Exercise, Fitbit, Fitbit, Exercise, Healthy, Health, Travel, Uncategorized

Get Out Of My Way Pink Jeep…

Our final day in Sedona we hiked from the time the sun came up until about 3:00 in the afternoon. My legs and feet were exhausted by the end of it, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to complete the almost 7.5-mile loop to see some of Sedona’s well-known sites and a 360-degree view of Munds Mountain.

We hiked Little Horse Trail to Chicken Point, The Broken Arrow Trail, Mystic Trail, Submarine Rock Trail, back around to  The Chapel of the Holy Cross and then took the Chapel trail to meet back up with the Little Horse Trail to hike back to the car.

There was not one cloud in the sky and it seemed like the sun was right overhead the entire day. We started out to only hike the Little Horse Trail to Chicken Point so we didn’t take any water or snacks with us for the journey. BUT, when we saw the views from Chicken point and saw that there were multiple trails that you could link up with that would take you all around the rocks (one giant loop) we decided to press on.

I will say by the time we made it around to the Chapel of the Holy Cross I was so thankful that they had a gift shop that sold water… I needed it!

What I like so much about this collection of trails was not only the sites along the way, but the nice people who would show you offshoots to other trails, warn you about certain areas or just stop and have a conversation with you. Let’s face it I liked to stop and talk because I got to catch my breath.

One thing I saw that just blew me away, was the number of mountain bikers out on the trails. There were places that were only 4-6 inches wide with huge drop offs, places I was a little nervous to walk and the bikers just whizzed on by like it was no big thing. I guess that’s why they call it extreme sports.

While we enjoyed hiking the trails to hit the high points and scenic views, there is another way to get around if you don’t have as much time, have small children or have elderly folks with you. The Pink Jeep Tours will take you all along the red rocks to see some pretty amazing sights. Although they cannot go quite as high as the walking trails go, you still get a pretty view and don’t have to worry about navigation and a 7.5-mile hike. I will say if you want to hike like we did… start out as early as you can, because once the pink jeeps start coming, they don’t stop for most of the day!

This was our final hike in Sedona before we made our way out-of-town. Thanks to Miss Jackie Sherwood for telling us to take the scenic route back to Phoenix, through Jerome and detour through Prescott… that experience will be a post for later!!

Travel, Uncategorized

I Got This…

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This is exactly what I looked like when I was on my own in Phoenix last week.

The first couple days of our trip, Daniel had a conference in Phoenix so I was on my own to explore the city Sunday-Tuesday. Now, being raised in Birmingham Alabama I am not skilled in public transportation but had to rely on it if I wanted to go anywhere other than our hotel.

Planning an outing for myself last week entailed 30 minutes of pre planning on the Valley Metro website to ensure I knew where I was going, what rail or bus I needed to take and how long it would take me to get to my destination. Now just because I planned 30 minutes ahead of time does not mean that it was flawless. Nope, in fact it was the opposite. When did directions stop saying “turn right” or “turn left”? Why did they change it to “go Southwest” or “walk Northeast” I mean I was willing to look at my device for directions but not about to pull up the compass on my smart phone to figure out what direction I was going… All I could think of was the Friends episode where Joey has to “step into his map.”

For those of you that know me, I do not like to stick out AT ALL. I think it has something to do with being so tall. Growing up I was always a head taller than everyone and I felt like I was always slouching in order to not stick out in the crowd. I did not want to stick out as a tourist who needed help, or more so just a pathetic individual who didn’t know wich way was North.

I quickly learned the difference between 7th Ave and 7th Street when I got off the bus too early and had to walk about 15 blocks. Yes, some of you that are more skilled with public transportation are probably thinking that I should have stayed put and just waited for the next bus to come. While that would have been the smart thing to do, I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing.

I finally learned from my three-day adventure that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing all the time and asking for help from others who do will not kill you. In fact, when I finally realized that, I was able to have a lot of fun interactions while riding on both the light rail and bus systems. Conversations ranged from a gentlemen asking me if I could see Jesus coming back on a white horse right behind my head to people asking me where I was from and telling me all their stories and experiences from time spent in Arkansas…some included stories of outstanding warrants they had in my home state, for some pretty interesting things. I met one girl, Brante, who rides a combination of buses and trains to get to school, work and then home again 6 out of 7 days of the week. Brante is a special young lady. She knows what she wants and she is not letting anything stand in her way to get to it. I hope I can teach my kids to pursue their dreams with the drive and passion that was overflowing in Brante’s voice during our conversation.

So, while I started off with my shark fin on, determined to not stand out in the crowd as a tourist who had no clue what she was doing, I’m pretty sure my goldfish started showing through as people began to ask me if I needed help. I’m glad I finally accepted the help as it led to some fun, memorable times with strangers that helped round out my Phoenix experience.

