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2005-04-03 Friday night April 1, Briana and I went downtown and did the First Fridays art walk/shuttle. First Fridays is a downtown Phoenix cultural event where certain galleries and restaurants have special openings and showings. The Phoenix Library is the hub from which there are five different tour routes that can be accessed in special buses that have certain stops in concentrated gallery areas. Being out of the art scene here for so long I was totally unaware of how big it had become. The last I knew there was a handful of galleries downtown at best. There were at least 75 dots on the map of spots to stop and see. We were only able to do one route and that included Thai dinner at the "Fate" restaurant where Briana's art instructor at ASU was showing his work. Much to our surprise we were seated right next to him and his wife and their party. That was really cool being able to talk to him about art and also to his wife who is about to graduate from law school at the University of Arizona. The crowd in and along the row of galleries was quite different from that of the Scottsdale art crowd. They were younger less affluent and in general quite a bit more liberal. I noticed an "Air America" table set up outside one of the galleries. Overall I was not impressed with the art in the galleries with the exception of a few artists and one gallery by the name of "Untitled". In another gallery there were some interesting cubes, probably 8", covered with monochromatic fabrics of various sorts and stitched and decorated in an interesting geometric manner. All were mounted on the wall in a row with intermittent cubes above and below the main row which was strategically located at eye level. Briana's teacher's work was superior, even though it was dimly lit in the restaurant. It consisted of charcoal drawings and some screen prints. What I liked most about his work was the expert blending of texture and value in the designs and chiaroscuro. These were primarily abstract. The Thai at "Fate" was good although there was a piece of cork in my wine that disturbed Briana until she was able to determine for sure that was what it was. The shrimp and some kind of curry that I had was very good.

Saturday Briana and I headed out again for downtown Phoenix to the Herberger Theater to see an Arizona Theater Company production entitled "Permanent Collection" which involved the complex issue of racial prejudice as it makes an appearance in the world of art. I enjoyed the performance. We just got seated as the play began do to a ticket snafu at will-call.
2005-04-03 I've been thinking a lot lately about why my dealings with prostate cancer were so easy. I read so many accounts of men who are not doing well with the same procedure and level of cancer that I had. I don't feel guilty. More than anything I would like these men to know The Lord of the universe. Cancer is just one of the many ways in which one might die someday. I know cancer could come back and that will be in the back of my mind as long as I live, but the whole thing in retrospect was something that I think I enjoyed. Yes enjoyed. Please don't think of me as a whacko and hear me out. My journal tells the story; there were indeed some times when I was down and some times when I was not very comfortable. In all I handled this thing quite a bit easier than most men in the same boat. I even think of the time off for surgery (two weeks) as a pleasant vacation with people waiting on me. I relaxed a lot and recovered quickly and was back on the trail hiking in less than four weeks after major surgery. Three months after surgery I did a rigorous fourteen mile canyon hike, was playing basketball before that. All of this is in the journal.

Here is what I have to say about why I did so well and you can take it for what it is worth and it may just be worth a lot to you. If you've read this journal it's all there, maybe with not as much emphasis as it is going to get right now. It's all about faith in Jesus Christ who condescended to human form to walk among men that they might know the truth and be freed from the bondage of sin and have eternal life:

When I went into the hospital for major surgery I wasn't afraid. I'm not bragging, if anything I'm boasting in the Lord. He is my ONLY hope. He is the light of the world. You see many were praying for me throughout this day and before and after. I had already turned this entire cancer ordeal over to the God of the Universe. That is I released the burden of worry and fret into his hands. He has a perfect plan and my living or dying is just as much a part of it as anything else. There are things He wants me to do as long as I'm alive. Number one is to know Him; He wants a personal relationship that is ongoing. Indeed I was at peace with any outcome, which is more than I can say for many who worry and fret about something they have no control of after a certain point. I personally did everything that I thought was right to give myself the best chance of survival. I did my part. But the most important thing I did was get right with God concerning the entire process and did that early on. I prayed fervently that I would persevere. I prayed just before surgery WITH THE DOCTOR! Many prayed for me, before, during and after. During the two weeks after the surgery God laid it upon my heart to make my experience known to others. Verse after verse had relevant meaning to my ordeal and how I went through it. The truth here is this: Life is short and you don't know when it ends, you could die in an accident on the way to work or die from a heart attack suddenly or in an unexpected natural disaster. Life is a vapor, here for a short while and gone. Eternity is forever! Doesn't it make sense to follow the one true God of the universe and secure a future in eternity with Him. No one else makes the claims that He does. So more than anything this is to all of you men out there in the pits because the quality of your life is in the cellar. Anyone alive at one time or another has suffered or is about to. No one goes through life without it. The only decision in life that we make that has any eternal implications is this matter of what to do about Jesus Christ. Who do you say He is? Why do you reject him or avoid Him? His name is the most powerful name in the Universe and it stirs up controversy everywhere in the world. Christians in China are in jail by the thousands just for proclaiming the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus convicts the soul of evil and causes one to make a moral examination of self. Perhaps that is why one might avoid Him, having a sense of living an impure life and not wanting to give it up and surrender to the calling of God. Mighty is His power. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the light of the world and He is calling all men out of darkness where they dwell in the kingdom of the prince of darkness.

