I’m not really sure how to sum up my vacation to Phoenix in just one post but I know you don’t want to read 10 posts about my trip so I will try my best to keep it kind of short and sweet. That being said, there is a LOT to show and tell so if you want to see a ton of pictures about Phoenix, then you won’t be disappointed.
I feel like this was truly my first “adult” vacation – one that I planned and executed and one full of all the things I chose to fill it with. It could not have been better – truly an amazing trip!! If you followed along through pictures on Instagram, then you were able to see a glimpse into my trip already (or you got annoyed with all the pictures and had to unfollow, but I hope not…).
This trip was a two-part mission. The first was to secure housing for when we move to Phoenix at the end of September. The second was to have some fun in my new state. When I say things could not have gone more smoothly, I am not blowing smoke and just showing you my “A” roll in life. This trip was perfect, but it was not without its frustrations and obstacles, that is for sure. I am not afraid to tell it like it is and there was some moments – trust on that! Even with those moments though, this was the best vacation I have ever had, and it truly made me fall in love with Phoenix, with the mountains and with all of the possibilities it holds for my future.
The day we flew in to Phoenix was all about having a little fun and checking into our hotel. Day 2 was going to be devoted to apartment hunting, and into day 3 if we were not successful by the end of day 2. Well – our hotel turned out to be in way the wrong part of town and all rooms smelled like smoke. We canceled immediately and decided to wing it! We figured we would just go day by day unless we found an awesome deal. As a “planner” that was hard for me but I decided to let it go and just live in the moment and it turned out just fine!
After landing, our first order of business was going to Los Cerritos. My boyfriend has raved about this place (among others) so we went there first for a carne asada burrito and a horchata. The place doesn’t look like anything special but the food and horchata were awesome! From there we headed to Papago Park to play a little. I was able to get my first taste of climbing and catch some amazing views! It was a quick visit and I’m still nursing a bum knee so I didn’t do anything special, but I can already tell I’m going to LOVE trail running!!!
We got a cheap hotel close to Papago and then grabbed dinner at another favorite, Rice Paper. I’ll have to do a separate post on all my favorites because there are too many to list right now! Pho Tai soup and spring rolls made the perfect light dinner shared outside under the mist. Then we headed over to “A” Mountain in Tempe and took in the lights of Tempe Town. What a fun climb….in the dark! Chayet tells me some day I will do 400 m sprints up A Mountain with him. After climbing it in flip-flops – I’m not so sure!
Day 2 was all about apartment hunting. We saw so many places that day. I had a list of “musts” and then we stopped at more along the way that caught our eye. There were many on the list that were “possibles” and a few “fall back on” but none that were just “this is it”. We took a break late afternoon and wondered a mall in a really nice area and it was nice to just step aside from the apartment hunting for a moment. It’s just what we needed too because we got in the car, realized there was one on my list that was right around the corner and figured we had one more in us for the day. God works in mysterious ways because that was THE PLACE. We fell in love instantly, they had an opening for our move in date, it has all we wanted and more and is in a perfect location for us. I was so thankful to get it done and not have to spend another day looking too! Thank you Lord for directing us to where we needed to be!
Our apartment is REALLY close to Camelback and so we drove over to get a quick look after we left the apartment. I was in flip-flops but that didn’t stop us from climbing the first section to get a little taste. I knew that the next day we would be climbing to the top so getting a little taste of it was fun!
Day 3 was all about Camelback Mountain. We got up early and hit up LGO for a good breakfast and then went straight to Camelback. We knew that we would be taking this hike slow since it was my first time and I’m not in shape and my boyfriend claims to not be in shape for it either (insert HUGE eye roll here). Our goal was to take it slow, take a ton of pictures and have a blast. I had a few other small goals in mind too – don’t fall and don’t die – NBD. My boyfriend has been on that mountain more times than I can count and has run up it and in places I will probably never venture too. In fact, one such area is so steep, if you slip and fall, you will more than likely fall to your death. Just looking at it from far away, and then up close gave me the willies and thinking about him RUNNING up it? NOPE – never gonna see me do it (famous last words of someone who later tries it…I know). I won’t kill you with pictures but I have to share a few from the trek up.
I will admit that I did way better than I expected. There were parts that were a little scary but for the most part, I felt completely in control and had faith in myself and what I was doing. I will also admit that we took a lot of breaks for pictures and to just chill and take it all in so had we been pushing the pace, things may have felt different for me. There was a lady out there that was OWNING that mountain and boy did she inspire me….every time she RAN up and by me or down and by me. And I say every time because in the time I was out there (3 1/2 hours) she ran by me several times. We finally asked her how many times she had gone up and down and she said she was on her last trip at NUMBER 5! Girl had a body to die for and the grace of a gazelle and sure-footed like a mountain goat. It was amazing to watch her and inspiring too. It was also amazing to see how comfortable Chayet was on the mountain and how “in his element” he was.
I have to share a funny story here. I left my ego at home for this trip and especially for the hike up Camelback. I am fairly competitive and I like to push myself and I like to excel at things. BUT, having never climbed like this, I wanted to leave all that ego and competitive nature at home and just live in the moment and take it all in. That is exactly what I did for the entire climb. I kid you not, I took some risks but they were calculated, I took the easy route in some places if I felt the opposite was too much for me at this time, I stood back and took my time and enjoyed every second of my time on that mountain. It was amazing. And then, once we were done with the “climbing” and just finishing out the last few hundred feet to get back to the parking area, I did something silly. Chayet and I were talking about that amazing woman we watched run all over the mountain. I was talking about how inspiring it was to watch her and how someday I would love to have that kind of grace and athleticism to conquer the mountain like that….and the next instant I slipped and was on my butt in the gravel! I had been doing some pretty gnarly climbing ALL DAY and never once fell or even slipped down, and the moment I let my guard down, and let a “thought” of being better or good enter my mind, I was humbled. It was really no big deal, I slipped on some loose gravel and was in the middle of the trail – it was nothing (but really funny). I wasn’t even saying I wanted to be better than her, or claiming I would someday be a bad ass on that mountain, more just admiration for that woman and hoping to someday have half her ability on that mountain. But, it was a reminder, in that moment, to always check your ego, and it made for a great laugh for Chayet and me. The ego is a dangerous thing. It can get you in trouble by taking a stupid risk, it can get in the way of relationships and friendships and can cause irrevocable harm. I’m glad I was given an opportunity to be reminded of that with a lesson in humility.
Being on the top of Camelback just made me so thankful for the experience, the ability to climb up there and wonder at God’s handiwork. I had to stop several times and just thank Him for the opportunity and ability.
I think you get the idea – no need for any more pictures, right? Can you tell I had a good time? I cannot wait to get back and explore those mountains more, and explore the area and visit more of the surrounding states! It opened my eyes to just how small I am and just how big our world is! I can’t wait to LIVE there and experience more!
There is still so much about my trip I want to share, but this has gotten pretty long so I’ll save it for another post. I also want to share more about that amazing man in my life – but that is a separate post all by itself. He must be properly introduced and that is coming soon! For now, I’ll leave you with this: