Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ibiza—there's just no getting over you!

Ibiza, Spain
Like a celebrity being smuggled into a club to escape the paparazzi, we were whisked into Pacha's side door and through the kitchen before emerging onto the VIP area overlooking the dance floor. The gogo dancers, clad in black cutout swimsuits, Prada-esque turbans and sunglasses, shimmied seductively on the podiums, flashing the glowing logo of the hottest party in Ibiza on their bottoms: F*** Me I'm Famous!
It was the perfect denouement to a solid week of partying in Ibiza: an event by the hottest DJ on the market right now, David Guetta. If god's a DJ in Ibiza, we were the choir.
To get a sense of what goes on in Pacha during FMIF, check out the club scene in the music video for Sexy Chick by David Guetta and Akon (it starts at 2:23, but I fully understand if the male readers would like to take a moment to appreciate the dazzling cinematography in the first half of the video).
With seven bottles of Grey Goose laying in wait, we went about the usual business of partying as hard as possible. Nath and I took this task very seriously. We had to represent since we appeared to be the only Asians on the island.
In between dancing and drinking, we waded into the throng on the dance floor to take a closer look at the glamazons decked out in crystals and fur, vamping it up on some carousel ponies. Were they women? Men? Both? All we know for sure is that they're sex on legs.
And then there were those awesome robots, towering over the crowd and wielding lasers in a  performance that seemed like something between a duel and pas de deux. Sick!
At the end of the day though, we were there for the music and Pacha delivered. Afrojack warmed up the tables for a good long time and made a fan out of me. I have since developed a severe addiction to the song "Watcha Say." You might catch it too if you click play on the video below. Don't say I didn't warn you.
At around 4AM, David Guetta entered the DJ booth at long last, and the dancefloor turned into a sea of lit iPhone and camera LCDs aimed at him. Afrojack played his last song, "Louder Than Words", a collaboration between him and Guetta, before turning over the tables.
Guetta took the mic and announced that he was late because he broke a rib and had to escape from the hospital. Not sure I bought it, but I didn't really care so long as he played some music! Which he did.
It was a whirlwind of dancing, singing, dancing, drinking and more dancing from there. He played a lot of awesome songs but the memory that stands out most was when he put on the "The Club Can't Even Handle Me Right Now." All that energy built up over the span of seven days just exploded in a frenzy of singing and dancing along to our favorite summer song.

It was a phenomenal way of ending a legendary week of partying in Ibiza. I checked off #1 on my list in the absolute best way. Again, thank you Kevin and Celine for hosting and organizing this amazing weeklong party. Weeks later, I still get a massive smile on my face when I hear the songs we partied to and get flashbacks of all the crazy memories.

To close this chapter, here's a song that wraps up my feelings for Ibiza—there's just no getting over you!

Photographed by N. De Clercq, Céline F. and Kevin W.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's amazing what you can get for €60 and a short skirt

Ibiza, Spain
Wednesday night at Amnesia, and VIP tables were going for more than my monthly rent. One side of the club was packed with partygoers gearing up for the coming Espuma. 
On the other side, La Troya was in full freak mode.
It was not looking like a good night. We couldn't reach a consensus on how much we were willing to pay for another Espuma night. The doorman refused to negotiate with us. In the end, the boys decided to call it a night and head home. The girls stayed and planned on going through the regular entrance so that Jess, who had just arrived that day, could also experience Espuma. Truth be told, I wanted to go home and just sleep but I thought, "Just suck it up. You'd want your friends to do it for you, too."

But then our luck turned and there was nothing to "suck up."

It started out as a joke: "What do you think the doorman would say if we came back one more time and asked how much a cheap table would be? He'd kill us!" And then it started to seem plausible ... maybe we could get a cheap table since we don't care about being near the gogo dancers. It would just be nice to be in the VIP area. I was giggling with the girls but got more and more scared as we approached the doorman, who looked at us like we were cockroaches he wanted to crush under his shoe. I was cowering behind the girls when I suddenly saw the velvet rope being lifted. We were in!

