What is the Problem?

What is gluten and why are soooo many many Americans now all of the sudden “allergic” to it? I am a little curious about the answers to these questions but not enough to do hard core research to find out. I am certain the research would take too much time, I would forget half of it and end up down the internet rabbit hole super quick like!

So, I just want to start off by saying..I am NOT allergic (that I know of anyway) to gluten. I don’t even know if I have a “sensitivity” to the stuff. What I do know is that I have eczema and it SUCKS. Having eczema has made me more insane than “normal” and has caused me to spend endless time on the internet researching ways to get rid of this this BS..

I’ve learned stress is a huge contributor. HA! This one is funny because, I don’t think I was stressed out but maybe I was…whatever. Once an itch spot pops up..THAT..creates more stress which makes the problem even worse. So ok, let me RELAX my mind.. ohhhmmmm

Pollen is also a problem..along with dust…Awesome..I have three dogs and I live in a friggin DESERT. I better take my daily dose of vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc…like 50-80mg a day…and zyrtec. I use Eucerin for eczema for cream.

THEN..I don’t even know how I found it BUT…white vinegar…it burns like hell but it worked..For like two weeks I walked around the house and work with a squirt bottle of vinegar. Everyone I know absolutely hated the smell so be prepared for your family, friends and co-workers to turn their noses up at you 😉 Eff ’em…seriously…it’s painful but takes the itch away.

In the last week, I have added Nasacort and tanning beds along with red light therapy. I slather myself in coconut oil after every shower and guess what? For three days I have been symptom free!

Sucky part? I have tried so many “tricks” I don’t know if one, a combo or all of them have been the remedy. 😦

My point to all of this is in my research I have also found that gluten is the devil and could be another contributing factor to my ailment. I am going to attempt a 30 day gluten free diet. Today was day one.

Go ahead and laugh..I am laughing…I am well aware that I have a terrible follow through track record but for the moment it’s a goal. I will keep you posted throughout the 30 days – periodically – only for my accountability. 😉

Tonight’s dinner was super easy, not any kind of fresh but it was gluten free.

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Please note! The mushrooms may or may not be completely gluten free… I ate them but only because I am not allergic .I am only testing a drastic reduction and elimation  as much as possible. Their could be cross contamination in the mushrooms depending on the soil or which they were grown…you’d honestly have to contact the farmer to truly find out. Every other ingredient boasts “Gluten Free”

Those noodles??? Oh..em…gee..you cannot even tell they are not “real” noodles. The mister didn’t even know!!

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First, I splashed a dash of avocado oil, removed the sausage from the casings and tossed them into the skillet. I threw in the entire carton of sliced mushrooms, squished three garlic cloves onto the mess and let that cook for a bit.

Sprinkled some fresh chopped basil, poured the sauce over top and let simmer for a while….Until the mister and I were HUNGRY..

Then I started the noodles. It does seem the gluten free noodles take about 3-4 minutes longer to be done than regular noodles.

Voila! :

 

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SO..DARN…DELICIOUS..

 

 

 

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Back to Our Roots

I am a either a hypocrite, lazy or just ignorant. I am leaning more towards..chosen ignorance. Here’s the deal..I despise big commercial farming. BUT I am also super guilty of buying beef, chicken and other meat products from the grocery store and I KNOW..they come from big commercial farms. It’s easy. I try try try…as much as humanly possible to buy local and grass fed meat products but let’s face it…it’s really not that cheap and not that easy to come by…

This weekend Jason and I spent some time with friends who have land and live off of it as much as possible.

Bonus number 1:

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A little Chardonnay patch of their own. I would not choose a white BUT…hey..they have a choice and good on them!! 🙂

Bonus number 2:

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They raise their own beef. This is where I get torn.. I actually had to walk away for a few moments and take other pictures in and around the area because..I knew..those moo cows were inevitably going to be on someones plate in about a year. Luckily for those moo cows..our friends freezers a full for the time being.

I WISH..I had the ability..will power..or whatever..to become a vegetarian because I am truly AM a sympathizer. But..I also..like the taste of meat and I know the human body actually needs it..it’s what we were designed for. This is where I become torn. I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from, what my meat has been raised on and also knowing that my food has never once been treated inhumanly. This..I can 100% guarantee..is the case with these cows featured in this blog.

