Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I think I can still get away with saying that. It’s still January, so I’m going with it. 

Anyways, hello! Long time no blog. Sorry about that. We’ve done a lot of things since I last updated in March?? We’re in California now! We’ve explored a few National Parks (more on that later)! We’ve made new friends and spent time with old ones. We went home for delayed-Christmas. Jonathan started his new job and I’ll start mine on Monday! We’ve had some really great moments this past year. 

There’s been some tough times too. Mainly, that we said goodbye to Jazz. She shared an incredible 17 years with me that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I miss her, but Indie has been a good snuggle companion the last few months.

But, on to what this blog update is really about: National Parks! We’ve seen some! Specifically, Muir Woods (technically a National Monument), Pinnacles, the Wright Brothers National Memorial (that was just me and my parents), and finally THE GRAND CANYON!

The Grand Canyon was our most recent trip and was honestly incredible. We went with Jennifer and Frank and stayed in Phoenix for a day before heading out to Sedona to prep for our Grand Canyon visit.

Phoenix was a really interesting city, but we mostly explored it at night and then grabbed some delicious food on our way out to Sedona. Highlights include the best pizza in America (!!), cats at said pizza restaurant and delicious ice cream with a toasted homemade marshmallow on top.

During our drive to Sedona, I had fun taking photos out the car window. The landscape out there is just so much different than anything I’ve ever seen. I was in awe for our entire trip. 

Once in Sedona, we settled into our Airbnb, grabbed groceries and then checked out an overlook of the city as the sun set. A lot of other people in Sedona had the same idea, so eventually we wandered to a path that led us to a gate with a hilarious sign (pictured). We came back and prepped dinner for the night, tacos, and dined like royalty. We were ready to go hiking at the Grand Canyon the next day.

Now to the good stuff: The Grand Canyon. Some will say that I over-prepped for this trip, packing way too many things that we might possibly need, but I would say that I was ready for anything. Except maybe hauling myself back up OUT of the canyon. See, no-one tells you about the fact that you have a nice, easy journey going down into the canyon (minus all of the ice we had to carefully walk on with our YakTrax), but coming out is where the real work happens. (Ok, maybe people do tell you this, but being told and actually experiencing it are two very different things!) So you get a little confident until you turn around and realize, “Oh no. We’ve gone down 500 feet. How do we get back up?!” 

The answer to that question, dear reader, is that you have to go back up by foot. And sometimes you think you might die as children skip happily past you up the canyon or 10 mules lazily pass you while you think you’re about to pass out on the side of a cliff. But, in the end you make it out! And in my case, you even “run” out. To the untrained eye, my running probably looked like someone barely picking their feet up off the ground a little quicker than usual, but to me it was a nice jog for the last five feet or so. So yeah, I crushed the Grand Canyon and now I never have to do it again. Or at least, I know what to plan for.

But with all my struggles getting out, it was an incredible place to see. There was snow and ice up at the top of the canyon, but it was much warmer as we worked our way down. The colors were beautiful and the sky was clear. Some of the canyon walls had different rocks embedded within them. There was rarely a time that I wasn’t saying, “Wow” or “What?!” in disbelief and wonder. It was truly amazing and I feel like I’m still recovering from it all.

I haven’t slept as well as I did after hiking the Grand Canyon in a long time. We made delicious dinner again, but I honestly don’t remember what it was because I was so worn out. I do remember that I made the wise choice to take Extra-Strength Tylenol, eat a banana and do some impromptu late-night yoga, because I was not sore at all the next day.

After the Grand Canyon, we explored Sedona, which I will have to update you about later because I have reached my limit of images allowed in a blog post! So, until next time (hopefully next weekend!)

Oh also! I briefly mentioned it at the beginning, but I got a job! I start on Monday! I’m very excited and will have lots to talk about soon. I’ll be the “Communications and Digital Media Specialist” for Castilleja School, taking photos and videos of the students and updating folks about what’s happening on campus. Woo hoo!