Lucky for me, my boyfriend's brother lives in Phoenix, and lucky for both of us we found round trip flights for $107 each! It was such a steal we couldn't resist booking a getaway. We had 5 days to adventure around Phoenix and it only took the first 24 hours to make me fall in love with the city. Here is the low down on why and how I fell hard for the cactus sprinkled city. (insert heart eyes emoji here)
It wasn't but an hour or two after we stepped off of the plane in Phoenix that we were headed up Squaw Peak to catch the sunset. Squaw Peak is a beautiful mountain that overlooks Phoenix. The trail is about a mile long straight up the mountain. It felt like the equivalent to spending an hour on the stair stepper, mind you I was also with two guys that are over 6ft tall, so my short legs that pair nicely with my little 5'4 body were movin' and groovin' as fast as they could. This hike was gorgeous as we were able to see the sun setting on the way up the mountain. When we got to the top, we enjoyed watching the night sky overlooking the city lights while cozied up on the jagged boulders we used as seats. We hiked back down in the dark, luckily I brought a flash light but unfortunately I did not bring a head lamp, I will not make that mistake again on a hiking trip. Needless to say, my legs were feeling the accomplishment of Squaw peak the next day but the view at the top was worth every drop of sweat.
After our strenuous Squaw Peak hike, we wanted something a little less intense for the next day. We ended up at North Mountain. We loved this hike so much that we just kept hiking and hiking until we found ourselves down the other side of the mountain on some random side walk! I guess we just got so distracted by good views and good conversations that we walked up and back down the entire mountain. Initially the trial was paved going up the mountain, but once we arrived at the top, we took a trail to the left and it became a rugged mountain trail. The rock color was beautiful and the cacti were gorgeous.
Camelback - Cholla Trail
I really enjoyed each and every one of our hikes on this trip, but hiking sunrise on Camelback Mountain will be a memory I will hold onto for the rest of my life. We woke up at 6am on Saturday morning, packed our gear and drove out to the Cholla Trail. We started our ascent as blue hour was taking over, still dark out. The Cholla Trial was one of the most technical trails I have ever hiked so far, there was some actual rock climbing involved and the spine of the mountain was extremely steep as well as extremely narrow.
To read my short story about the Cholla Trail Hike click here:
Eating In Phoenix
I ate like a QUEEN in Phoenix! I love keeping a balance between eating healthy while also exploring different foods in new cities. For the majority of the trip, it was clean eating and a lot of water, but there were a few menu item we found that I just couldn't resist.
IN & OUT: Even though I am originally from the west coast, Washington State does not have In & Out, it isn't till you get down to California and over to Arizona that you'll find the red and white castle that is In & Out Burger. I've been to California numerous times but I had never stopped to taste the glory of the burger and fries that In & Out produces. Of course, we got our fries “Animal Style” which is when the fries are smothered in their special sauce and topped with grilled onions. My high waisted skinny jeans felt like they were going to pop off by the time I was done dominating a DOUBLE burger + fry combo. Yes, I did eat all of it. All. Of. It.
NAMI: This is where I found vegan soft-serve ice cream. Not only was the ice cream perfectly creamy and soft with a hint of coconut flavor, but the particular blizzard I ordered was called The Captain, which had CAPTAIN CRUNCH and FRESH STRAWBERRIES in it. Say WHAT! This was one of the best desserts I had ever had. If I lived near Nami I would be tempted to go there every single day. In fact, we loved Nami so much that we went back the next morning for breakfast. We order a Hazelnut Milk latte, a Homemade Bagel with Herb Cream Cheese, and Yogurt Parfait, and a Cinnamon Roll Muffin thing that I can’t remember the exact name of but I do remember the taste and it was amazing! The cinnamon roll muffin creation was crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and had just enough glaze and cinnamon butter on top to make you want another one. Or ten. Five stars for Nami!
ALO: After our sunrise hike at Camelback Mountain, we were ready for brunch. We used Yelp to see what our local choices were. I am so thankful that we stumbled upon this place because the Monte Cristo Waffle was one of the best brunches I have ever had in my life. The Monte Cristo Waffe is as follows: a prefectly crunchy / soft waffle, trooped with ham, turkey, melted swiss cheese, topped with an over-easy egg, berry jam and powdered sugar. We both ordered that (because neither of us would had shared this greatness with each other) with a perfect cup of coffee and we were smiling from ear to ear from the first bite to last sip.
Not pictured, but worth mentioning: Passion Fruit Mochi from Whole Foods, a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Ho Ho from a local Phoenix bakery, homemade Burritos from a tiny little mexican bakery, and Luci's Healthy Market place where we enjoyed delicious breakfast burritos - "Scrambled eggs, medley potatoes, and a choice of ham, turkey, sausage, bacon or chicken chorizo stuffed in your choice of a sun-dried tomato, spinach or whole wheat wrap. Served with pico de gallo. " The menu had so many tasty options on it and the staff was so friendly that we found ourselves back here two days in a row.
I give Phoenix FIVE STARS and I can't wait to go back.