Friday, December 25, 2009

And so this is Christmas...

Jon and I left Xela carrying a gigantic duffle bag. We wove our way through the throngs at the bus terminal market, pushing sometimes, getting shoved by grannies with bundles on head, feet being crushed by pushcarts piled with veggies, and finally to the bus to Huehuetenango. After a five hour ride high into the frigid mountains we get off in the village of La Ventosa. Here lives my friend Don Geronimo. On the six day trek I usually lead we stop and stay in Geronimo's village. It is a compound made up of his eleven children, his brothers and sisters, their children, their children's children, his children's children, packs of dogs, pigs and chickens. About a month ago when I passed through Geronimo asked if I could bring presents for the kids in La Ventosa. His daughter sat down and wrote a list of names and ages, thirty in total. I have found its not uncommon for people here to ask me to do tasks that are close to impossible, so I tell him I will see what I can do. Over the next few weeks, using extra funds of the Quetzal trekkers, we buy and wrap trucks, dolls, crayons, pencils, hair scrunchies, water colors, packs of cards, coloring books, stuffed animals, sparklers, candy. This is what fills the sack we are hauling as we enter the village, hearing immediately the excited shouts of the children announcing our arrival, running back and forth from house to house, hiding behind one and another, swarming us in their shy way. Geronimo greets us and brings us in, the children follow closely. We hand out the presents one by one. Their eyes are huge with expectation, they are trying to be polite but can't contain themselves. Some open their presents right away, others take them to a secret place. Hugs and kisses, feliz navidad. My eyes sting and I take deep breaths to keep my self from sobbing.
We have dinner in the kitchen around the cooking fire. We are served the most special feast of eggs, hotdogs, fried potatoes and freshly made tortillas. Geronimo tells us this is the first time any of the children here have ever received a present. This village was hit hard by the civil war, neighbors were turned against each other, terrible acts committed. But the family is strong, they take care of each other, they give each other all they can, and most of the time all they have is love. He hugs Jon and I, we are part of his family forever.
We catch the bus as the sun is rising, Geronimo and his pack of dogs see us off. On the journey home I can't help but listen to the Guatemalan Christmas music blasting from and ancient speaker. The song changes and most unexpectedly I hear the Jon Lennon christmas song. The war is over. This time I can't hold back the tears, I let them roll, I let people think what they will. So merrymerry Chirstmas, and a happy new year. Let's hope its a good one with out any fear.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here are some more recent pictures of more recent things I've been up too. Most of them are with the kids that I work with and my coworkers.

Chepe and I in our kitchen making pizza with our aprons on.

Beto, myself and Henry- kickin it on the trail

Miguel (my fave), myself, Claudia (see previous blog), and Jon my coworker- just outside of the village Miguel is from, in between Xela and Lago de Atitlan.

Las Chulas

Sunrise over Lago de Atitlan from the sumit of Pico Zunil with Miguel and Chepe.

Surprise! Its a girl!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Respeto a los muertos

It is a hot, dusty morning with high puffy clouds on the horizon. My friend Wilson and I take the bus together to the edge of town and get on a smaller one. We are going to visit our friend Claudia, bringing her roses from the market and cards we made the night before with all the kids. Her uncle has just died, her and her family are hurting. Wilson and Claudia are our interns, and are definatley two of my favorite people here. They are both in high school, but for some reason our friendship makes perfect sense. We eat too much candy, talk about boys, giggle to the point of tears, listen to pop music on the radio... We get off the bus and walk through the small pueblo, through the high corn fields. Claudia is sitting, waiting for us on the side of the road. She is wearing her best traditional dress, a green hand woven shirt and skirt with lace and sequins. We follow her down a path to the house of her uncle, we are ariving at the time of the wake. It is a small campesino house with dirt floors and wood slat walls, overflowing with relatives, dogs and children dodge in and out of legs, the pigs are tied in the corner of the yard, the chickens roam free. Wilson and I are immediatley handed steaming bowls of soup and hot tamales, and are sat with the family. I am introduced to Claudia´s grandpa, his eyes are red from crying. We give Claudia her cards, give the roses to the sons of the uncle. We go outside and join the mass of people, men holding the casket high, Claudias father praying over the body, incense burning, old women wailing and pulling their hair, young women singing hyms. It is loud and hot, we all cry together as the casket is carried around the dirt yard and down the road to the church.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pasion Inexplicable vs. Cebollinas

This past Saturday was my first off since I became a volunteer. I have spent all of the previous weekends leading tourists up to Tajulmulco, the highest point in central America. Tajulmulco is 4200 meters of unforgiving mountain, and the trek is often quite uncomfortable. But this is not what I am moved to write about, I’d rather tell about the reason why I get up at three thirty in the morning to summit a mountain in the rain and hail… for the 16 boys and 3 girls that live in the dormitory whose sole support is our treks.

