Happy 25th Anniversary!!!

This week marks 25 years of dating my guy. It’s been more than I ever could have imagined. We decided to celebrate with hiking West Fork Trail in Sedona. Yes, with our whole crew. We’re super romantic like that! 🤣
It’s hot air balloon season. We saw tons of hot air balloons as we drove up! It was so neat!
When we got into town it was still pretty early, and even though we at breakfast at home, we were all hungry. LOL! I pulled off into a random plaza and we found this restaurant called, Creekside American Bistro,  that had a GORGEOUS view and SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast!!! We hit the jack pot! <3 
I swear I taught my kids how to behave in public better than this. 😛 
Everything there was so good!!
 Let’s pretend this picture is clear. I just loved it of the two of us girls. 😉 
After breakfast we drove up the rest of the way to West Fork Trail. I’ve seen pictures online that are absolutely stunning. I’ve been dying to go up there for about a year. Unfortunately, we missed all the fall foliage. Darn it! But it was still beautiful!
Eli’s “trying” to help Alayna….this picture cracks me up! hahaha!
We, and everyone else in town, decided to show up to hike at the same time. We waited for a good 45-60 min. to get into the parking lot. It was completely full when we got there. The only way to get a spot was to wait for someone to leave. Jared took the younger two to explore while Walker and I inched forward to claim our prized parking spot! 😛 
I didn’t really love this sign warning us of snakes…LOL! They said they aren’t poisonous but come on, how do they know??? Thankfully, we didn’t see any while we were there! 
Apparently there used to be a lodge up there. The Mayhew Lodge opened in 1926… and closed its doors in 1968 after the land & building was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service for historical purposes. Unfortunately, the building burned down in 1980. 

Not much remains of the lodge but a couple of buildings that are mostly rubble and a fireplace that stands alone. The sign said several famous actors stayed there in it’s hay-day, Walt Disney and Jimmy Stewart were two of them. 🙂 
It was a perfect day for a hike. The weather was cool and crisp and just made my soul sing!!
From the National Forest Service website: 
There are a number of reasons why West Fork is one of the most popular trails on the Coconino National Forest. Once you’ve strolled beside the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor and looked up, way up, at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it, you will fall in love with it, too. West Fork is fantastic throughout the year. In springtime, migrating songbirds decorate the trees with flashes of brilliance. In autumn, the canyon is ablaze with color, with red and gold leaves floating in clear reflecting pools under a canopy of solid color. In wintertime, icicles decorate from red rock overhangs, and snatches of snow persist in cool shadows. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably find a new reason to be here every time you visit.

As for the trail itself, it’s an easy stroll, but you do have to cross the stream in a number of places. Usually, that involves negotiating a few strategically placed stepping stones or taking a couple of steps in shallow water. The trail is marked and maintained for the first three miles.

Many hikers explore beyond the end of the maintained trail. Eventually the pathway ends, the route becomes more strenuous, and you will be forced to hike in the stream bed as you continue into the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. If you choose to travel the entire 14 mile stretch from one end of the canyon to the other, plan to do a lot of wading and boulder hopping, and even some swimming. 
I really want to go back next fall before the leaves are gone. We didn’t go the 14 miles. Boy I wish we could have though! 
We were all exploring and the next thing I see is Alayna and Eli scaling this crazy high wall!!! It’s much higher than this picture lets on.  As soon as I saw them I yelled out to them to GET DOWN! The rock is so slick and dangerous! Even at the level Eli got up to he was unsure of his footing to get down. Boy I’m glad I saw them when I did!!! KIDS!!! LOL!
Eli was fascinated by the design of the water. He said it looked like a whirlpool. Then decided it was like a cauldron and started chanting, “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” From Macbeth. LOL!
Alayna’s hair cracks me up in this pic! 😛 
Love these people!! <3 
Hard for me to think Walker will be leaving us this summer for 2 years. I want to soak him in as much as possible before then. <3 
Alayna: “Watch me click my heels!” Haha! 
This hike is so neat. It has so many different areas and they all feel different and look different. This part was one of our favorites. It looked all misty and felt like we were entering a Magical Forest!! And the weather dropped by 10 degrees instantly. It was so crazy!
I loved this tree hanging right at the tip of this cliff. How it’s growing there and thriving I have no idea! 
We did find some leaves that looked to have recently fallen. I can only imagine how it must have looked when the whole canyon was filled with trees with all of these stunning colors!!!! We must come back! 
There’s Eli hiding in the cliffs again! LOL!
My little girl helping her Momma climb the rocks! <3 
Eli getting a refreshing drink of water. 😛 
He also made his water bottle a boat and got everyone in on the action watching it go down this little waterfall, get towed under by the current, and cheer when it resurfaced. He finds ways to have fun no matter where he’s at. <3 I love that about him!
Then the kids dared Jared to dip his head in the freezing water! He said it was COOOLD!!!!! Haha!
I absolutely LOVE this picture!!!! Love, love, love it!!!!!!
A kind person on the trail asked if I wanted to get in with everyone too and of course I did! The lighting ended up not being great though. I tried to fix it it the best I could. 
The further back we got, the colder it got. We even found some ice!
The icing on the cake is that 8 years ago I injured my foot. It’s been a very s-l-o-w healing process. The most I’ve been able to walk is 1 mile. I hiked 4.5 miles!!! 🎉🎉 And that was up and down rocky rough terrain! I’m so HAPPY!!! 👣 It was a little tender this morning but I’m not complaining. I’m feeling so very grateful! ❤️🙏 
It was a wonderful day celebrating our life together over all these years. It all began 25 years ago over Thanksgiving weekend when he said those magical words every girl wants to hear, “Since everyone thinks it anyway….Will you be my girlfriend?” Hahaha! Hilarous!!
I love my boyfriend! <3

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