Rangiroa 2016 Part I

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Two flights later and a gazillion hours, or so it seemed, we landed in Papeete! I was surprised at how hot and humid it was..and  even more surprised was I that I didn’t mind it…at all.

Completely dark at 0430, the airport was small and sleepy yet we were still greeted to the customs entry with live musical and dance entertainment ..Sidetrack moment as I remember back to the flight..the flight attendant brought round customs forms and asked that we complete these before we land. I asked, “Do you have a pen or little pencil”? She replied, “No” and kept walking. Now I know I should be a responsible adult and carry a pen with me at all times but…I am not and apparently nor is the husband because he didn’t have a writing utensil either. Am I wrong to think Air Tahiti Nui should supply us with tiny little lottery pencils to complete our customs documents?

Ok, my opinion over on that topic. 🙂

When I was on the phone booking our travel arrangements with Costco Travel, the agent and I both thought it would be a great idea to book our flights so that we would have a great amount of time to explore the island of Papeete before flying off to our final destination, Rangiroa.

I regret that decision, well ok maybe not so much regret the decision but lesson learned.

As I mentioned, we arrived at 0430..our flight out of Papeete was to leave a 1030. We had SIX hours to wait.  The Costco travel greeter met us, gave us pretty flower necklaces and walked us around the tiny little airport to show us where to go for our next departure. Not necessary but a little comforting. Three hours left before we can even check into our next flight, we sat down and people watched.

Many locals just hanging out at the airport, barefoot. Outside there were roosters cock -a – doodle dooing, I spotted a random homeless dog trotting through airport traffic, pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal as well (not judging..just observing and reporting). Pretty fascinating,  the airport of Papeete.

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The currency exchange booth opened not so promptly at 0815, we had some coffee and finally it was time to board the plane to paradise!
Papeete to Rangiroa, the flight was only about an hour. When the captain announced our plan to descend, I looked out the window and saw our destination from above…So gorgeous.

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Arrived to the Rangiroa Airport, we were greeted with more flower necklaces and smiles from the staff of the Hotel Kia Ora. They grabbed our bags, loaded them up and we were on our way. The island is only six kilometers long so it was a matter of a five-minute drive to the hotel. We were greeted with fresh juice and more smiles at the hotel entrance, more forms to complete and then we loaded up on the golf cart as they took us to our room…bags already at the front door. It’s a little thing but it sure was nice not having to tote our luggage around. 🙂

Home sweet home for 5 nights!

Here we enjoyed a celebratory whiskey drink 🙂 We brought two 750mL bottles from home…smart tip from some friends who had been to the French Polynesian Islands, to them I say… thank you! Too bad for Jason, the ice machine was broken..Me? I don’t care for ice so I was content! We splashed in the water for a bit and was glad to find the temperature was PERFECT.

We didn’t know what time it was and we didn’t care but we were hungry..sadly, the staff keeps time and the kitchen was closed for lunch so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Jambon Buerre’s (just a ham and cheese sandwich really) and beer, we chatted with the staff about their stories of life on the island.  Soon thereafter, it was nap time!  By the time nap was over it was time for dinner..swim, sleep, eat, drink..repeat? I just knew this was going to be a great week.

I had it in mind to make sure to only eat fish for dinner the entire stay. First night, I had seared tuna with a mixed vegetable salad. I only wish I had made not of what was in the salad because it was truly delicious..I remember there were red peppers and cucumber, absolutely no fluff (by fluff I mean lettuce..not lettuce of any type..strictly vegetables). To wash it down I had to try a glass of the local wine (Rose Nacarat from Vin De Tahiti), this quickly became my favorite.

The ambience of the restaurant in the evening for dinner was so cozy. Calm and quiet but you could hear the water lapping onto the shore from your table which only intensified the pure chillness. No pictures, I didn’t want to be rude or take away from being in the moment. I hope I will always be able to remember.

Needless to say day one was a day of much-needed relaxation. Forewarning, you will see this word…relaxation..quite a bit in this post. 🙂

Day two: The sun woke us up at 0530, the only reason I looked at the clock was because we had plans for an excursion on this day. We woke up with three and a half hours to spare. On the patio, we could hear the waves from the Pacific Ocean side of the island so of course we had to check that scene out!

