiing to the terminal, and walking to the on-site Car Rental cluster, we are driving south on I-15 through Salt Lake City within 30 minutes.

Stocking up for seven days on the road at the Trader Joe’s in Orem, near Provo, we then choose wisely to feast on two large Mountain Mike’s pizzas in the car as Molly drives us 200+ miles over four hours to Moab for the night.

Our three bedroom VRBO condo at the Rim Village in Moab blows us away. It has a deluxe master bedroom for Hannah and me, another queen bedroom for Molly and Tip, and a third room with twin beds for Owen and Max. There is a pool and hot tub in the complex. We rest easy after sitting for ten hours in a plane and a car.

The Rim Village master bedroom with Owen between us.
Our three bedroom condo in Moab, Utah

Before the others awake on Easter Sunday morning, I walk the Rim Village neighborhood in the dark and find the moon setting over the mountains.

Full moon setting over Moab

Our first of five days hiking in the national parks of Utah begins at Arches National Park.  To deal with the overcrowding of the popular national parks, the park service requires that visitors from May through October at the Arches obtain a timed entry reservation to enter the park at all. Our reservation allows us to enter this morning between seven to eight AM. 

Dan, Owen, Max, Hannah, and Molly

We begin our hiking morning with the park’s signature trail to the Delicate Arch. Though there are many folks on the 1.5 mile trail with nearly 500′ of elevation gain over sandstone slick rock, there is a festive rather than overcrowded feel to our hike. 

Max nearly 8 and Owen nearly 10 keep up admirably as we climb to the arch that is on many Utah license plates.

The trail just before the Delicate Arch
Our first view of the Delicate Arch (Owen, Hannah, Dan, and Max)
You can walk to the base of the Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch gets its red color from iron oxide. Although there is a rumor that the names of Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch were inadvertently exchanged due to a signage mix-up by the National Park Service, this is false. (See at the end of the blog the Landscape Arch and you tell me if the names were misapplied!)

Some of the nicknames for this iconic arch include “Cowboy’s Chaps” and “Old Maid’s Bloomers.” The first time the arch was called “Delicate” was in a magazine article in 1934. The writer noted that the arch was “the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.” Summer temperatures here often exceed 100 degrees. Our temps were hiking-delightful in the low 60s on this mid-April morning.

On the return trip we six pair off, with Owen and me trailing behind eventually walking nearly a mile with Lakota and Elena from Nashville.  They are engaging folks and interested in us, too.  Elena walks a half mile chit chatting with Owen while I talk college football and traveling the country with Lakota. 

Elena, Lakota, and Owen

With our big morning hike in the books, we drive to the parking area for the Windows Trail and the Double Arch.  Our hiking day has just begun.

The much more delicate Landscape Arch

Dan Wraps Up 2021

Hannah and I are again big winners in 2021. Our three kids, Will, Robyn, and Molly continue to delight. Molly’s hubby Tip and Will’s wife Laurel shine. Our five grandkids, Reese, Charlotte, Brooks, Max, and Owen add light to our lives. We all got together at Will’s home in Ithaca, New York this past Thanksgiving.

Top row – Robyn, Dan, and Max. Next row down – Owen, Hannah, Charlotte, and Will. The row below them – Brooks, Laurel, Reese, and Molly. Then the photographer Tip
The formal portrait – The age of the kids are: Max (7.5), Owen (9.5), Brooks (3.5), and Reese and Charlotte (1.5) All May, June, or July birthdays.

My mom made Christmas stockings for all three of our kids. Mom (1921-2014) had a great run (92 years!) and we all are better for having known her and been encouraged by her.

This Christmas season our daughter Robyn, visiting will from New York, and I continued our holiday tradition of going to a movie, this time fully-masked. We were blown away with how terrific the Spielberg remake of West Side Story was. I loved the original (1961), but this one was just as fantastic. Later in the week, Hannah will continue another tradition with Robyn – mother/daughter going out for Chinese food.

