Category Archives: Photo Journal

Photo Journal: Adventure on The Side of a Canyon

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Fay Canyon Trail is only a mile. However, you can extend this simple hike by taking a small path that leads away from what I call the staircase. The small, side trail leads away from the main trail and brings you deeper into Fay Canyon. Originally, we wanted to hike a twelve mile hike, but got lost and did this one instead. Overall, by combining the trail at Fay Canyon and the other trail nearest the parkinglot, we hiked five miles. Sedona is absolutely beautiful, and this part of Sedona won’t cost you a $5 pass so common here.


Photo Journal: Mt. Elden




Mt. Elden is more difficult than climbing Mt. Humphreys in that it is steeper. It’s only six miles round trip. Each mile as you get closer to the top feels longer. It took us four and a half hours total, including a lunch break at the top. The ranger allowed us to climb the tower.

Photo Journal: Tonto Natural Bridge



Life is too short to live life on Facebook. On a rainy day, a deluge, my husband and I went on an impetuous road trip. Tonto Natural Bridge is located just outside of Payson, Arizona. It’s not a difficult hike, but it is a slippery one. One portion required some balance and climbing. Otherwise, the rain fell in sheets and we enjoyed the freedom of living, breathing, and tasting life in it’s very real form.

My First Half-Marathon

Three years ago I was 45-lbs heavier, making climbing any hill arduous. You can’t imagine the emotion of finishing your first half-marathon. I’ve definitely got the bug now. Next race is next year’s Tough Mudder.



PLACE   NO. NAME                    SEX AGE    TIME   PACE   DIV   CITY, ST
=====  ==== =====================   === ===  ======= =====  =====  ======================
    1    87 KAY WAXLER              F   37  1:58:18  9:02  F3539  PHOENIX, AZ         
    2   114 SHARI KEARNS            F   39  1:59:53  9:09  F3539  , AZ                
    3    13 TINA BUNCH              F   36  2:26:50 11:12  F3539  GLENDALE, AZ        
    4   107 GAYLE ROBSON            F   36  2:28:32 11:20  F3539  , AZ                
    5    37 NIKOLE HAHN             F   38  2:29:56 11:27  F3539  CHINO VALLEY, AZ    
    6    34 JOANNE GIERAK           F   35  2:46:26 12:42  F3539  GILBERT, AZ         

On other news, remember that this is the last Sunday post. Starting Friday, September 28, I will only be posting Monday through Friday as I am introducing a new blog that will post Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays called, Whine and Cheese Girl. For you foodies, you’ll rejoice as it will have recipes.

Have a blessed Sunday!

“There’s a Theology in Everything”

That’s what I said on our hike as we tripped, stumbled, fell and trudged through snow as deep as mid-calf following a virgin snow-covered trail up Bill Williams Mountain. We hiked for hours and never reached the top. By the time, we neared the top, or what we thought was the top, the snow level became an impenetrable obstacle with the trail veering into yet another switchback and deep into more trees. I could see the light above teasing us with thoughts of, “almost there.” I know we skated across the side of the mountain and we could see the backbone of it from where we hiked. A hike that was supposed to take five hours round trip would take considerably longer with this much snow.

So we turned around and discovered the trip back so much easier as we slid and stumbled down the trail, avoiding tree branches and other hidden menaces beneath the white. We found a dry log and ate lunch there, then continued. My pants were soaked through and my skin stung. My socks squished in my waterproof boots. Snow had fallen inside during the climb up, and now kept my toes effectively refrigerated as we climbed down the mountain. We descended according to the website a couple of thousand feet and the air warmed and my legs no longer felt icy, but wet. Mud caked my clothes and I grinned.

Yes, there’s a theology in everything. A theology in climbing. A theology in retreating. A theology in overcoming. A theology in not giving up and returning to the trail when the snow will be gone to reach the summit of the mountain. A theology in knowing when to retreat instead of risking frost bite and sapping away our physical strength when we can’t see the end and the snow continually increases in inches the higher up we climb. Creation reminded me of the challenges in my own life—the daily ones and the infrequent ones that teach me through natural consequences what to do and what not to do.