On my day off my friend Henry, whom I know because he lives in the dormitory, invited me to watch his futbol game. Henry is thirteen, he loves soccer, the captain of his team, he is the golden boy of the Hogar, everyone adores him. He was abandoned by his family at a very young age and spent a lot of time on the street, but you would never guess by his manners. I meet him at the dormitory and we ride the bus together with another team mate to the field. This perspective is a new one, I’ve never traversed the streets of Guatemala with adolescent boys. We are rowdy, hanging out the back door of the bus, watching the city flash by, knowing exactly where we are going. The field is at the edge of town, in the middle of random garbage dumps and corn crops that butt up against the high mountains surrounding the valley. There is more grass that I expected and I sit some on the sidelines and watch the boys warm up. Pasion Inexplicable vs. Cebollinas. Henry introduces me to his coach, who tells me of his passion for the late “Meekal Yakson” and asks me to translate the lyrics to Beat it and other favorites. This is not the first time I’ve been asked this here. A truck with a huge speaker atop parks along side the field and blasts latino pop hits into the afternoon, “viene la musica!” The sun is high as the game starts and I ponder how many paths have lead me to this specific point in my life. I think of something my friend Ana was doing the last time we were together, writing her self at her current age a letter from the perspective of her self at eighty years old. Mentally I ask what I would tell myself now. I conclude, with all the knowledge and wisdom of my eighty years, that right now I am doing exactly what I should be doing at this moment, in this chapter. I can see the effects of my work here. I am watching Henry play.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


There are too many stories to tell at this particular time to relate where my journey has taken me. In short I am in Guatemala, and have been for the past month or so. These pictures capture a fraction of the beauty that can be found here. I was able to observe this beauty through the work I have been doing. I joined a nonprofit organization called Quetzal trekkers as a volunteer guide. It is the embodiment of everything that I have asked for. A simple program that raises money for a school for street kids and for a home for otherwise homeless children, by taking people on treks in the mountains of Guatemala. There are six of us volunteers, we are a part of the lives of the kids we raise money for. We play soccer, we eat dinner, we hike together. These pictures come from the hike I am learning to lead. I came back today after six days of trekking, after experiencing a side of the country that many don't, through areas most affected by the civil war that raged for so long here. I am learning so much history by osmosis, by being here, by seeing and feeling the memories of the war that still haunt the people and the land. I have decided that the best things to write about are the things that touch me. I am working on a tale or two so check back soon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Los para-aguas

I bring my raincoat because I know its coming. My hair is still warm from being on the roof hanging yesterday´s sheets to dry. Tall and fluffy mamoths, pregnant with rain, pilling up around the edges of this high mountain valley. I walk down the narrow street and take the time to notice things that have become common sights in my daily life. A street vendor manuevering a cart piled higher than his head with fruits and vegtables. Indigenous women in identical embroidered shawls, carrying countless bundles of babies, food and crafts on head and hip. The agua truck cruising the neighborhoods broadcasting its presence and a catchy tune through a single blown out speaker. The air smells of fresh pan, exhaust, carnitas, laundry soap. A man on a bike slows as he rides past, gives me a kissy face, wobbles but regains enough balance to turn again. I make my best Barrett- double chin, cross my eyes and stick out my tounge. We both laugh. I climb the innumerable steps up to the church high on the hill over looking San Christobal de las Casas. I breathe deeply and take in the whole valley. Cinderblock houses of every color- watertanks, rebar and clothes lines above, green feilds full of vegetables, maiz, countless church steeples strung with plastic prayer flags. I hear the first growl in the belly of the sky, its 1:23, right on time. The first drops fall heavy, tiny rotten plums satisfied to splat down to earth. Lightning cracks and the sky opens. I litterally run into the church, and am not alone as I stand inside the arched doorway. A family is with me, softly murmering in a native language. The plastic faces of the holy santos stare at us from their glass cases. The high ceilings echo with every crash of thunder. A neon virgin of Guadelupe sheds her light and love upon me as I sit in the empty church and write this. Its 2:02, the rain has stopped, people are poking their heads out of windows and doors. I step out onto the street once again, maybe I will get a popsicle, maybe a new book.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Montañas de magico

