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Saturday, June 16, 2001

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Volkswalk and digital

I went to bed at 9:00 last night but finally at 11:00 I took a sleeping pill. All the sounds had faded and people had put out their annoying lights and then the really latecomers arrived and started putting up their tents by the light of their headlights and hammering and yelling. So annoying. I find anyone who camps with a bright lantern is annoying. It's so blinding in the dark that surrounds us. It's better than it used to be but one large group had several that were very irritating.

I also listen for sounds as, yes, I do worry about bears and human predators even though I'm safer here than at home. Still the unknown is scary especially when you are by yourself.

I was wide awake before 6:00 this morning and finally got up. It's so lovely and quiet since few people are up. I bustled about (well wandered and mosey more than anything) doing the little morning chores. It's irritating how long they seem to take out here when I just want to sit and enjoy the day. They take just as long at home but at least I don't have to pack and unpack everything. I like the bear boxes, though, since you can put all your stuff in them overnight and not have to lug it to the car. I do put everything away since the time that Lisa and I woke up to all our bread and marshmallows stolen and scattered by some squirrels. I know people who won't camp because of the logistics and effort to pack and unpack everything constantly. I suppose people who just set up camp and sit there all weekend don't have to worry about that but what's the point of camping if you just sit in camp all day.

The trees are beautiful as the sun just starts touching the tops of them. There are some annoying gnats but all in all it's a great morning. My tiny alcohol stove is making it's usual whooshing sound as I heat water for oatmeal. I don't really cook when I camp, I just heat water for coffee and oatmeal and soup, etc. Someone is cooking bacon and eggs and it smells good but I know what a hassle it is cleaning up at a campsite. I have way too much junk as it is and need to work on cutting way back.

The volkswalk started in Summerhaven and with my early rising I was number 5. We went up, past some amazing homes that have been built right against the hill. Soon the asphalt ended and turned into dirt as we entered the upper Sabino riparian area. You can still see the asphalt in places but now it's a great walk up to the ski lift.

After stamping my start card at the first control point the walk continued up the road to the top. This part is always a killer since it starts getting hot, even on top of Mt Lemmon. Then I wanted to take a couple pictures and my camera didn't work. Nothing worked on it. I changed the batter and changed the film and nothing worked and, then, I heard stuff rattling inside. I haven't dropped it or anything, that I can remember. What a bummer!

After passing the second control point we started down the Aspen Trail which is a beautiful but very steep trail. There are quite a few log steps to control the erosion and I could feel my knees straining as I went down them and I had to step side ways to keep my legs from giving out. I could tell my legs would be sore. It was worth it as the fallen leaves were pale and almost looked like splotches of light on the ground and the cottonwoods were shimmering a pale green.

It took me about 3 1/2 hours though I can do 10K in under two hours on flat land. The altitude and hills are a killer though the altitude didn't make me sick this time. I was tired but glad I did it. I drove back to my campsite but was still upset about my camera. I had thought of staying another night but decided to drive on down and see about getting my camera fixed.

It was a shock to get out of the truck at home and feel the hit but it was exhausting to carry everything back in. There always seems to be twice as much coming back and I had to carry it up the stairs instead of down. When I had everything inside I just sat in the airconditioning with a fan right on me and ice water to drink. Ecstasy!

I checked my MSMoney and realized that I had spent almost $300.00 on film and processing in the last year. Then I started wondering if I could get a decent digital camera for $300.00 plus another whatever that it would cost to fix the camera I have now. I decided to try for under $300.00 and I did find some. They aren't the high end professional quality but I don't need that. The 1.? mega pixels make a decent 4x6 if I wanted to print them off, but I don't want to. I would even need smaller sizes to put on web.

There were a bunch of sales for Father's Day but it took me all afternoon to just figure out what all the specs were. It's the extras, like more memory for when I travel, and batteries, since they use them up fast, etc., that make me hesitate, but I still think I'll come out ahead with a digital, I just wish I could test one before I buy it.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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