A couple months ago I was hesitant about buying a plane ticket. I desperately wanted to take the trip but was worried about vacation time, expenses, and feeling guilty about leaving Jackson at home to work all weekend while I was off having fun.
You know the saying, “Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.” Those words, along with Jackson’s, “You should go.” nudged me to finally book the flight.
When I arrived at the airport it only took 3 minutes to get through security, thanks to the amazing and convenient Santa Barbara Airport. The trip was off to a good start until we found out the entire Phoenix airport was closed due to weather. At one point, the crew thought we had the go-ahead so they boarded us on the plane only to discover an hour later the forecast was not looking up and we had to deboard.
Because the delay was 3.5 hours, the large amount of people with connecting flights flooded the counter. The paper spewing from the printer behind the desk was nearly six feet long! What a relief my final destination was Phoenix and being stuck in Santa Barbara is never a bad thing.
But alas, we finally boarded the flight again and were off to our destination.
The first part of our college roomie crew got me from the airport and, as always, we picked up right where we left off. I felt like I was 22 again. Cue T-Swift.
We got to the Airbnb, turned the living room into mega bed—a concept we were very familiar with in college—and called it a night.
The next morning a couple of us decided Tom’s Thumb would be the hike of the day. We bundled up and stopped at Dutch Bros on the way—a must. Their cups are the cutest!
The further we drove to our destination the more snow we saw. I saw more snow in Arizona then I saw in Minnesota when I was there in January!
As soon as we made it to the trailhead, we were prompted to turn around by flashing blue and red police lights. They were closing the trail because people tried to snowboard down the mountain. These are the things that happen when Arizona gets snow.
As we were backed out and returned to the now closed entrance, we were among a sea of cars trying to get closer to the snow. One man even came up to our window to ask what was going on and told us he’d live in Arizona for 30 years and had never seen that much snow. He couldn’t wait to come back and show his kids after school.
Instead of giving up on our hike, we asked the locals where else we could go and popped one of the recommended trailheads into Google Maps. We were Sunrise Trail bound—sounds promising, right?
It took another 30 minutes to get to the other side of the mountain, but things were looking up!
The trail was gorgeous and a truly unique sight. What was usually dry and warm was covered in snow. It took us awhile to make progress on the trail because we kept stopping to enjoy the cutie cacti and breathtaking views.
It was about 40°F but as the incline warmed us up layers were shed. Unfortunately, the further we got the more wet and slushy the trail got. With two of us in sneakers, this wasn’t an ideal situation. We puddle jumped our way to the top and were greeted by an amazing snow globe view of Arizona.
We stayed as long as our bodies allowed, but after 20 minutes, less layers and drenched feet, we shuffled down the mountain as fast as we could. I could barely feel my hands, because mittens didn’t make it on the Arizona packing list. We ran through the slush, hardly feeling our toes at this point, until we reached an unfamiliar path. Yes, we took a wrong turn and had to back track through the freezing conditions. A quarter mile later we were back on course–trail running our way to the bottom until we could regain feeling in our fingers again.
When we got back to the car, we found a brewery to hang out at before picking up Maddie who had been attending a conference all day. To our advantage, we made it to the brewery during happy hour and got a great deal on apps and pitchers. We’re taking pretzels and cheese, crab wontons, and cheese curds. Mmmmm. Couldn’t have imagined a better way to reward ourselves for hiking through the tundra in our everyday Nikes. It’s safe to say I’ve added hiking shoes to my shopping list.
We picked up Maddie from her conference and headed home to relax before collecting the rest of the group.
After picking up Rachel and Sydney from the airport––and a quick stop at In-N-Out––we pulled out another bed to add to our living room slumber party. The rest of the night was spent playing games and eating pazookie. I nearly lost my voice the next morning if that tells you anything.
Saturday morning involved our last airport pickup––Stina. From there we headed to Press Coffee and enjoyed some amazing iced lattes and kombucha while Syd hopped on the Lime scooter nearby.
Once we were caffeinated, we made our way to Hole in the Rock for a quick morning hike.
Around noon we picked up Maddie from her final day at the conference. We got back to the Airbnb with full intentions of heading out for another hike but ended up crashing on mega bed for a decent hour.
Thankfully, the sun was out and it motivated us to get our butts to Camelback Mountain. We piled in the car and set out on our first hike with the entire crew.
The weather was perfect! Sunny with a slight breeze. The trail was pretty packed, but we managed to weave our way through people and took a couple alternate routes––not always the best decision.
The view was incredible and to share it with my best friends was something else.
We made our way down the mountain in no time and headed back for a family dinner––grilled chicken, roasted broccoli, and diced sweet potatoes. It was incredible!
After we cleaned up, including our sweaty hiking selves, we went out for a night of dancing! We hit up Dierks Bentley’s Whisky Row and Bottled Blonde. Both places had fantastic DJs and we danced our hearts out like it was a Bethel Banquet all over again. Before heading back we spotted Joe’s New York Pizza and couldn’t resist a late night slice.
Sunday morning we slept in, made breakfast, packed up our belongings, and sadly disassembled mega bed. Before bringing me to the airport we stopped at Sip Coffee for some brunch. Both Rachel and I couldn’t refuse their avocado toast because it had pesto!
We sipped our coffee and chatted for hours––just like we used to. There’s nothing like getting together with old pals for new adventures. We’re already looking forward to next time.