March has been an insanely packed and fast paced month so far. We have been traveling, hiking a ton, have camping trips planned, had and have family birthday parties and baby showers and still have more of the above coming up! I cannot believe it is mid-March.
I’ll start with “Happy Saint Patrick’s…week”! B and I will be taking the dogs in Hank and camping this weekend and for the first time in a very long time, I don’t plan on drinking for St. Pat’s Day. We have a great weekend menu planned however. Grilling steaks over a campfire sounds too good right now.
I’m down 7 pounds from my starting weight, and while I didn’t quite meet the goal I was hoping for before vacation 2 weeks ago, I at least didn’t gain anything! Just have maintained. Walking a ton in Vegas also probably helped. Urban hiking! Now I have a new date of May 3rd to be down 10lbs more. I bet B has lost 15 or so since my last post regarding weight loss.
Let’s go back to Tuesday, February 28th! The last day of the shortest month. We were flying out Wednesday, the day before my in-laws were meeting us in Vegas for a long weekend. I had a moderately chill but busy day at work Tuesday. Came home, finished packing for our flight the next morning. We had to be up at 3:30am to get moving, leave the house at 4, drive the 20-25 minutes to the airport, self-park, then grab a shuttle back to the terminal, go through security, and get to our gate before Group A boarding at 5:40am.
Long story short, after tossing and turning all night I fell asleep Wednesday morning at 2am – leaving me in one of those weird half asleep dream states when the alarm rudely went off an hour and a half later. Everything was a blur until we got into the line for security, where I heard someone say my name. It was one of my clients! We talked for a quick minute and laughed at the timing of things. Who is at the airport at 5am on a Wednesday!? Also let me interject here that B was beginning to get sick. That phlegmy-sneezy-miserable head cold sick. Poor guy.
Thus began the longest 3 hours and 45 minutes of my life. I read a few pages of a book and kept nodding off. I tried to fight sleeping but it won briefly. I slept for about an hour solid in probably the most unflattering and uncomfortable way. I woke up feeling slightly rested and looked at the time…AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES LEFT?! Sigh. I kept reading and dozing until finally I felt the plane descending. We landed at McCarran at 7:35am.
Our car rental with Enterprise went swimmingly as per usual. In and out in 10 minutes. Love them! We were on the highway by 8:15 that morning. B was feeling pretty awful, but we were excited for the day ahead of us. Drive through Zion, stop in Page, AZ and finally – revisit the Grand Canyon in hopes of actually seeing it. We had no real time limit and we decided if it was already dark when we got to the South Rim, we would just go in the morning before heading back to Vegas since our Tusayan hotel was only 6 miles from the park entrance.
With a couple stops to get gas, take bathroom breaks and get coffee refills we made it to our first stop – Zion National Park. The drive in was gorgeous! We hung out in the visitor’s center for a little bit, got our first cancellation in the Passport to National Parks book I got a few weeks ago and then drove through the southern portion of the Park through the tunnels.
From our little over an hour stay and drive through Zion we decided we would love to come back in the future and spend at least 2 days exploring the park! That will go onto an ever growing list of wishes. We are so fortunate and thankful to even be able to just drive through!
Leaving Utah we headed to Page, AZ to see something that has always piqued my interest. Horseshoe Bend! And wow – it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!
The Colorado River twists and turns 1,450 miles from the Central Rockies, through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam down into Mexico. Along the way in the middle of the desert sits Horseshoe Bend. There are no guardrails between yourself and a 1,000ft drop. If you have the opportunity to see it – it is so worth it! With just an easy 1.5 mile round trip hike, you can witness nature at it’s coolest. Unreal!
When we left Page, we still had a 2 hour drive to the Red Feather Lodge at the Grand Canyon in Tusayan. It was pushing a little after 4pm and we both were exhausted. I hadn’t properly slept at all, B was sick, and we were wiped out from flying and then driving 6 of 8 hours that day. If we made it to the hotel that was all that mattered at that point. If we happened to make it to the South Rim before sunset, even better. We lost an hour on the drive from Utah to Arizona so we weren’t rushing.
But…we DID make it. And it DIDN’T disappoint.
This moment absolutely made up for the last trip, where we left defeated and didn’t get to experience the magic. This moment repaid us tenfold. The Grand Canyon at Navajo Point during the golden hour. We stood in silence among groups of other people, so thankful to be there.
It was absolutely freezing but we didn’t care. We watched the sun go down, huddled together in the cold. And then, it was time to check in to our hotel and eat all of the food we could find. We hadn’t consumed anything but coffee, danishes, beef jerky and string cheese all day. We had been awake for a very long time and both of us were famished. We got settled into our hotel and drove a couple parking lots over to a steakhouse called Yippee-ei-o! I ate every crumb off my plate as did B.
That night, I slept like the dead. I fell asleep immediately and woke up at 7am, ready to head out the door as soon as possible so we could get back to the park. There was hardly anyone at Mather Point. (Enjoy this side by side photo of our January trip and our March trip!)
We excitedly walked to the visitor’s center for our cancellation stamp (I also bought “The Man Who Walked Through Time” by Colin Fletcher in the bookstore) and then to Mather Point (pictured above!) to see what we missed last time.
The first thing I said out loud was “I cannot believe all of this was hidden behind white fog. ALL OF THIS!” We had a crisp, cold beautiful sunny morning with the place pretty much to ourselves.Just absolutely stunning. I felt like I was on top of the world that morning.
On the road again, we were on the way to Vegas where we met B’s parents. Here’s a couple photos from Thursday, the drive back and being out that night.Friday morning we got up at 6 and left to head to Death Valley. It was a 2 hour drive and a very scenic one at that! We spent hours here. Below is Mac! We got him when we became members of the Grand Canyon Association. We decided he would sometimes pop up in travel photos. =) I am the weirdo wearing all black in a desert. Hi. I think Death Valley is easily the most breathtaking place I have ever seen so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect here but it pleasantly surprised me. The salt flats with snow capped mountains on an 81 degree day was a mind teaser. My brain assumed the white on the ground was snow, but it was so hot! Every new place I see I am humbled and reminded how small we are. Our earth is a massive and beautiful place.
Friday night we had tickets at Wynn to see JOHN FOGERTY!!! Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of my favorite bands of all time – so to see the mastermind behind their greatest hits was once in a lifetime and so much fun!Friday night we hung out on the strip and went to bed around midnight. Saturday was our last day in Vegas and we wanted to make the most of it! These photos are in no particular order. B and his dad rode the thrill rides on top of the Stratosphere, we had lots of day drinks, played some machines and walked over TWELVE MILES!Sunday our flight home was delayed 4 hours, but Southwest gave us $100 vouchers for the inconvenience! Sweet! $200 is a one way ticket somewhere. We will take it!That was our epic Grand Canyon/Las Vegas Part II adventure! So much fun.
This weekend we are camping! Can’t wait to be back outside. Very much enjoying our year so far.
One last thing. The last few years, as I would scroll through my Instagram and Facebook feeds and see all of these beautiful photos of natural places usually reachable within a day or less of traveling from where I lived. How do people do this? How do they do it ALL THE TIME?
Sprawling skies, sunsets in National Parks, camping beneath stars, adventuring in a junky old van. “God, I want that.” I would think to myself. So I did it. And here we are. Making it count and making it work whenever we can.
We are average working people, we sometimes pay our power bill and phone bill late. We stay in on weekends to save money. We cancelled our cable and only have one car. Traveling is my vice. Hiking is my lifeline. I will do whatever it takes to get my fix! We are so lucky for these opportunities.
Six weeks until Yosemite and beyond!