So, to start off, getting to and from AZ was A MISSION. Just LET ME TELL YOU.
So, we left at like 2PM meaning we drove almost all damn night and didn’t arrive until 3:30AM.
SO FUN RIGHT.
Lots of gas station stops and some casual peeing-on-the-side-of-the-road stuff too. Because we gotta keep it classy AF up in here.
And then we slept in the parking lot of Horseshoe Bend until sunrise. Ok well – a little after because we were so so damn sleepy.
* I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the native land we explored during this trip – that of the Hopi, Diné (Navajo), Southern Paiute, Ute, Hualapai, and Havasupai people. If I am incorrect please let me know! I am learning and want to acknowledge land properly and be as respectful as possible. If you’d like to see what native land you’re exploring or live on, click here.
And Horseshoe Bend was gorgeous! BUT. I wasn’t like OMG WOW. I think it was kind of ruined by how much I’d seen it on Instagram, to be honest. It just looked like the photos I’d seen, to me. And I knew exactly what to expect – there were no surprises.
We pretty much just took our photos and left. It didn’t leave a mark on me, I didn’t feel any sort of connection to it. Which bums me out, because it really IS such a beautiful place.
I’d just been numbed to it since I’d seen that same exact picture a million bajillion times. And sometimes I get into this “must see all the things” mentality and forget to slow down and appreciate a place for what it is.
I really need to make a conscious effort to do that more.However, I really encourage sunrise views, just because I’ve heard it gets crazy crowded at sunset. Although I’m sure sunset has its own magic – SO. Pick your poison, I suppose.
Anyways. Then onto Upper Antelope Canyon! And it was absolutely beautiful, but knowing what it was, I wouldn’t go again. It was crowded and extremely stressful, and I didn’t feel like I had a chance to appreciate it at all like I’d wanted. I went more into that experience in this post.And Havasupai was amazing of course! I’d wanted to go for so so so long – in fact, I’d wanted to go on this entire trip for so so long.
But, for whatever reason – it wasn’t really everything I had hoped for. It was beautiful, and fun, but my friend and I both just felt off for whatever reason. And it was a fun trip, but it probably won’t go down in history as one of my favorites.And that is to no fault of anyone, just the circumstances.
It was a bummer seeing all the pack mules.
It rained on us the latter half of the first day and quite a bit of the second (and one of the Supai people alluded that it COULD FLOOD and I was like WHAT since I knew they had flash floods July-Sept and went into overthinking mode since we’d have no reception AND we were thinking about doing the trail to the confluence, which not many people do, and parts of it have to be hiked in the water between the narrow canyon walls so – yeah – I was stressin haha).
I am not the biggest risk taker, but my friend is, so that created a little bit of tension (I went into “mom” mode lol, never did I think I’d be THAT person…).
We were stressin’ about whether or not we should do the confluence (it’s about a 16 mile hike round trip, and would’ve been the day after our 10 mile hike in, then we’d have another 10 mile hike out the day after that! The trail to the confluence isn’t well marked, and of course, there’s no reception in the canyon).
We didn’t end up hiking to the confluence (got a later start than we’d planned, and decided it wasn’t the best idea to navigate on our own without a map). It was a good thing we didn’t as it ended up POURING later on and we would’ve been miserable hiking back. So, we just ended our hike at Beaver Falls. Due to the rain, everything was super muddy and we didn’t really feel like swimming after getting back to our campsite, so we just hung out in our tent for the rest of the night.
We were more tired from hiking than we’d anticipated (and both were not in the best of shape!) and got a ton of blisters.And then, once we’d hiked out and I reached the car at the trailhead, shit went down. I couldn’t find my keys, and figured I must’ve dropped them somehow on the trail – that led to 2 hours of being on the phone and trying to figure out how the hell we were going to get out of there (we had dying phones, barely any reception, and were two hours away from any sort of civilization).
I was approaching breakdown mode and not gonna lie, started to cry – and promptly found my keys. Somehow I’d forgotten that I’d moved them to another pouch in my bag?
And then. My check engine light went on, which had never happened before, and we were 2 hours away from cell service! AHHHH. Luckily everything was fine, but then we almost ran out of gas.So it was one of those trips where it was one thing after another, and we were both just pretty over it.
And it made me think about travel and happiness and experiences. I’ve known this, of course, everyone says it – but you really can’t escape your anxieties and life doesn’t immediately become this perfect little bubble when you’re out traveling.
All of my favorite travel memories had to do more with the amazing experiences I’d had there, rather than the place itself (although it definitely does help if you’re somewhere beautiful!). You can be in the most beautiful place and still not have the BEST TIME EVER like everyone on social media is apt to believe.And even though I’d been dying to go to this beautiful amazing place since FOREVER and I imagined I’d never want to leave and that 2 nights would be nowhere near enough time – I was honestly SO ready to leave.
I was actually excited to come home and relax. Who the hell am I? Is that sad? Is that called #adulting? Have I turned into an 80 year old lady overnight?
…And I’m trying to answer that last question as I’m home alone on a Friday night, debating if I should make my potato and carrot soup for the week tonight or tomorrow. I think this answers that.
BUT ANYWAYS. It just really hit home that travel isn’t always what you imagine it’ll be. It’s full of bumps, some you’ll laugh about later and some you might not. Trips don’t always go exactly as planned – sometimes the weather or your forgetful ass have other ideas. AND THAT’S OK.I just keep learning, over and over, to drop my expectations. To live in the moment and be thankful for what I AM experiencing, even if it’s rain and a shit storm. And I’m grateful for the shitty times because then I really really appreciate when things are going RIGHT.
I’m not really sure how to end this, other than: just get out there. Go do shit. If it doesn’t end up how you wanted or pictured, that’s fine. Accept it, move on, and do some more shit.