Since last heard from I have moved on from the mango farm in Palenque, but not before mastering the jungle. If you`ve never spent time in the jungle it may be hard to imagine the struggles and joys that dwell with in. The hardest thing for me was the heat. This is the hottest time of the year in southern Mexico, just before the rainy seasons begin. I wake sweaty, I continue the day sweaty, I drip sweat into the beans I cook, I take a shower but it doesn`t matter, still sweaty. Over 100F and humid. Other things of challenging nature: mosquitos, ticks (I found 10 on me in one day), scorpions, massive ant armies (some fiery), tarantulas, rats, snakes, not to mention a terrible itchy, blistering rash from being covered in mango milk while harvesting. Luckily there are remedies, or should I say palatives, to these situations like beer, popsicles, swimming holes, mosquito nets, etc. However, getting to eat as many mangos as I want everyday almost makes up for everything.
So I after a months stay I leave my car in the care of a friend and continue on with my friend Ana to camp and hitchhike our way to a place called San Christobal de Las Casas. We take a few days to visit another mayan ruin site and stay at the most beautifull waterfalls (see pictures from previous blog). The mountains are high and the road is windy. We pass from jungle into pine forest and back again, through mists, across barren mountain tops. This land is still very much inhabited by the indegenous people of Chiapas. Well worn foot paths lead to villages miles and miles away from the road where many traditional cultures are still alive and well. These mountains are the origen of the Zapatista rebellion in the nineties. The communities here continue to identify themselfs as Zapatistas, having their own governing structure. I am learning and experiencing more about this topic and will write more when I am better educated.
Now I have made it to San Christobal, and have come to the end of any kind of plans I have made. The future is open. The day is promising.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

La selvadora

Do you ever wake up into moments of your life and realize where you are and what you are doing? In the past month I have woken up atop of an ancient pyramid of the Maya, deep in the jungle of southern Mexico, with the hot sun beating down on my back, the symphony of the jungle beasts at a defening roar. I have woken up in a chrystal blue pool, fed by an enormous waterfall, staring up into the sky as massive storm clouds colided creating lightning and booming with thunder. I have woken up in the house of a family in a Zapatista community, holding a chuby, laughing baby, while eating a simple lunch of food grown by the people there and hand made tortillas. Most recently I woke up riding my bike down a dirt road, smelling the greeness of the feilds surrounding me, staring back at the cows I pass.
I am in and around Palenque, Chiapas. I arrived here about a month ago, but really, there is no time here. I have found work on a small farm. Life is very simple. Wake with the sunrise, do chores and farmwork, eat beautifull fresh food, nap, read, stretch, walk, ride, cook, sing... and sleep. We have no electricity, but we do have running water and gas, which is more than most people in this area. I am learning all about preserving methods for mangos, there are so many that we can´t keep up with them as they ripen. There is a family of monkeys in the trees above my hut that I am getting to know. There will be more stories to come.
Much love to all.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Relatos de Poder