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The cycle starts with education. I was raised..not in a bad way..but like a lot of Americans..not knowing any different. Our food comes from the grocery store. That’s just the way it is. I think it’s important we teach our kids and grand kids how people survived before the “Big Mac”..Let’s get rid of the options..go back to the rustic days and live off the land!

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I’ll get to that point one day..I am realizing the importance of such things more and more..everyday..

There’s Always Tomorrow..

Motivation and self control are playing a mean game of “keep away” from me!

Good lord, eating right, exercising and being nice are difficult!

My story is the same as everyone else’s ~ “I was doing so good” and then…. There is always an “and then” isn’t there?

November through March.. I had not had any fast food and I was a Bikram Yoga going fool!

And then… as I mentioned in a previous post…the eczema issues arose..I’m still battling it BUT it is not as horrible as it was. I am still afraid to sweat which makes it difficult to not be bummed out and shovel food in my face. I mean serisouly..I don’t necessarily have to sweat and heat up horribly to burn some calories..I just need to eat better and move around..to start again, right?

Well, that’s when motivation and self control come into play..and by play..I mean they are completely messing with me right now.

Today, I started out with excellent intentions..I had an Herbal Life cafe mocha healthy meal shake plus a couple of protein scoops added some ice and was off to work..Happy as a clam  ** uh oh..side bar..who knows how happy a clam is and why is this a saying?? **

The plan was also to have a shake for lunch, with almond milk…

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and then I would make a decent meal for dinner..

 

And then…

The boss man announced, “Pizza’s here”!

Pizza is ALWAYS good but when it is from Roasati’s ??? Its almost irresistible.  And what I mean by almost..I mean COMPLETELY irresistible.

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I ate what is featured above PLUS…two more of the little slices. :/

On a brighter note..at least I didn’t drink the shake too!! 😉 You know me…always looking for a silver lining. 😀

There’s always tomorrow!!

A Day for the Dogs

I love my dogs. They are like my youngest children. We have twins (half Beagle and half Australian Shepherds..don’t ask how that happened..I don’t know and I don’t want to know). 

** Side bar..we also have Larry..who is an almost angel. He is not featured in todays post ** 😉 

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Little girl on the left is Ollie – she has more Beagle looks and attitude. Her regal sister on the right is Bollie – she has more Aussie looks and attitude. 

These pups are our babies and are way more spoiled than any other dog I know…on the planet. 

Naturally, when the opportunity arose for me to stay home with the dogs whilst I worked and waited on the HVAC guy to fix our A/C unit…I JUMPED at the chance! 🙂 

By the end of the day..I realized.. I am sooooo thankful Jason and I only had one child. Seriously..dogs are way more difficult to deal with than children. All day I felt like I had four three year olds running a muck around the house. 

Baby gate was put up so the girls wouldn’t get all up in the AC guys business barking mad at him all the live long day. I also had a chair strategically placed over the doggie door so they could not get in the back yard. 

Ollie tried as hard as she could to find a way out. I kept having to say, “No, Ollie..go lay down. Ollie, come on..go lay down. Ollie, no..you can’t go outside.” Weaving to and fro, in and out of the chair legs. She was not going to give up and pretended to she could not hear me.

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She did eventually get out. The HVAC guy happened to be out there. I don’t know if you have ever seen a beagle passionately howl at something or someone but it’s pretty comical.

It goes a teeny bit something like this:

She peeked around the corner (I know because I followed her, I knew she would not harm our guest however she is an animal and you can never be too careful…animals can change mood modes in the blink of an eye), spotted the unwanted (in her eyes) guest, stood firm on her hind legs, threw her head back and howled like no ones business. It took a bit (a tap on the butt) to get her attention and I directed her back inside. No harm no foul. 

Her sister, Bollie, did not dare go outside. She is certainly not brave enough to check out the scene. She would much rather sit inside and bark her head off.. or hide under the dining table. Either way..I had two nutgalls to deal with and I think I would much rather have three three year old humans. Until my friend pointed out…How much more expensive they are hah! 

