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Christmas, Mt Humphreys, Birmingham, Boston

Had a bunch of great Christmases – drove home to Birmingham from Chicago, stopped by South Bend to pick up my 92 year old Grandma, she’s great.  We had a nice time chatting and sharing a meal on the drive to my folks place.  Great time there as well with my sister, her husband, and my two awesome little nieces, Brooke and Courtney – so much fun!  9 months and 2 yrs old, the 2-yr-old is great, running around, having a great time, talking.  Bright red hair.  They took off and it was just my folks and Grandma and I, Lisa went home to Boston for the week.  Went to a beautiful presbyterian church celebration where my 92-yr-old Grandfather still plays the caralon on Christmas Eve – amazing man.  And his wife, my Grammie was there as well.  At the end of the service they shut the lights off and everybody has a candle and flame is passed from one to the next, very cool as the place slowly lights up with a warm glow.  Then I headed back to chicago for a day or so, then hopped a plane to Boston for another terrific Christmas with Lisa’s family and aunt and uncle and cousins – 8-yr-old twin boys – how fun and crazy they are, what a great time that was.  I feel like I am stressing ages in this post for wahtever reason.  Had a nice time at their house.  They are very much into food and have a Christmas tradition I really like – lobsters and tater tots!  Yum yum.  And a bunch of other delicious meals, as usual.  They know how to eat.

I head to Arizona for a conference in a couple weeks – will stay an extra day or so and attempt to summit Mt. Humphreys, the tallest mountain in Arizona at about 13,600 feet.  It will actually be a pretty serious undertaking.  Lots of snow.  It shut me down last year as I climbed the wrong peak in the snowstorm that prevailed – Mt. Agassiz, which shares a a saddle with humphreys.  Terrific beautiful and refreshing day despite the mishap – which was also due to extremely deep snow, which was very difficult going – forcing me onto the groomed ski slopes.  My friend Jeff will be joining me this year so we’ll have two to break trail through the thigh-deep snow.  We’ll see how it goes.  3500 feet of elevation gain.  Half the fun of an adventure trip is the planning of it and I’ve spent the better part of tonight doing research and printing out topographic maps and reading trip reports.  Figuring out what gear we’ll need.  I don’t think crampons but probably snowshoes.

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