This early in the morning the tide was quite low. We were the only two on the beach at this time, most likely the only two awake on the island. There was a random dog sitting on the beach watching the waves. He spotted me and started barking so as to say, “get off my beach” and then he ran away.

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We spent the next hour here, enjoying the sounds and views until it was time to eat! Breakfast buffet is served from 0700-0900 ~ quite a spread actually. Every hotel I have ever stayed in that states “buffet” I think of cold cereal, boiled eggs, nasty pastries from a cellophane wrapper and sub par coffee. Not here, There was bacon, sausage, has browns, all sorts of meats and cheese and croissants and fruits, fresh milk, juices and fresh breads.

The buffet is served in the same space as dinner so you have a gorgeous view of the lagoon area and the negative edge pool. Sadly, I never did make the time to take a dip. I wanted to, just for the novelty but really….salt water ocean and lagoon swimming or a swimming pool..natural water is my preference!

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We met our guides and two other couples at he dock at 0900 to board and head out to the Blue Lagoon for the day! We only took video and a few pictures on this day. Apologies but WordPress won’t let me upload video without upgrading ..pshht.

First thing that made me giggle was this fish! This was to be part of our lunch..just out there in the open trying thaw out before it was cooked.

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The boat ride was an hour-long but it didn’t feel so because the ride was so much fun and we soaked up, in amazement at how very far we were from anything else in the world. Surrounded only by mass amounts of water. When we arrived to the spot to drop anchor I realized we were going to have to walk about a 3/4 of a mile to the island through shark infested waters. Ok, Ok..they are docile black tip reef sharks but still..wild sharks none the less..you never know when a shark is going to back shit crazy and bite your legs off…right?

Luckily…the sharks were very well-behaved and only followed us to our little island.

The island had a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables and a make-shift barbecue grill. Side note..I just recalled, walking to the island, Jason insisted on helping the tour guide with the coolers filled with food and water and the guy actually seemed a little put off but allowed Jason to help anyway.

Once settled, we were told to go have fun and meet back in an hour and a half for lunch.

Off we went to snorkel and swim, the hotel had provided us (at no additional cost) with snorkel gear we could keep for the duration of our stay! They came in handy and I was glad we opted not to bring our own which would have taken up a bunch of space in our already booze packed luggage!

In our island walk about, I came across this angry little crab..he wanted to pinch my face off but he was too little so I just laughed at him. 🙂

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I learned, I suck at swimming and I can’t keep water out of my mask. I learned, Jason is a water bug and is amazing at swimming and snorkeling. He pushed me past my limit and made me less afraid of getting eaten by the unknown.

We built up a great appetite and ventured back to the hut. The delicious smell  that is all things barbecue  hit us immediately. Our guides used dried coconut, prawn leaves and pineapple skin to fuel the fire. More sharks were lurking around the shore close to the picnic area..I am certain the sharks are trained pretty well, like any animal, they know..when the humans come and start the fire…they’re getting some treats!  Sure enough, we caught the guides tossing fish and chicken bits to the sharks, they were happy little fishes! We all sat down to a table of surgeon fish, chicken, couscous and fresh pineapple. There were two other super friendly couples there, young newly weds on their honeymoon from LA, a couple from France celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and  us, celebrating life together for twenty-eight years. I am glad we were able to show the newly weds..adventures could and should continue throughout the years.

Another hour went by for exploring and then we were called to start heading back to the boat. Time to swim with the sharks! All of the sharks that were parked near the shoreline followed us back into the deeper waters to meet their many many many friends. I was surprised at myself at how calm I was, I was totally OK with swimming with these guys.

Nearer the boat, in deeper waters, just snorkeling around in amazement..Jason pointed in a direction alerting me to LOOK! There was a lemon shark, this guy was huge! Those black tip reef sharks had nothing on this guy..this guy was probably ten feet long and THAT..made me a little nervous. He was all by himself in a sea of us and the black tips. I (kind of frantically) swam backwards to get to the boat..I was out 😉 Not long after so was everyone else. Safe inside the boat the guide took the remaining fish bits and started slapping the sharks with it trying to rile them up, he was also trying to get the big lemon shark up and out of the water for the big prize. Then he says, “ready to go back and swim with them, hahahahaha” obviously he was kidding and obviously..we all said, “NO”.

