30 Before 30: The First 5

30 Before 30: The First 5 - Helicopter tour, hiking, horse-drawn carriage ride, escape room and a zoomline -- thebeautywithout.comI’m about 6 weeks into my 30 Before 30 Challenge and I’m already 1/6 of the way complete (learn more about starting your own Short-Term Bucket List Challenge).  My first 5 experiences were the result of 2 trips over long weekends, the first with our friends to Phoenix, AZ for the husbands’ work event and the second to Las Vegas, NV for a marketing conference I was attending.



#1: Hiking Camelback Mountain

Location: Cholla Hiking Trail, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ

How is it possible that after almost 20 years living in the pacific northwest, I’ve never been on a scenic hike? To be fair, I’ve been on a few walking trails but I’ve never been on an actual “hike”.   This was the first time in a long time that I’ve done something physically demanding that was more for enjoyment than exercise and I LOVED it!

Honestly, I didn’t find the “scenery” of this hike to be very scenic. The mountain itself was interesting to look at but the view was limited to rooftops and a few far off hills.

Two interesting anecdotes from this adventure:

  1. Our Uber driver got a ticket for dropping us off. As it turns out, this popular hiking trail starts in the middle of a very high-end neighborhood. They don’t take kindly to extra traffic on their street and the parks rangers were on duty handing out tickets to any vehicles that stopped on the road. We didn’t ask him to drop us off there but I still felt bad that he got the ticket.
  2. Every person that heard we were heading to Camelback told us to bring lots of water. Seriously, 5 different warnings were received in the span of a few hours.       We made an emergency trip to the store and stocked up on oversized water bottles and brought about a gallon of water with us. We returned with about 3/4 of a gallon. It’s always better to be over-prepared – that extra water weight just meant a better workout.

I’m feeling inspired to explore more hiking adventures close to home. I live within 20 miles of about 20 popular hiking trails – I might have to create a bucket list just for hikes I want to attempt. All in all, not a bad way to kick off my experience challenge!


Live Escape Room, PanIQ Room Phoenix, AZ :: thebeautywithout.com

#2: Kidnapped, the Escape Room Experience

Location: PanIQ Room Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

I’ve been excited to try an escape room since I first heard about them 6 months ago. My friend and I tagged along for our husbands’ work trip to Phoenix. On day two, I convinced the husbands to join us for the escape room at PanIQ Room Phoenix.   We grabbed breakfast at the Breakfast Club (Fantastic food!) and then headed into a very industrial part of town – nestled between two auto sales yard was a small office building that previously housed a rental car agency. Don’t be fooled by appearances, the moment we walked into the themed room we were in a completely different world.

Escape rooms thrive on the secrecy of the experience so I won’t spoil anything for you. I can tell you that it was an amazing adventure that required us to really think outside the box and work together to solve more than 15 different puzzles within 60 minutes. We did have to ask our guide for a hint at one point but we ended up escaping the room with 15 minutes to spare. It was engaging, suspenseful and challenging and I can’t wait to try it again! We may or may not have spent the ride back to the hotel glued to our phones researching every escape room available back home.

If you want to find an escape room near you check out the map from RoomEscapeArtist.com. The site is run by 2 escape room enthusiasts who have been to 300+ rooms and written reviews along the way. You can also check out the link on the map page for a spreadsheet list of every escape room in North America.

For a more detailed account of our Phoenix trip check out Jesica’s trip summary on Classic in Gray.


Horse Drawn Carriage Ride, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ :: thebeautywithout.com

#3: Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Location: Scottsdale Horse and Carriage, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ

After perusing the shops in Old Town Scottsdale my husband spotted a horse drawn carriage. “Does this count as an experience?” he asked. It wasn’t originally on my list but it certainly qualified as a new experience for me. We opted for the 60 minute waterfront ride (apparently “waterfront” = riding past a large fountain a few blocks away). We felt a bit like a sideshow attraction as people stopped to take pictures and wave. The ride lasted 35 minutes and was a nice break from being on our feet all day. I didn’t feel inspired by the experience but it was romantic and that has its own value for me.


Helicopter Tour of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and The Grand Canyon :: thebeautywithout.com

#4: Helicopter Tour: Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead

Location: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Las Vegas, NV/Grand Canyon, AZ

What a thrill! We lucked out and got a front row seat on the 7 passenger helicopter. The tour lasted 30-35 minutes and gave us a great view of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and amazing views as we flew up and down the Grand Canyon. Our pilot kept things interesting by providing music for most of the flight and then jumping on the radio to explain some of the background of the areas we were flying over.

This will likely be the priciest experience for this challenge, but it was worth the expense. My husband considers this 3 experiences in 1: helicopter ride, seeing Hoover Dam and seeing the Grand Canyon. He enjoyed it so much that he mentioned an interest in taking flying lessons. I’ve added it to our longer-term Life List.


Slotzilla Zoomline, Las Vegas, NV :: thebeautywithout.com

#5: Zoomline

Location: Slotzilla, Freemont Street, Las Vegas

We’ve both been on a zipline before but this was a very different experience. After the excitement of the helicopter ride we were looking for an even greater adrenaline rush.   A zoomline is a zipline in the prone position (like superman). The team hooks you up in a harness, hangs you from the line and then opens up the door to reveal the street 115′ below you. On the countdown they tell you to push off and enjoy the 1/4 mile ride down Freemont street. I definitely felt a wave of panic as we slid out into the open air but the wave passed quickly and I was able to enjoy the ride.


5 experiences complete, 25 to go!

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