Country Thunder

Country Thunder

 

This was my third year attending my favorite weekend of the year… Country Thunder music festival in Florence Arizona! I always have a blast here and highly recommend that anyone who is in the area during the month of April, attend. I believe they also host in Wisconsin for my out of state peeps.

My first suggestion for the perfect Country Thunder experience is CAMP! It makes it the most fun experience. There are so many ways you can do this, RVs, tents, cars, get creative on me and send me your ideas! Bring a cooler but very few items that need to be refrigerated. The cooler is more used for the purpose of shade since it is so dang hot. It is in April, so prepare for those high temperatures. Also accept the fact you will spend the entire weekend eating hotdogs or hamburgers. I think I had a hotdog for every meal for four days.

The festival goes Thursday to Sunday and has a headliner every night. My favorite headliners this year were Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. I love love love Luke! He is just an incredible performer and has an awesome on-stage presence. I also commend Jason since this was his first concert back since the Vegas shooting. I am sure that was not an easy thing for him to do and I want to give him a big shootout and I send lots of good vibes his way, because under the circumstances I really enjoyed him as well.

The venue is so big with multiple stages for daytime artist, vendors for all types of shopping, and FOOD! I had some really good cheese fries but that is all I bought at the venue since festival food is so dang expensive. I love to explore the shops though just for fun and they even have carnival rides inside too.

It is always a hot time (temp wise) but it is always worth it! I highly recommend attending next year, and get your tickets early, because this sure is a hot commodity festival!

Xx

Gabi

 

Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon

Tucson, Arizona does not host very much to do unless you put in the effort to find the hidden gems. It takes ambition, an empty stomach, and a Groupon account to really appreciate the surrounding area usually.

Tucson really is not as bad as I am making it sound, I promise! I’ve suckered my friends into attending nearly every sporting event because I have a blast cheering on our sports teams. Tucson also hosts some beautiful hikes along the Catalina Foothills and if you’re feeling up to it, the iconic Gates Pass is always there for your sunset photoshoots. All that aside… my all-time favorite place in Tucson is Mount Lemmon.

It takes about an hour and a half to get to the top of Mount Lemmon but boy, you will not regret it! It is like you have been taken out of the desert and dropped into the middle of Colorado.

Whenever anyone mentions Mount Lemmon, I have this affinity to magically appear. If I felt that my car could make it up Mount Lemmon every weekend, you would find me nowhere else. So, when my friends mentioned that they were going to Mount Lemmon you can bet that yours truly was joining them.

We stopped at Subway along the way, when we finally made it up the mountain one of my friends, Ryan, decided to show us a beautiful landing that looked out over the mountains and the desert below that did not even know existed. It is a pretty surreal sight, seeing oak trees suddenly give way to saguaro cacti! We sat there for a bit taking everything in and listening to some oldies. It was a fantastic morning and I could have sat there all day, but we had other plans! Ryan decided to show us his campgrounds which were “right down the hill”. I have always known that women’s spatial skill are superior to men’s (look it up, it’s fact) but wowza, Ryan just reaffirmed my beliefs. His “right down the hill” was about 100 yards down a cliff (okay maybe a slight over exaggeration but nearly a cliff) and through a grove of hedges.

I got slapped in the face by every branch along that mountain, but I was laughing so hard my sides hurt. My other friend Kayleigh was not as entertained at the time although we can all look back now and chuckle about our adventures. Even when we thought we were safe at the campsite, NOPE! Turns out we still had to climb down another hill. Now us ladies were not expecting too much physical activity on our trip so none of us wore very sensible shoes. Mix bad shoes with dead pine needles and a steep hill and things get really bad, really quickly. We made it down however (without serious injury) and headed back down the mountain.

After scaling the mountain, Ryan brought us down to the shooting range located at mile four. The extent of my gun skills is the Call of Duty game I sometimes play (on beginner mode). Turns out I am as bad at shooting a real gun as I am at shooting a virtual one (who knew). Even though I missed the target every time, we had a blast (get it?) and got to shoot some incredible weapons. It was a perfect day! The weather was 75F and I was surrounded by good company, good music, and beautiful views.

Cannot wait for our next trip up to Mount Lemmon, if you have any questions about Mount Lemmon just ask me, the EXPERT!

Peyton

Our Hats BAAABBYY!

Further Into Sedona

Further Into Sedona

Before our break was over and we would dive headfirst into another semester of school, my friends and I decided to escape for a daytrip up to Sedona.

We left as early as we could muster (granted we are college females so that was about 8:30am) and drove up to Sedona. Despite the fact that it was early January, it was in the upper sixties, so we decided to roll the windows down and listen to our music on full volume.