The ride back was faster than the ride in and we thought we were done but the driver brought us to an area known as the aquarium. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-20-24-pm

THOUSANDS of fish. I did NOT want to jump in, I am completely OK with swimming with the sharks but not schools of fish. They nibble, I don’t like their scales and there was just so..many..of.. them.

The French couple dove right in, the new groom and Jason dove right in. The new bride and me? Sat there for a few saying, “I’m not going in there”. I was happy she was going to stay on the boat with me. Until she didn’t. :/

It’s worth mentioning…. the guides thought it to be hilarious to throw chunks of bread into the water near a person so the ALL of the gazillion fish would charge at the person. Bride and I were not thrilled about that. The French folks didn’t seem to even notice. Jason and the groom…LOVED it, thought it was so cool.

I jumped in. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did. No foul..no harm. Not saying I wasn’t freaked out but I floated and snorkeled and I loved it.

Our guides were having so much fun with us they decided to give us yet another treat. We boated off to the Tiputa Pass. This is a passageway where the ocean meets and mingles with the open ocean. The waves were fantastic in the late afternoon watched dolphins have such a blast playing in the rough waters!

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We said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts for such a great day and headed back to our room.

This is what we came back to 🙂 From the good people of Hotel Kia Ora.

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Such an unexpected kind gesture! The next couple hours or so were spent enjoying this bottle and recapping our amazing adventures from the day.

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Adventures in Camping..

Physically, I am not here today. It’s been a super long work week and I am so ready to start the weekend. I find myself daydreaming about my last weekend adventure with friends and the Mr.

The dogs, myself and the Mr. piled into the Tacoma and drove up to the Wal-Mart (yea, yea, yea..shut it…). Immediately, I am a teeny bit irked..Why oh why would we have not gone to the store the day before to get the food necessities? Now, certainly someone was going to have to stay..in the parking lot…with the dogs..while the other went into the abyss that is Wal-Mart.

We both knew who was going to play what role..no way was I going to go in..Mainly, it’s not my favorite place but secondly, I would inevitably forget important things..The man is MUCH better at making sure we have all we need.

Our friends met us, the “boys” went shopping and us ladies hung out in the parking lot all fancy and what not with my dogs. Who, by the way, were terrorizing anything and anyone who may pass by on foot or wheels. So embarrassing – I have NO control over those monsters.

About an hour later we were on our way!

Northbound to cooler weather. Or so we thought..It was dry and 90, the sun was piercing and we didn’t really quite know exactly where we were going. I loved it. Investigating our state for a fun new spot!

We stopped in Clarkdale, which is a neat quiet little town that I think I could live in.. While the guys figured out which way to turn, Amy and I got out to explore.

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This is a little tourist/gift shop. I didn’t go in – only peaked through the window. Amy said they had soaps that she wanted to by but we never went back..

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Interested in the art, I wandered across the street until I was told… “get back in the truck, lets go”!

Pavement to off road we enjoyed the bumpy ride, the breeze and of course the scenery. Untouched Arizona really is beautiful. When I first moved here (a gazillion years ago) I did not appreciate the desert landscaping at all..I thought cactus were ugly and I very much disliked the color brown. Cut to today..I can choreograph a simple dance based on the different arm poses of each cactus and brown? I look good in brown earthy tones so, were cool too.

Our second stop was Sycamore Canyon.

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Mental notes were made..we must come back and do the hike down the canyon and long the river when we did not have the dogs and when miss Amy was fully recovered from a recent surgery…

The breeze was nice and it looked like a storm was rolling in from the south (no such luck). Strangers and their dogs were making the way up the path from their hike and our four legged terrorists were on full guard..which could only mean..Time to go!

One more stop as made for a view and a beer!

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This seemed like a nice place to camp for the night but we all voted to press on to see what else was around the corner..

Thankfully so!

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No long after we found the “perfect” spot to set up!

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I was secretly thankful Amy was instructed by her doctor to remain on light duty for a few more weeks post surgery. She was not able to help Danny out with camp set up so it made me not look so bad being my normal not so helpful self. 🙂

While the guys made our home for the night all cozy Amy and I played around with our cameras and be silly..with the aid of boxed wine of course….

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Yep, this one was all my idea haha…I decided it would be so funny to pretend like we were leaping off the edge of the cliff..convinced?

All too soon, our view of the beautiful blue sky, the red painted mountains and the green lushness of the Sedona-ish valley were drowned out by the light of the moon and darkness had fully taken its place.

