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a GRAND adventure.

Okay okay I don’t want to drag out my spring break adventures but there’s also so many awesome moments to share….so cram them into one photo-packed post I will!

I haven’t done homework in 9 days. I haven’t so much as looked at a textbook. I don’t even think I’ve looked at what’s due. I have thoroughly enjoyed my spring break as an extended recharge moment.

The last time I traveled to the Grand Canyon was on a camping trip with my parents about 12 years ago. We were caught in the middle of a huge monsoon driving in and the hail and thunder stunned us. I don’t remember much of our hike or time in the Grand Canyon so I was stoked to go back this week with my friend Kerri. It was her first time to the most-visited Wonder of the World (and she’s an Arizona native!). Say no more. To the giant crater in the earth we go.

Grand Canyon Just Hanging Out *stronglikemycoffee.com

Just hangin’ out!

We took the shuttle to the Kaibab Trailhead. “Steep and Slippery” is an understatement.We were taking baby steps to keep from sliding. 4 month-old running shoes do NOT equal hiking shoes. ;)

Grand Canyon Ooh Aah Point

“What can I say about something that blows me away without sounding like another cliche?”

Grand Canyon Sitting b

The epicness of the grand canyon cannot be captured in a photograph. You just can’t see the depth and vastness of the thing in 2D! As much as I love taking pictures, it really is better just to enjoy this one with your eyes.

Kerri & I got a late start to our hike, and we were warned “It takes twice as long to get back up so give yourself plenty of time.” We turned around after 90 minutes,expecting to take about 3 hours to get back up. It is STEEP, like doing the stairmaster for 2 miles straight……but it didn’t take us any longer to get back up than it did to get down.

THEY UNDERESTIMATE US AND OUR RUNNER LEGS.

Grand Canyon fatigue

Just bear with me for a couple more pictures. I was totally digging the new environment. I like collecting my memories in photographic form.

Grand Canyon dead tree

Grand Canyon black and white

Feeling on top of the freakin’ world.

Grand Canyon lookout

Grand Canyon with Kerri Collage

That bottom picture was our view driving back to school. Kerri took probably 90 pictures while I drove. No one can accuse us of not appreciating our surroundings….we gush about that mountain like it’s our middle school crush.

**Hey we reached the halfway point of this recap post! (I told you it was going to be jam-packed.)**

My mom must have been inspired by my Sedona & Grand Canyon pictures because she wanted some of her own. She drove up and stayed with me for the end of Spring Break.

mom wknd grand canyon

My pass into the Grand Canyon was good for 7 days. Naturally I had to go back before it expired. So I made the journey again with my mom, this time with the goal of reaching Skeleton Point. Even though the distance is only 6 miles round-trip, coming back up 3 miles is so steep (and at 7,000 ft elevation).

mom wknd skelly point

We reached the turn around point, but it’s hardly “half way.” The trek down is nothing compared to the hike back up. So awesome! Being out on Skeleton Point really felt like being IN the Grand Canyon and I felt so small.

mom wknd and i grand canyon

Sedona was a little less dirty, a little more red, a lotta bit warmer. We spent another nature day climbing rock stairs to picnic on Devil’s Bridge.

The Devils Bridge Sedona AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Crazy amounts of sunshine on this spring break and I tried to absorb it all! Can you store extra vitamin D for later?!

We were NOT ready to head home yet so we pulled up a table on the deck of a cafe and sat until we felt the start of a sunburn.

Mom wknd Iced Beverages in Sedona (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We also made a bunch of healthy recipes this week that I’m definitely going to have to share soon! But I think I’ve carried on with this post long enough :)

Spring Break had a thousand memories and now we’re back to reality. Time to make up for my lack of educational stimulation over the past week and half.

But, but….Sex & the City is on. To homework or not to homework? One episode won’t hurt…

Up in the Trees

Driving around Arizona CollageNever underestimate the cathartic power of an open highway.

And no, I did not take any of these pictures while driving ;)

Whether it’s 15 miles or 150 miles away, getting out of the college campus for a while is a much-needed vacation. I spent the first four days of spring break with one of my best friends Chelsea & there is literally never a dull moment.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Some kids like to get day-wasted during spring break. We like to climb trees in the rain. :) We spent the better part of the day “hanging” out in the forest. At one point we hung 61 ft. off the ground. Our rain dance brought some hail along the way. Just made it that much more hard core. ;)

The course was a serious balance exercise. Some of the obstacles had us hanging upside down and pulling ourselves across a rope. Others had us hopping on a suspended skateboard and gliding through the air.

flg xtreme skateboard

And all five courses ended with a zip line. For some reason roller coasters terrify me, but putting my weight on a metal clip suspended between two trees is perfectly acceptable.

