I hope you all had a great New Year, cuz I know I did. We typically go over to a friend’s house with most everyone from church and celebrate and sing and pray in the new year. This year we decided to go to the White Tank Mountains and celebrate there instead of at someone’s house.
The party pretty much started when we decided to
hike walk up the waterfall trail. It’s been a pretty dry year here in Phoenix, so the usually trickling waterfall was dry except for a small pool of black water. I, however, was not disappointed, since my whole plan for going there was to climb the rock face of the little cliff like I had done the year before. Everyone except my brother (who followed me up) thought I had lost my marbles, but in truth it was much easier than it looked from the bottom, and was less dangerous than roller blading.
What was really fun was that I started singing and ask the people below joined in and it sounded super cool. Some of the other guys went around the other way and joined me at the top, and Wes brought me my penny whistle, which I had forgotten down below, so I played there a bit before heading down.
When we got back we found out that it was a state wide no-burn day so that kinda ruined the bonfire idea, but we improvised by sitting around a fake fire composed of a red light up frisbee and a red camping LED lantern. I’m not sure if it was the fact that we were all huddled together or if it was purely psychological but we did feel warmer. We even phoned my brother-in-law and had him read us a creepy campfire poem called The Cremation of Sam McGee, which is the perfect campfire poem.
Then came the dangerous hide-and-seek. Not too far away we could see a camper with Christmas lights and a fire going. Having no fire ourselves, and thinking that people with Christmas lights on their camper would be the nice type of folks, Jimmie and I decided to walk over and say hello. Two of the little boys joined us, and we set off across the intervening desert. The moon was pretty much full, so we didn’t need any flashlights. Unbeknownst to us, another group composed of my brother Micah, Chistopher, Wes, and Abbi had also decided to check out the camp, and we met up with them halfway there. They insisted we sounded like a herd of elephants and we needed to quiet down, so we did. We also lost our tail of little boys to the other group. Remembering Nicholas’ parting advice Jimmie and I decided to approach quietly just in case the people were drunk so we could opt out and go back. Upon looking the little camp over, we decided they were not drunk and walked up to wish them a Happy New Year. And that’s when the trouble started. Apparently we were too quiet, and the person, who turned out to be a cross old lady (more cross than old, since she was probably just about 65) instead of the celebratory camping group we had expected, did not hear or see us until I spoke up. Her Chihuahua
dog rat started barking, and suddenly I found myself with a 1,000,000,000,000 lumen flashlight pointed in my eyes. I suddenly realized that to cross old ladies who were camping practically alone, somebody walking out of the dark to say happy new year probably looked pretty sus. I awkwardly explained that we had just come over from the next camp to say hi, wished her a Happy New Year, and did an about face. She followed us with her flashlight beam as we walked off into the desert, and continued to scan for us when we disappeared beyond the next wash. We felt bad for scaring her, laughed that she had said we scared her dog, decided she was very paranoid for continuing to search the desert with her light and yelling that she had a camera on us (we were long out of line of sight by then) and headed back to camp. When we got back, we discovered that the other six people were still out there. Because the two youngest of them had originally come out with us, we felt it our responsibility to go and find them and bring them back. We joined up with Levi and headed out, still chuckling that the old lady was scanning the desert with her light. It took longer for us to find the others than I had originally anticipated, and we were figuring that they had probably continued up the wash when Jimmie spotted them. When we joined their group, I got called the most colorful set of names that I have ever heard out of these little homeschooled set of kids (names including, but not limited to: dumb, idiot, stupid, klutz, etc). It was then that Jimmie and I learned that they had not been intent on saying Happy New Year, but on sneaking up as close as they could, spying for a few minutes, then crawling away. They were only a few yards from the camper when we had first arrived. By walking in to say hi and unwittingly scaring the old lady, we had put them in jeopardy. As the lady continued to scan the desert after we had left, yelling threats of all kinds, they were laying flat on their faces ten yards away, with her light going right over them. One of them swore up and down that she probably had a gun, which, if true, could have turned out very badly. Christopher also happened to be wearing a white jacket, which everyone was sure would give them away. They ended up having to crawl back as quickly as they could every time the light was pointed somewhere else until they could finally get to their feet and run. I find it interesting, though, that I ended up being branded as an idiot for walking up to say hi rather than the espionage party who decided it would be a great idea to crawl up to someone else’s camper on their bellies. Strange are the ways of this world…
After that we had a time of prayer and singing, which I thought was great. We have a lot of stuff ahead of us this year, so praying in the New Year I think is an awesome tradition.
After that the families with smaller children left, and we settled in to wait for midnight. We were all getting pretty cold, so we decided to cram as many people around the rim of the concrete fire pit as we could. Packing in like sardines and pulling a blanket over us, we found it was actually pretty warm and is totally gonna make an awesome memory. After popular demand required a spooky story, I attempted to rewrite our previous adventure into a ghost story, but I am terrible at spooky stuff and I was quite glad that a diversion caused the story to cease. After that we talked about weird dreams and other stuff until a few minutes before midnight, when sang another song, then decided to bring in the New Year with a Frisbee game. My team was getting crushed for the first two points until we found our rhythm, and I ended up scoring the last point of 2020 and the first point of 2021, bringing the game to a tie. Just after we shouted Happy New Year, the fireworks started. Out on the East end of the White Tanks, you have an amazing view of the Phoenix valley by night, and the whole sky was peppered in firework blasts, and the echoing concussions came wafting back to us like distant cannons. Half of us climbed the roof of the Hubler’s van, while the other half mounted the bathroom building, and we just watched the lightshow. For some reason Braiden and I struck up the National Anthem (I say it was because this may be our last New Year in the land of the free and the home of the brave, while Micah insists that it was an automatic Limbic response to seeing fireworks and thinking of the Fourth of July) and the rest of the folks joined in with an amazing harmony for the last bit. After a bit we climbed down, packed up the camping stuff, and headed back into town, many of us harboring the feeling that we had just spent the best New Year’s Eve party yet, except for the hide-and-seek.
So how was y’all’s New Year? As good as mine? Let me know in the comments. It’s always fun to hear from my readers, and people so rarely comment…
P.S. This post is unedited as usual.