We momentarily thought we got gypped. We got VIP access for a €300 bottle but weren't given VIP bracelets and were told we had to keep our bottle at the bar. But after a few minutes of chatting up the guy at the velvet rope, Nath worked her magic and suddenly we had full bottle service at a €900 table.
From there, things just kept getting better and better. Diego, the bronzed Columbian man who hosts Espuma, found us. He had tried to help us in our earlier attempt to negotiate with the doorman and was happy to see that we eventually got in. He disappeared momentarily and then came back with a round of drinks for us. What?!? Diego, a man so iconic in the Ibiza experience that he appears in a David Guetta video, was buying US drinks? Somebody pinch us. We were in shock.
We danced on and on, in utter disbelief at how the night was progressing. As we got closer to the start of Espuma, Cel tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "Keep dancing. We're trying to get something!" I dance my ass off (should I lick the bottle, maybe?) wondering what in the world we could get next ... et voilà! The velvet rope lifts and we're suddenly at the table directly behind the gogo dancers—for €60 apiece, short skirts, and a lot of charm (none of it mine).

The show unfolded in pretty much the exact same way as the previous Espuma party. The gogo dancers filed out in the tiniest of bikinis and did their little dance, Diego riled up the crowd and sprayed them with champagne, the foam cannons went off and the crowd started getting swallowed up in Espuma, and then we dove right in.
What made all the difference was that we now knew the man wielding the water hose. As we danced on the podium and in the foam, we waved at our friend Diego who sprayed us directly with water so we wouldn't get completely overwhelmed with the foam. At some point, he even took Nathalie's camera and snapped pictures of us partying in the espuma. This picture pretty much says exactly how I felt at that moment.
When the Espuma started to subside, we got cleaned up, said goodbye to Diego, and made our way home. As the sun rose, we raided the fridge for an impromptu breakfast and collapsed in giggles rehashing the night that was. One for the books, ladies! 

Images by N. DeClercq and Céline F.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

#25: Sunbathe topless in Europe—CHECK!

Cala d' Hort, Spain

It seemed as good a time as any. Row upon row of bronzed topless women were sprawled out, soaking up the Mediterranean sun in front of me: well-endowed, skinny, engorged, tattoed, young, old. They came in all varieties.

"Should I do it? Is it time?" I asked my friend who shares the same name as me, Céline.

"I'll make it easier for you," she says, and untied her top. Easy for you to say, I thought. Our similarities pretty much end at our names. Céline is a tall Belgian beauty for whom topless sunbathing is nothing out of the ordinary—plus, her girls would make any man stop in their tracks. They would just walk straight past me, not noticing I'd even removed my top.

Hmm. There's a comforting thought.

"Nobody cares. Look around you," she says. It was true. There were young ladies laid out, letting the sun's rays shine on their chests. But there were also women who could easily be in their 60s strolling down the beach with not scrap of fabric on their bountiful bosoms. "Besides," she adds, gesturing to our friend Alain who was swimming in the sea, without a care in the world, "if he can wear speedos, you can totally go topless."

I cracked up. Okay fine, it's time. I quickly loosened the strings on my top and before I could change my mind, pulled it off.

I was topless.

Everyone went on with their lives, unmindful of the milestone that had just occurred in mine.

I relaxed and laid back down on my towel, letting the sun and the wind get acquainted with this part of myself that had never seen the light of day before. It actually felt really nice. Natural. Free. 

Sunbathing topless must seem like an odd thing to add to a bucket list. I put it there because I thought of it as a step towards full acceptance of the body that I've been given, with all it's imperfections, and being comfortable in my own skin.

As the years have gone by I've come to accept things that I used to be insecure about. I've come to like being tiny even though it means I could never be a beauty queen, as I dreamt of as a child, or even a flight attendant, as I would've wanted as a wanderlusting twenty-something. I don't mind being constantly complimented as "cute", even if it means that in this lifetime I'll never be described as "statuesque."

I've also come to accept the way I look. When I was growing up, the standard of beauty in the Philippines was fair with Spanish features. While I was born with pale skin, you can tell from my appearance that my ancestors preferred the company of Chinese traders over Spanish colonizers. But now, I like the way I look—even though it means enduring "konnichiwa" and "wǒ ài nǐ" catcalls (and the occasional "job offer" to be a schoolgirl/dominatrix). I think the way I look makes me unique, and I'm happy with that.