Zip Line at Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Chelsea & I met in SHAC freshman year of college & immediately bonded over an interest in health/nutrition. After sophomore year she transferred to ASU. Lack of snow was a main appeal ;) I don’t blame her! We pointed out that all of our visits are full of activities like going rock climbing, jumping around the trampoline gym, swimming, bowling, hiking, and now zip lining. AND THAT’S THE WAY WE LIKE IT.

The next day was a Sedona Adventure (am I sick of that place yet? Never.) & I’ll save for another post.

Valentine’s Day Hiking Adventure

“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”

“True. Too bad I’m in the freakin’ desert.”

;)

HAPPY BELATED VALENTINE’S DAY! I hope you felt some love :) I got the most adorable care-package from home with a new stuffed elephant (& an elephant book mark which is currently placed in the novel Paper Towns.)

Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday which also happened to be the best weather we’ve seen all year. My best friend and I are both *happily* single. (Apparently we suck at fishing.) Meaning our Friday was wide open for a day trip down to my latest obsession: Sedona.

Sedona Selfie (stronglikemycoffee.com)

First stop: Sprout’s. Apples, Bananas, Protein Bars, Pistachios. Check!

Down the mountain we goooooo!

Second Stop: Sedona Chamber of Commerce for my parking pass. $5 for the day or $20 for the year? Seeing as how I’ve been here 3 times in the past 12 days, I got the 12-month pass.

Third Stop: Bell Rock.

Bell Rock Pathway hike Sedona AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)Kerri and I rode along highway 179 just appreciating the red rock mountains and gorgeous views. It was a beautiful day. One of the things I love about my best friend is the fact that we can spend a solid 48 hours together and never run out of things to talk about or get sick of each other. We both are equally in love with health & fitness, couldn’t have asked for a better hiking buddy :)

Sedona Hike Selfie (stronglikemycoffee.com)

You can’t understand how thrilled we were just to be in 75 degree sunshine. February in Flagstaff is typically freezing. But today, the sun shined its little rays on top of our mountain and we stripped off the winter coats for t-shirts and shorts. HALLELUJAH! My legs can see the light again!

The base of Bell Rock had a dirt trail clearly marked. However as we reached a few forks in the road, several trail markers distinguished separate trails. We followed “Bell Rock Pathway.” I can’t complain because it was a pretty route. But we never actually ascended Bell Rock, just basically walked the perimeter. We were expecting to climb to the TOP of Bell Rock. That didn’t happen. We noticed one of the trail markers on the way back pointing to “Bell Rock Climb.

-_- Well good thing I have a year pass and so we can try, try again! Still, it was just under 4.5 miles and full of awe-inspiring views.

Best friends sedona selfie (stronglikemycoffee.com)***Yes we had to settle for a lot of SELFIES to document our hike…. surprisingly not a whole lot of fellow hikers out for a Valentine’s adventure. (Kerri & I both agreed that an outdoor adventure date would be preferable to a romantic dinner date any day.)***

Another sedona collageWe <3 Exploring.

We got back into my car and headed straight over to

Fourth Stop: Cathedral Rock.

When we asked for a steeper hike, WE GOT IT. Cathedral Rock is one of the most photographed mountains in the Sedona Area, understandably so. It’s incredibly impressive. The word “trail” is loosely interpreted in this sense, because the hike is basically a 45 degree traverse straight up the side of the rock. No dirt/paved trail. We were literally on our hands and knees.

Cathedral Rock Sedona AZ hike (stronglikemycoffee.com)

A sedona climb kerr

Kerri’s hands were red from the dirt and I joked, “Stop playing in the sand!” She quickly corrected me. THEY’RE MINERALS. ;) *Breaking Bad reference* Seriously though, there could be a market for Sedona Sand “All Natural” Tanning solution….look at Kerri’s calves.

Sedona strong (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We stood on top of Cathedral Rock and pictures really cannot do the view justice. You can see miles out to other red peaks and thousands of trees. The hike is worth the view, I promise! We definitely want to go back and hike it again. We were on a bit of a time crunch because we wanted to get back to Flagstaff before dark. But we were also stalling because we weren’t entirely sure how we would get back down…

Cathedral Rock Hike Sedona AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)

It was a treacherous descent!

Cathedral Rock Hike descent (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Kerri was literally hugging the side of the mountain at one point. 22 minutes later we made it down without any twisted ankles!

Fifth Stop: Pink Java Cafe. The day would not be complete without coffee. A Valentine’s Special “Honey Latte” for the road!

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day no matter what you did. It’s up to us to make the most of our days :) Until my Mr. Fish comes along, I’m glad I had my best friend to spend this LOVEly day with!

Cathedral Rock Sedona AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)

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