No matter how bad any cancer is God is bigger and wants you to be with Him in light and glory forever!

Just did the Haunted Canyon trek to Tony Cabin Friday the 15th through Sunday. Went in with Hooli early Friday morning and really enjoyed the afternoon, with temperatures pushing high 80's. The trek in was cool, especially along the Pinto Creek as we crossed it numerous times. The recent rains had washed away much of the trail where it ran close to the creek and we had to pay close attention to see for sure where it took up and left off, but in the end we made it to the cabin much quicker than the last time out. We also encountered a Western Diamondback rattle snake resting in the shade of a tree. As I walked by him he began to rattle and I couldn't determine where he was, so as Hooli and Rich approached I gave them a warning and Hooli stopped and Rich became noticeably aware of the snake, but didn't go charging after it, which Hooli credits to a recent snake proofing class that he put Rich through. Hooli spotted laying on the shady side of a tree next to the trail. I have never seen this particular rattler before. Later on that evening Todd, Victor, Tom and Suz all arrived in the dark. We hung out around the fire for awhile and hit the hay. In the morning after breakfast Victor and Suz had to get back the city and we bid them farewell. Todd, Tom and I set out to find a cave that Todd had seen from the Paradise Trail. I stopped short and headed back down after deciding that the cave was not worth the bushwhack up a steep slope and canyon wall. Turns out the cave was just part of an elaborate alcove high up on the canyon wall and was also right beneath a large beehive. Glad I turned back and took pictures of Todd and Tom on their excellent adventure. Back at camp Tim, Tracy and Michelle arrived. All of us went down to the creek and relaxed before dinner. We had a great time around the campfire that night and a safe journey out the next day.


Candice graduated with honors on Thursday night. We had a great dinner at PF Changs and Candice's boyfriend Garrett joined us. I'm very proud of Candice, she is a very smart girl and will be going to ASU next fall majoring in pre-med. You go girl!

OK!, I've finally scanned and am now posting Sarah's photo taken backstage during one of the Nutcracker performances. Isn't she pretty?

Right now I have no medical insurance. I am looking. Got a physical in with Dr. Dubnow just before the coverage lapsed. I really despise medical insurance and all the hassle of getting it. It's absurd. It's a lot of greed.

Did not go to First Fridays this month with Briana. It just didn't work out right.

Did a three day backpack last weekend along the Sycamore Canyon rim with some friends from Arizona Hikers. Along for the trek were: Todd, Hank, John, Doug, Tom, Diane, Tracy, Richie Rich Boy and myself. Todd and hank came in Saturday night about 11, so I got up and socialized with todd until around 2 in the morning. Early that evening across the drainage where we were camped we spotted a bear and the next day when a group went over there to look for signs I could tell by their size compared to the bear the night before that the bear was a pretty good sized one. Two weeks prior to this hike Todd, Tom and myself hike in and stashed 9 gallons of water. Hank stashed another three the following week so we had plenty of water and we all brought in more. We left a lot stashed up there. On Saturday we had a good time lounging about camp and not doing a whole lot of anything but telling stories and taking naps. We did take a short hike out over the rim and down a little the canyon a ways. Saturday night things began to take a turn for the worse for me. When dinner time came around I found myself not being very hungry and having a mild stomach ache and head ache. I made dinner anyway but couldn't finish it. Wasn't feeling too well when I went to bed but figured I'd feel better in the morning. Wrong! I woke up in the middle of the night shaking violently. I was cold so I managed to put my socks on and and a beanie and zip up all the way to my head. My head hurt worse than ever and I had a sensation of being dizzy and I believe I had a fever. After much tossing and turning I finally got back to sleep. Woke up a little later sweating profusely. So off with the beanie and sock and unzipped the bag, and more tossing and turning. Back to sleep again and shortly thereafter the sun was rising. I could hear Diane and Tracy talking over by the fire ring and began to wonder how I was going to get out of there. I felt horrible and when I went to take a drink of water I couldn't stand the taste. It tasted like the Nalgene bottle and I couldn't stand it so I didn't drink any more of it. I no longer drink alcohol with the exception of red wine with dinner, but I felt like one might feel had they polished off a fifth of sour mash. So when Todd asked me how I was doing this morning I had to say "not well." Made my way down to the fire ring where the rest of the group were eating or preparing their breakfast. The thought of food bothered me. The thought of water bothered me. I wasn't dehydrated either. Urine was clear and frequent enough. Todd made some coffee and asked if I'd like some and I had to say no. John made a comment about me being sick if I didn't want coffee. He was right. I always have coffee. Doug made a comment about me having to make some choices. I made no reply but thought about that for awhile and decided that the best thing for me to do at that time would be drink as much water as I could and take some ibuprophen. I forced down a quart of water and took 800 mg ibuprophen. I managed to get all of my gear packed up and into my pack, but when I went to put my pack on I had no cross-chest straps to fasten much less tighten. Squirrels had gone after the salt in certain areas of the pack. The day before Todd had shown me where my main hip pad belt had been severed and he theorized that squirrels had done it. I wasn't so sure but did manage to get it tied well enough to get me out. Now it was confirmed, it was squirrel damage. They got to Todd's pack that night as well. Anyway by the time we got to the trail I was feeling better and managed to hike out without any problems other than sweating more than usual. All of this to say this is something that has never happened to me in on a backpack such as this and it is something for me to think about and be more prepared for in the future. I think I must have carried some bug in with me.