We had a warm fire (not that we needed it for warmth – even after the sunset the weather was still about 70 Fahrenheit). Have you ever smelled Juniper wood burn in a camp fire? It’s delightful!

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Around the fire we ate the best cheeseburgers – well, maybe not the “the” best cheeseburgers but honestly…the Mr knows how to make a tasty burger!

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Oh and there were hot dogs too. The guys left them out overnight as some sort of experiment and surprisingly enough..they had not been eaten by any wildlife…

Earlier, while the Mr was setting up camp I had asked him what kind of wildlife we may run into out here and COYOTE could not have come out of his mouth any faster..literally he spewed out “coyote” before I had finished my question.

This scared me but lucky for me…I forget easily and I paid no mind to wildlife thereafter..well until…

Bellies full, camp set..the four of us sitting around the fire talking, listening to music while I sang loudly along to my bestie and (obviously) having a few drinks. We had seen a couple of camp fires about a mile out and below our area so it didn’t surprise me to hear a loud “woooooooooooo” coming from the wilderness. I, of course, excited to share with our neighbors that we too were having a great time so I answered back with a louder, “WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOO”.. The guys quickly jump to their feet and got pistol ready… apparently….I was answering a COYOTE… some may now call me forever the coyote whisperer :/

Just as fast as the guys became pistol ready (which was really sexy..by the way…very manly) I rounded up all three dogs and made them get in the truck until I was told we were safe enough.

The drama combined with the box o’ wine made me sleepy..I crawled into the tent and that was the end of my fun for the night.

Come sunrise, I was the first and only one up and about. Normally, when we camp with the dogs they go bat shit crazy, can’t relax and bark at every little noise. Not the case this trip! It was so quiet and the pups chilled out in the tent and waited for their master to wake up…not me…

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This one, though..may have been a little on guard. 🙂 She didn’t move from that spot for like a half hour.

It wasn’t too long after we had to pack up and head out..the stupid sun was coming out to burn us alive.

So long magical Sedona…

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Beerfest 2014 ~ 10 Year Anniversary

The first weekend of August, for the past seven or eight years (I can’t remember which), Jason, me, the dogs and our daughter head up the hill to the Mogollon Rim with oh about 100 of our “closest” friends to participate in the annual event which is names…Backwoods Beerfest.

Beerfest was started by a close friend of ours ten years ago this year… we missed out on the first two or three but have not missed one since.

If you live or have heard of the hellish hotness that is the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area) you can bet your life we all become super excited to beat the heat, lose touch with the modern world, drink, connect with friends and become one with Mother Nature herself.

Weather wise..we never know what we are going to get..some years it is in the 80’s, dry and hot and some years it’s nothing but torrential rains..this year..we we lucky to get the best of both worlds.

My friend and I sent our other halves up the hill a day early so they could grab a sweet spot and set up camp. We would have loved to go up with them but we had to work…BOOO…who am I kidding 😉 it was the BEST rolling into camp with everything set up already!

This was home for three days and two nights. The mister is so good at making sure everything is as perfect as can be for his lady..his mutts and his self.

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I really should not have allowed an entire week to go by before I told you my story because I’ll be honest..I don’t remember much 😉 It is after all…BEERFEST *should be deemed…drunkfest!*

Thinking about it now..I know we arrived around 4 in the afternoon on Friday the 31st..That’s all I remember from that night..not because I was wasted but I think the events of Saturday completely overshadowed my first night in the woods. Holy crap..honestly..there is nothing significant that I remember from Friday..it’s like it didn’t even happen. I do know..it was lovely to be there..the weather was perfect and I behaved myself…as much as this kid can…

The next morning was full of relaxation..

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Even the mister enjoy the most comfy spot in the house..

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There were more than a few “nature walks” ~ My major complaint of Beerfest…It is neat that a bunch of people come together BUT..that also means I have to walk like 1/4 mile just to pee……I know..I know..they have private toilets available for camping but I’m sorry..to me? That’s just gross..

 

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This year, someone bought a live pig, raised it, slaughtered it and brought it to camp for a pig roast.

