"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Friday, March 18, 2016

Arizona Getaway: Sedona Hiking

This post is dedicated to the hikes we tried... Another post is coming soon to cover our food and lodging thoughts.

Day 1... 

Cathedral Rock: 
Length: 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Very Difficult (with a scramble)
Verdict: We definitely should have researched this and prepared a bit more.  It was a tad scary and far beyond our hiking skills, however, being the daredevils that we are, we did it anyway.

This hike may have been short, with some really sticky parts, but I am so so proud of us for battling through until the top and I can say that the views were absolutely worth it.  Don't believe me, take a look at the pictures!

Day 2...
Day two we got even more ambitious with the hiking...

Bear Mountain:
Length: 5.2 miles with 2000 ft. elevation change
Difficulty: Very Difficult
Verdict: Once again, completely and utterly unprepared, but we survived and it was pretty darn amazing!

This one was tough!! I wore my fitbit and on this hike it registered a climb of 150 flights of stairs. Wowza!  Luckily, my sister and I are fairly athletic so we were working hard, but able to complete it.  It was seriously breathtaking - in the beautiful way and in the way where you are actually fearing for your life a bit, depending on the part of the trail.  I will recommend it, but I will warn you - it is tough! Give yourself lots of time and bring lots of food and water.  When we set out it was about 45 degrees and it got hotter as we climbed.  I cannot imagine doing this in the summer heat - it would be brutal!

After: this is our "holy cow, we hiked that" pic :) 

And more from the top... 

Huckaby Trail 
Length: 5.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Verdict: Totally capable and prepared.  It was so fun!

This one was pretty easy, had a tiny bit of elevation changes, but it was a leisurely hike from start to finish with amazing views that brings you along the river.  It was a great way to shake out our legs after our crazy morning of climbing and descending.  

Devil's Bridge: 
We had heard so many amazing things about Devil's Bridge, but because of our timing and the snow, it was closed while we were in town - so disappointing!! I will be returning to conquer this one.  If you are out there, please try this one for me!

Hike House:
We owe a lot of our information and prep to Hike House in Sedona.  We stopped by on our way out the first day and they gave us all the info we needed to make sure we stayed safe and packed accordingly.  Stop by and say hi! They were so nice and talked to us amateurs for about an hour with no appointment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Arizona Getaway

Back in February my sisters and I escaped from the brutal winters of Chicago and Boston for some fun in the sun in Arizona.  It was a much needed trip full of long chats, hiking, sunshine, and lots of outdoor adventures. 

My baby sister is more into "active" vacations, while my older sister is more of a beach bum.  I, thankfully, straddle the two happily.  To make sure we all got something we wanted, we planned the trip with two parts.  

Part 1 - 3 days in Sedona, Arizona (with a detour to the Grand Canyon) 
 Part 2 - 3 days in Scottsdale, Arizona 

It was perfect!   

We started in Sedona and we were (not so) pleasantly surprised with their 30 degree weather.  We left Chicago and Boston for warmer temps, remember!  Nevertheless, we were determined to have some fun, layered up, and explored anyway. 

I'll have a full run-down of my Sedona and Scottsdale recs and favorites coming soon, but here are some highlights to hold you over. 

More details coming soon! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spin Class "For The Win"

Last week I tried SoulCycle with a friend.  She had a free pass as avid Chicago fitness gal and she chose to bring me with her to use it.  How cool is that?! 

This was my first experience with Soul Cycle and I'm not going to lie, I was skeptical.  I am a runner and I like to work out alone. I do not normally do well with fitness classes.  They all seem fine and dandy the first time, but I rarely continue.  Nevertheless, I joined her (hey, it was free!!) to try it out. 

Here are my thoughts... Soul Cycle was intense. It was a great workout.  I actually thought I was going to die about 25 minutes in.  It's a good thing I was in a 45 min long class or I would have passed out.  All of that being said, it was so fun and a great workout!  I loved it and I worked my butt off.  

They do a great job of warming you up, then they jump into about 30 minutes that consists of 3 rounds of intense cycling intervals.  After that, you do some light cycling with fun weighted arm moves and then there is a cool-down. The music choices were spot on and really helped to keep my mood upbeat throughout it all. 

I think I might go back.  Time will tell, but I may have "drank the cool-aid" as they say.  I'll keep you posted, however, in the meantime - I believe you should all give it a go. 

After our class we headed to Lyfe Kitchen for some breakfast and coffee.  It was delicious and oh-so-healthy!!