Its been awhile, an I apologize for the delay in stories and pictures. Since my last post I have experienced in full the contradiction that is Mexico. Aurora and I spent the last part of March and the begining of April in Mexico city, population 26 million, and the next two weeks high in the mountains south of the city, being a part of a Danza del Sol (sundance). I will begin with D.F. (what mexicans call mexico city). We stayed at a couchsufing spot in a part of the city known as Coyoacan. This neighborhood has been home to many famous mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Deigo Rivera being most well known. The area is beautifull, tree lined streets, friendly people, plazas busy with the afternoon crowd, eating icecream, strolling about. While in the city I almost hit my cap for culture and history, having visited atleast 5 museums, including the monumental Anthropology museum and also the very impressive ruin site of Teotihuacan. If anyone has any questions about Mexican history this would be a good time to ask me. What I learned from all of this is that the story of Mexico is rich, and ancient and tragic. Which brings me to the Danza del Sol. This is a festival hosted by an ogranic farm for the native traditions of Mexico and the U.S. It is to honor the sun and give thanks for all that it gives us. Aurora and I were invited to help in the kitchen for the week, but were included and encouraged to partake in all of the wonderfull happenings as well. If you are familiar with the sundances of the native amercians then you can imagine what this was like. We felt really blessed to have been invited. We camped in the most beautifull canyon, surrounded by misty mountains, covered by blue sky. We met wonderfull people in this place who will guide us and help us on our journey. I learned a lot about the deep tradition and culture that has been preserved and is practiced in Mexico . The longer I am here the more I realize how complex this place is. So after the festival we went down the road to a town called Malinalco and camped out with some friends for a few days. Here I celebrated my 25th year on this earth with a wonderfull day that included a picnic, swiming in a spring, and eating a whole trout. The celebrationfor both Aurora and my birthdays will continue today, in Mexico city, where we have invited everyone we know in the area to come with us on a boat ride in Xochimilco. (Xochimilco= long boats painted crazy colors, navigated through ancient canals by men with poles, filled with everything from mariachi bands to tamales and buckets of beer) pure spectacle. Our plans for the future are more openend than they have been in a long time. We still want to check out Chiapas in the south and Guatemala as well. I have faith that we will be guided in what ever direction we need to go.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some girls aren´t crazy (this is proof)

So these pictures mostly corespond to the last post... You will find the following: wild Italian shorts straight from 1987, a beautifull sunset from the ending point of the San Andres fault, a magical wedding (and procession) I just happend to crash, a happy camp of wonderfully random individuals living in harmony on the beach, our co-workers on the farm, and a typical day at the office.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A fuera de la sarten...

Last Wednesday we cleaned out the space we inhabited for a month in Puerto Escondido, and said goodbye to the places, faces, dogs, and smells we had become familiar with during our stay. We finished our last day of work on the farm, and left with a feeling of peace, happy to have had the experience and to have helped in the organic movement in Mexico. As with any expierence one has to reflect on the whole, not just parts... There were many sweaty, filthy, frusterating moments. It was a challenge to get up that early and work six days a week. I found some perspective this last day talking to my co-worker, Lazaro, a native Chatino man who works six days a week. He tells me he gets paid 140 pesos a day, thats about $10 US. He asks how much people get paid in the states, and its hard for me to tell him that the wages are ten times as much . In this moment I clearly see the desire and necesity of Mexicans to work in the US, who would´t want to? I digress.
So, we leave the farm and go to meet up with our cyclist friend, Josh (whom you may remember from previous blogs), who is camping on a nearby beach. The beach is a beautifull cove called Playa Aragon. We spent the next few days meeting the beautifull people who have created a small camp. Musicians from Spain, people treking on foot across Mexico, and many more shared their food, stories, music, warmth and good times with us. We had a really hard time leaving. But after four days we needed to head out. The next part of the saga requires a blog to itself so I will save it for later. Don´t worry we are fine, and it will be a good story someday. Please send good energy to our car, she needs it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Puerto -not so- Escondido

Here are some pictures I have taken over the last month we have been here in Oaxaca. If you have facebook you can check out the photos I have on there also. I´m in the process of writing my next post, but mosquitos are biting my legs up right now. Must run! (litrally).

It takes one pineapple one year to reach maturity...

This is where the edge of the property meets the beach, just over the horizon in the picutre. We swim here a lot. There is almost never anyone else around.

These are some of the orchards of Punta Colorada, the granja where we work. In this picute are palmas, limons, naranjas, y posible papayas...

El diablo himself in Oaxaca city

If you like piña coladas...

The moon rising over a decrepit church (still in business for every mass)

Funny story, after I wrote this in the dust on our window it became a free for all for anyone and everyone to write something. We now have a beautifull mural on our back hatch.

