Thursday, May 4, 2017: Day Thirteen

Thursday, May 4, 2017: We have reached the point in our trip where all of our constant activities are catching up with us. I honestly can’t believe what all we have done in the past two weeks.

To help process the passage of time, we grabbed a cup of coffee at Lux Central, per Bree’s local recommendation. We walked in the door and were surprised to find employees frosting cinnamon rolls and squeezing orange juice right beside the customers who were sipping their coffee. At 10am on a weekday, this coffee shop was packed. Some people were working on their computers; others were drumming on their tables to their music. I ordered a latte and Nathan ordered a cold brew, and as I was preparing to call this place “overrated,” I took a sip and simply could not. Y’all, I think I may have had the best latte of my life here.

With a new pep in my step, we headed to Scottsdale to grab lunch with Allison, my college friend (for life) and new(ish) resident to the Phoenix area. We caught up over delicious, fresh eats and an amazing tea called “Medicine Man” at True Food Kitchen. Full from the food and the good company, Nathan and I set out to explore the Scottsdale area and drive past a couple of its bright green golf courses.

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With Allison at True Food Kitchen

To walk off our lunch, we went back to Papago Park, this time to climb up to the Hole in the Rock. As I got out of the car and began to apply sunscreen, a man who was approximately my age yelled to me, “Little lady, better not put on that perfume. There are bees up there.” I call attention to this little moment because “Little lady” is condescending. Guys, don’t ever address a stranger in this way. I turned around and said, “Well, it’s sunscreen. Guess it just smells good.” Anyway, I’m still mad he called me “Little lady” and even more mad that he thought I’d douse myself in perfume while standing in the middle of a parking lot in broad daylight. Who even does that? Why even make that assumption? ANYWAY! MOVING ON!

Without getting stung or seeing even a single bee and while not getting sunburned, we climbed to the Hole in the Rock, which provides a pretty neat view of the park and some of Phoenix.

For dinner, we discovered there was an Ethiopian restaurant near where we were staying in Tempe, Café Lalibela. After Nicole introduced us to Ethiopian food in St. Louis at the beginning of our trip, we’ve wanted to find another opportunity to eat the cuisine, since there definitely isn’t a place in Jackson we could go for Ethiopian.

Completely stuffed and exhausted, we decided to spend the rest of the night watching Arrested Development until we passed out.

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017: Day Eleven

Tuesday, May 2, 2017: After spending some time in Flagstaff writing three days work of my blog, we took off for Phoenix.

We decided to take the scenic route through Sedona, stopping there along the way.

Highway 89A took us through an incredible ponderosa pine forest, down through a mountain ridge and into Sedona. Sedona is an adorable town where a large collection of western movies was filmed. The area is still a bit forested but is speckled with huge red rock monuments.

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Bell Rock (Left) in Sedona

We grabbed lunch in Sedona overlooking the red rocks and then made our way to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which was built in a butte before heading to Phoenix.

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Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

As we began to approach Phoenix, we passed the sign for Arcosanti and decided to take a slightly off-road adventure to visit the experimental laboratory/artistic community. Years ago, my dad brought home brass bells made at Arcosanti. I love these beautiful, handmade bells. The tour took us through the community, giving us background on the architecture, explaining their plans for sustainable energy to support the community and detailing the way in which the bells are made. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

After our tour, we headed to Phoenix, where we will be for the next few days. Before calling it a night, we made sure to get in an In-N-Out fix. I’d had In-N-Out before when I was in Long Beach, CA, but this time I knew to order my fries “animal style.

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Monday, May 1, 2017: Day Ten

Monday, May 1, 2017: I woke up with the sun in Grand Canyon National Park at 5am and was so proud of myself I couldn’t help but smile. And then I went back to sleep and awoke again at 7:30am.

We checked the weather later, and according to the National Weather Service, temperatures got down to 25 degrees. This time, I didn’t realize it was ever that cold [I’m not convinced it actually did]. My two layers of North Face jackets may have made the difference this go-around.

As we packed the tent into the car and closed the trunk, we turned around and a pack of mule deer passed directly though our sight. Nathan and I silently grabbed our cameras and phones and grabbed a couple of photos and enjoyed watching the park’s big-eared deer pass through our site. [By the way, we have actual cameras with us. So far, I’ve only posted phone photos on this blog.]

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Mule deer creeping though our campsite

We wanted to make sure we didn’t leave the Grand Canyon without getting the full experience. So, we decided to hike down into the canyon on the partial South Kaibab trail which stops by Ooh Ahh point. After we “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” and dragged our legs up the equivalent of walking up 76 stair steps. Once we made it back to the top of the canyon, I was beyond ready to wash my hair.

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Noted
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The view from Ooh Aah point

So, we waved goodbye to the Grand Canyon, feeling proud and expressing our great appreciation for the park surrounding the canyon, which was about as impressive as the canyon itself.

We made it to Flagstaff in the early afternoon. Nathan and I spent the remainder of the day trying not to fall asleep.

Flagstaff is a neat little city, not much bigger than Jackson, TN (my hometown). The Route 66 city located at the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks has more local coffee shops than I’ve ever seen in such a small region. Its downtown gave off a more hipster/hippy vibe than I would have expected. I think we drove around the entirety of Flagstaff before finally grabbing a meal at night.

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View from outside the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ

We’ve bounced around through different time zones for the past couple of weeks, and the impact of these changes is just now starting to catch up with me. Only two months ago, I was living in the Eastern Time Zone. In March, I moved back into Central. When we made it to Denver, we adjusted to Mountain Time, which we enjoyed in Moab and Monument Valley. The Grand Canyon is in the Pacific Time Zone this time of year, and so now we’re all Pacific and my brain hurts.

Needless to say, with all the camping and hiking, I was excited for a solid night’s sleep and a shower.