The insecurity I had to yet to overcome was that of being less endowed. There's really nothing, short of surgery, that can be done about it. That I've been in good shape these days from running and pole dancing has only reduced my cup size to a more miserable state. I learned to cope throughout the years with the invention of push-up bras, but adapting isn't really the same as acceptance, is it? So I had to do this one thing to embrace what I have and say to the world, "This is me, just as God made me, without any cheats or enhancements. I'm fine with it."

So I did it, and it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. It felt refreshing to be one with these women who are so comfortable in their own skin and unfettered by worries of what other people think. It was a statement, not so much to the world in the end but to myself, that I am happy with what I have and I'm not going to spend any more time being insecure. Because even though I may lack in this aspect, the sum of all my parts are worth so much more than a cup size.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Ibiza, Spain

There are foam parties—and then there is Espuma.
The gogo dancers, scantily-clad in all-white, were so close we could feel a gust of wind when they whipped their hair to the music. I looked out at the sea of revelers on the dance floor and felt like pinching myself. I'm really here. I'm in Ibiza! And I'm about to dance my ass off in a lot of foam.

Our Ibiza crew came prepared. We were dressed in party clothes but in our cars we had bikinis, flipflops, towels, a change of clothes, and sweaters to ward off the post-Espuma chill.

"Think of it as being inside a washing machine," said Celine when we were getting ready at the villa. "Everything will get completely wet."

We danced our little hearts out as one set after another of go go dancers grinded and gyrated on the ledge in front of us. We watched a man who reminded us of Obi Won Kanobi play his violin with a neon-lit bow, a circle of revelers surrounding him and at his feet.
I danced, danced, danced ... a little buzzed from a Buffalo call on a full glass of OJ and vodka, but mostly just high on life ...
I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Cel telling me it was time to get changed. The espuma was coming. We ran to the parking lot and traded our stilettos for flip flops, and slipped our bikinis on under our party clothes. We made it back just in time. "Kiss" came on and a long line of go go dancers in white bikinis filed out on to the ledge and did a little dance.
The foam cannons were in their positions, and aimed at the dance floor. A bronzed muscular man with long flowing tresses starts riling up the crowd, popping champagne bottles and shooting bubbly into the dance floor. 
Finally, the moment we've been waiting for comes.


Foam shoots out of the canons and down below. A serious amount of foam. We watch as the heads in the dance floor turn into bobbing fluffy white clouds within seconds.
"Let's go!"

We run down to the dancefloor and get into the thick of it. The white bubbles are up to my thighs along the edges of the dance floor and swiftly rising. Quicker than I can yell "Espuma", I am pummeled with foam from above. My eyes are open but all I can see is white. I feel myself getting lifted out of the foam. It's JF coming to the rescue after spotting me getting swallowed up in the espuma. Everyone is cracking up. I want to laugh too but in mid-scream some espuma has gotten into my mouth and I am sputtering bubbles instead. With the rest of the group in sight, I jump up and down to the music for about ten seconds and then ... WTF?! Everything's gone all white again! Again, JF carries me out of the foam. More laughter and dancing. My emotions fly back and forth from sheer terror to giddy happiness. I am a giggling, foamy mess.
I love it. I abso-effin-lutely love it.

Images by N. DeClercq, Kevin W. and Alain K.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

24 Hours in Ibiza

Can Piedra Azul
Ibiza, Spain
I woke up with a million questions. Why did I go to bed wearing my bikini? Why are the leaves from the flowerpot in the hallway strewn on the foot of my bed? Where did I get these scratches on my elbows and foot? How did I even get to bed in the first place? Dear God, I hope I didn't need to get carried to bed. That would be beyond mortifying.

I scanned my foggy brain for clues from last night ... a white night party ... late night swim in the pool ... a crazy game involving holding on to a gadget that could potentially give you an electric shock if you're the last to click a switch ... various drinking games where holding certain cards, saying "no", and saying someone's name meant having to down your drink ... "Buffalo!!!" ...

Ah. Buffalo. The most lethal of drinking games. That explains everything.

I woke up a second time with a knock on the door. It was JF making sure I was okay and not worshipping at the feet of the porcelain goddess. It turned out he had called me on a lethal Buffalo and after that I disappeared and escaped to this bedroom. "Good job, drunk Cel. Thank you," I thought. There was apparently an attempt to convince me to get changed but I couldn't be coaxed out of bed. I have absolutely no recollection of this.

