Cottonwood, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ
Since getting to Arizona, I keep thinking to myself, there's no way it can get any better. Today is an example of how that statement is completely false every time. We had been warned that today was going to be all climbing and for the most part that was correct. However, the ride was incredibly scenic so we were pretty distracted from the pain of climbing. We stopped in Sedona, a super cool and touristy town in AZ for second breakfast at a restaurant that came highly recommended on FourSquare. When we spoke with the manager and told them about what we're doing, he told us that one of their employees was getting a Habitat home--turns out that Derrick, one of the homeowners whose house we worked on yesterday, worked at the place we just happened to decide to stop at! It was super exciting. They ended up giving us a ton of free food and we had a feast that kept us full for a while.
Heading out of Sedona, the scenery just kept getting better. None of us could believe that A) this was actually what we were biking through and B) we had bike all the way here!
Our next stop along the route was at Slide Rock State Park. We had been talking about this stop for a while now because it would be the first time on the trip that we would get to go cliff jumping! When I got there a group had already been there for a bit and jumped off, but they were more than happy to do it again with us. Jumping off the cliff was probably one of the biggest highlights of this trip so far. The whole thing was so exhilarating! I have been cliff jumping before, but as some of my friends can attest, I took almost 45 minutes to finally jump off. Today I looked over the edge and realized it would only get higher in my mind if I stayed up there any longer, so I just jumped. It was awesome. The worst part about the whole things was how cold the water was at the bottom. I quickly got to the side and watched other people jump off. I got some awesome pictures of people jumping off!
The real attraction at Slide Rock though is a natural rock water slide that you can do. Since I had done the cliff jumping first, I didn't really feel like getting back in the cold water to do what looked like kind of a bumpy and slow water slide ride. It was set in the most beautiful location though!
We finally made our way to lunch after about 3 hours at the park. Casey, Sam, and I talked to a volunteer cleaning up that park that said there was a cool rope swing in the rive just below where we were eating so we went to check it out. Unfortunately it was not there anymore, but we did take a quick dip to cool ourselves off before we started to switchback up a mountain for 3 miles. We had been dreading the switchbacks all day, but they turned out to be way more fun and easier than we thought they would be! A lot of it had to do with all of us keeping really positive attitudes the whole way up, and people on upper levels of the switchbacks cheering us on. It was incredible. Getting to the top was one of the most rewarding things we've done all trip.
The rest of the ride was just us wanting to get to Flagstaff so we could eat dinner since we reached the top of the mountain around 4:45 and still had about 20 miles left in the day. As we got back to civilization, we saw the most horrifying sign.
There's no way we're almost to LA already! It's hard to believe that in just over two weeks we'll be seeing the ocean again!!
Unfortunately, not everyone made it out of Slide Rock today uninjured. Ellie, a rider on the trip, cliff jumped with all of us but just happened to land in the exact worst way and hurt her back. We're not entirely sure how hurt but she's spending the night at the hospital and they think she fractured one of her vertebrae. It's a horrible feeling to be missing one of your teammates, especially one that brought such a great attitude to everything she did. Please keep her in your thoughts.