Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Arizona Adventure - Day 5: Hiking and Returning to Green Valley

Sunday was our last day in Sedona, and we really wanted to get some hiking in before we left! So we woke up early to pack everything up, check out of our condo, and hit the trails.

We chose the Soldiers Pass Trail, simply because we had seen the entrance and parking lot earlier that weekend, and knew we could find it easily.
It ended up being another favorite part of my trip! The trail was about 3.5 miles long, but it was uphill pretty much the whole way until we got to the lookout point. Although I am unbelievably out of shape, I loved walking through the trails of red dirt and seeing all there was to see.
We saw some really neat cacti including prickly pear:

This little one...I have no idea what it's called, but thought it looked cool

And Agave. AKA "Cowboy Killer" according to our tour guide on the Pink Jeep Tour the day before.
I have a little story about an Agave Cactus...Luke climbed to the top of this little hill and I took his picture. Can you see him?? He's pretty small

And on the way down, he "brushed his leg" (his words) against an agave plant. It punctured right through his jeans and into his leg! People who live there swear they jump out and bite you! haha...Anyway, he limped for two days. Luckily it didn't get infected. But it's easy to see why they called it "The Cowboy Killer." If you fell on top of a big one, those little tips would go right through you like spears! I'm glad Luke was only hurt a little bit by it.

A little while after Luke's little run-in with the Agave, I lost my footing, somehow landed on the side of my ankle, and fell right into the mud. As soon as my weight landed on my foot, I really though I had broken it because of the odd angle in which it had landed. I thought Luke was going to have to carry me back to the trailhead, and bring me to the ER. But I sat down for a moment and rested it, and it was completely fine! It was a tiny miracle, I think :-) It was pretty stiff and sore the next morning, but I made it through the rest of the hike with no problems. I was so thankful!

Anyway, back to the trail. There were a few fun things we saw on our way to the top:

Here's Luke standing by one of "The Seven Pools"
A Random hole in the ground:
And other pretty things:
Of course, the most beautiful thing was the red rock scenery.
Here we are almost to the top. I was pretty tired at this point. You can tell because all the blood has drained from my face and I look like a ghost :-P

Once we finally made it to the top, I knew all that hard work and huffing and puffing had been worth it. The views were absolutely unbelievable! Again, it took my breath away.

There's Luke right on the edge of the world :-)

And there he is giving me a heart attack, trying to make me a childless widow at the age of 26.
(The climb down to that rock was REALLY steep.)

I told Luke when we were at the top that I felt like we hadn't missed church being up there. I felt so close to the Lord being immersed in His creation like that. It is my favorite kind of worship.

After spending a ton of time enjoying the scenery at the top, we climbed back down and walked back to our car. What a fun morning!

After that, we stopped at The Chapel of the Holy Cross before we left to head back to Green Valley. It is a church built into a rock, and it is beautiful!

View from the inside

On the long, 4-hour drive back to Green Valley, we made a few stops to break up the ride. We ate lunch at a Jack in the Box. Luke had eaten at one the last time he was in Arizona, and he couldn't stop thinking about it, so we had to go. It wasn't bad, especially for fast food. Then we also stopped at the University of Phoenix Stadium, and the Indians training facility. For Luke, of course.

When we finally got back to Luke's grandparents' house in Green Valley, we all ate pizza for dinner, and I got to meet Luke's grandpa's cousin who also lives in Arizona. We all ate and chatted for a long time. And then we all watched a movie before heading to bed.


Tomorrow I'll be sharing a recipe for "What I'm Cooking Wednesday." But on Thursday I'll wrap up the re-cap posts with our last days in Arizona. It still makes me sad that I had to leave!!

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