Back to the Crack

SARA’s Crack, that is.  The “Special Activities and Recreational Area” in Lake Havasu.   I left Zion a little early this year to attend a Thanksgiving Feast in Lake Havasu City with Joel and his family, my long time friends from the northeast, twenty years back.   Since I have decided to leave the Winnie in Phoenix again this holiday season and fly back to Texas, Lake Havasu was on the migratory path.

View from Lake Havasu boondock.

View from Lake Havasu boondock.

IMG_6837 IMG_6813I first met Joel through scuba diving in the northeast, and he has remained a dear friend over the years.   He is a member of the Jewish faith, which relies heavily on “process” to navigate the stages of grief.   It provides a structured approach to help guide those grieving through reconciling the separation of the body from the soul.   Although I am not Jewish, I have spent a good part of my life in relationships with those who practice Judaism; roommates, boyfriends, etc.  So I have a great appreciation for this process of filling the vacuum left by the departure of a loved one, and objectively easing back into day to day life, bringing with us the essence of that person.IMG_3046 IMG_3050

Having recently lost both his mother and father, I observed with great interest as Joel worked through this process.    So when my youngest brother died suddenly last April, Joel was one of the first friends to whom I reached out.   He was very supportive as I worked through my own “process,” so to break bread over Thanksgiving felt like the right place to be.IMG_3057 IMG_3058

And a “feast” it was, one of multiple courses that not only had a different wine to match each course, but also a Waterford crystal glass to hold each wine.    We started at 4:30pm with cocktails and appetizers steaming hot from the oven, and ended up at 10:30pm with a round of Port on the porch.   In between was a steady parade of plates that looked as much like art work as food.

At a table of twelve, I sat between a 20-something fireman, a former LDS member turned atheist who studied yoga in an Ashram in India, and Joel’s Religious Studies professor who is a devout Christian.  The conversation was as stimulating to the mind as the meal was to the palate.

Joel and Kathy are both Technical Divers as well as instructors and explorers. Between them, they have nearly 70 dives on the shipwreck of the Andrea Doria.  Only a handful of divers have more. The Doria, considered the “Mount Everest of diving,” lies at a depth beyond the range of recreational diving, requiring exemplary skills in diving, navigation, gas blending, decompression, and self-rescue.   Many artifacts have been collected from the Andrea Doria, of which the china service is considered to be prime bounty.   I am always fascinated to see pieces of delicate 60 year old china and crystal that have survived the surge of the sea through the years, brought up from the depths of the wreck intact through multiple stages of decompression in often very rough and turbulent waters.

China and crystal recovered from the Andrea Doria, Italian Luxury Liner sank in 1956.

China and crystal recovered from the Andrea Doria, Italian Luxury Liner sank in 1956.

Crystal still shows etched "Italia" insignia.

Crystal still shows etched “Italia” insignia.

Another bonus for being in Lake Havasu City, my friends Debbie, Rupert and Elliot are here!   I never got any pictures of Rupert and Elliot, Debbie’s pedigree mutts, because Rupert has discovered if he pulls my arm out of its socket, I will eventually run with him.  😉   So no time for unnecessary posing, there was running to be done!  But I did get a few shots of Debbie trying not to crack anything in SARA’s most infamous hiking trail, “The Crack!”

View of slot canyon leading to "The Crack"

View of slot canyon leading to “The Crack”

Looking down The Crack.  Hiking pole at bottom shows perspective.

Looking down The Crack. Hiking pole at bottom shows perspective.

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I hiked all the “official” trails in SARA Park, including a return to the Picnic Table atop Lizard Peak.   It was just as steep as I remembered, but a good way to get rid of some of those desserts!

Hamming it up after Turkey Day at the Picnic Table atop Lizard Peak.

Hamming it up after Turkey Day at the Picnic Table atop Lizard Peak.

View of SARA Park from the Picnic Table.

View of SARA Park from the Picnic Table.

Joel’s son, Jona, is an Eagle Scout.  His chosen qualifying project was to implement a numbering system on the trails in SARA Park.  The terrain can be a bit daunting in places, with few distinguishable landmarks.  If one should need to call for assistance, whether they are injured or just lost, they can reference the number of the nearest trail marker which corresponds to GPS coordinates, expediting rescue efforts.  IMG_7056 IMG_7064 IMG_7082

Jona is a really cool kid who can dive, sail, bike, skateboard, drive a jet ski, and uncork a bottle of wine with the finesse of a sommelier.   He could have chosen many projects for his Eagle Scout accreditation.  I am grateful he chose one to aid in the safety of us hikers!IMG_7080 IMG_7069 IMG_7067

12 thoughts on “Back to the Crack

  1. What a delightful dinner! This is a wondrous post because it covers so much ground and makes me feel like I enjoyed the whole thing in person.

    Virtual hugs,


  2. Ah….The Crack, brings back bad memories of Barb sliding down it unaided last year and twisting her ankle. Almost a year later that ankle is still giving her troubles! We are heading through that area next week on our way to Lake Mead and eventually Quartzite but we will not be stopping at that ankle twister!

  3. Great post! A wonderful mix of interesting people from all walks of life seems symbolic at Thanksgiving. How boring life would be without diversity!
    Where is the trailhead for The Crack? Is that an official name? Would love to try it next time we’re down that way. Guess we’d need the rope, eh?

  4. Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving, Suzanne, and the perfect “family” to spend it the holiday with for a good time:) Beautiful table!

    We were in Lake Havasu for the first time last spring and we loved it. We extended our stay for an extra week, as a result! We hiked all those trails, as well. I got a great trail booklet at the VC. Good to see you had a rope for the Crack! We did, also, but I know sometimes there isn’t one. That is quite a drop without help. Beautiful sky:)

    We will be in Tucson from Jan 17 through the end of Feb. If you get down that way give me a shout out!!

  5. Please say hello to Debbie, Rupert and Elliott from me and Pete! As always, another enjoyable entry on your part. We drove down US 95 at night last Monday, so couldn’t see how interesting the landscape might have been in the Lake Havasu area. Your pics tell me it’s fascinating. I was really full after reading about your Thanksgiving dinner…:-)

  6. Me thinks Havasu was a “warm” and fitting place to be on your way south. Warm temps, a warm meal, and fellowship with warm, yet so very “cool” people. You certainly squeezed all the goodness from your week and made some wonderful warm memories.

  7. What a spectacular Thanksgiving. I am so glad you were able to spend it with such a wonderful bunch of people. Based on your pictures, it looks as if we’ll have to give Lake Havasu another look. The Crack looks like a fun hike.

  8. Ah, sounds like it was a “warm” Thanksgiving week with some special interesting people in your life. Say hi to Jim and Gayle for us and safe travels on your journey south.

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