 

Next time…I’m going to the office and will let someone else stay home with the terrorists. 😉 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Wild West…

What better way to show our Swiss friends the outlaw ways of the wild west than to take them to the desert and put firearms in their hands? 🙂

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I wondered, until I started reading,  what the difference between the US and Switzerland  guns laws. There is way too much information to read through and I’m really not that interested..just curious. I quickly bored of the topic and moved on BUT the one thing that stuck in my memory is that Switzerland is number three (only behind the US and Yemen)  on the list of highest per capita gun ownership in the world.

That was surprising to me..but this is not a blog about gun politics and I don’t wish to discuss gun politics sooooo let’s move on to our funnin, gunnin’ and runnin’ filled Saturday! 🙂

Necessary equipment for a day in the dirt..

1. Truck or van capable of driving through a dry river bed

2. Easy ups to protect us from the BRUTAL sun

3. Tables to display and for easy access to the firearms

4. Chairs

5. Water – that should actually be number one but I just remembered so it’s sitting at number 5

6. Firearms

7. Friendly people..don’t bring jack asses — no on wants a jack ass with a gun

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Look at that smile 😉 I think He liked it..again again!

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Can I try this one next?

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Instructions

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Carmen was shooting a golf ball launcher in the photo above. There is no purpose of this gun..it’s just funny I guess to launch a golf ball with a weapon. I shot it too – it was neat but every time it was shot, I could never actually SEE the ball fly out of it nor could I see where it landed. It was still neat and pure silliness.

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I almost forgot! Make sure to add a portable grill, burger, cheese and buns to the list of necessary items!

You will get hungry having fun in the sun!

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Our friends live only five minutes away from the shooting range so after we packed up and CLEANED up our mess,  ** ALWAYS..clean up after yourselves! **, we drove back to their place for more red neck fun!

ROCK CRAWLING!

Our friends daughter and her guy are very much into rock crawling Broncos. Our Swiss friends and a nine year old were the first to hope in an get driven through the homemade rock crawling practice course (set up in the backyard of their desert property).

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All buckled up and ready to crawl!

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A little harmless one sided ramp..look at how stretched out those blue spring things are…it’s like a big ole slinky on wheels.

Once their ride was over I was a little eager to get in and give it a shot! Those of you who know me..know I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to driving. Getting tightly buckled into the back seat of this beast, sitting in the back seat with a driver – who is btw maybe twenty years old – was a HUGE feat for me. My thought on the whole thing was hey..if the nine year old did it..so can I 😉

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I love roller coasters so I played it off to myself this was nothing but a roller coaster ride. I LOVED it!

So much fun!

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Austin, the driver, says, “Do you want to go up the ramp”? My reply, of course, was, “YES, PLEASE”!

He strategically placed both tires on the ramp and slowly crawled up and up and a little further, maybe just a little further. I was feeling a little anxious and thinking how cool is this and also feeling a little like..I think we’re going to tip and then thinking maybe this is how it’s supposed to feel and then… ** screams like a girl, ahhhhhhh ** you know? Like you do when you’re on a roller coaster..and then…

BOOM…

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He dumped us. My first off road rock climbing experience and I am the victim of Austins first flip.  Luckily we were basically not moving so it was only a mere jolt when we landed and Austin handled us like a pro. He CALMLY instructed the people on the left side of the Bronco to hold onto the roll bars, unbuckle and climb out. What a RUSH! 🙂

I will do this again and hopefully no flipping will be involved next time!

After we escaped, mostly unscathed, it was time for high fives, hugs, drink and some music.

Do you think we Arizonans provided our Swiss friends a most excellent display of the Wild Wild West?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Down the Mountain We Went…

Tent –  tarp = waking up with the sun..which is O.K by me!

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I mean..who wants to waste a perfectly gorgeous day in nature…sleeping it away?? Not this lady! 

Darn, I just realized..I completely forgot to take a snapshot of the mess I woke up to. When I sat up for the first time I peeked out the mesh of the tent and spotted a H.U.G.E crow wondering around our campsite. He picked up, what looked to be, a piece of bread and fluttered himself up onto the bench of the picnic table. This guy was extremely “healthy”. Now I’m really bummed I didn’t get a photo of him, I just tried to Google “fat crow” and “huge crow” and NOTHING came up as big as the crow I saw… and no one else was awake to verify my story….oh well just believe it..

