Brandon and I have been in Flagstaff for two weeks now, and everything is going swimmingly. Shortly after moving in, we got the internet hooked up which is great for my low cell phone data and since Brandon's full time job depends on it. Brandon spends the week days working 7am-3pm. The sun has been rising around 5:45am which is a pain for someone who wakes up with the sun. With that being said, the sun goes down around 7:15pm. The state of Arizona does not observe daylight savings, so we are always on Mountain Standard Time.
While Brandon is working, I am just chilling around. I've been looking for easy recipes online, researching the Flagstaff area, and keeping an eye out for upcoming events.
There is always something to do here in Flagstaff. There are discounted bowling nights, happy hours, events on the square, etc. There are quite a few festivals coming up as well like the County Fair, Festival of Science, Star Nights, and Octo"beer"fest.
In addition to lolly-gagging around the apartment, I've been trying to explore the city. I opened up a local banking account to make things easier, applied for my AZ drivers license, and got my student ID card. I've also been reading information about the public transportation and FUTS (Flagstaff Urban Trail System).
Brandon and I have been taking turns making dinner. We haven't done anything too fancy, but my favorite meal so far has been the crockpot enchiladas. They were so tasty and unhealthy, haha! Since we are on a budget after this initial move-in, we've been trying out best to go out and eat. In fact, we've only been out twice since moving here. We went back to Diablo Burger and went to Beaver Street Brewing Restaurant...both were local and delicious!
So the first weekend that we were here (Aug. 15th), Brandon's friend, Nick, came up from Phoenix to visit us. We decided to hike Mount Elden because why not. I did some research, but clearly not enough! We arrived at the pack trailhead and had to park across the street at a credit union. The beginning of the trail was pretty flat and was a part of "Fatman's Loop." Instead of staying on the loop, we decided to go to the overlook because we were already half way there. Well little did we know, it was steep. I mean extremely steep! The switchbacks were killer, and we staying on the same side of the mountain the whole way up. As we had about half a mile of so left, it began to thunder and get dark. We tried our best to make it to the top before it started to rain.
Now to give you an idea, Flagstaff is already at 7000ft in elevation, and Mount Elden's outlook is at 9300ft. I was a little out of shape but determined to make it to the top. There were some points were it was hard to catch my breath because of how high we were. Anyways, we eventually made it to the top, and it began to thunderstorm bad. We would have loved to taken some pictures and observe the views, but we had to get out of there. As we were hiking back down, it lightening and began to hail on us. The hail was pretty big! About the size of marbles. The hail was pelting us, and we had to take cover at some points because it was so painful. We passed several other hikers who were trying to make it to the top.
Of course, hiking down wasn't a walk in the park. It was steep, and any wrong move you make, you could bust your butt! Not to mention the mini river that overflowed the trail at some points. Once we were about a mile down, it was nothing but dry and sunshine. We finished declining and made it back to the parking area. My legs felt like jello, and I was so glad to be off that mountain.
Aside from Mount Elden, Brandon and I have been walking every evening after dinner to see where all we can walk to from our apartment complex. One night, we even went to a dance lesson on the historic square. I met another out-of-state grad student and we and another of her new friends walked around downtown to see what it's like. Her friend actually has lived in Flagstaff for the past two years so he showed us where the best places to go were.
REI, which is a dangerously 2.5 miles from our house, had a garage sale on Saturday. Me and a few other grad students met there to see what all they had marked down. I didn't find anything, but that was okay. Afterwards, we went to the REI workshop where the manager talked about the Grand Canyon. Believe it or not, she lived in Gainesville, Ga for a few years and attended Bernau University! Small world! The workshop was great and sparked my interest to go to the Grand Canyon. Afterwards, Brandon and drove around town to try and find a couch/futon. We ended up going to two animal shelters to see what they had. We ended up not adopting (we aren't ready yet), but it was nice to know what type of dogs that they do get in this area.
Yesterday, Aug 23rd, Brandon and I drove over to Walnut Canyon National Monument Park to check it out. It was really neat, and of course, started to thunderstorm towards the very end. I got the military pass so we can go back whenever we want for free.
I have orientation on the 25th and begin classes on the 31st. I'm looking forward to school, but I also enjoy being lazy during all of this free time.
I'll try and keep this blog up to date! :)