As I type this, I am sitting on our hotel balcony overlooking the red rocks of Sedona. It’s 6:00am and its chilly enough that I am wearing long sleeves and long pants, but it’s perfect. To recap, this week Jason and I are on our 10 year anniversary trip. Jason planned this trip for us, and surprised me with the location when we arrived at the airport. I am impressed with everything that Jason has researched and planned for us to do, see and eat. Our first day was a travel day so it doesn’t really count except I must note that our travel day was pretty painless. We arrived in Phoenix and stayed the night in Phoenix so that we didn’t have to add a two-hour drive to our evening. This was a great plan because it ultimately led us to the best meal that we have ever had. If you are in Phoenix, you must go to the Barrio Cafe. It doesn’t look like much from the outside and you might question if you are in a safe neighborhood, but once you are inside you will thank me. You must order the guacamole…..you just must do it. I like guacamole, but I don’t love it. They make the guacamole in front of you and lets just say we wanted to lick the freaking bowl it was so damn good. Our entrees were amazing too. We may just make our way back there when we fly home at the end of the week.
Our first full trip day started with a morning workout. I love working out on vacation because I can take my time. I don’t have to rush. I got up at 5:00am (because I havent quite adjusted to the two-hour time difference) and just enjoyed the workout. It was a leg day…and later I regretted that. Once we showered and ate breakfast, we hit the road for Prescott. Interestingly, it is pronounced Preskit and not Prescott. In Prescott, Jason had planned our first hike of the trip around Watson Lake.
We arrived and booted up and started our 4 mile hike. This hike was absolutely beautiful, but it was hard. I was so thankful for my hiking boots. The terrain was rugged and we did a lot of climbing. I would never want the kids to do this hike, and I probably would not have been able to do it if I was much further along in my pregnancy. I would frequently check my heart rate and was often at 130bpm which is my average heart rate when I run. Once we got to the lake all of the exhaustion didn’t really matter….it was breathtaking. Watson Lake is this beautiful clear lake surrounded on all sides by walls of rock formations. We found a little bench overlooking the lake and enjoyed lunch together. It could not have been more perfect. The hike back to the car was quicker and harder….mind you it was the middle of the day in Arizona and the heat was starting to get to me. Most of the hike back was filled with us discussing what flavor of Gatorade were we going to splurge on when we found the first gas station….we decided on cherry frost. Once back to our car (and after our Gatorade purchase) we made the drive to Sedona through mountains of trees and winding roads. That evening after the difficult hike we felt that we earned pizza and ice cream and that’s exactly what we had
The next morning, I was up at 4:00am. The time difference was really getting me in the morning. Since it’s an off day (and the fitness center at the hotel doesn’t open until 7:00am?!?), I hit the balcony overlooking the red rocks and started catching up on some writing. We are headed to the Grand Canyon today. After breakfast, we made the two plus hour journey to the Grand Canyon. Parts of the drive were absolutely beautiful winding through forested mountains. We arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon around 11:00am and it was already very busy. We decided to hike the easy Rim Trail to give our legs a break from the day before. It was a paved 5 mile out and back trail. This trail was easy, and there was a wonderful breeze to get us started, but as the day progressed it got hotter and our breeze disappeared. The bad thing about an out and back is that once you get to your “out” you still have to hike the entire way back. The views were beautiful and the people watching was fantastic so it was still really nice. If you are starting the trail at the Visitor’s Center expect it to be crowded. Just go 15 minutes into the trail and the crowds disappear.
When we finished our hike, we grabbed a quick lunch in town and made our drive back to Sedona. Since I was already hot and gross, I decided to do some shopping around our hotel. I know that sounds strange, but just being outside in the sun and heat in July in this area and you are instantly sweaty. The sun just feels hotter. There is little humidity which is great, but it’s hot. After shopping, we went to dinner at a place called Paleo Brio. It was my kind of food. My plate was filled with brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, asparagus and salmon….and I was happy.
For Day 3, we were headed to explore Flagstaff and a trail or two along the way. I was once again up way to early. I decided to enjoy an early morning run while I waited for the fitness center to open at 7am. In my opinion, that really is way too late for a hotel fitness center. When I got to the fitness center, I was thankful that I had already completed my run and had added in a quick 20 minute body weight tabata session because the fitness center was not to my standards (the free weights started at 25 lbs….what?!?…this pregnant lady wanted a set of 15’s…but nope). After that disappointment, we got an early start to our day and headed to our first stop which was the West Fork Trail which is about 15 minutes outside of Sedona on the way to Flagstaff. We picked this trail because it was a completely different landscape with walls of rock amongst a thick forest and plenty of creeks for me to cross and test my balance. It was a pretty easy 4 miles, but it was worth it for the views.
After our hike, we headed to Flagstaff which is a beautiful 30 minute drive from Sedona. We explored the Walnut Canyon National Monument which was beautiful, but I am not sure it was worth the entrance fee. Unlike a lot of parks, they charge per person so we spent roughly 45 minutes here and it cost us $20. Also, if you don’t like heights or stairs….don’t visit….trust me. From here, we hit Route 66 and ate at the Galaxy Diner which was a 50’s style diner and the food was damn good. You can’t go wrong with diner food. One last stop in Flagstaff at the Northern Arizona University bookstore to pick-up some Lumberjack’s hats for Jason and the boys and we were on our way back to Sedona.
The entire time we have been in Sedona, I have been trying to convince myself to spend the money and get a physic reading (when in Sedona, right?). I decided to just go for it. I had never had a reading before and I am pretty sure it will be my last. Ciarra was my physic and honestly she didn’t tell me much of anything. There was something about petting my dogs while meditating and she attempted to help me make an important decision about something coming up at work….really I should have just walked in the door, handed Ciarra $40 and then went about my business shopping. Honestly, I was hoping Ciarra would say something about me being pregnant because it’s not super obvious…but nope. I did end up spending way too much money on healing crystals for myself. I don’t feel that bad about that purchase…..yet.