Sunday, 16 November 2014

The bottom of the Grand Canyon

We headed through the depths of Utah ready for the main event of the holiday - the Grand Canyon. 
Having visited the North Rim and enjoyed its low key feel we headed to the South Rim and were quickly surrounded by coaches, Contiki tours and tour guides. 

We stocked up on rehydration sachets, fluorescent coloured energy drinks and calorific peanut bars and went to bed as early as we could. 

At 4am the next day our adventure began. We caught the bus to the sdf trail and waved goodbye to Dad who sadly wasn't able to join us for the next bit. And so began a 5 hour trek down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The effect of the sunrise on the Canyon was incredible and the views down were spectacular (if you're able to take a look in between watching your footing on the steep trail. 

After 5 hours in the baking sun we finally caught our first glimpse of the Colorado River. And depsite the now agonisign pain of my knees caused by evil switchbacks we crossed the bridge and made it to camp!

We had made it! We were now part of only 1% of all tourists who visit the Grand Canyon to make it down to the bottom. It was real hot down there. You could feel the heat coming of the well baked rocks. Luckily we headed to the creek to while away the afternoon and rest our poor feet.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bryce Canyon

Next up was Bryce Canyon. In the middle of absolute NOWHERE (very hard for a city girl to get to grips with) we headed to one of the few creaky motels in the area. A quick drive into the park and we headed to Sunset Point. The strange formations (which I think look like a strange ancient city built into the rock) was formed by melting ice refreezing into gaps in the rock. As the ice expanded it eroded the rock into the monoliths or 'hoodoo's we see today. We headed to Bryce Canyon Pines restaurant for dinner which in fairness for it being in the middle of nowhere do absolutely amazing steaks. Also all their homemade pies are amazing deserts.

The next day we opted out of the walking and opted in for the horse riding. Yay! (half sarcastically but I was actually quite excited). I finally got to ride Western saddle and proceeded to be led down and through the canyon by a cowboy named Mark. Mark the Mormon made for some interesting conversation. Trying to take in the amazing scenery and not forgot I was on a temperamental horse I gave up answering his question of "Out of William or Harry who would make the best President for your country".."Prime…never doesn't work like that.…William" I replied.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Zion Canyon

We soon arrived at Springdale, just outside of Zion Canyon and got settled in another quaint typical American motel. Arriving close to sunset the light does incredible things as it bounces off the red rocks. The little town where we stayed was lovely with the local store and trendy restaurants, it had a very low key feel to it - and I saw my first Hummingbird!. I definitely could have stayed their longer. 

The next day we headed off early ready for another big walk. This time it was the Angels Landing trail, a 4 hour, 5.4 mile walk up the canyon. The end point requires you to climb using rope up to the top with a very steep drop below, something I unashamedly didn't manage. Especially with the lovely signs reminding everyone just how many people had died from falling off. Still the views from where I sat waiting for the others were alright too. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Death Valley & Las Vegas

From Yosemite we were headed towards the antithesis that is Las Vegas. But first we crossed Death Valley. Hitting over 104 degrees (40 C) it really does feel like a wall of heat when you leave the sanctity of the air conditioned car. You can drive onto the salt flats which is 282 feet below sea level and the 8th lowest place on Earth. Incredible to look at but not for long. We didn't stay in Death Valley but I have done on a previous visit. Believe it or not there is a tiny oasis in the middle of the valley - the motel has a pool and everything. Not for the faint hearted though.

And then we arrived in Vegas. More of a stop off point on our way to the Canyons it still gave us a chance to sit by the pool and relax. We stayed in The Stratosphere Hotel. At the very end of the strip it is, as a result, much cheaper but a little out of the way. There is also the advantage of free entry to the tower which gives amazing views of the city. 

Before long we were on the road again. Leaving the craziness behind it wasn't long before we were soon back in remote desert.