* Side note: what is a better word for slaughter? The person(s) who raised this pig and “sacrificed” it for the sake of our tummies treated this little guy so much..I mean SO MUCH..better than ANY animal we could ever buy at the meat counter in our grocery stores..to use the word slaughter or sacrifice seems inappropriate. *

Anyway, here is the little guy who served us so selflessly

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They started Mr. Piggy around 0530 because he needed to roast for like 8 to 10 hours.. I had coffee and continued my stent in the hammock until my friends woke up and made me a bloody mary. So good..the perfect amount of horseradish and olives and vodka and mary mix and whatever else goes into the making of this morning treat! Another one of our camp mates had made a bloody maria..I am not a big fan of those. I had one sip and didn’t like it. I will give it just one more “shot” but it will have to be a different tequila..Jose..is NOT a friend of mine..I am pretty sure the end result will be the same. Mary will win over Maria.

Sometime in the day the rain came in and was more than welcome..her timing was perfect too, rain for a few hours, stopped in time for all of us to gather around the beer tables for the annual tasting! Let the fun begin!

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Yup, someone brought these flamingos and I LOVE this idea 🙂 NOTHING screams “I am a redneck” more than pink flamingos in your front yard and a rebel flag hah!

There was, of course, even event security 😉

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I mean really..with all of these people here combined with all the beer..you would think it was needed ** Luckily..all was good and I think the shirts were just for fun **

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Shortly after, the rain started again and we all ventured to the pig for some delicious snack time.

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Yup! Red solo wine cup and BBQ topped with cole slaw. We know how to camp. 🙂

Sadly, No more pictures of this day… it’s just as well though because had I been running around the forest with my camera..it would not have survived..at least I had enough sense to put it away during the torrential down pour.

That was the beginning of the end for me woooo partay time! Box o’ wine was flowing, red and white. I am pretty sure I made it to all the campsites to spread my joyful cheer until I was poured into my tent for the night. I did not even care that my sleeping bag was soaked along with my pillow and the rest of my clothes. Did you know that when you buy a tent it does not already come waterproof?? That is the goofiest thing ever. A tent is to protect you from the elements..you would think one of those elements would include RAIN..nope.. you buy a tent..you have to water proof it. Apparently the mister knew of this because he said he has a spray that seals the tent..but for whatever reason..didnt do it. Word to the wise..

The next morning we took our sweet time, packed up, said our goodbyes and headed down the hill.

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Until next year Rim….photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day 2014~!

My last post falls perfectly in alignment with Earth Day!

In my quest for non-toxic nail polish.. I actually FOUND some! This website provides a list of 12 nail polishes that are free of the top five ingredients that make nail polish oh so toxic (free of formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene—plus formaldehyde resin and camphor, too.)

These polishes are simply called “Five Free”

Obviously…my top choice for trial would be Chanel but..come on now…I am NOT going to pay 30.00 for a bottle of nail lacquer.

I did a little more online research and I have no idea how I found this sweet deal but I did and I HAVE to share it with you!

It’s time to clean out your nasty nail polish collection and there is no time like this week to do so!

Here is a sample of what  I will be getting rid of:

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In a nutshell here’s the idea…Go to Zoya‘s website and buy a minimum of 6 of their five free nail polishes between now and April 28th and you will get each bottle 50% off! So it will end up being like 4.50 a bottle..In turn you send to Zoya six bottles of your current nail polish. Its on the honor system so you really don’t have to send in your old bottles..(but you really should..I mean why not? They will dispose of the polishes properly after all).

I can’t wait to get my order in!!

 

Have a Happy Earth Day and remember..this is our only planet…please..be kind to her!!

This is #mybeautifulearth

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Beerfest 9 – 2013

Another great weekend! Every year for the past six years, Jason, Kiah and I join our friends up on the Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy on rim) for a few days of “getting off the grid”. This Backwoods beerfest occurs the first weekend every August. The guys who started it brought maybe fifteen people up, all close knit friends and they were all instructed to bring a six pack of off the wall beer for every one to sample. When Jason and I hooked up with our old high school friends we went along for the fun back in 2007 or 2008. Now I am not a camper per se..but I do enjoy my time when there. Dont get me wrong I love the outdoorsy stuff but I prefer to camp near a body of water..just my thing. I am never thrilled about going..not as thrilled as everyone else but when I get there it’s just so beautiful and I get such a great sense of freedom and “oneness” with the earth that I do genuinely love these get togethers.

