Hiking, Horses, and a Helicopter During A Wedding Weekend in Phoenix

What a fantastic weekend! My high school friend Emily got married to a great guy named Rich, and that was an excellent reason to head to Phoenix for a few days. Here I am with the bride, and our high school friend Heather:

david-heather-emily

That’s Heather’s husband Adam photobombing us in the back! You may remember Emily from this post, which has a photo of her in one of her jaw-dropping ballroom dancing costumes, but she was also one of the very first friends featured on this blog, way back in 2010. (Heather’s been on the blog, too, like when I hung out with her in New York last year.)

It was a beautiful wedding – a radiant couple, great DJ, and lush venue – and I loved catching up with old friends (including more not pictured), and hey… I clean up pretty well, right?

david-wedding-stairs

(The cashmere-blend sweater I’m wearing under my jacket is new, and I went to about nine stores the day before leaving town to find it.)

The wedding (and a pre-wedding party the night before) was just one part of a packed weekend. In addition to Emily the bride, I have another friend Emily who lives in Phoenix, and I stayed with her. The non-bride Emily is an avid equestrian, and she took me to my very first horse show.

david-horse-show

I’d never been to a horse show before, and I learned a lot about the different ways horses move, and what judges look for in the horse and rider. We cheered on a few of Emily’s friends, a couple of whom won their events! Here’s a photo from the Half-Arabian Country English Pleasure Class 18 & Under (and I’m pretty sure I now know what all those words mean):

horse-show-riders

I went to the horse show with Emily on Sunday, but she went on Saturday too, which meant I had some time to kill on Saturday before the wedding. So I went hiking!

I researched hiking options, and settled on Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, which was 15 minutes away and had a trail than led to the mountain’s summit. It’s an impressive mountain from afar.

piestewa-peak-from-51

The trail isn’t very long – a little over a mile – but there’s a 1,168 elevation gain, so I knew going in that it would challenging. A sign at the trailhead confirmed it.

hike-sign-piestewa-peak

Extremely difficult – my kind of trail! The trail was steep, and featured tons of stairs either carved into the rocks or made from 2x4s.

Piestewa-Peak-stairs

It got steeper as I got higher, and the last section was fun – no more stairs, just finding your own way up a pile of rocks.

piestewa-peak-summit-rocks

I definitely felt like I got my workout in, and it was totally worth it. Incredible views. I’ve never been on a mountaintop that came to such a small summit. Big drops on all sides!

david-piestewa-peak-phoenix

A nice stranger named Zach took some awesome photos for me (and I did the same for him).

david-ridge-piestewa-peak

As I came down the mountain, I turned a corner and saw a helicopter hovering just above the mountain. A crowd of firemen were gathered on a ridge a little below me. Two minutes later, they airlifted an injured hiker off the mountainside and into the copter. What a thing to see! I filmed the whole thing and put it on YouTube:

In addition to the hike, I went on two more walks to get more activity in. (I’m still taking it easy since I’ve been racing so much lately.)

I ate well during the weekend, too. Emily and I grabbed breakfast at 5 & Diner, a local ’50s-inspired affair.

5-and-diner-phoenix

I got a veggie omelet with Egg Beaters, dry toast, and cottage cheese.

veggie-omelet-cottage-cheese

On the way home from my hike, I stopped at Sprouts Farmers Market and picked up a grab-and-go salad, and gussied it up with some chicken.

sprouts-salad-and-chicken

Emily and I stopped at Subway on the way to the horse show, where I got my standard Subway fare, a turkey chopped salad, and we had dinner that night at a movie theater where you can order food from your seat. I got a chicken and quinoa bowl and some crispy Brussels sprouts.

crispy-brussel-sprouts-chicken-quinoa-amc-dine-in

The movie we saw, by the way, was a horror flick called “Green Room,” which was good (not great). It’s about a punk band that plays a show in a backwoods bar, and ends up fighting for their lives after they inadvertently stumble across a crime scene. It’s terrifying and gruesome, and features killer dogs that totally reminded me of Maude (because she’s a dog, not a killer).

Maude, by the way, spent the weekend at Dog Resort, where she stayed in the Caribbean Suite. This place has a bunch of themed rooms, and they make me laugh, because they all have giant photo murals relating to their theme. I checked out Maude’s Caribbean Suite when I dropped her off.

Dog-Resort-Caribbean-Suite

Yes, that’s a big flat-screen TV mounted up in the corner. I told them Maude’s used to watching gay porn, but they didn’t find that very funny.  (Meanwhile, I thought it was hilarious.)

Maude has stayed at Dog Resort before, but this was her first time in a suite, and another perk was that I could download an app and watch the live stream of a webcam in the room, and check in on her while I was away. But since Maude spent a lot of time playing with other dogs in the playrooms during the day, I could only really see her at night, which meant I saw a lot of her sleeping. She looks so small on a wide-angle webcam!

Dog-Resort-Webcam

Maude loves Dog Resort, but I love having her home with me! Relaxing with her was a great way to unwind after a 6-hour drive home from a long, full, and fun weekend.

Reunited-with-Maude

Keep it up, David!

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One Response to Hiking, Horses, and a Helicopter During A Wedding Weekend in Phoenix

  1. Pat says:

    And Hey, I think you know someone who is a Quarter Horse National Champion in Wester Pleasure too!

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