Thanks, all- obviously it is good to be back someplace where high explosives don't fall from the sky with any regularity. I was on a rather active FOB, and I only recently stopped jumping a bit at loud noises. My team didn't lose any Soldiers who got to us alive. A couple arrived without vital signs and couldn't be resuscitated, but I long ago learned to let it go when that happens- if you don't it'll grind you up.
I've been living it up a little since I got back- I was gone a full year after all, and I'm well into use-it-or-lose-it leave. First a trip to Hawaii with my family, because my daughter saw a volcano on Backyardigans and decided that she had to see one. (Luckily Kilauea actually is active right now, and we stayed in Kilauea Military Camp just a couple of hundred meters from the rim.) Then the Grand Canyon hike- see my trip report. I did a few dayhikes, too, including hitting Great Sand Dunes again, and another hiking over Music Pass into the Sand Creek drainage in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The Sangre's are probably going to be my favorite close hiking destination. Later this month it's back to Great Sand Dunes with my family- I promised my daughter "the biggest sandbox in the world" and I plan to deliver.
I've got at least until January before they can deploy me again and I'm going to use that time as well as my schedule will allow. Primarily this means just getting out for weekenders more often, so I'm open for suggestions within three hours drive time or so from Colorado Springs. I also have aspirations of hitting Flat Tops Wilderness sometime this summer.
It's good to feel the love,