Exercise, Fitbit, Travel, Uncategorized

26,700 Steps

Sedona, AZ has over 84 known hikes in and around the area. While we weren’t able to hike them all, we did look up a list of the top 10 and hit as many as we could.

Our first day of hiking we started out on the Devil’s Bridge trail.

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Devil’s Bridge is probably the most viewed red rock arch in the Sedona area. It is situated at the edge of a wide valley on the north side of Capital Butte and although its named Devil’s Bridge, the formation is actually an arch rather than a bridge. It was created by wind and weather erosion and not by flowing water.

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The main path ends right beneath the arch and another small trail continues to the top. The views from the top of the bridge are amazing, looking up and down the canyon, over the red and white rocks at either side, and westwards across the valley of Dry Creek to the more extensive canyons and mesas of the Red Rocks.

The trail leads up a valley, over red rock terraces, surrounded by typical Sedona vegetation of juniper, pinyon pine, yucca and agave. The trail climbs about 300 feet pretty quickly at the end to the base of the bridge, which you can only see when it is right overhead. The bridge or arch is composed of Supai sandstone in a deep shade of red.

Devil’s Bridge is well worth the moderate hike. If you are not fond of heights, like my husband, then you may be a bit uncomfortable out on the bridge. However,  it is an amazing feeling to walk out to the middle and look back over the valley and mountains around you.

Our second hike for the day was to Doe Mountain.

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This trail, while a short 0.9 miles, is straight up. It provides big views and scenery that will take your breath away. Once you reach the top, the drop off is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m not sure we would take our children on this hike unless we talked to them ahead of time about sticking close to mom and dad.

The Doe Mountain Trail switchbacks directly up the north side of this low, flat-topped Mesa. As you start your climb, you’ll want to make sure to turn around and see the views on the way up too. If you’re like me, the stop to turn around and see the scenery can also provide a much-needed time to catch your breath. A layer of erosion resistant cap rock is what gives Doe Mountain its mesa shape and provides hikers with a wide area at the top to enjoy the panoramic views.

From the top of the mesa, you can see a number of the Sedona Red Rocks Country’s prominent landmarks . You’ll see Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb.

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Our final stop that day was to Oak Creek Canyon Vista. Ah, finally somewhere we could drive to… my legs were done for the day!

Oak Creek Canyon vista is only around 14 miles from Flagstaff. The drive to the vista was filled with hair-pin switchbacks that drop about 4500 feet off the side. Daniel was clutching the wheel of the car pretty tight on the way up, but again, it was well worth the drive.

Once at the vista point you can walk along a railed pathway, take photos and shop for gifts at the many Native American artisan vendors set up along the pathway. There are wonderful displays of authentic made Indian crafts, jewelry, and art as you take in the scenery around you.

Overall it was a great, full day of adventure. I will say that after hiking that much I had to take a picture of my step count from my fitbit… I hit 26,700 steps!!

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That many steps called for some celebration! We sat and watched the sunset with a glass of wine from our balcony at the lodge…

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And then traveled down the mountain for a little more celebrating at the Javelina Cantina

Travel, Uncategorized

To Lock Your Pockets…

That’s what the locals call it…. It’s really spelled TLAQUEPAQUE and pronounced tuh-lah-keh-pah-keh. Tlaquepaque is a word from Native Indian language that means “best of everything.” Tlaquepaque was built by Abe Miller and fashioned after a Mexican city on the outskirts of Guadalajara.

This large arts and crafts village was our first stop in Sedona. Filled with stores and restaurants, this is a can’t miss if you are headed to Sedona for the first time. Unique stores line both the North and South side of the main road in Sedona. Stores are filled with anything from clothing to jewelry to home decor, crafts and everything in between, there is something for everyone. Most stores are a bit pricey, so you may want to go elsewhere to pick up a souvenir for the kids, but if you’re looking for a special gift or treat for yourself, I’m sure you’ll find it here.

Durning our trip, Daniel and I were able to visit two of the restaurants in Tlaquepaque. Our first day in Sedona we had lunch at the Oak Creek Brewery & Grill. This restaurant has a beautiful setting with indoor/outdoor seating and some of the best wood fire grilled food around. Their world class microbrewery is on site and produces award winning beers (try the sampler!!)

Our last day in Sedona we had Lunch at the Spoke and Wheel. This restaurant is inside the Los Abrigados Resort and Spa and has some amazing items on the menu. Daniel and I stuck to the lunch menu, but it was tempting to go back for dinner. Check out the pictures of their steaks below…

Overall our first day in Sedona was great. We had a wonderful time walking in and around the shops of Tlaquepaque. We didn’t purchase anything, but Daniel is still sad that he didn’t buy this leather hat he had his eyes on (think Indiana Jones hat…like we need that)… so maybe I’ll have to order it for him for Christmas.