I crawled out of the tent and all three of the bags Jason had put in the tree the previous night were on the ground riddled with beak holes. Buns, chips, bottles, packaging for the meat were strewn all over our camp area. That bird ate, four hamburgers, three hotdogs, like eight slices of pepper-jack cheese, a bunch of buns and some chips. As much as I don’t like birds (aka rats with wings), I certainly hope that creature is OK. :/ That pepper jack cheese could NOT have been good for him…eeeek.. I would hate to be walking along minding my own business while he was flying over head when that cheese kicked in!! WOOOO 

 Pretty much as soon as I finished cleaning up the birds party mess up..everyone woke up and we all started packing up to head down the mountain. 

But first! We had to stop at the Watch Tower:

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We climbed up and up and up and up, I have no idea how many flights of stairs but it felt like it was never ending. Totally worth it..the view was amazing and the inside with the drawings (not sure if they are original or if they were drawn on as an added effect) were super neat as well. Gahhh…another missed photo opportunity.. when we reached the top there was yet another flight of stairs that was roped off with a really tempting note that said something along the lines of: “Do not climb these stairs that lead to the top of the tower”.. haha surprisingly, as much as we all wanted to, we did not disobey their request. 🙂

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Thoroughly at peace and happy with our intake of the Grand Canyon, we strolled on over to the trading post for a quick bite and a to-go of java. Both of which were completely sub par..the best part of the teeny burrito Jason and I shared was the jalapeño hot sauce we doused it in and I’m pretty sure the coffee was Folgers..made with too much water and not enough grounds.. By the way..normally Jason and I don’t share plates but we wanted to save our appetites for lunch at the famous Rock Springs Cafe on the way home. 

With some fuel in our bellies we were ready to roll! 

Jason brilliantly suggested we take the back route and hit Slide Rock on our way home. Taking the scenic 89A route from Flagstaff to Slide Rock is a MUST. The geological transformation from the forests of Flagstaff into the red rocks of Sedona is an amazing display of Mother Natures pure awesomeness. Breath it, live it, feel it and go hug a tree! 😉 

The last time I went to Slide Rock, parking was along the one lane two way highway..dangerous and it was pretty hard to come by a spot!

Since then, a parking lot has been built and now for a small fee of 10.00 you can park and have great fun at the park until they close if you like. 

A little walk

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A little hike

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And just a little further is a peaceful oasis that in the summer time might be the perfect swimming hole! 

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Unless your Jason..it’s perfect now!! NUTBALL! That water was like 50 Fahrenheit!! 

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Going in for round two!

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Sandro was VERY much tossing around the idea of free falling 

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While Carmen and I sat back and watched the show 🙂

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I can’t even imagine how PACKED this place must be in the dead of summer?? Shoes and jackets came off as the heat set in a bit so we could put our toes in the water to cool off. Jason won the badge of bravery for the day! 🙂 

No doubt we could have all spent the night in that very spot but with lunch to eat, showers to take and friends to meet..We had to go.

We pit stopped at the famous Rock Springs Cafe for lunch and pie, sped home (as safely as possible of course), showered, rested and readied ourselves for guests!  ** Click on Rock Springs Cafe..this little place deserves a blog all its own. Super friendly people, excellent food, out of this world pies and old saloon type decor. My subliminal message to you is…You must go !! ** 

No pictures from here on out because by lunch time Kristi Kodak was closed for business. 🙂 Trust me when I tell you we had more great food, great drinks and great friends! We didn’t over do it because the next day ..there were plans of more shenanigans!  

 

 

 

Grand Canyon Trip? Don’t Mind if I Do :)

Sometimes.. you just have to say “eff it…I’m outta here”! Thursday was one of those days.  I had three VERY..good “excuses” to pack up and get out of dodge!

Side bar… Anyone know where Dodge is? And why do so many people want to get out of it?..please share..inquiring minds want to know..Thanks 😉

Anyway…three excuses:

1. I had never been to the Grand Canyon

2. The Jason and I had friends from Switzerland headed to the GC so we would meet there

3. Holy crap..we just REALLY needed to get into some nature…

The drive was great ~ but I couldn’t help but think ~ how sad is it that one of the seven natural wonders of the world…yes..the WORLD..is only a three and a half hour drive away from where I live and I had never been there??

Ah well..what’s done is done and I can now say..I have been to the Grand Canyon 🙂

You really have to be in the mindset to appreciate the goodness. I mean, if you just look at it..sure you will be impressed but you will also kind of think..hmm, big hole in the ground..NEXT.