Janet, Candice, Sarah, Emily and myself arrived at Rainbow campground around 3:00 PM on Thursday the 26th and set up our camp in space number seven which I had reserved a couple months before. The plan was to have a nice car camping experience in the midst of my favorite part of Arizona. Rainbow is located in the Big Lake recreation area and space number seven is on the outer edge of the campgrounds very close to the Lake. Big lake is about 9500 ft in elevation and Fur and Aspen abound with a very scenic backdrop of Mt. Baldy and plenty of snow on it. The only noise we experienced in camp was a generator of a nearby RV, but never during the night. There were quite a few mosquitos, so we drenched ourselves in repellant and managed to get only a few bites. The temperature was mid seventies and dropped quickly into the 60's after sunset and finally down to mid 50's by early next morning. After a superb dinner of tri-tips and potatoes we enjoyed the fire for awhile and retired around 9:00 PM.

I was up at 4:30 AM, made some coffee and got a nice fire going. It was nippy out and the fire was a very good thing. I love the smell of campfire on my clothes, reminds me of my youth doing the thing that I loved to do most. I could still see the moon through the trees and wondered when it had come up because it was pitch black when I went to bed. Janet got up shortly after I did and we enjoyed coffee time in the cool mountain air before the dweebs emerged from their tent with that age old question, "what's for breakfast?" Sarah cooked scrambled eggs with cheese and I made the hash-browns. After breakfast Sarah, Emily and myself drove around to the other side of the lake on FSR 116 close to the Thompson Trailhead where we found a side road that was beckoning us. Our mission was to find some fuel for the fire that evening. About a half mile in I pulled over and hiked a short distance into the woods. There was a fallen aspen that was perfectly aged. We loaded up with enough wood for that night and headed back to camp. Candice was a little upset that we left without her. So after unloading the wood, Candice joined the three of us and we were off on another adventure. We hiked around the dam area and played in the snow that was still there. During this time clouds were building up and getting darker, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped about ten degrees as it began to sprinkle. It never got out of the 60's the rest of the day. On the way back to camp we stopped off at the Big Lake Ranger Station and talked to the Ranger on duty for awhile about bears, why they are becoming a problem now due to the increased numbers of campers and their incredible stupidity. Need I say it? MANIFEST DESTINY! There, that felt good. We talked of other topics and she told us of a nice little hike to the Big Lake Lookout Tower via the Indian Springs trail. It is a short hike of a mile and a half with an elevation gain of about 500'. We told her we might give it a try and headed back to camp. As we pulled into camp the sprinkles were starting to get a little heavier. I decided it was cold enough to justify a fire. Got a good one going and no sooner started than the rain came. We had to get under the tarp for awhile. Around 4:00 the rain subsided and we decided it was done for the day and that we ought to go check out the lookout tower.

An adjoining trailhead was located at the back of the campground but we decided to drive around to the Indian Springs Trailhead. As we started up the trail the sky darkened again and the wind pick up with the distant sound of thunder which got louder as we progressed. When we reached the tower the wind was considerably stronger and there was moisture in it. Up the tower we went. Ranger Deloris let us in even though she was very busy on the radio talking to a team on the way to a fire she had spotted. She informed us that within the last two hours she had spotted four fires started by lightning and this one was still active. She showed it to us. About that time I heard a voice come over the radio saying that they were about 300' from the fire that was located straight up a drainage. She was very pleasant in so far as she was in the middle of doing a critical part of her job and we show up. So after she told the girls about fires and such we said our goodbyes and thanked her. The rain picked up some more on the way down. Hot dogs and beans were on the menu for the evening followed by smores around the fire. Slept great. Packed up and headed back for the valley by 9:00 AM. There was not very much traffic, which of course was part of my plan. In all it was a very kool trip. Some pictures are in the gallery.

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