Najavo Nation dancer and flautist Larry Redhouse

It's finally time to get back out there and it's happening with a bit of a bang

If it's Thursday, this must be Phoenix.

I'm exhausted, in the best of all ways. Too much good food, not enough exercise, lots of running around all over and finally, one more night, a day at a conference and then home.

For patient Dear Reader, this is what's up: I got invited, through the Outdoor Writers' Association of which I am a member, to be among five other people to go on a press junket to Tucson and Phoenix. I said yes, for which I am extremely glad. This was the perfect re-entry point for me to reboot my adventure travel and writing after an overly-long recovery hiatus.

Granted- I never stopped writing, but the repairs have been, well, they've BEEN. And as the bits and pieces start slowly working again, not without a fair bit of cranky grinding as metal has replaced bones here and there, I have finally returned to some of what I love.

Mostly, I wanted to wait until I had much of this gorgeous trip under my belt before I let you know what was up. I've got some opportunities to write for adventure outfits here in the US, many of which are out West so not far from where I live.

In fact I met with several outfitters not far from Eugene, which makes for a chance to learn a lot more about what those folks are doing for Boomers and the aging Xers, who also want to go out and play as they have more time to do so.

I met people who have specialized in creating accessible river experiences, jeep tours for the deaf and those with learning disorders, and more. I can't tell you how delighted I am to not only know about this but also be able to start thinking about how to spread the word so that more folks of all abilities can do some of what I've been able to do.

For my part, I stayed at the JW Marriott Star Pass, an outfit that is normally not the kind of spot I'd pick. However, there were some high points there which were deeply wonderful and very emotional. My favorite was attending Larry's morning ritual which involved sage, the four cardinal points of the compass and reuniting ourselves with the Earth.

Right up my alley, in fact, even if the resort was quite a counterpoint to my usual choice of a tent and sleeping bag. I'm not complaining. Just saying. A contrast.

Sunset at Tanque Verde

Perhaps the best part for me was a day of multiple horse rides yesterday at the expansive Tanque Verde Ranch, where I got reacquainted with my butt and adductor muscles. I'll write separately about much of that but as you can imagine, jamming my recently-repaired feet into a pair of riding boots and spending nearly all day in the saddle left me, well. I am walking funny.

It's going to take a while still, but those doors are reopening slowly. As with anyone who has had lots of work done, it's taken a while. Not quite there yet but there are endless soft adventures to be done and which are in the offing.

Better yet, this is an industry eager to reach out to so many who have given up on life or are way too close to it, people for whom the doors to the outdoors have long been closed. I am all about opening them wide, and I want to be part of the community which does precisely that.

Not sure what that will look like yet. However here's what you will get: I am going to be researching and writing about activities and opportunities stateside. For those of you for whom international adventuring is either out of the question or just not your thing, many of these opportunities to explore rivers, rafting, glamping, riding and the like may well be more your liking than the hell-bent-for-leather that has been my style.

It's also a fine chance for me to re-hone my kayaking, hiking and riding skills after the hiatus forced by the repairs.

Please kindly let me know your thoughts. I told the outfitters I was all in to write about those activities which allow people to do a gentle ramp-up. For those of you who have more oomph to spend (NancyL), tell me your preferences and I will see what I can find for you.

As with all my writing on this site I will continue to search for the larger lessons, not just the experiences themselves. This might well be the entry point into much of my seventies that I was looking for. We never know until we walk through and get started. As one outfitter down in Klamath Falls said today, their motto is

Just let go!

Also please kindly let me know what you want. Your feedback allows me to communicate to these outfitters what folks are interested in, and what kinds of offerings appeal. As you scan what I'm writing about, if something leaps out at you, please say so. I know not all of you are outdoor-minded, but for those who are, please tag me when you get excited.

And I am indeed excited. All kinds of good things are happening, even if my poor house still looks like a Hummer rolled through it.

That will change, too, with time, effort, work and patience. As do most things, right?

I'll still be writing regularly, there are some changes coming and I will let you know what they are. Meanwhile I hope all are preparing for a great holiday season. Not sure how Christmas will look at my place this year, maybe I'll stick a tiny tree into a corner. Maybe I'll drive out to the coast again.

Either way, 2024 is shaping up to be a much better year than the last three. I'll take it. I. Will. Take. It!

The last of the desert sunset Julia Hubbel

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