I’m “that person” who’s never really traveled outside of the midwest. I think people assume I travel, but school and life never really allowed for it. Until now, my dudes. I packed up my things the night before we left, rented a beautiful lens, and my family and I set off to visit my aunt and uncle in good ‘ol Glendale, Arizona.
You know those t-shirts and bumper stickers that say “it’s a dry heat”? Absolutely true, 100%, it’s hotter than heck, but so worth it. We arrived in Mesa on Wednesday evening, drove an hour to Glendale, set up shop, and, you know, the rest is history.
We have to talk about Glendale. Fort Wayne is three hours ahead of Arizona, so waking up for the sunrise at 6:30 in the morning felt like waking up at 9:30 in Indiana so it was a breeze. Our room was filled with gorgeous morning light and the shuttered windows created such a beautiful pattern- it’s the simple things, right? Also, check out how breathtaking their kitchen is with the sunrise glowing in. Gorgeous.
On Friday, we started making our way up to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at this gorgeous Sunset Point vista outlook and it was my first taste of what was to come. Three hours later and we made it– I think on some level, you think you know how massive the Grand Canyon is but you don’t really understand until you see it. It just goes on and on and on and it’s…it’s wow. I just stood there looking out at this space and what can you say? Our earth is awesome. I ended up climbing the stairs to the very top of the Desert View Watchtower, located on the South Rim, and even though my legs and calfs were burnin’, still worth it. Architect Mary Colter built this baby in 1932 and the inside walls were decorated by Fred Kabotie, a celebrated Hopi artist. I was blown away on so many levels– the Grand Canyon is definitely grand, and the watch tower is a testament to Hopi Native American art and it’s absolutely beautiful.
We didn’t get to stay long at the Grand Canyon because we wanted to make it to our hotel room back in Sedona before sunset. I thought Arizona was just going to be desert and cacti, and I was wrong. Driving down to our place in Sedona, it felt more like I was in Colorado– pine trees everywhere, winding roads, creeks and rivers near nearby, the smell of campfire smoke– basically I was in heaven. 20 minutes of driving down a mountain, a car full of ooh’s and ahh’s and “holy sh*t that is beautiful!”s, we made it to Sedona, Arizona. My dad and I woke up nice and early to capture some sunrise photos, found a beautiful vista view, and maybe got honked at while I was taking photos on top of a bridge. My family and I then spent the day in Sedona exploring all of the little shops and searching for treasures to take home.
Fun fact: driving at night in Sedona is tricky because they don’t have street lights (my running theory is so people can see all the stars at night). After sleeping for a couple of hours, I woke up at 2:00am, put on my thickest sweater (in retrospect, I should’ve grabbed a much thicker one because I didn’t take into account the windy mountain air), and tried my hand at astrophotography.
Finally on our last day, we visited the plot of land where my aunt and uncle will be building their new house— their new house on the side of a mountain—and the view is stunning. I was finally able to see some authentic emoji cacti (the Saguaro cactus) and even have the experience of getting pricked and having to pull the spines out of my yoga pants #blessed.
Overall this was an amazing/awe-inspiring/beautiful trip. I was able to spend time with my family, go on this adventure, and see some of what our earth has to offer. I cannot wait to keep traveling and exploring this next year and I hope you’re all along for the ride. Until next time, Arizona!
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Arizona | Nature + Travel | April 2017
Location: Arizona, USA