Coronado National Memorial

A lot of people love going on adventures.  Often times they are small—making a run to the gas station for ice cream, only to find that they’re closed and instead of admitting defeat, you run all around town searching for your favorite treat.  Sometimes the adventures are quite large—a honeymoon to Maine or an Alaskan cruise.

When it comes to adventures, Will and I really enjoy National Parks.

Will used to work for the Utah Conservation Corps, which means that he lived and worked outdoors while working conservation projects around the state.  I say this to impress upon you how much he loves and is accustomed to backpacking, camping, hiking, and the great outdoors.  He grew up in a state that has Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches, to name only a few.  

I grew up in a family that loved camping, albeit most of the time in a tent-trailer.  “Glamping,” some might call it.  My sister and I begrudgingly joined in on hikes and it wasn’t until after college that I started to love them.  

I took a trip with my family to the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina a few years ago and found some National Parks Passports at their visitor center.  The passports are like any passport, except that they’re to National Parks, not to other countries.  Every National Park has an visitor center and a stamp station for the passports.  

Being of limited means, I eyed the passports longingly and then left.  A couple years later, I took Will back to the same spot and we each picked up a passport, deciding that our new life goals were going to be filling them up with stamps.

Arizona, we are happily discovering, is FULL of National Parks for us to explore.

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

The Coronado National Memorial is one beautiful contribution to the National Parks community.  Located along the border of Arizona and Mexico, it climbs up from the valley and into the Huachuca Mountains.  Conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado conducted the first expedition into the southwest in 1540 and the memorial serves to recognize the ties that bind the United States and Mexico.  Check out this website if you want to learn more about the “journey of conquest filled with exploration, wonder—and cruelty” that the europeans and Aztecs experienced.

Interestingly to myself and William, the memorial was established on November 5, 1952.  He and I met on November 5, 2016, so it’s always a date that sticks out to us.  (If you want to read about how we met, click here)

Coronado National Memorial

The Visitor Center

Our first stop was, obviously, to stamp our passports.  

The visitor centers has a small exhibit that mostly talks about the blending of cultures, emphasizing food and spices and highlighting the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos).  They also have a cute little book store!

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

God bless the Spanish for brining coffee and cacao beans.  

There are no entrance fees for Coronado National Memorial, by the way, so it’s a super easy trip!  It’s only half an hour from Sierra Vista and has a couple hiking trails and a lot of picnic tables.  

Coronado National Memorial

Coronado Cave Trail

Unlike our recent trip to Bisbee, we were smart enough to do a little bit of research before we visited the park.  We discovered that there is a cave trail leading to a 600 foot deep cave that hikers are welcome and encouraged to explore.  You don’t need a permit, but it is encouraged for explorers to get information at the visitor center.  

The trailhead is just a short drive from the visitor center and it’s a half mile hike up the mountain.  See—THIS is why I’m working out five days a week.  So that I can climb half a mile up a mountain and survive!  Haha!  (I’m only half joking, by the way.)

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

Also, more advice—Arizona is HOT.  If it’s going to be in the mid to upper 90s, don’t hike after 10am.  We were lucky that it was only about 89 degrees that day and therefore we had until about 2pm to get all of our hiking in.  Heat stroke is real, people!

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

The Coronado Cave

600 feet long, about 70 feet wide at most spots, and home to a select few stalactites and stalagmites, this was one of the coolest caves I’ve ever been in (without a tour guide).  

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

Literally.  So much fun.

We climbed down the rocks (pictured above) and then took a few minutes to get our flashlights situated before heading in deeper.  

It is PITCH BLACK inside of that cave, y’all.  Will gave me the head lamp and he used a flashlight.  I was surprised at how massive the cave felt, especially with our limited light sources.  We climbed all around and explored a lot of side tunnels, but mainly kept to the real deal.  It was so much fun!  And a lot cooler than outside in the sunshine, that’s for sure.

At one point we turned off all of our lights to just sit in the dark.  It was nuts.  I couldn’t handle it.  I just kept picturing the creatures from the movie The Descent and had to turn my head lamp back on.  

