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A year ago, I was baking in the dry heat of Arizona. I’m a freeze baby, so I love the feeling of walking out of an air conditioned hotel or store and instantly being enveloped in warmth.

In my few trips to Arizona, I’ve enjoyed desert sunsets, indulged in authentic Mexican cuisine, gone wine tasting in up-and-coming winery hot spots, and gazed in awe at the changing landscapes between desert Phoenix, evergreen Flagstaff, the red rocks of Sedona and the impressive Grand Canyon. (Read about all the fun times in my Arizona Photo Diary!)

It was this last trip when we finally decided to climb the little mountains scattered throughout the Phoenix valley. Every morning my parents and I woke up before sunrise (I don’t like the heat that much!) in search of a new peak to hike.

On the third day, we chose Squaw Peak and vowed to make it to the top. Hiking to the top of a mountain feels like such an accomplishment. You reached a goal. You completed one hell of an exercise. You climbed a freakin’ mountain!

Standing at the top looking out in every direction, I felt a great pride in having pushed myself on and a sense of peace watching the sun rising over the quiet valley.

In life, there are many mountains to climb. I’ve just begun one. I’m ready for the trials facing me and excited to see what lies ahead.

And as for actual mountains, making it to Mount Everest is my dream!


Sun rising as we hiked Camelback Mountain.


Silhouette of Camelback Mountain with some pretty clouds.


That second peak? Yeah, I climbed that! (Squaw Peak)


On top of the world– or at least on top of Squaw Peak.


Striking my “cactus” pose while hiking South Mountain Valley.