If you have never been to Sedona, you can liken it to the movie “Cars”. Sandstone spans the entire valley, vibrantly red against the cloudless blue sky. The town itself is small, with only about 11,000 inhabitants, but there are millions of tourists that come every year, hoping to enter the “vortex” (Read Gabi’s blog to get a better understanding of what that is) and align some chakras. Honestly, I don’t understand the “vortex” but we were asked to help locate it by some fellow tourist so evidently our camera bag totting bodies seemed to know what we were doing.

A friend of mine was meeting us along the main shopping strip (near the Pink Jeep Tours) for some lunch but since we were ahead of schedule, we stopped to hike Bell Rock. It was an awesome hike but very short from where we parked. You’re able to climb quite high in a short amount of time and once you get high enough, you have a beautiful view of Cathedral Rock and all of Sedona down below. It is definitely a hike you should do in some good shoes since some of the hills require you to use your hands to balance/pull yourself up, but the short exercise is definitely worth the view. Altogether it took us about thirty minutes to get from the parking lot to the upper third of Bell Rock and back. You could get higher than where we stopped on the mountain but I didn’t trust myself to not fall off the side, and I had food waiting for me 😉.

We ate a quick meal at the Canyon Breeze Restaurant which has a beautiful view of some of the red rocks and then we drove over to Devil’s Bridge.

The hike roundtrip is about 4 miles with a large part of it consisting of walking down a dirt road. Once you get to the actual trailhead, the hike gets much prettier and it only takes you about twenty minutes to get to the bridge itself. Although the Bell Rock hike was significantly shorter, I thought it was a little more vigorous than Devil’s Bridge. Keep in mind that our trip to Sedona was right after I came back from ten days in Wisconsin. Aka ten days of building up some insulation for the -30C weather that I had to brave myself against every time I walked outside.

Once you’re at the top, the view looks down on a beautiful valley. It faces east, so there are some problems with shadows depending on what time of the day you go. By the time we were there, it was about 3:30 and part of the valley was already in shadows. It was a bit overcast that day so the pictures didn’t turn out poorly but if you’re wanting to go for the prime photo opportunities, consider going in the morning or midday. There are plenty of millennials milling around at the top who will be more than qualified to take your picture. I got a few pictures looking over the cliff (reckless, yes; stupid, extremely) and sent them to my mother (who has a terrible fear of heights), and I can quite confidently say that she was not nearly as amused as myself. But hey, I’m still alive aren’t I?

Sedona houses some incredible shops showcasing incredible artwork, delicious food, and lots of goodies pertaining to spirituality and one’s connection with the “vortex”. It is an incredible place to visit and I don’t think you can ever fully describe the beauty of Sedona unless you visit it for yourself! If you enjoy hiking, swimming, meditation, or simply a good time Sedona is a place you must visit!

Peyton

 

Sedona

Products

Petrified Wood National Park

Petrified Wood National Park

Part 3: The Petrified Wood Forest is located smack dab in the middle of the Painted Desert in Northern Arizona. For those of you who do not know what Petrified Wood is I will link everything you need to know about it below!

The forest is located on Navajo and Apache land and the space is covered in fossilized trees. This is cooler than it sounds I promise. Honestly, for the longest time I did not even know trees could fossilize like this. They look a lot like really intricate rocks, I like to think a lot like granite, but it is not even close to actual rock. They are trees that are just millions of years old. The pieces range from pebble size to the sizes of trees like you would find in the mountains of Colorado. They are smooth to the touch and feel nothing like a living tree. All of the wood in the forest is untouched and has not been moved from its original resting place by any park officials.

There is a lot more within the Petrified Wood National Park than just fossilized trees, but also a large number of other fossils from prehistoric creatures that have all been discovered in the area. The history behind the whole area is mind boggling and I highly suggest going into the parks information locations to learn more about it, it is not boring like some of the other information centers I have wandered into.

The pieces within this desert that have remained untouched range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and none of the wood in the national park is ever sold or moved from the location but protected by the park.

To find the forest you head on the same track as the Painted Desert seeing that one route turns into the next. This is not an activity to take up a whole day, but if you are in the area and have some time use your day doing both the Painted Desert and the Petrified Wood Forest, it is well worth learning about and seeing.

This was an awesome road trip, and I just wish I had more time to explore even more places, northern Arizona has not seen the last of me.

Xx

Gabi

What is Petrified Wood?

The Petrified Forest

Our Product

 

The Painted Desert

The Painted Desert

Part 2: I visited the Painted Desert on my way back from the Grand Canyon. This is one of the coolest natural things I have yet to see in my twenty-one years of life. The colors range from pink to black, the pink rocks having bands of lavender and beige running through them, and the black weaving through reds and blues that take on an almost volcanic look to them.