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

After a proper adventure and exploring all of the nooks and crannies, we climbed back out feeling excited and accomplished.  The half mile hike back to our car felt like nothing.

After spotting some deer who were crossing the road, we got back in the car and drove the winding road up to the Coronado Peak to sneak some views of the canyon before we had to head home.

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

The valley is definitely greener than normal because of monsoon season.  I’m not complaining, though.  Apparently they get to experience all four season at Coronado.  I would love to see this place with some snow.

Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial Coronado National Memorial

Honestly, we have nothing but good things to say about the Coronado National Memorial.  We had a great time!  We’re super glad that we looked it up ahead of time, otherwise we would not have been prepared for the cave trail.  Ending the trip with a windy drive up the mountain followed by a view of the valley was perfect.  

Do you like exploring caves or do you get freaked out by the dark?  

Until next time,
Jamie out

Coronado National Memorial
We aren’t dorks at all.

when i grow up, i want to be an astronaut // from the archives

In honor of my past love, my one and only Jamie Daily blog and her would-be 5 year anniversary, here is a blog post from her archives.  One of my favorite moments in which I share my heart for the stars and how one can feel so very small and meaningless amongst the vastness of creation. 

my first time // in boone

I have been fascinated with stars and space for years. Take me out in the middle of nowhere and I will be content to watch the skies for hours. Clouds, storms, clear nights, clear mornings, rain, lightning, moonless nights, harvest moons, full moons. Everything. It holds my awe every day.

In another life I would love to be an astronaut. Just the thought of being out in space takes my breath away—where there is no air and no sound, and there are more stars in the sky than you can even imagine. Behind you is the earth and you can see the side of clouds and storms and land that you rarely get it see, on a scale that you never get to witness, and every film you’ve ever watched about anything at all would be diminished to nothingness because your reality would be so overwhelmingly unbelievable.

How crazy is it that space is unfathomably large, and that it is always expanding? What is it expanding into? And how is it doing it at the speed of light? What is this nothingness that is becoming a space that is so huge that the stars we see might not even be alive any more? Stars that have died years and years and years ago are still smiling at us.

“How crazy is it that some of the stars we see aren’t even there any more? It’s just that their light is still hitting us. It’s like their souls are still with us.” -Ruben.

It’s like how love continues even after someone is gone. Because let’s face it, love—true love—is unconditional. It is not dependent on the actions or presence of someone. It is not an emotion. It is a choice and a lifestyle. It is an impact on your soul—an impact that will radically change you and will never leave you.

When I look at the sky, all I see in all of the beauty and the majesty, is how Great my God is. I think of how infinitely large the world is, how much larger the universe is, and how much greater my God is than that. And then there’s me, watching the clouds billow in the summer sky as I float in an above ground pool in a backyard. So seemingly small and insignificant in relation to everything else. And yet, among all of His creations, God also thought the world needed one of me too. He knit me together, knows the number of every curly hair on my head, and understands every thought and emotion that cascades through my body. He is privy to the hurricane inside of me while everyone else sees the calm in the storm. He loved me before I was born, and He knew everything I would ever do before I ever had the inclination to do it.

He knows the things that have broken me. He knows the things that have strengthened me. He has put words, and people, and books, and music, and art in my life to build me. He knows that I ache for the unconditional love that no one on earth is able to provide. And while I float on my back in the pool that man built, and look up at the skies that are stained with the colors of sunset, I see again and again the promise of forever in the presence of the God who can create such majesty.

“Live from the abundant place that you are loved.” -Lysa TerKeurst

Don’t be overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe, by the size of your life, or by your shortcomings in the face of everything. You have purpose, and that unconditional love that you are craving isn’t as impossible to find as you might think it is.

Live loved.

Should you like to read more blogs like this one, click here.

Until next time,


moving to Arizona

Moving to AZ 2018

Moving was a huge part of my life growing up.  I have lived in six states and two countries.  For most of my life I have called the west coast home.  From the deserts of Nevada, to the valleys and greenery of the Pacific Northwest, with the beach life of SoCal, I have experienced my fair share of American cultures.  