How many times have you tried to climb when God wanted you to turn around? Sometimes it takes fearlessness to climb, and courage to turn around when God directs you elsewhere.

A Town With Demons

Jerome, AZ is well known for it’s New Age, Tarot Card and Angel Readings. It’s less than an hour from Sedona. So it’s no wonder that people claim certain buildings are haunted. My friend Kristine McGuire could tell you about her experience with so-called ghosts from her book. Otherwise, Jerome is a quaint mountain town tucked literally into the side of a mountain. It has great shops and restaurants, bed and breakfasts and hotels. You could drive through it in five minutes. Tony and I love to visit this town in spite of it’s background and rough areas. It’s a great place to people-watch and eat. If you want an adventure, drive to Jerome!

Picture Journal: In God’s Heart

In God’s Heart, I am…

photo credit: Tony Hahn

…expected to open my heart to Him, for change, to grow, and to love better. Like the fall when trees experience death, so must we–to ourselves.

…expected to live in truth; not in the reality I invent for myself. Things are not ideal in this world. However, there is joy in even the hardships if we want to see it.

…I am cherished. He shows me that I am cherished by the unexpected joys found even in the smallest of moments.

…I am part of his family.

…I am led. Even when I can’t see very far, He can see all.

….I surrender my will. Unless we surrender, our rebellion only leads us deeper into darkness.

What are you running from today that keeps you from seeing who you are in God’s heart?


In Climbing Mt. Humphreys…

A promising day of blue skies held a hint of rain. Some friends accompanied us to Snowbowl. We began a long trek up Mt. Humphrey’s. Our goal was to reach the summit, or at least the saddle. We had a time limit which pushed us faster than normal up this steep incline. On the way, we met someone who inspired us even as the strength in our legs nearly gave out.

This woman had lost her companions. They were jogging up the mountain ahead of us. It was too fast for the woman to follow. We discovered that she had asthma. The woman came up from Phoenix and she was not used to hiking at this elevation. She held two ski poles to assist her on the terrain. The woman was in good physical shape and stopped a lot on the trail. I usually like to call these stops, “admiring the view,” rather than admit that my chest is heaving and my legs hurt.

Mt. Humphrey’s is about 12,300 or so feet and the highest point in Arizona. We had ten minutes left and we were more than halfway up. We pushed our legs until we crested the saddle. We didn’t have time for the extra hour to the summit, but the saddle gave us an awe-inspiring view. It even began to sleet as we stood on the saddle far above the earth. On the way down, we came across that woman still working her way to the summit. I don’t know if she ever got the top, but I continue to remember her now weeks later. Her perseverance was amazing!

Perseverance is necessary for any Christian. If we continue to say we can’t do something, we never will try. Failure is not the road block, but fear; it keeps us from living. We question why American missionaries go across the sea to countries hostile to our beliefs, even as those hostile countries are putting to death other believers, and yet their perseverance and strong faith lead them to better things in their lives. Often, I have heard people say that God gives us what we need, because we don’t know what we want. No one growing up says, they want to go to the Middle East and get beheaded by an extreme Muslim. We don’t want to lose our home due to foreclosure or want to move to another town for a new job, but God knows better what we desire and He asks us to persevere in the faith and trust Him. That woman wanted to prove something. She never allowed her asthma to make her a victim. That woman continued to climb even as the air became thin.

I want that perseverance. I want the faith of a missionary facing formidable odds. I want to live following Christ’s plan because oddly enough I am happier when I am following Him, even when circumstances are miserable. It’s these treks up difficult terrain in thin air that drive my determination to do things I would have never thought possible. However, to get to this point, I lost weight, worked on gaining muscle and endurance; in the same way, for faith to remain strong it depends solely on what we feed our soul. Do we read our Bibles? Or do those Bibles collect dust on our bookshelves? Are they opened only on Sunday? Do we pick and choose what we want to believe of the Bible?

We were near those clouds!