by | Aug 2, 2017 | Uncategorized | 8 comments


Two days ago I woke up in Crested Butte, Colorado. It was 43 degrees. This morning, back in Phoenix, I woke at 0400–it was already 90 degrees.

I’ve just returned from a semi off-grid road trip to Alpine country. I panicked for the first 36 hours or so, unable to link my laptop to the internet, getting spotty cell service at best. But around the third morning, I lost track of the days of the week and my corresponding to-do lists. The few times my mind drifted to my manuscript I stopped, took a deep breath, inhaled the scent of the fir trees and the fields strewn with wildflowers.

I’ve always loved the beauty of the desert; the stark rocky outcroppings juxtaposed against the tenacious, evolutionary marvels that dwell here: tall saguaro cacti and thick stands of fine-leafed chaparral. The desert mouse, able to go a month without water. Pads of prickly pear, carefully barbed against predators looking for a meal. I’ve never found a place that rivaled the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

Until now.

My boyfriend and I stayed at a lodge on Mt. Crested Butte. We enjoyed daily adventures–hiking, visiting a fish hatchery, more hiking, sightseeing, window shopping, hiking again. I can’t recall ever taking a vacation where I didn’t check my email, read a manuscript, hash out a plot line. It was terrible timing–I’m again facing a revision deadline with my current work-in-progress, and I can’t tell you the level of anxiety that grew in my chest as we reached the Arizona border on our drive home. But can you blame me?

Case in point: the next two pictures are views from the side of the road. In case you didn’t hear me, I said the side of the road. Like, pulled over, rolled down the window, and snapped a picture on my otherwise useless phone.

Gunnison State Park, Colorado

Can I really be expected to work under such conditions?

I have to say, though, a few of my blog sisters live in Colorado, and I salute their fortitude. Going from my usual 1,000 feet above sea level to between 8,000-12,000 feet nearly did me in. I managed to drag myself up long enough to enjoy a favorite pastime.

My target block is just past the fir tree.

The good news is I’m back home, refreshed and ready to buckle down. This works out well, because it’s too hot to go out and play here in the Valley of the Sun.

What about you? Do you return refreshed from vacation, or do you need a few days to recuperate? Leave your comments below!

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Karna Bodman

    Oh Sonja, what wonderful photos — as for being "off grid" for a while, I have to admit I am addicted…not only to sending/receiving email and news updates, but to reading The Wall Street Journal even when traveling. I guess I'm afraid I will miss some important development since I'm constantly making notes and clipping articles as references for the next thriller. On the other hand, if I could simply stop – as you did – and appreciate the gorgeous scenery and vacation opportunities, I'll bet I could use those to enhance descriptions in books as well as news updates. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty all around us – great post!

  2. Dena

    Your photos are amazing, Sonja! I'm in Portland, OR in 100 degree heat and wishing I was sitting that close to snow covered mountains (even if it's only a little snow). I long for the days when I don't have to be so attached to a computer or phone. As much as they are helpful, they also steal a lot of time, focus and serenity. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  3. Sonja Stone

    Karna, I'm with you! Normally I force myself to focus on my characters and plot lines. This was one of the first times I've ever been "in the moment." Maybe it was the thin air–I was so focused on breathing I couldn't obsess about anything else!

  4. Sonja Stone

    Thanks, Dena! I had no idea Portland was so hot! With a wet winter, that seems really unfair. Also, I take no credit for the beautiful photographs. Every direction had another pristine view.

  5. Rachel

    What gorgeous photos! I love Colorado. Seems like you can just whip out your phone, point it in a random direction, and take a postcard-worthy photo — not to diminish your skill & good eye! Beauty everywhere you look. I'm glad you had some down time!

  6. Gayle Lynds

    Thank god, Sonja, you've just enabled me NOT to feel guilty!

  7. Francine

    Welcome to my world, girlfriend.
    I never work on vacation. But living here sometimes feels like a constant one.

  8. S. Lee Manning

    Beautiful photos. Colorado is lovely, although I am a Vermonter now. I agree that it's hard to work in beautiful surroundings with mountains and forests calling to you. Good to know that bad weather is ahead – and time to work.