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Jack Kornfield

Dan and Hannah at the Wedding of Kara and Charles (October 3, 2021)

Kara is my brother Richard’s youngest, his only daughter. Charles is her guy. She and the C Man (I have no idea if Charles’ college buddies call him that, but it was fun to write.) had invited some 150 guests to the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York for their nuptials on the first Sunday in October (2021). 

Otesaga Hotel

Alas, one hundred made the scene in these Times of the Delta Variant of Covid; the ceremony and cocktail hour are to be outside while the dinner/reception will be indoors.

Otsego Lake, home to Otesaga Hotel Resort

Hannah and I wondered about coming to the wedding at all, but in the end felt satisfactory precautions were taken and we are Pfizer vaccinated. Click here for the link to the blog why we chose to come to the wedding.

About five hours of driving

Carpooling with our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, Hannah and I arrive around noon at Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the wedding is a 345 PM affair, we have time for lunch together with our three kids (and Tip), then walk the property at the Otesaga Resort and into town to get our 10+K steps.

Lunch of Wegman’s subs with Robyn, Molly, Will, Hannah, Dan, and Tip

Having not worn a suit in forever, I rocked the same gray suit that I wore to Molly and Tip’s wedding in 2011. With rain in the forecast, the ceremony is moved to a 120-seat ballroom. At the outset, I do wear my mask, then take it off. On, off, on off. Eventually I figure, what the hell, everyone is vaccinated and put it in my pocket.

The uncle and aunt of the bride with the groom Charles over Hannah’s shoulder
Molly and Tip who clean up well.

In Maine, the few times I go indoors, I always wear a mask. At our gym, I wear the mask in the facility but remove it when I exercise. I rarely go inside anywhere else. This afternoon, maybe half the folks are masking up for the fifteen-minute ceremony.  A 15-minute ceremony! That’s almost heaven, West Virginia.

Dan and Hannah with our daughter Robyn

Once in the side ballroom for dinner and dancing, we all sit at round tables for seven or eight. There is no social distancing. On the dancing floor, Hannah and I are shoulder to shoulder sans masks. By this time, just a few were wearing masks.  Alcohol and masks do not seem to mix. We are all vaccinated!

Eating and dancing at close range, I pretty much forget about wearing a mask myself.  By 9 PM Hannah and I wrap up while the younger generation rocks on into the night.

Six days after the wedding, no one at the wedding has tested positive for Covid. Coincidentally, two days later the pharmacist at the local Hannaford grocery store administers my Pfizer booster shot. (Glad you asked, no side effects just a sore left arm for 36 hours.)

And as Billy Shake says, All’s well that ends well.

Additional pictures from Kara and Charles’ Big Day

Will, Hannah, Dan, and Molly walking the downtown of Cooperstown
Dan and Hannah in front of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Main Street in Cooperstown, New York
Otsego Lake is the background for a joyful Molly with Tip
The women and one lucky guy! Anna, Robyn, Molly, Kara, Charles, and Tara. (Anna and Tara are my sister Patty’s kids.)

Dan and Hannah Hike Mount Monadnock with Their Grandson Owen (9) Part 2 of 3 – The Bend

Descending the White Cross Trail

As we continue our descent down the White Cross Trail from the Mount Monadnock peak, Molly, Tip, Owen, Hannah, and I come upon this branch, bent at childbirth as a sapling.

Owen carrying on the Rawding Tradition of Bent Tree Climbing

A young woman on the trail mentions that this branch was purposefully bent by Native Americans.  Intrigued, I did a little research.   By that I mean, I googled “bent trees as trail guides.”  I learned the following.

It seems Native American bent trees in the direction of a frequently visited destination such as a water source, campsite, or a safe river crossing. These were called Marker Trees.

Hardwoods, oaks, maples and elms were their trees of choice.  With the sapling staked down, the undamaged tree would continue to grow and new branches, not near the ground, would shoot upwards.  

In front of Owen from left to right are Molly, Hannah, Dan, and Tip on the last Sunday in August 2021

They go by other names: Trail Trees, Crooked Trees, Prayer Trees, Thong Trees. 