In 2014 I moved from San Diego to North Carolina, where my guy Will moved in 2015.  Will, unlike me, has not lived a lot of places.  He grew up in Utah, went to school in Utah, and spent a few months in Colorado after completing his undergrad.  

We met, we dated, we married, and just two months later, we packed up all of our belongings, put almost everything in storage, and moved to Arizona.  (By the way, that adorable baby on the bed is my nephew James—Will and I have not procreated yet)

Moving to AZ 2018

God bless my family for all of their help.  My entire immediate family lives in North Carolina currently, which has been a huge blessing.  One of the things I am missing most in Arizona is Sunday evenings at my parents’ house with the family.  They were an immense help in getting us ready to move and my mom and dad put their many moves worth of experience to work in helping us pack, move everything to storage, and clean the apartment before we handed in our keys.  They even let us crash at their place the night before we took off into the sunrise!

Moving to AZ 2018

Will and I didn’t live together before we were married, and we knew that we would be moving right away so Will moved into my tiny apartment with me.  It was definitely a challenge figuring out where to store things, and our second bedroom turned into a storage room/Will’s closet for a couple months.  It was a relief to get everything out of there.

Moving to AZ 2018 Moving to AZ 2018

Day 1—Wednesday.

We were determined to make really good time on our drive.  We had decided to bring both of our cars so we both drove all day every day—and my little Mazda doesn’t have cruise control!  Our first 14 hour day was a real treat, I tell ya!  

Moving to AZ 2018

We listened to several chapters in The Hobbit and I definitely utilized Podcasts as, for the first time in my life, I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to hours and hours of music while on the road.  I found some good marriage podcasts, and decided after one go at it to leave the political podcasts to someone else.

Moving to AZ 2018

We drove all the way to Jackson, MS and discovered that a convention was happening in the area and almost every hotel was completely booked.  We sat in the parking lot of our second attempted hotel and called almost everyone in the area before we found possibly the last available room in Jackson.  We were so tired and delirious and just ready to crash, but we celebrated finding a room in a hotel with a pool and a complimentary breakfast.  It’s the little things!  Plus we had a sweet water view from our window, which we entered right at golden hour so the sunset was stunning.

Moving to AZ 2018

Day 2—Thursday.

We didn’t push quite so far this day, as it was our two-monthiversary and Will picked a specific restaurant for us to celebrate at that evening.  

Did I mention that we used walkie talkies the whole drive?  Because we did.  I was Raptor One and Will was Captain America.  It made logistics super easy, and it also made the drive a lot less lonely.

Moving to AZ 2018

No road trip is complete without tiny donuts, and I have discovered that it is specifically Hostess chocolate donuts.  I’m partially blaming my newlywed-fifteen on these tiny donuts.  (Did anyone else IMMEDIATELY start putting on the pounds once they got married?  Because I’ve gone from a size 2 to a size 6 in three months.) 

Moving to AZ 2018

Day 3—Friday.

We made plans with my friend for dinner this day so our destination was set, and a good thing that was.  We arrived at our hotel earlier than expected and crashed for almost two hours.  We were absolutely exhausted.  I was so tired on this trip that I never even pulled out my real camera—I just took a few iPhone photos and videos here and there!  

Moving to AZ 2018

We had a delicious steak dinner with my friend Regina and her husband and talked the night away.  It was incredible getting to catch up with such a beautiful and generous soul who used to be such a light for me in North Carolina until she moved.  


Day 4—Saturday.

Our shortest day, and thank goodness.  We were excited, and exhausted, and nervous to see the hotel we would be living in for the next four months.  Also, we had been driving across Texas for DAYS and finally seeing another state was a sight for sore eyes.  The mountains rose around us and the desert heat came in waves.  

As two humans who grew up on the west coast, were born in desert environments and small cities surrounded by mountains, we got very very excited when we finally pulled up to our new digs.

Moving to AZ 2018

There is a pond, and trails up the mountain right behind us.  There are cacti and free coffee in the lobby.  There are sweet maids who deep clean our rooms and give us towels and pillow mints.  There is a complimentary breakfast every morning, and a pool to dip in during the hot days and nights.  And there is monsoon season—OH is there monsoon season!  