For some reason this one won´t flip, you´ll have to turn your head sideways. Its a cartoon map of the area where we work and play.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blood, sweat and beers

So if you haven´t already, I recomend reading Aurora´s last blog entry... It pretty much sums up the nature of our working lives lately. After all of our travels we have parked it for about a month in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. It is an interesting place... Oaxaca its self is one of the more impoverished regions of Mexico. There are many influences of the indigenous people here, the foods, languages and customs are all particular to this part of Mexico. From what I understand there was almost no tourism here untill very recently (2002 ish) when the surf scene blew up here in Pto. Before then it was a small town, excessable by dirt road, only known by the surfers who were in the know. But don´t misunderstand me- this is no Acupuertovillarmazatlacancun... There is a small section of town where most exteranjeros stay, and then there is the rest of the town where the people who work in the hotels and restaurants live. We are working for a young man, Cesar, who is an environmental lawyer, born and raised Oaxacan, who is doing something most Mexicans may never understand. He is trying to preserve the integrity of the people and the area in the midst of all of the changes taking place here. His family owns a peice of land just outside of town where they have planted the fruit orchards that we work in. The land is part jungle, part swamp-jungle, part orchard, part beach. Cesar´s goal is to expand the opperation to be an ecotourist resort type thing... I´m not clear about what that means exactly, but it is clear that he will need more support. Right now Aurora and I are the only volunteers. We literally get paid in frijoles. .. and a place to stay of course. The other morning on the way to work I realized how hard it must be for Cesar to explain and try to help the communty comprehend his mission. We get on the colectivo ( a pick-up truck with a canopy that drives people around town) and a man questions us about what we´re up to. In our best spanish we try to explain volunteering and organic farms. Blank stare. El no entienda. So yeah, we are miles and mountains and oceans from the beaten, trash strewn, pot-holed path of business as usual in Mexico. I am happy to be here to help with the effort, but I am begining to realize first hand that conservation is a priviledge not a right.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Las Libres Radicalas

As I sit and type this, I am sweating into the keyboard, my mouth is sticky, I am dehydrated but do I dare to drink the water? Cerveza is the perfered beverage here, even if its only 11am. We have made it to the beach, once again, just on the other side of Mexico this time. If you are wondering, the distance to cross the width of Mexico is only about 300 or 400 miles, but takes about 20 hours to drive. We have had a mishap or two since my last post, but I didn´t want to write about it until the situation resolved... On the very steep climb into the mountains of Veracruz the water pump (agua bomba) blew, causing us to spend the day on the side of the Mexican highway (not recomended). We were able to limp it into town... long story... and get it to a mechanic who thought he might be able to fix it. The problem is that we drive the only Subaru in Mexico. The town we broke down in, Xalapa, was full of generous people, many whom offered to take us in, let us camp in their yards, etc. So five days and six mechanics later the new water pump is installed. I turn the key to start the engine and- nada. After many turns it starts, but we decide to stay an extra night incase it won´t start in the morning. We slept in the garage in the back of the car, and were ready to get the crap out of there in the morning. She started up in the morning, and we made a decision to not turn her off. We then asked our selfs, ¨if this is the last journey the Subie makes, where do we want to be?¨ The answer: Oaxaca. 11 hours of driving hell and we are there by midnight, car intact, minds lost. By some miracle the car has started and worked well everyday since. Like always everyday is a new adventure. Oaxaca is beautifull. We start work on our first farm tomorrow, outside of Puerto Escondido, ¿conoces? Many more tales of beach life to come.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Since my last post we have covered some miles and transcended a few levels of culture and consciousness. After the arid heat of northern mexico, we climbed the heights of the Sierra Madres and descended down into the lush green valleys of estado de Guanajuato. We arrived in the city of Guanajuato just as the sun was setting. It gave the cities twisted, tight, colorful construction an even more magical glow. Almost immediatley trafic sucked us into one of the cities underground tunnels. Made of cobblestone and ancient brick, random lanterns hanging at intervals, it was a wonder we made it out alive. Perhaps one must understand the driving circumstances in Mexico to fully grasp the odities we have incountered. Everyday the little things like yeilding to farm animals, accepting burros as a fully valid form of transport, buses and taxis driven by el Diablo himself, become less shocking. But I am digging it none the less. I digress... Guajuato is a crazy city built in a steep valley. There are many churches, museums, monuments, universities. We spent two days here before heading to our next stay with a dude named Carlos in Celaya, about an hour south west. Carlos and his family took us in whole heartedly to their beautifull mexican mansion for the next three days. He showed us around San Miguel Adellande (gringo-veijo ville), gave us lots of food and the last shower I had in the past week. Then off again, following a ambiguos lead to some waterfalls and camping somewhere outside of a village in estado de San Luis Potosi. By the gracious hand of Dios we found the spot at night fall. Here we passed the next two days swimming in a beatufill clear blue river, as warm as bath water and as sweet as pie, and hiking in the misty jungle covered hills. And on again, headed east to estado de Veracruz, our destination losely based on ending up somewhere around some ancient ruins called El Tajin. We made it to the ruins by mid afternoon and circled the parking pasture a few times, wondering if we could camp. We stopped and asked two men on bicyles if they had any ideas, it turns out we picked the right people. They are Josh and Ignacio, they have rode their bikes from Austin south. We spent the night in the pasture, in our own self-made tent camp, amognst curious cows and random trash heaps. We made a little fire, and passed around a pot of sh%& ( a delicious dish constisting of what ever is on hand, cooked in a pot) and a six pack of Tecate while Josh played his Trumpet for us. The next day was Sunday, free day at the ruins, so we hit it up. I didn´t take any pictures here, I have been to some pretty amazing Mayan ruinas in Guatemala, and may be a little pretencious about the quality of these sights. Anyway, there were some pyramids, some carvings, some bones. We continued on to the coast, this time with our new friend Ignacio in the back seat, his bike on the roof. We found a wonderfull place to camp on the coast, turn right at the green shack, follow the dirt road to the gate, don´t let the burros out, set up anywhere along the miles and miles of uninhabited beach. This is how I always want to remember Veracruz. Small, small towns, full of curious, generous, friendly people, beautiful beaches, not a gringo in sight. If you are looking for genuine Mexico come here, but don´t tell anyone else.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