To be a trail tree, first of all, it must be old enough to have been alive when Native American tribes still lived in the area. The bend is about four or five feet off the ground. The bend is a sharp right angle. The tree then runs parallel the earth for a measure, and turns sharply up again, towards the sky.

Owen and his Pop

After the picture taking, we head to the trailhead after four miles of hiking/climbing over the past three and a half hours.

I use the Strava app to record my hiking, biking, and walking

And then we see masses of young’uns, late teens/early twenties, pass us by in gaggles of fifteen or twenty.

Heading to the summit

Part 3 concludes the Mount Monadnock blog with what we learned about these young folks and the impression a prospective future member of the Class of 2031 made.

Dan and Hannah Hike Mount Monadnock with Their Grandson Owen (9) Part 1 of 3 – The Climb

When our grandson Owen was seven, he hiked Mount Major in central New Hampshire with us.  (Click here for that blog. You’ll love the last two pictures of Owen.)  Almost immediately thereafter, we made plans for us all to climb the monster, Mount Monadnock in southwestern New Hampshire near his ninth birthday. A steady two mile climb of rocks, Mount Monadnock at 3,165′ is nearly 1,000′ higher than any other peak within 30 miles.

Meeting Owen and his parents, our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, at the Monadnock Country Café in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, we witness Owen chowing down with the meat eaters omelet and gigantic blueberry pancakes that he shares with his dad.

Ready to dig in!

Suitably fueled, at 820A we pull into the gate at the Monadnock State Park to hear the attendant ask if we have a reservation. What!  We have no idea we need a reservation.  We hiked here two years ago and didn’t need a reservation; we just had to arrive early enough to get a parking spot. Driving two hours, then breakfasting for an hour to be turned away at the last minute would be heartbreaking, cruel beyond belief.  Well, that might be a little hyperbole. We are told that so many people hike this mountain that hikers forge new paths into the woods to circumvent slower hikers. Fortunately, he said today there was room for hikers without reservations.  Phew.  Lesson learned! Check our hikes online first.

The trail begins
A steady Freddy climb

On an overcast morning at 60F at the trailhead, we opt for the steeper White Dot Trail to the summit and will return via the longer but less precipitous White Cross Trail.  Immediately we are steadily climbing over the stone-filled trail with cross-wise logs and later granite blocks laid into the mountain-side that make for an easier assent.

Keeping up with the adults with his usual sunny disposition, Owen scampers over and around rocks; we all take the stone slopes switchback-style to take the steep out of our climb.  Alternatingly, we take off our long sleeve shirts, then add them back on when the clouds come in and the temperature drops.

It seems like a clear morning, but…

Within a 500 yards of the top, clouds envelop us such that we can’t see the peak.  The trail of white dots clearly painted on the stones makes us confident we are on the way to the summit.

Once atop Mount Monadnock with limited visibility and stronger winds, we huddle behind a rock wall for granola bars, salted almonds, raisins, and water.  Our time in the chilly, cloud-covered summit is short as Molly soon leads us down the less steep and more meandering White Cross Trail.

As we make our way to the trailhead, three college kids are passing us on their way to the summit.  Hopefully reading their buoyant nature correctly, with a wide smile I say, “Well somebody slept in this morning,” as they see us with Owen.   I ask you, what percentage of people would take my good-natured, light-hearted ribbing in the fun-loving spirit that it was intended and how many would react defensively and swat back with sarcasm, head-shaking or pissiness? 

Well, not these three guys!  They smiled and said you got us.  Funny, some 45 minutes later the same three guys, absolutely cruising, pass us after being to the summit.  Still smiling, they add to the positive vibe of the many other folks on the trail knowing how lucky we all are to be here today. 

And then we see the bend in the trail.  Part two describes this unusual bend. 

For more information on the trails of Mount Monadnock State Park, see the map below.

