I have been working almost nonstop since last March with a trip in mind for every paycheck I got. Spring was spent at the base of the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona excavating a masonry structure. I spent this summer in hot hot Tucson doing an excavation in the city. Then I took a job with a company that took me all over the southwest. I did a survey near the Grand Canyon, which was absolutely beautiful. I worked a few weeks in Nevada were I worked long days doing what felt like more walking than most people do in their whole life, but I loved it. I spent some time working near Salt Lake City which put me close to my sister, grandparents, and some cousins. It was so wonderful to get off work, go pick up my sister and go eat dinner at my Grandparent's. I love my family! Then I moved down to southeast Utah and worked in a very well known Anasazi area. I felt so privileged to be a part of that project. I could hardly walk 30 meters without seeing another site. There was archaeology everywhere! After that I worked along the Mexican border near Yuma, AZ on a huge military range. There were fake towns built by the Marines to practice war games, which was a bit morbid if you ask me, but they were fun to explore. There were bombs littering the ground with huge craters in some places. It wasn't my first time working on the range, but it was the longest I'd spent there and in a new area that proved to be really interesting. The archaeology itself was minimal but that only made it more exciting when we did find stuff. Between sessions I went home for Christmas for some much needed time with my family. I was really missing them. I also got to spend some short but quality time with some of my closest friends, which I always cherish. Most recently I did a short project in Mesa, AZ (near Phoenix) on a small area of land that was once used by GM to test their cars. It was chalk full of ceramics and historic dumps so it was non-stop recording sites. After this last project Jeff and I went to southern California to visit his sister who just had a very cute baby boy with a head full of hair named Charlie. He is the cutest, sweetest newborn I've seen. We had a marvelous time playing with their 1 year old and holding the baby who seemed eternally happy and content. We left Orange County and headed for Death Valley National Park for a couple of days before heading back home. The first night we stayed just outside the park in a small town known for hot springs. We camped at a camp ground that had its own pools but you couldn't wear swimsuits and the men and women were separated, thank goodness. I had the cool pool, more like lukewarm, all to myself so I took my naked self and swam around happy as can be! Inside the park the next day we stood on the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. It was covered in salt, and I ate some!
The park is HUGE so we spent a lot of time driving to the various places we wanted to go. We went to see the mysterious moving rocks. A dried up lake bed with rocks that have tracks in the dirt. They think it could be rain making the ground slippery and then wind blowing the rocks, but some of the rocks weigh 700 lbs so that might not be the answer.
We hiked down into a caldera of a volcano. Hiking out 500 feet may not seem like much unless its almost straight up with slippery cinders. I stopped 20 feet from the top too exhausted to keep going and feeling nauseas. I lied down on the cinders and gave up until Jeff said he was going to eat lunch without me. Food got me motivated, as usual.
We took some 4 wheel drive roads to some abandoned mines, which they leave open! They were so neat. A lot of them still had wooden ladders in them or tracks coming out. I think the park is so big that they don't micromanage the visitors like they do at smaller parks. There seemed to be so much freedom to go anywhere and find solitude. It was a blast. We are back in Arizona now and preparing for a very big trip. We are finally going to spend all those saved paychecks. We are flying to Ireland on Saturday to spend some time with my dear friend Misty and her little boy who moved there about a year ago. Then we are off to Spain for a few days. Then Jordan to see Petra. I have wanted to go there since Indiana Jones came out so I am beyond excited! Then to Egypt where we will be diving the Red Sea, which is supposed to be the most colorful corals and fish in the world. But the biggest and longest part of our trip is a month in the Philippines where we will be taking a DiveMaster course on a tiny little island that you can walk around in a little over an hour. We will be living in a house with other divers and spending our days taking classes, studying, and of course diving. By the end of it all we will have enough knowledge and experience to be leading other divers and doing a little teaching. I have been spending most days preparing to leave and with only 2 days before go time I feel calm and finally ready. I will likely be blogging about my travels as I go, so keep reading for more...