| Wild Animals, Mountains & Body Wraps
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Wild Animals, Mountains & Body Wraps

Travelling has always been a good way to put things into perspective for me. Maybe it’s all that daydreaming out the window while enjoying the changing landscapes, google Earth View style.

 

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Two days in, and I’m already starting to work out what I need to work towards to feel fulfilled in life.

 

I’ve spent a great deal talking through things with my travel buddy (mom) while we navigate this ‘health resort’ called Canyon Ranch that we have committed ourselves to for the next three days.

 

When we arrived, we were warned about the local wildlife from our driver Jim — javelinas (cute hairy pigs), road runners, bobcats and mountain lions. He used to train dolphins and elephants. Pretty cool.

 

The compound is surrounded by mountains. Lovely mountains. I have a favourite already.

 

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Our neighbours are another mother-daughter combo. They’re very friendly. Everyone has been thus far.

 

The first night I was so exhausted, I had a nap and then we wandered into the two mile hike wilderness so I could get a taste of the surroundings. I meandered up a sandy path and didn’t notice until my descent that a jumping cactus (cholla) had attacked my dress.

 

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I ate my super bland stir fry at 5:30 am local time (8:30pm home time) and headed for bed. Ignoring the pillow menu’s suggestions for stomach sleepers, I passed out on the puffiest one I could find.

 

DAY 2

 

I’ve been having a great time trying to photograph the lizards zipping across the paths, but they are pretty fast!

 

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After some seriously delicious pumpkin seed crusted French toast, I attended a yoga class this morning, which was very well taught. The whole “sending loving kindness to yourself” felt weird to listen to. I also dislike being corrected by a wandering man while having my eyes closed and attempting to pay attention to my breathing/yoga leader. My mom on the other hand, loved it. I felt great afterwards, but I don’t think the spiritual element corresponds well with me.

 

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Afterwards we went for a short walk along a path to test out our new hiking boots (and so I could take photos). Mine were nice and light, way warm and mega cute, thanks Woolrich! My mom’s were loud and scared all the creatures away. I managed to out wait a gopher and snapped a photo when he emerged from his hole.

 

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Afterwards it was a delicious poolside burger, and a chocolate covered frozen banana to go. Best snack ever!

 

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I’ve been speaking to my best friend Emilia while I’ve been here. We’ve had a tough time keeping in touch the past year. The time difference and our busy schedules are to blame. It really gets to me. I still struggle with having a whole group of amazing and like-minded people that I only get to see once a year if I’m lucky. We talk about starting our own studio every once and awhile, and I would do this in a heartbeat.

 

I read that it’s easiest to begin right out of uni, before you acquire responsibilities and obligations.

 

It is something I haven’t thought about as much since meeting my partner and getting a dog together. 

 

After a glorious full body massage with a lady named Diane, I stumbled back to our casita half asleep. When I got home I realized the time warp I thought I had entered wasn’t as lengthy as it was meant to be. Diane had forgotten the “instant relief” treatment I was meant to endure. Oh well. No mystery spa stuff for me today. I couldn’t be bothered to go back. She had already walked me out the door and handed me a card with a picture of aloe vera on the front and some words of wisdom on the reverse.

 

Dinner was some quinoa salad with pumpkin seeds. They are crazy about the pumpkin seeds here. Unfortunately the granola bars I brought to snack on are also of the pumpkin seed variety — my fave, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice.

 

Tomorrow I go on a photography hike at 6AM (eek). I can’t wait to test out my new Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens!

 

DAY 3

 

I couldn’t sleep this morning. My legs were restless and I kept dreaming about meeting a mountain lion. I think I was anxious about my adventure in the early morning.

 

I ventured over to the meeting spot to grab a banana. I was the only person other than the housekeeping vacuuming. I sank into a big leather couch and waited. A man wearing the same t-shirt as our driver walked by and said a very awkward “hi.”

 

I was nervous if this was to be our photo leader. Then another woman came and sat down, followed by a friendly older gentleman who I worked out to be our leader. Once we had all assembled, there was a total of 5 of us. I was the youngest and most experienced. A woman named Kristen (there was also Kathleen and another K name along), sat beside me and we chatted on our way to the Sabino Canyon, where would be embarking on a 4-hour hike.

 

Kristen reminded me of a woman Barb Buckley, whom I used to work with. They both had the same way of speaking, and loaded with wit and sharp remarks.

 

Another leader had joined us, Toby from the show “The Office.”

 

I stuck close to the older leading fellow. I got a bit bored since most of what we were surrounded by was more of the same. There are only so many photos you can take of bushes and cacti.

 

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Once we got moving we started to see some wildlife — deer, round tailed squirrels (my fave!), roadrunners, the only venomous lizard in the USA, the Gila monster and a tortoise!

 

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It got extremely warm, with no breeze and gnats were swarming us. I was the least bothered — growing up with mosquitos had conditioned me to annoying insects.

 

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Our walk felt endless, I am quite out of shape and had a hard time keeping up with our leader. By the end I was ready for a shower and feet up!

 

I spoke a bit more with Kristen and learned that she grew up in the greater bay area around San Francisco. Her father worked for NASA, and her mother was a lawyer.

 

I really enjoyed meeting her.

 

The quiet awkward dude, Peter, was attacked by a cactus while he was attempting a macro shot of its flower.

 

Then more round tailed squirrels and their babies. They’re so adorable.

 

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Everybody has an interesting story. I’ve just spent 2 hours with a lovely girl named Nicole. As she was giving me a manicure and pedicure we got talking about her life and dating.

 

She is a young, single mom with twin boys, and has met every type of dude under the sun. Her stepfather is a real live cowboy, from a long line of cowboys. She used to work with the elderly and acquired a great deal of knowledge from their stories. She is extremely sweet and generous. Once, she felt compelled to give a guy some advice after reading his dating profile, which stated that he had recently emerged from a long term relationship. “I just thought he should wait to put that out there until at least the second date.”

 

It still shocks me that girls like Nicole have so much trouble finding a decent man. We spoke about the choice of photos guys put on their dating profiles, horror stories, old timey relationships, the benefits of being single and she shared some of her history. Her ex called the cops because he didn’t know how to deal with her reaction after he cheated on her. She has just started dating that she’s uneasy about because he’s so “normal.” I think most women can empathize. I really wish this guy continues to treat her with the respect and kindness she deserves.

 

DAY 4

 

I think my favourite part about this place is the wildlife. Today was turtle day.

 

One of the groundskeepers insisted we go see the turtles and feed them apples or cookies. “They’ll come right up to you!” he told us. Obviously I had to see this.

 

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It was a pretty chill morning. I woke up kind of irritated (HANGRY). I tried the tofu scramble, but I was disappointed, thanks to my own super delicious recipe. I realized how spoiled I was since I also found the coffee to be rather dismal.

 

By the time I returned from my turtle hang time, I had pretty much decided to skip the watercolour lesson I had signed up for. I was feeling lazy and in need of some quiet time. My tolerance for mother-daughter time was starting to wane but we still had many moons ahead.

 

I went for a massage and body wrap.

 

The massage therapist surprised me when she whipped off my blanket and went for my abdomen. I remembered telling her I was most comfortable focusing on my neck and back. Oh well. Nervous laughter ensued.

 

The float wrap was amazing. The woman was super nice, and we chatted about all kinds of things. When I was cocooned in the hot floaty tub device, I kept trying to go back to my first date with my boyfriend and remember what we spoke about. I was completely blank. When she woke me from my mental journey, I was a bit teary-eyed. I ended up telling her the story of how we met, and how lucky I am.

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