Sunrise on the Mogollon Rim

What is it about the morning that's so incredibly, so inimitably special? In our house, we just can't seem to get enough of the morning! We love to get up with the sun, get in a few Hamlet snuggles, enjoy the taste and smell of fresh coffee, throw on some tunes, eat a great breakfast, take in the quiet excitement of a new day, and get moving. Now we're not saying that's always the scene at our house in the morning (especially when we've had a late night date night the day before that involved a glass... or a bottle of wine), but we sure do love it. A theory: maybe, just maybe, when you fall in love, your appreciation for another morning spent waking up together and another chance to greet the day together grows. After all, we have no way of knowing how many tomorrow mornings we'll get together, so maybe our will to make each morning count has increased with our love. Too sappy? Naaahhh.

One thing we promised you'd see more of on Love + Specs in 2016 were tales of our many adventures in and around Arizona and beyond, and that means that you're going to see a lot more of us in our natural state, up in the early A.M., doing something we love. Which was definitely the case on a recent Sunday morning when we got the crazy idea to get up before sunrise, drive the two hours up to the Mogollon Rim just past Payson, and catch the sun rising over the mountains. We'd been dying to get out in the snow and the cold, crisp air since winter hit, but hadn't found the time to make the trip up North yet, so we finally said enough is enough and made it happen... with a lot of yawns, some strong coffee and a couple of green juices to kick start our drive! There's just no more beautiful place in the state to take in a view and see the sunrise surrounded by an untouched winter wonderland than the Mogollon Rim - to say that watching that orange ocean emerge and blanket the mountains with light was otherworldly is an extreme understatement.

Payson and the surrounding areas in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest had just gotten a ton of snow before we went up, which made some of the dodgier roads along the rim, like Rim Road at AZ-260, close down to cars. Luckily, we headed east and found the most incredible lookouts that didn't disappoint. The Rim is unlike anything else in Arizona, and one of those lesser known gems of the state that you just have to see to believe. If you get the chance to hit The Rim and drive along Rim Rd. in any season, you'll never forget it. So don't be surprised if you see a post from Rim Rd. and the stunning Woods Canyon Lake this summer here on the blog. We already can't wait to head back and get another glimpse!

The morning was definitely a chilly one and tested our winter wardrobe arsenal, but the bare-faced sleepy eyes and bundling-up was all totally worth it for what we got in return, and we love showing you a little snippet of us in our early-morning element. So here's to fresh air, frigid temps and another sunrise with the one you love!

P.S. - We stopped for breakfast on our way back at an adorable little diner in Payson called the Pinon Cafe, and the food was simple, delicious and just what we needed to warm us up from the inside out!