A Journey to Arizona – Jared & Sarah’s Five Year Anniversary Trip

Where do I even begin in telling you about the amazing, breathtaking, wonderful trip that Jared and I took to Arizona to celebrate our five year anniversary?!?!

I took over 800 photos and videos… it was so difficult to pick what ones I wanted to post! There’s SO many in this blog, but just imagine how many more are on my phone!

Before I share details of our experience, let me first share of how this trip impacted me spiritually.

See, for the last year I have been going through the stereotypical season of a “desert” in my walk with Christ. I showed up to my devotions. I wrote. I prayed. I cried out. I read the word. I sought encouragement. I waited. I took all of the right steps. I followed the ABC’s of the Christian faith.

All of my doing the right thing was met by silence. I wasn’t experiencing the mountaintop of his wonder and tangible love. The peace of God seemed as distant as the sun.

I wanted to taste and feel what I know to be true… That the love of God penetrates even the darkest of days and his peace can surpass all understanding.

I wanted to be done with the desert. The drought. The silence.

Standing in a physical, real desert opened my eyes.

The desert was beautiful.

The desert was quiet.

The desert was still.

We grow exhausted in attempts to rid ourselves of the desert when that may be the exact place God wants us!

Why do we spend so much effort trying to escape a season of life that perhaps could be meant for beauty and listening?

These are the thoughts that have gripped my heart in reflecting on the experience I had on our trip… I loved being in the desert.

Perhaps I can learn to love the desert of my heart, as I wait and listen for the peace of God to bring the living water to my soul and refresh me.

If the desert is what the heavenly Father has for me, in the desert I will remain.

It is beautiful, after all.

Petrified Forest | Painted Desert


Another special part about this trip is, for quite some time, I have been dealing with strong bouts of homesickness. I miss the strangest things… One of the top complaints I have had since moving is how I never get to see big trees anymore. Well, it’s safe to say I had my big tree desire overwhelmingly met!

Hike in Sedona, on the trail climbing Mt. Wilson


As you scroll through this post, I recommend listening to this song – Paint by The Paper Kites… If you’re the type who loves some good background music. 🙂


Albuquerque

The first stop, our half way point, was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We killed time by visiting all of the Breaking Bad locations. We went to Hank’s house, Jesse’s house, and of course Walter’s house. There were trespassing signs at these houses, but we ventured by anyway. I can’t imagine living in one of them! Like c’mon… You should realize people will be wanting to stop by to take photos of your house, WHY would you live there?! We also went to the car wash (pictured below), the location where they filmed Saul’s office, and the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant – which is actually called Twisters (a burrito place.)

If you look closely on the photo of the carwash, you can see an RV giving tours… You know, an RV that looks EXACTLY like the one in the show!

And of course we started off the following morning with a trip to Starbucks!

Selfie in front of the carwash!

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.


Petrified Forest & Barringer Meteor Crater

The Petrified Forest was the first stop on our Arizona trek. Let me tell you, this was a pleasant surprise. I had pretty low expectations for this park. It was beautiful and really cool to see the petrified wood and painted desert. After that we stopped by the Barringer meteor crater and took in the wonder. It was pretty crowded with it being Labor Day weekend, but that didn’t stop us from busting out the selfie stick for some shots.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

 


Sedona

Next up, and where we stayed for two nights, is the beautiful Sedona. I fell in love with the red rock. It was gorgeous. We arrived Sunday and especially enjoyed driving through the mountains to get to our hotel. We ate dinner at this amazing pizza place in town, truly phenomenal and I must add our server was the absolute best. All this was to prepare for what would be the most challenging day of the entire trip. A 10.7 mile (total) hike to climb Wilson Mountain – the tallest in all of Sedona. Elevation gain of 2,785 ft. Jared and I have been really into hiking lately and were excited about this kind of challenge – not to mention we have been craving some amazing views. But this. was. HARD. I am really uneasy with heights and there were some parts where Jared had to hold my hand for long stretches. But we did it. And it was SO empowering and thrilling. Sedona, I love you.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

Finally made it to the top. Try to spot the bridge at the beginning.

The following morning was filled with a slow, restful start. Beginning with breakfast right near our hotel and browsing the shops in town. And, of course, Starbucks. After that we were off to Flagstaff.

Starbucks date! My second s’mores frappacino of the summer! After climbing over 10 miles I felt like I deserved this.


Church in the rocks! Maybe we should plant a church here…


Flagstaff

I loved our adventure in Flagstaff. This quaint college town had amazing food, good coffee, and our hotel felt more like a ski lodge. Our first day we ventured to Walnut Canyon and explored the cliffs where the Sinagua people lived. After that we took it easy and had dinner at Historic Brewing Co. Wednesday, I woke up pleasantly surprised to find cozy rocking chairs in the lobby area overlooking the forest. It was perfect. That day we hiked an easy trail – Fat Man’s Loop (ha), got coffee at Macy’s, visited Sunset Crater Volcano and the Wupatki National Monument. Wednesday was PACKED. I will include all of those photos in the gallery below.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.


Scenic Drives are the best


The Grand Canyon

The anticipation I felt preparing to see the Grand Canyon for the first time is beyond description. I was like a child going to Disney for the first time. I was hyper excited. Jittery and chatty. I could not WAIT to see it!

The drive in was beautiful. We were both shocked to see that it was in a national forest when we always thought it was in the middle of total desert land. Ironically, with all of the anticipation felt, it was pretty hazy the evening we arrived. I did however capture part of a rainbow in the canyon. We originally planned to do Bright Angel Trail into the Canyon, but we were still done in from our hike up Wilson Mountain. Instead, we opted for good views and great food.

One of my favorite moments was that Jared and I saw the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. That morning we walked all along the rim and in the Canyon Village. My arm was laced with his while we sipped coffee and took in the breathtaking views. It was truly an enchanted morning. I loved every moment.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

Me n Bae


Page

After the amazing Grand Canyon (trust me, it was DIFFICULT to say goodbye) we made our way to Page – the final destination of our trip.

In Page we hiked in Water Holes Canyon, had calzones bigger than my face, did a tour of Antelope Canyon, and saw Horseshoe Bend.

This was the most marriage building part of the trip. My husband literally had to pull me up a ledge once and catch me a different time. There were terrifying parts to climbing around a canyon, but it was super fun.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

This is about as close as I was willing to get. No handstands on cliffs from me.

Click on pics in gallery to view larger.

This whole trip was planned out by my amazing guy, Jared. Not only did he do all of the planning, but he did all of the driving. He held my hand when I was terrified of falling off a cliff, he bought me a present at the Grand Canyon, and he kept the cappuccinos from Starbucks coming. I love this man with all of my heart.

My favorite view out of them all.

What a way to celebrate our five year anniversary. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us in the next year, five years, ten years, and thirty years.

About the Author

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My name is Sarah Howell. Writing and journaling are my passion and I use this blog as an outlet to encourage others in their walk with Christ. I love going on walks, drinking a cup of coffee in my favorite mug and hanging out with my husband Jared.

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