This is something you can drive through and it stretches for miles in Northern Arizona. There are a variety of stops to get out of the car and look at the different hill ranges that have so magically formed within the desert. To drive the whole length of The Painted Desert I would say was about one or two hours depending on how much time you spend getting out of the car.

This is a rarity, since it is national park but is viable for anyone since you can be in the car the whole time or hike around. There are a couple of legitimate hikes ranging from less than a mile to four miles I believe, so it still can appeal to my avid hikers that read the blog. To this day I do not believe I have seen anything like it. It is not comparable to any other of my blog locations we have discussed thus far, but I will let y’all know if that changes. I am going to include pictures below but just a sneak peak to inspire you to go check it out on your own!

Xx

Gabi

The Painted Desert

The Hats

Part One of the Arizona Road trip

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

I am going to do a three-part series this week. This was all one giant road trip that I took through Arizona in December, but I want to split it up so you can really read up on the places I talk about, if case you are interested in seeing them for yourself!

Part one: I had my first trip to the Grand Canyon! I know that seems wild since I have lived in Arizona for three years now, but sometimes I seem to find life scurrying away from me. I do want to go back again when it is warmer, but this was a super fun experience even though I froze my booty off.

We camped in the park campgrounds. Surprisingly there were more people there than I thought there would be for winter, but it was not nearly as crowded as it can normally get. The campgrounds were generic with a firepit provided. During the winter season when we were in attendance, the site only cost fifteen for the one night that we were there.

The wildlife was awesome! We saw elk, and even got up close and personal with them (safely). They were not even frightened in the slightest. Also, you could hear coyotes at night… and they were close. The cackling of a clan of coyotes celebrating a kill could be heard in the middle of the night, which I am not going to lie made me a little sad but also was a unique thing to hear.

It was cold, cold, cold, during the night, but the stars made all the layers worth it. I have never seen a night sky like that one before. Star gazing is one of my favorite things, so this was a treat for me to be able to see more of the galaxy then I could ever see in the city. I highly suggest anyone who has studied astronomy to go out to The Grand Canyon for some perfect viewing opportunities. It was an incredible first time of exploration, but this definitely was only a scratch on the surface. I cannot wait to come back and explore more and go into The Grand Canyon.

Which leads me to my announcement… I will be returning to The Grand Canyon in May to do Havasu Falls! I am so excited and if any of you have been would love your tips and expertise. Drop me a comment or send me an email to trade tips or if you have any or questions about my first trip to The Grand Canyon. Later this week I will post about my trip to The Painted Desert and The Petrified Forest.

 

Xx

Gabi

Ranch Bucket Products

Grand Canyon Info

Havasu FallsProcessed with VSCO with b1 preset

Sedona

Sedona

Okay, this is hands down my favorite place in Arizona. I have been living in the lovely desert now for three years and Sedona is by far the most beautiful place I have experienced, in the state.

As you already know due to a previous post I hiked Devil’s Bridge, which was a great hike, (I will link my review of that below) but we did a few other things besides that while there. Sedona is known for it’s spirituality and for these things called Vortexes. Vortexes are supposed to be center points in Sedona that swirl with energy (not something you can physically see, this confused me a little too don’t worry) and are said to bring with them healing and a strong sense of self-exploration. Many people report a sense of peace when visiting them as well. All of the Vortex locations in Sedona have the most beautiful views as well, so even if you are not a “believer” the view is well worth the visit anyways. There have been many reports that it also causes the feeling of your blood stirring and the sensation of being recharged and inspired.

Sedona is often referred to as a “healing heart” and the whole town is essentially known to be a vortex, but there are four specific sites that are considered the most intense in feeling. I will link a list of these locations below! All of these places are easily accessible to all age groups.

The town is very hippie and is all about auras and spirituality, if you are into this stuff, this place is for you! The place is swarming with mediums and all sorts of cool healing rocks. I purchased a salt lamp here and I am in love with it.

If you are not a believer in this kind of stuff my suggestion to you is to take everything and everyone’s words with a grain of salt. Just really focus on enjoying the natural beauty. There are plenty of hiking trails and rock stores to check out while in town. If you are a believer or even slightly intrigued by the concepts, let it take over your experience and really let in all that Sedona has to offer you.

This place has a beauty to it that is hard to compare to anything else, with similar colors to Zion in Utah, but terrain almost like the desert or Garden of the Gods in Colorado, it is just unparalleled. Everything is flawless and vibrant. The temperature in December is cool but not unbearable. I loved this trip and I plan on going again at some point in 2018!

XX

Gabi

Devil’s Bridge

Vortexes

Ranch Bucket Products