Normally I don’t like to make a big deal out of my birthday.
Because honestly, I celebrate it every day.
Cheesy I know, but it’s the truth.
But I randomly decided to just go for it and planned, planned, and planned! Very happily.
Our itinerary was simple but ambitious:
Glamping in a Hogan (hut) in the middle of the desert on Navajo reservation with no electricity, water, and wifi.
Highlights included: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park.
Regardless of how much I planned, it was beyond my wildest dreams.
Because no matter how much I planned, nothing prepared me for the many many special moments throughout this trip.
Most of those precious moments I’ll keep to myself and between the other seven, but here are a few I’d like to share with you:
We were on the road for roughly 16 hours over the course of 3 days. The beautiful views and heart-to-heart talks made our drives easier.
Early on I thought of gift ideas for my peeps as a “thank you” for embarking on this grand adventure.
With all we hope to achieve, I felt like we were girl and boy scouts, so I bought each person a bandana with enamel pins (badges!) that represented our entire weekend.
Everyone took them to heart and it set the entire mood of our adventure together! You’ll see us wearing them in all our photos!
They called themselves “Jules Scouts” I was their leader of Troop 30.
Our living situation was pretty rough. Not going to lie. Mainly because we couldn’t shower at all…it was too cold at night.
I felt really bad for everyone.
With that being said, I loved staying in our Hogan.
I loved hiking to the ridge to catch the sunrise both mornings.
Yes, it was challenging to wake up every 30 minutes to keep our fire alive in the wood burning stove during the night,
but I loved it soooo much.
I love camping.
Once you can get over the feeling of being dirty, then you appreciate everything around you.
I took multiple nightly strolls by myself when I had to use the bathroom and each time I would spin around to take it all in.
Filled with too much excitement, I barely slept at night and watched the fire glow from inside the stove.
I laid in my cot and admired the wood constructed from inside our Hogan.
Again, taking it all in.
The absolute feeling of pure ease and calmness.
Our first outing was the slot canyons. Different from Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon.
If you have questions, then just send me a message and I’ll explain why we decided to go with the much less-crowded and very beautiful Canyon-X.
Photos do not provide justice.
In fact, all the places we went to don’t in the least bit.
Later that day, we hiked in Zion National Park on the Overlook Trail.
It’s definitely one of my favorite trails to date. I didn’t take much photos, but that’s okay just shows how much I enjoyed the hike.
This view was waiting for us at the end.
Horseshoe Bend and Grand Canyon National Park were on our last day (Sunday), but not before s’mores over a warm campfire on our last night.
A very special night that I’ll remember forever.
I keep playing everything I saw and heard over and over in my head.
Definitely a “happy place” for me.
After a final group hike to watch the sunrise on our last morning, we filled our tummies with warm homemade Navajo tea and packed up to head towards Horseshoe Bend.
The position of the sun made it hard for photos, but Horseshoe Bend really surprised me by its size and beauty.
My favorite part was laying on our bellies at the edge and peering into the Colorado River!
Then we made our way West to our Final Frontier.
The first time we all saw (except Khang because he was driving) the Grand Canyon was priceless.
We all simultaneously brokeout into “WOWs!!!!!”
The majesty of it completely caught me off guard. Makes sense why they call it “Grand”!
Worthy of its name.
Due to time (we had a 10pm flight to catch later that evening) we decided to hike the Bright Angel Trail for 20 minutes. No stops for photos so we could take in the views and 40 minutes to hike back with photos.
Also to set away time to have our official Jules Scouts “final pinning ceremony”.
I stood on a rock, had my scouts declare our creed.
Then I asked each of them to “step forth for their final pin of the Grand Canyon National Park”.
Not going to lie, we looked and sounded like a cult.
But I loved every freaking single second of it!
And that’s a wrap!
Still so so much I left out, but I want to end this post with the actual day of my birthday (Monday).
I slept on the plane and landed at 6:30am in Charlotte. I had to be at work by 9:30am. That East Coast life.
I cried on my drive to work. Not because I was sad that my wonderful weekend ended or because I didn’t want to go to work.
Quite the opposite.
My heart was so full, happy and overwhelmed with joy.
Happy for the time I spent with my loved ones, but mostly happy for all my family and friends in my life.
Grateful for a job I love and not once thought about “calling-out” because I care about my patients.
Life is so good.
And I’m beyond thankful for these past 30 years and look forward to the next 30 more.
So please, spare me the “oh you’re getting old” and the “dread crap” because I’m not having it.
Not at all.
Thank you for reading and following along