Down a Mountain and Back

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Life is a bit of a blur right now.

With teaching starting up three weeks ago, grad classes beginning in full force last week (why am I even writing this?) and being a full-time Spanish and Science Lab Elementary Specialist (yes, that is right… SCIENCE AND SPANISH, my dreams come true), I don’t think that Brandon and I will have a life.

Did I mention we signed up for a Half Marathon in November? We are seriously crazy.

Before our Fall classes started up this past week, we made it a goal to be SPONTANEOUS (by that, we mean plan a trip a week prior to actually going on it) and road trip to the Grand Canyon.

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We left on a late Friday afternoon after work, stocked with Twizzlers, energy drinks, Caramel Chex Mix, dark chocolate (all for me), and high spirits. 7 hours, McDonald’s meal and ice cream cone, slightly dozing off Sallie, and bleary-eyed, contacts stuck to our eyes later, we made it! Our destination: Williams, Arizona.

We had packed thinking that the Grand Canyon would be BOILING hot. Right? Doesn’t that just sound right? However, as we were going to bed (at this stage we were about 90% zombies), we checked the forecast: Chance of rain (even Flash Flooding) and a high of 70. HOT DOG. That’s what I’m talking about for a Grand Canyon hike!

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The weather forecast proved mostly true (no flash floodings), and it indeed was an absolutely beautiful hike!

We opted for a route that went 3 miles down into the canyon. Which meant there involved a 3 mile trek UPHILL.

On the way down, we were basically bounding with excitement and energy. We even ran down at some points, clearly, we were a fresh-faced pair of kids who did not mentally prepare for the uphill battle about to take place. We should have noticed the looks of despair, agony, and pure exhaustion on each of the hikers’ faces walking up the path.

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Great news: We made back up all right! It was actually not the worse thing we’ve ever done, too. We felt very proud.

It was such an incredible, beautiful sight. If you have not gone to the Grand Canyon, I encourage you DO IT! Seriously, it is breathtaking and such a wonder of nature.

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After making it back home that Sunday evening, we compiled a list of things we would do differently next road trip. Maybe this might serve as a help to any of you planning on a trip sometime soon:

1. Audio Books. We had thought about bringing an audio book/book on tape, etc. on our journey, but never got around to it, thinking we might be able to do so on our way. Not only did we stop at multiple travel stores, and unsuccessfully finding a Barnes & Noble, the audio book proved elusive, and there is only so much Songza you can listen to for hours on end. Next time, we will come prepared with not just one audio book, but options. The more the merrier.

2. Eat IN the car as opposed to stopping. While sometimes it’s necessary for you to get out of the car (bathroom breaks, yes for me, coffee breaks, also yes for me) while on a road trip, a 45 minute dinner just to hop back in the car to drive until the wee hours of the morning can be cut significantly by decreasing those breaks.

3. We had more right after our trip, but, since it’s been three (yikes) weeks, I have forgotten. I’ll keep you updated if they return to me.

Fast-forwarding to this previous LABOR DAY weekend, we had such a wonderful time with family, friends, John Williams, and Julie Andrews. Yes, you read that correctly. THE John Williams and THE Julie Andrews.

We had bought tickets for John Williams in concert with the LA Philharmonic orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl… special guest narrator: Julie Andrews. If you are wondering, she is even classier than you could imagine. What a majestic night! Armed with our fancy Von’s deli sandwiches (which were actually really tasty) and more candy than we could eat, we were set for a night of music.

The night was spectacular, minus the 95 degree weather, absolute nosebleed seats and lack of light saber (to be explained in a bit). Lucky us, the lady sitting next to us was a service dog trainer, so we got to hang out with the cutest golden lab service-in-training puppy for the evening. By hang out, I mean little pup slept underneath the benches all night. And by puppy, I mean 11 months and already huge (minor details).

Best part of the concert? Oh, I’d have to say when HUNDREDS of light sabers lit up the air as soon as any original John Williams Star Wars composition was played. Most magical moment of my week, by far.

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Postings may be rather sporadic for the next couple of months weeks as things are pretty hectic, papers are due, and work to be graded.

However, I will try my hardest to post some as much as I can, even if it’s just pictures of the kittens.

Enjoy your Saturday, wherever you are!

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