Today was great. I made it to Piestewa Peak early enough to find parking. I ate a banana and made my way to the trailhead. There are rock steps most of the way up the intense vertical climb. The view is amazing and makes it worth the 1.2 miles of sweat this hike will bring. After the hike I drove to the Desert Botanical Garden. Admission was $18 and well worth it. I gave myself three hours because I had lunch plans and the lady at the desk said it takes about an hour and a half. I think after three hours I might’ve seen half the park.
I started out on the small loop to the right and heard live music. I enjoyed the cacti, hummingbirds, and sculptures too. I found the source of the sound with a collection of instruments and while listening made new friends, Kim and Therese. We walked the park together and talked and just got along great. We exchanged information and then went our separate ways. They gave me a list of some places to see while in Phoenix and I’m hoping to come back and see it with them.
I was feeling sweaty and wanted a shower before lunch. Caleb called me on the way home and it felt great to tell him about my morning. He had some schedule changes on his side of the world that may affect our communication for a bit, but I’m happy with what we get. I cleaned up and jumped in the car. Lunch was moved from 2:00 pm to 1:30 pm and I made it to California Pizza Kitchen in Tempe Marketplace at 1:40. Grandma and I had the spinach and artichoke pizza, and Amanda had the chimichurri chicken. We split a salted caramel pudding dessert and made it to the theater in plenty of time for Lincoln.
The movie started at 3:15 and is a two and a half hour film. When we first sat down the theater wasn’t that full, but by the start of the movie groups of people were scattered throughout in single seats to watch what they paid for. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but it’s a great biography of President Lincoln’s life. He seemed like a guy that I would want to be friends with or work for. The actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, that portrayed him did wonders. We could use another president with a beard and top hat.
After the movie we drove to Grandma’s to say good night and then I followed Amanda to her house and we rode to Tailgaters together. Halfway there Scott calls to let us know that they cancelled trivia night because of the Notre Dame game, but that dinner is on the house because they didn’t call him ahead of time. Amanda and I share a cheese pizza and Scott gets a calzone. I was glad the trivia was cancelled as Scott still had the questions and is more talkative with fewer people. We enjoyed some conversation and then I shared dessert with Amanda. We had warm undercooked cookies with ice cream on top.
Back at the house Amanda’s dogs, Frank and Bella, made friends with me while we talked and looked through her wedding album. Her dress was beautiful and the photos well taken with different lighting and angles. It was after 10:00 pm when I left. I don’t want days like this to end. I got to spend time with family, make new friends, and talk to family far away. I got a call from my dad letting me know his trip was amazing and I called my mom to find out about her holiday events.