The White Dot Trail is to the right and the White Cross Trail to the left. I use the Strava app to document my hikes. (Thank you, Will Rothermel)

Dan and Hannah Hike Our American Southwest – Sedona, Arizona (May 2010 Archives #3)

Is there a prettier name for a town than Sedona?  I think not.  As Arizona residents at the time of the birth of our first child Molly, Hannah and I never seriously considered Sedona for her first name.  Did we drop the ball?  I think not. Molly is a beautiful name.

Driving to Sedona today, I wonder if we did.   Like Montana and Dakota, Sedona suggests a strong individual, an unbridled spirit, the West personified.  Who wouldn’t want such a daughter?   Informed later of our musings, Molly said thank you, thank you for not naming me Sedona.  Another bit of unintended karma along our parenting trail.

Through the heavily forested Oak Creek Canyon, we meander down two lane route 89A to Sedona, just an hour’s drive south from Flagstaff.  Passing two of the more popular shorter hikes in the area, one at the West Fork Oak Creek Trail and the other at Slide Rock State Park, we take the rotary just south of town heading down Showalter Road to the parking area for the Mund’s Wagon hike.  Paying five dollars by credit card to park, we love supporting America’s state parks.

Beginning late morning, we head out under blue skies with very little shade.  Following brilliant red sandstone cairns (stacked rocks, in this instance encased in wire mesh cylinders), our trail is nicely marked and easy to follow.  A well-marked trail with other hikers allows me to relax and enjoy myself, unconcerned about getting lost.  Wondering if one is on the trail or not can ruin the best of hikes.

After talking with a returning, agreeable twenty-something hiker, we politely decline his offer of multi-grain energy bars.  It doesn’t take us ten seconds to realize that we just blew it in a big way! We broke the Third Commandment of the Trail – Accept offers of food and water appreciatively.   We hikers are one, inseparable.   We need to do all we can to support and honor each other.

Crossing the dry riverbed repeatedly, we find the modest elevation gain easy to handle.  Ninety minutes later we arrive at a beautiful outcropping at Merry-Go-Round Rock with panoramic views of Bear Wallow Canyon River Valley.  

In stones, Will you marry me? greet us from a Romeo to his Juliet or perhaps a Juliet to her Romeo or even a Thelma to her Louise or… Ah, the mysteries of the trail.  Heading back to the trailhead, we find pools of cool water to soothe our boot weary feet.  

Resting on a rock, I think of the wanderlust legacy bestowed on me by my own Mom and Dad.  Forty-five years ago, they took their three East Coast kids West in a woody station wagon, where I learned that the wilderness world beyond New Jersey was not such a dangerous place; my adventurous spirit was born.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Dan and What His World Looks Like – KGUA #58

For the August 23, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour hosted by Mark Gross and Peggy Berryhill in Gualala, California, we are asked to freewrite on What Does My World Look Like? (today? tomorrow? right now? in the future?)

For me, it all depends on the day.

Catch me on an August Sunday, my world looks beautiful.  Every two weeks at dawn on the course in Amesbury, Mass, I golf nine holes with our daughter Molly.  We don’t keep score and do hit extra balls when our first shots are not satisfactory.  We always follow up with eggs, homefries, multi-grain toast, and coffee at the Morning Buzz.

Catch me on a Monday, well my world is beautiful, too.  It’s a ping pong day with my buddy George.  Playing weekly for ten years, he wins some, I win some.  Supporting each other’s good shots with Wows and Whoas, we have a beer after our sweat-filled ninety minutes whacking the little white ball.

Fran and Hannah

Catch me on an early summer Wednesday, check off beautiful again.  Hannah and I ride bikes on our quiet country coastal roads at dawn to avoid the tourist traffic.  Riding side-by-side, we talk and then go single file when the occasional car passes by.  And all of a sudden, we are pulling into our driveway fourteen miles later.

Catch me on a Thursday, my world remains bee-you-tee-full.  Pickleballing with our friends, Fran and Steve, we have partners rather than opponents who don’t take themselves too seriously.  It’s just fun, then we all retire to our front deck for mid-day brewskis and buttery, store-bought popcorn.

My life is not always beautiful, but beautiful is what I remember about this past week.