Moving to AZ 2018
We have a cute little suite (#SuiteLifeofWillandJamie) with couches and a kitchenette and a cute double bed that Will likes to hog.  I have a little cabinet to put all of my workout stuff in and Will has a huge desk he can spread out on and work at to his heart’s content.  There are big windows I can open to listen to the rain and the laundry is up one flight of stairs, which is only inconvenient if I choose to do laundry after leg day.

We are super happy and are having a blast on this little adventure of ours!  I’ll let you know what we got up to in July pretty soon here, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and comment to let me know what you would like to see from us next!

Until next time,
Jamie out ❤

To read about our first month in Arizona, click here.

Moving to AZ 2018

story time—how we met

Will and I met on November 5, 2016 (Remember, remember!  The fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot) at a photography meet up.  Will was actively trying to make friends in the area and had been getting together with a few of my guy friends.  After their meeting, they invited him to come to our meet up.  

We all met up in our church parking lot and carpooled to our secret location (aka, an abandoned school house in the country).  I remember meeting Will and shaking his hand.  I thought immediately that he was very young—19 or 20, probably.  Maybe 21.  As I was 28 at the time you can understand why I wrote him off as someone too young for me.  I sat in the middle in the back of the car because I get car sick, and Will asked me a few questions about the worship team and what instrument I play (the piano/synth).  I responded politely but I wasn’t my usual friendly self, which I really feel the need to explain!

I had just recently gone through a breakup and was still wading through the healing process.  I had also been experiencing the worst anxiety of my life.  As a result, I wasn’t sure if it was the right time for me to be dating, and was really worried about bringing my emotional baggage into a relationship.  So that is essentially where my mind was at when I met Will, who I assumed was very young and therefore didn’t have a lot of life experience.  I felt this deep desire to protect men from rejection and preserve their innocence.  This was of course very short-sighted of me, but I was consumed by my own experiences and brokenness and just found everyone else so innocent and I felt so unworthy.  

(Side note, when people usually ask us how we met I leave all of that out.  Haha!)

We arrived at the school house and got our gear together.  Will was very quiet and although my nature urged me to make sure he felt welcome, my experience with men lately caused me to kind of ignore him and at all costs avoid smiling at him.  I did not need some young guy falling in love with me.  So I ran off with my friend Calvin and started taking photos of a really incredible abandoned school house.  

photography meet up 11.5.16 photography meet up 11.5.16 HowWeMet—Schoolhouse How We Met-Photography Meet Up

We spent a few hours there before we headed back to church.  We all had plans to go to a corn maze that evening, so before we split up to go our separate ways I asked Will if he was coming to the corn maze.  Despite not wanting the boy to fall in love with me, I really wanted him to feel included and wanted to make sure he knew he was invited and that we wanted him to come.  

How We Met-Corn Maze Before(before)

There was a good group of us at the corn maze that evening.  Will apparently decided that my brother-in-law Jon seemed like a calm, intelligent guy so he tagged along with him and the two of them spent the evening getting to know one another.  The corn was super short and we could see over it in most areas!  So it was much less a maze, and much more just running around being ridiculous.  

At the end, I insisted we all stop and get hot apple cider and take a photo to document.  I was the last person to sit at the picnic table with my cider and I remember there was this huge gap between Will and my friend Stephen, who is married to my good friend Katie.  So I sat next to Stephen but then realized that there was then a huge gap between me and Will and he was sitting on the end all by himself.  I felt like a terrible person because I wasn’t being inclusive of the new, young, quiet guy.  Haha!!!

How We Met-Corn Maze After(after)

And THAT is how we met!  From Will’s perspective, he was initially disappointed that I wasn’t friendly toward him, and he thought that I was dating someone else as well, so he wrote me off at first.  Understandably.  

So how on earth did we ever get together?!

Next time, my friends, next time.  Let me know if you enjoyed this post by liking or commenting!  What story about us do you want to hear next?!  Also, if you subscribe you won’t miss any future content.

❤ Jamie out.

Oh PS.  Will was actually 25, so not quite as young as I thought he was.