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Merry Christmas Day!

Monday, December 28, 2009
Christmas Eve night in warm, sunny, dry Texas in the south of the United States was eleven degrees Fahrenheit. So, we went from our cozy campsite with its breathtaking view (not Kendra)...

...to the cozy bathroom floor with its heated air. :) Merry Christmas morning everybody! A shout-out to the poor woman who had to crawl over us to take a dump at 6 a.m. Kudos to her for her lack of shame though!

After a brisk run in the chilled air (Kendra), a walk with the sunrise (Keturah) and some serious banana-honey-oatmeal eating, we went for a romp on Hueco...

...followed by a hike an hour away up part of the Franklin Mountain Range...

The land stretches flat for hundreds of miles until you enter a city sprawled equally flatly with a curtain backdrop of faded watercolor mountains. And as you are finally growing accustomed to the simplicity of landscape, the mountain range suddenly blocks the road directly in front of you. But as much as you expected it to be there and anticipated its arrival, the contrasted reality takes you so much by surprise that you are left dazed and dazzled and speechless all over again. Settling in, you realize the mountains actually maintain the simplicity. There aren't the trees of the Adirondacks and certainly not the color, but there is a glorious evolving view all the way up and all the way down. Let your filter dissolve in the altitude and beauty overwhelms you...an earth form unfathomably massive fading to the contour it draws across the sky and the pattern of snow-frosted shrubs like a fabric print laid over changing light and shadows. The sun was warm and the steep hike up loose stone heated our blood, but the wind blew chills into our parched skin. It felt as though we were phantom angels, surely about to be blown to a fine dust, forever claimed by the harsh arid land. An extraordinary experience to rest atop a mountain you hiked yourself on Christmas Day and realize the glory of existence, of the earth and the possibilities of our lives on it, in it...of it. To be free...Merry Christmas!

Christmas Dinner was on Grandma & Grandpa C at the only place open in Texas (unfortunately not a steakhouse) - IHOP. Good water. Great chicken. OK service. It looks like a lot of food, but don't worry, we ate it all!

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