One year ago this weekend I ventured out west with 3 of the best girls. We met up with friends and had the best tour guides you could ask for. Sunset at the Grand Canyon, snow ball fights, exploring Narnia, epic star gazing, hot chocolate at the ski slopes, adventures into the desert, guns, rattle snakes and riding out of the desert on top of the jeeps doesn't even come close to summing up our trip, but it's a start. 

Wake up calls out west sound like, "Would anyone like a french press cup of coffee?" We didn't rush anywhere, but we made the most of each day. The most beautiful drive from Phoenix - Flagstaff- Grand Canyon. Once we made it into the park the girls who had never seen the Canyon decided not to look until we had parked somewhere (the best view possible) and walk up to the rim for their first look. Those of us who had been before took peaks and the girls all held their hands to the right so they couldn't see the amazing views as we searched for the perfect spot. Lots of screaming, "Why did we decide to wait? This is a terrible idea. Erin, watch the road, don't completely close your eyes, you're driving!" Finally we just pulled over, gathered ourselves together and walked to the rim... 

I was in 6th grade the last time I'd seen the Grand Canyon. It was with my family and even as a kid it blew my mind. The Canyon is so massive and colorful and breathtaking. This time it won my heart completely. It's thrilling and peaceful at the same time. You want to just jump right out of your skin or jump off the edge to fly through the Canyon and see EVERYTHING. The fact that the Lord created such a masterpiece should be no surprise.

Guardrails didn't keep us from climbing down as far as we could go, to the very edge. Every time I tried to talk it came out in whispers and I couldn't find the right words to express how I felt. It was almost as if fireworks were going off inside of my chest and at the same time peace like a river was the song playing over me. 

A mile hike led us to OOH AAH Point around sunset. It was truly a breathtaking vantage-point. The clouds had rolled in and we were waiting, wishing, hoping we would have a pretty sunset. Every few minutes we would all just be silent and literally forget everything and everyone and just soak in the beauty that the Lord allows us to see on this earth. The clouds broke and there was the sun. It set the clouds on fire in the most majestic way. "Y'all..." There really weren't words. Really. It wouldn't have been the same alone. The Lord uses people to bring out the best in His Creation. 

Another day another adventure. This one held snow. Red Mountain, just outside Flagstaff.  "Further up & further in!" We felt like we were in Aslan's country as we explored. Our snowball fight lasted the whole day and you always had to watch your back. Sleds we found at the Welcome Center in Flagstaff were a big hit. We also drove up to the ski resort to get hot chocolate, watched the sunset and climb giant trees. On our way back to Phoenix we pulled off the highway until we couldn't see any light, turned off the car, and star gazed for at least an hour. The most amazing stars I've EVER seen.

The desert was calling for us by Monday. 2 jeeps, 4 girls, and 2 guys set off to see what danger we could find. Hours on dirt roads through the desert with cacti on either side of us. It was not a smooth ride, but the jeeps were tough. The destination we arrived at was unlike anything I'd ever seen... right out of a Lord Huron album cover. We shot 3 different types of guns and while one of the girls was resetting the targets for pistol shooting a rattle snake struck at her and barely missed. Thankful to be alive she took her pistol and lit up the snake. Later we skinned it and burned it on the fire we'd made. The ride out of the desert was my favorite memory from the trip. Two girls on top of each jeep we rode out with our heads lifted to the stars and holding on to the racks. There were stars in every direction and I kept missing shooting stars because I couldn't decide which direction to look.  

Thankful for memories and friends to share them with. #takeusback