All I know is, I'm in Ibiza.

I get up, shower, brush my teeth, change into a fresh bikini, and go back out in the sun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leaving Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

An epic journey should end with a resounding crescendo, I know—but real life doesn't always deliver. The last stop on our road trip was Las Vegas. I've been to Las Vegas before and quite enjoyed the experience: watching the inimitable Cirque du Soleil, drinking fruity cocktails out of glasses that are two thirds my size, eating amazing food in one of the city's many culinary hotspots, and dancing on podiums wearing the tallest stilettos and tiniest dresses til the wee hours. But you need time to absorb the city's very particular atmosphere, and we only had a few hours. It's like coming to New York and only seeing Times Square; it's a postcard shot but it doesn't define the city. More importantly, I think you have to be in a Las Vegas state of mind to enjoy the excesses and over-the-top entertainment Sin City has to offer—and a week of enjoying spectacular natural sights just doesn't predispose one to being impressed by, say, the "waterfalls" and "lagoons" of the Wynn.

Add to that the fact that we were just plain exhausted and quite crabby from our unintentionally long hike and terribly lengthy but largely unexciting drive back to Nevada. A hike through the strip on a hot afternoon when the neon lights hadn't quite glossed over the garish facades was not bound to impress. Kate summed up our feelings with one comment dripping with snark as we were walking down the strip:
"I feel faint. I don't know if it's from the hike this morning, the five hour drive this afternoon, or the sheer tackiness of this place."
Kate later conceded that Las Vegas looked quite remarkable actually once night had fallen and the strip was all lit up. "Well," I told her, "everything looks a lot less tacky in the dark and under neon lights, right?" 

Las Vegas never did win us over—not on this trip, at least. I don't blame the city. Like I said, it can be great fun and I've loved it at another time. This was more of an "it's not you, it's me" moment, really. But we made it there, and with this trip it was always about the journey and not the destination. We didn't get a flat tire, hit any cows, get bitten by any rattlesnakes, or fall off a cliff. We'd made it back, a little windburned and sore, but safe, sound and with memories that'll bring a smile to our faces for years to come. I'll always cherish the memory of those two crazy girls in short shorts, hitting the road and the trail for an adventure of epic proportions. We had the time of our lives.

Special thanks to Kate Mawby who drove an insane 1158 miles, taught me how to camp, pushed me to do some glorious hikes, and took some gorgeous photos on this trip. I miss you lots and I can't wait to see you again. We'll just have to cook up another adventure!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grand Canyon: The Accidental Hike

We had only planned on doing one hike in the Grand Canyon. But after a park ranger told us about the stunning views and beautiful colors we could see by hiking Bright Angel trail and South Kaibab trail, we just couldn't resist trying one more. So Kate and I decided to spend our last morning in the park and on the road hiking down the South Kaibab trail to the overlook dubbed Ooh-Aah Point by the park's rangers. We didn't want to do anything too strenuous since we had to do the long drive back to Las Vegas in the afternoon. So this hike was perfect at just 1.8 miles roundtrip. After a breakfast of PB&J sandwiches and hot chocolate, we caught the shuttle bus to Yaki Point, where the trailhead begins.

Like good little hikers, we set out at around 9. The South Kaibab trail has no shade so it's best hiked early in the morning so you don't have to do the hike back up in full sun. The trail was positively luxurious compared to Hermit's Trail: steep but well-maintained, not strewn haphazardly with rocks, and well-defined so there's no possibility of wandering off the path. Strangely though, I felt less stable with this smooth dirt path and walked down carefully, fearing I'd slip and fall down. I did actually fall down at one point, though in keeping with my usual practice of having terribly unexciting accidents, I was just standing and waiting for a group to pass when I somehow slipped fell on my ass. I really wish my "injuries" would occur while I'm doing something exciting but that never seems to be the case.
The path was also a lot busier. We didn't pass any mules but there were hikers of all ages and levels of physical fitness on this path. And the views were in fact quite wonderful. The colors of the canyon are quite different here compared to Hermit's trail. You'll find shades of blue, green and purple mingling with the fiery orange. And as the path follows a ridge line, the gorgeous views are largely unobstructed throughout the hike.
It didn't feel like too long after we started the hike that we reached a wide opening marked with big slabs of rock and crowded with people taking pictures. Was this Ooh-Aah Point? The view definitely deserved an ooh aah but there was no sign marking it so we weren't sure. 
I thought about our hike to Angel's Landing and all the times I thought we were there when we really weren't and decided that my instincts couldn't be trusted on this one. Just smile and pose, Cel.