6 days in the red, legs afire...

Since my last post I have spent most of my time watching the world go by from the inside of our car. We have covered about 1200 miles since leaving the states last Wednesday. The Subie has been an integral part of this journey, with out her we would be stuck taking the long ride on the bus, most likely with our faces in someone´s armpit or chicken. Instead we ride instyle, heat on full blast, temp gauge as hot as can be. We entered the country Wednesday through beautifull Juarez, Mexico. The welcome was most disapointing, there was no customs, no one to stamp our passports, no scary border police... Eventually we stopped at the Aduana on the outskirts of town and got our car permit and tourist visas. $400.00 pesos ($29ish american) to drive in Mexico for six months. Then onward, five hours through the arid northern mexican plain to la cuidada Chihuahua. We met up and stayed with our first contact- a lovley woman named Rosana and her daughter Rebecca. We woke early the next day and drove 9 hours south eastish to Saltillo, Coahuila. Nice place, good tacos. We are beginging to learn the drill: find place to sleep, park car somewhere it won´t get broken into, eat food, drink beer, sleep, drive more. Friday we decide to check out a little place, 28 km on a cobblestone road (2.2 of which were through the world´s sketchiest underground tunnel) to a creepy little ghost town called Real de Catorce. Its a town in a valley with steep hillsides, half in ruin, half inhabited, but with a gray area inbetween. We are anxious to get south, out of the desert, into the shade.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Desert Roses

Ahhh, to be out of southern California, there is nothing quite like it... After leaving Hollywood, we headed for Joshua tree Natl park and camped out for the night. We set up camp just as the full moon rose over the desert monoliths, coyotes sung us to sleep. The next day we headed out on a hike around the park and then on to Phoenix. Next stop: Aurora's dad's place, a house on the edge of town on a property shared with a motorcycle shop and a palm tree business run by her older brother. There are many mechanics here, many roosters, an alligator, a dog with enormous testicles, a dude named Red. We stay here for three days, getting the car worked on, getting things together. Durring this time Claudia realizes that she must return to San Francisco, so sadly we say good bye. On to Tuscon, our last stop where we will stay with people who aren't total strangers and who speak our language. Our hosts, Kevin and Amber graciously share their house and yard with us. We are having a blast exploring the desert and the city of Tuscon. Yesterday we hiked up Bear Canyon and caught the sunset on the way down. Kevin works on trail crews locally and is very knowledgable about desert ecology, so its awesome to have him around to explain everything we see. Today I am biking all around Tuscon on Amber's ride. Its about 75 degrees, I feel like I'm on the edge of too much sun for the day, so I'll head back to homebase soon.