Luckily, Jason is SUCH an organized and experienced outdoors man, he makes it easy for me. Occasionally he will give me a list of things I may need to pickup at the store but for the most part, I am told to get in the truck and we leave. 🙂 I know enough to pack the right clothing!

In the first part of August, here in Arizona, we sometimes have a monsoon season. Sometimes it rains the entire weekend, sometimes it’s dry and hot and other times (like this weekend) …it’s an absolute perfect mixture of the two!

On the way up the hill I was actually “allowed” — no allowed isn’t the word because Jason actually said, “You can play your ipod if you want”..what?? 🙂 Happy girl! It was a crappy drive getting out of the city but once on the road –smooth sailing!

Once we hit Payson we stopped at the Safeway to pickup some Advil — an definite necessity when going to BEERFEST..

On the road again, it started raining…a GOOD rain too. The weather cooled off pretty dramatically..We were coming up from the Phoenix area where we left behind a 106 degree day so when I say dramatically – I might be dramatizing just a little because it was maybe 70 degrees 🙂 

The drive up was just beautiful…see for yourself!

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We arrived to the camp site around three in the afternoon on Friday. There were already about thirty people there and everyone was pretty mellow – those that had arrived the previous night had whooped it up their first night. I was a little nervous because Jason set our camp up pretty close to the general population and I do not deal well with large crowds and loud shenanigans at night when I am ready to sleep. I rolled with it, didn’t complain and turns out…it was perfect!

 

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After the camp was magically set up (AKA..Jason did everything 🙂 ) we made ourselves a couple of drinks and started making our rounds to say hello and talk to people. I don’t remember too much – I had three glasses of wine — but I do remember meeting some really cool people I had never met before. It’s not often I hit it off well with another female so I was so happy to have met Liz! We sat and talked for a couple of hours and our conversation just flowed so well..

Around 11:30, I looked up at Jason – as he was taking his last swig of MOONSHINE – his eyes glazed over and he said “I’m ready” so I helped him along to our camp and we fell fast fast asleep!

At first sunlight, I’m wide awake, took a hike to the woods for the morning nature call, came back made coffee and relaxed.

Relaxed under this gorgeous view:

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I literally could have stayed there all day. It was under this tree I realized, I forgot my laptop…I had no paper..no pen..nothing to write with. This would have been a perfect spot to laze about and write a little something. Oh well, stuck with enjoying mother nature in her entirety. 🙂

Poor Jason was hurting and thankful we remembered to make that pit stop for Advil! He slept until about noon, ate then napped until 2! Around the time he woke up the rain started — thankful our tent and easy-up were in great condition and nothing got wet!! Usually 3pm the beer tables come out and we all bring our offerings – thankful the rain stopped just in time for the festivities!

I am not a huge beer drinker – in fact, I dont even know what kind of beer “we” brought to offer. I drank my wine and took pictures 🙂

Not the greatest shot but you get the gist…

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With the amount of people who were there I am happy to say there was……NO DRAMA!

I spent the evening bouncing around from camp to camp talking, laughing and enjoying the neat people that were there. Just before dinner, Kiah’s boyfriend and his friends arrived so her and I walked down to where they were setting up camp to make sure they had everything they needed – they did so I went to bed…Yea..went to bed — I think it may have been 930, ha!

Groundhogs day…I woke up at day break again..took a nature hike, had coffee, visited with our camping neighbors and relaxed. Now I am sitting here thinking…I wonder how many times I have used the word relaxed? I’m thinking alot but I’m also thinking…that’s a good thing!

If you have read any of my other posts you know the hubs, Jason, is in a rock band called
Hogjaw. They used our last day at camp to start video production of their music video for a song called “The Wolf” I can’t wait to see the final production because the scenery, their “costumes” and the song are awesome.

Here a few behind the scene photos:

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After the video shots were done – we packed up and headed out. But wait! Flat tire..boooo..

One of the truck tires was about 20lbs light on air..Luck was on our side again and one of our camping buddies came better prepared than we and had a  hand held air compressor. It took a little while but we were back in business soon enough.

The ride home was uneventful until one of the dogs threw up on Kiahs feet…then the other dog…oh good lord what did they eat???! It was grody – we cleaned up as best we could and tried to get home as fast as possible without getting pulled over 🙂

Until my next adventure or random thought of the day!

Best,

Kristi