"There should be a sign if this was it, right?" Kate asked.

"I guess so," I replied. "There were signs for every single point on Hermit's Rest, and that isn't even supposed to be a maintained trail." While we were having this conversation, people just kept walking past us and down the path. I surveyed a group of people who were coming up and turned to Kate. "Some of them are wearing jeans, for crying out loud, and they just came from down there! This probably isn't it," I decided.

"Yeah, let's keep going," Kate agreed.

And so we went. We could see a small landing below where people were milling about, and it seemed like more of an Ooh Aah Point than this one. Three fourths of the way down, my knee problem reared its ugly head. I started feeling this pain in my kneecap towards the end of the Bronx half marathon a few weeks before. I'd feel a pain on the side of my left kneecap every time the course went downhill, and it got so uncomfortable I started wishing for uphill slopes, which I can be sure no runner ever does.

"Are you okay?" Kate asked as I winced with every other step.

"Yeah, it's fine, I can make it down there. It's only going to hurt while we're going downhill. I'll be totally fine for the hike up," I said. We kept trucking on (well, Kate trucked while I kind of limped) until finally we reached the landing. Kate who was ahead, looked at the sign and started to laugh. "Look at this," she said as I approached. 
Whoops. We unintentionally hiked more than half a mile down to Cedar Ridge. It's too bad I didn't see this info sheet on Kaibab Trail until now because then I would've known that Ooh-Aah point has "No sign" and is simply the "point where trail opens to a WIDE view." Oh well. We chilled out under some shade and had our apples and trail mix. I did some stretching to hopefully loosen up my quads and hamstrings, and alleviate the pain a little bit. And of course we took loads of pictures.
Deeper into the canyon, you can see the layers of rock exposed and imagine the millions of years worth of stories they probably tell a geologist. I just think they're pretty.
We didn't stay there too long since we'd accidentally doubled the length of our hike and were now totally off schedule. Thankfully, the way up wasn't as tiring compared to Hermit's Trail's crazy uphill climb. We stopped for one last photo at what should've been our destination: Ooh-Aah Point.
This is how we wrapped up our visit to the Grand Canyon. The hikes were the best part of our visit, and I hope that if you come to the Grand Canyon and are physically able to, you venture below the rim, as well. There's a whole other world to be discovered out there. I feel as if my encounters with the Grand Canyon are still unfinished, and I hope to visit the park for a longer time someday to hike all the way to the bottom. As always, traveling just opens your eyes to how much more there is to see. So for now, I've checked off "See the Grand Canyon" on my list. But in my mind I say, "I'll be seeing you again."  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

#9: See the Grand Canyon—CHECK!

After all the amazing things we encountered on our Grand Circle road trip, it seemed odd to me that I singled out seeing the Grand Canyon for my 30 Before 30 list. It just goes to show how little I knew about this country that I've called home for the last 4 years. Living in New York tends to make people think that they're in the center of the world and that not much else matters outside the city lines. But every time I go a little bit further and explore a little more, I realize how much this country has to offer. It's not all strip malls and fast food chains. There's such a varied and breathtaking landscape all across the country, and it's yours to discover if you allow yourself to wander.

Kate and I were glutted from gorgeous scenery by the time we reached Highway 64, which leads to the East entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. The road still had a few surprises for us, like this gorgeous view that seemed like a set from Lord of the Rings:
After over three hours of driving, we finally entered Grand Canyon National Park. Truth be told, our first impression was not too good. We stopped at the first overlook, Desert View, and felt like we'd arrived in Disneyland. While Kate and I were waiting for our turn at the restroom, we heard a conversation that made our eyebrows hit the ceiling.

Girl: Mom, there aren't any toilet seat covers in this stall!
Mom: Just use toilet paper.
Girl: But all the other ones have it ...