Now, if you really stop and think about exactly how this gigantic structure was carved into the earth..you can’t help but be amazed. Click on the word carved (if you’re interested) and it will take you to a little write up as to how it was done..like I said..amazing..

First stop..Meet up with the friends at the campsite. GREAT..campsite by the way so don’t ruin it people..it’s quiet, 1st come 1st serve and cheap.

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This was our sleeping quarters for the night. Thankfully it did not snow because the tarp that covers the tent, was not in the tent bag :/

I set up 3 sleeping bags and our comforter in hopes we would be warm for the night.

Then it was time to relax, catch up with our friends and decide what to do until dark.

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We decided to head on down to the Grand Canyon Village so we loaded up into the car and sped off. Well, not really sped off, the speed limit is an almost impossible 30 miles per hour.

We made a couple of pit stops along the way for pictures and ooo’s and ahhh’s

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The next pit stop we made put a bit of a damper on the day. I was not paying attention (I know…shocking right?) and then I realized at the last minute that everyone wanted to stop at a particular spot. Once I realized, I turned around and headed back to the parking spaces, there was one available immediately so I snagged it.

Walking to the lookout point, Carmen and I noticed a couple of silly tourists, late teens maybe early twenties, happily jogging in the other direction. A little curious but we maintained our route to take some pictures. After a few minutes we all heard a horrifying sound.

The sound of screeching tires and metal upon metal in the midst of a car crash. Shortly after we heard the blood curdling screams of a little girl. The  Jason had already – literally  the instant the impact was heard – ran towards the wreckage. Carmen and I had ran that way as well –  worried the hiss of the parked Honda mini van may blow up and seriously injure Jason AND the two silly teenage tourists who happened to be retrieving something out of that Honda mini van when the tour bus crashed into and completely changed their life courses.

Thankfully, as horrible as this was, the outcome could have been so much worse. The ambulance and park rangers arrived at the scene so promptly. SO much faster than even in the city..I was impressed.

They took the the teens away, the blood curdling screams of the girl were (praise sweet tiny baby Jesus) were only because she was absolutely horrified as to what had just happened.

We were stuck for a little bit..Torn between watching the cleanup an looking at the Grand Canyon. It was a little awkward. Kind of like Ricky Bobby in an interview .. ” I don’t know what to do with my hands ”

If you look at the GC and continue to just carry on with your life..you’re insensitive. If you watch the cleanup..you’re morbid.

So yea, I hope everyone is OK.

We continued on our path to the Village (with a renewed outlook on life)  once the green light was given by the authorities.

The village was not impressive..way too many people,  no place to park so we found a place to eat (with not so great food) and then headed back to camp.

The road wasn’t quit cleared yet from the accident so we went to the Mather Point Lookout to pass some time. We had actually stopped into this place on accident earlier in search of the village but left promptly…we should have stayed. We would have avoided seeing the accident and would have completely enjoyed ourselves.

What we don’t know doesn’t hurt us, right? Eh, well on the other side of the coin..everything happens for a reason soooo maybe we all needed some sort of enlightenment..

ANYWAY….

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Caution near Edge!!!! EEEEEEEKKKKKK.. It is overwhelming looking at the GC..sometimes it made me queasy.

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Here we were able to hike a bit down onto a platform”ish” rock formation.

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We rallied but admittedly were a teensy bit skeptical about the decent…

 

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Don’t mind my afro..

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So, Jason took this picture of our friends and I did not even notice until JUST NOW…LOOK..just LOOK at how close the girl in the background is to the EDGE of the cliff!!!!  Unreal..

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Jason…nor I for that matter..were going anywhere near the edge of that boulder…More power to ya Sir Sandro!!Image

After the rush of living on the edge for a few moments we were ready to get back to camp.

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On the way to the car, we ran into this little guy..from what I remember..I think the guys told me it was an elk.

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Back at camp, the guys started the grill for burgers and dogs…

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A plethora of junk food. 🙂

Soon after it became dark. We enjoyed dinner, conversation, drinks, nature and then a sleep under the stars.

Perfect ending to an ALMOST perfect day.

If you have yet to…DO IT..Experience the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon..Feel it, appreciate it for what it is and be thankful you are here..on Earth to absorb its positive energies.