It would be an odd thing to hear anywhere I suppose ... I mean, what kind of life have you lived if every public restroom you've ever been to had toilet seat covers? But it was particularly weird to two girls who'd just spent the night stomping around before popping a squat out in the wilderness in fear of getting bitten by a rattlesnake. You're bothered by a lack of toilet seat covers? Really?!

When we got to the actual overlook, the view of the Grand Canyon left us feeling ... underwhelmed. Looking at the pictures now, I don't know why since it looks pretty darn gorgeous.
But that's precisely the problem, I suppose. The vastness of the Grand Canyon is such that it's quite difficult to comprehend. I felt like I was looking at a picture or a fake backdrop on a Hollywood set. It took hiking below the rim for us to feel a connection and finally appreciate how spectacular the Grand Canyon is.

On our second day in the Grand Canyon, we ventured westward to hike the Hermit's Trail, described by Rough Guides as "peaceful, seldom busy." It turned out to be more along the lines of absolutely deserted. We only saw 5 hikers during our 3 1/2 hour hike, and one of them was a ranger who, upon our mentioning the scant traffic on the trail, commented, "There's a reason why it's called Hermit's Trail." Kate and I picked this hike to be away from the park's crowds, but we failed to check on it's level of difficulty. We looked at each other sheepishly when we read the description on the way there:
(Steep) The Hermit Trail offers hikes to Santa Maria Spring, 5 miles (round trip), and Dripping Springs, 7 miles (round trip). Trail conditions are tougher than the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails. Unmaintained steep trail requires caution. Begins 500 feet west of Hermits Rest. Water from springs must be treated before drinking. For experienced desert hikers. Hiking boots recommended.
Both of us, clad in the shortest shorts this park has ever seen and trainers rather than hiking boots, must have looked like a rescue mission waiting to happen. Hikers we encountered, who were decked out in hiking boots and poles, seemed to think so and looked us up and down with disapproving eyes. As we clambered down the so-called hiking path, we saw how it might be prudent to wear hiking shoes in this terrain:

Then again, another hiker decided to chuck his boots so maybe our choice of footwear wasn't too bad. At least we kept ours on for the entire hike.
Given that the "trail" can just be a jumble of rocks at times, there were instances when we unintentionally took a little detour off the path. Kate and I took a whole bunch of photos at this point before realizing that perhaps this wasn't exactly part of the trail.
But eventually we did make it to the little shack beside Santa Maria Springs without too much trouble.
I must admit, I was a little disappointed that we'd trekked all this way to find a faucet trickling water into a tub. I'm from the Philippines, after all, where when we say "springs", you can expect to see something like this. But I suppose it was the journey and not the destination that mattered in this scenario.
At the shack we ate our apples and some trail mix, and just sat down to chill for a bit. Kate's adventurous spirit kicked up and for a second, she wanted to go down further. This time I couldn't be convinced though, and I persuaded her that it was probably better for us to go back up even if we didn't feel tired at all. We agreed in the end that it was better to stick to the plan, and I am so glad that we did because the hike back up was pretty tough. The elevation gained from Santa Maria Spring to the trailhead is 1689 feet in just 5 miles (that's 815 meters in 8 kilometers, non-Americans). I was huffing and puffing at the steep inclines. At some point, I had to take off my hat, sunburn be damned, because I was overheating even though I kept chugging water. I understood the wisdom of the sign at the trailhead that said, "Hiking to the Bottom: Optional. Hiking back to the Top: Mandatory." It's a tricky hike because the tough part comes in the end, when you're already tired. It's easy to go farther than you can handle when hiking the Grand Canyon because the first half's all downhill. You have to make a conscious effort to conserve energy for the hike back up.

We made it back up, of course, and in pretty good time, too. The hike is estimated to take 5 to 8 hours, roundtrip, but we did it in 4 1/2—take that, snobby pole-weilding hikers! Despite the difficulty and the ho-hum "spring", I really enjoyed doing this hike—not so much for the view but because it's such an intimate way of getting to know the Grand Canyon. To have this solitude at the peak of summer is a gift. And, I have to admit, I kinda liked having to hike a crazy, rocky, barely-there trail—what an adventure! The next day, we took another amazing hike with truly sublime views of the Grand Canyon, but I'll leave that story for the next post ...

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