Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Days 6 & 7 Out West

The next 2 days we spent driving, we hit the Four Corners - because you HAVE to do that tourist trap. Headed back up through Colorado, and to Mesa Verde - our final National Park on the trip.

Four corners was the most expensive site we visited - all for a quick picture standing on the little 4 corners medallion. TOTAL tourist trap. But, when else can you say you've been in 4 states at once? 

Taken before selfie sticks were in :)
Our last stop was Mesa Verde in Colorado. Mesa Verde is full of cliff dwellings that date back to around 1200. It is amazing to see these "mansions" built in the side of the cliffs - and to see that so many of them are still in tact. We even had the opportunity to take a tour of one of the dwellings on our second day in Mesa Verde - and I definitely recommend doing it. Tickets are cheap, the national park guides are so knowledgeable, and you get to crawl through the dwelling and stand inside each of the rooms. TOO cool.

We spent one night in Mesa Verde at the hotel in the park, finally got to try a Navajo Taco, and then set out for Grand Junction to fly home the next day.

We passed through Telluride on our way back to Grand Junction, and many other scenic towns on our drive. It was absolutely beautiful - there was still snow in some areas.

We had such an incredible trip. Utah is unlike any state I've ever seen, the National Parks we visited are some of my favorites, and I can't express how beautiful these places are in person. Pictures simply don't do them justice - everyone should have these places on their bucket list.

Day 5 - Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend at Sunset on Day 5 of our trip
The next morning we woke up early to head to one of our most anticipated stops of the trip - Lower Antelope Canyon. 
 Lower Antelope Canyon is run by the Navajo, and it's not the best facility (overflowing porta potties #ew). But, when we were there they were currently under construction with a new building for the site so it may be better now. They offer a photographer tour - which allows a private guided tour in order for you to take a professional camera and get the National Geographic type shots. Daddy took that tour and got some incredible photographs, and we took the normal tour and got some pretty good shots on our phones.

One of Daddy's shots

It's amazing to walk through these canyons, and see the way the water has shaped the structures.

Me and mama climbing back out of the canyons.

 After visiting Lower Antelope Canyon we headed over to Glen Canyon Dam and to see Lake Powell - which was beautiful.

And then before sunset we headed back to Horseshoe Bend one last time, because it's just too beautiful not to visit twice. Yet again, the place was swarmed with people capturing the beautiful sunset.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 4 Out West

The next morning we woke up and began our drive towards Monument Valley. 
The road is incredibly picturesque - it is so straight leading up into Monument Valley. 

 Monument Valley is operated by the Navajo - and when you arrive it is a dusty road with warning signs about going into the valley loop if you don't have 4 wheel drive. We took that as a challenge and took our Ford Edge in. We made it! But it was certainly nerve wracking in some of the areas with sand. The roads are not maintained very well - and the driving is just a free for all. Definitely one of the worst "roads" I've ever traveled on - but we saw a Camaro do it, so I guess anyone can make it work! 

The weather was not ideal while we were there - it was so cold! We packed for the desert - not 50 degree weather. 

 After that, we loaded up - hit up a McDonald's for some Big Macs, and then headed towards our next stop in Page, Arizona. We checked in to our hotel, and then quickly headed to see our first site - Horseshoe Bend. 

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most breathtaking sites, and it's a fairly short distance to the view from the parking area. It is a shear drop off at the edge of the cliff, and the water below is such a beautiful color. We were able to see the most beautiful sunset, and the line of photographers at sunset is impressive along the side of the cliff. 

Then we headed for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and hit the hay before our adventure to Lower Antelope Canyon the next morning.

Day 3 Out West

Day 3- We woke up and hit the road to head to Blanding, UT
Right outside of Moab we stopped at a total tourist trap called Hole in the Rock
Next, we stopped at Hovenweep National Monument - where Ancestral Puebloan cultures built dwellings along a valley. The dwellings were several stories, and remarkable considering how long ago they were constructed.

Then we continued our drive to Natural Bridges National Monument. The natural bridges area was incredible, and very few people were in the park because the weather was beginning to get bad - but this made for some pretty cool cloud coverage.

The bridges were stream-carved, and it's truly amazing to see the height of the arches. The bridge pictured is the Sipapu bridge, and at its arch it is 220 feet high. 

After we saw the bridges we headed back to the hotel after a long day in the car, to prepare for our next day's drive into Death Valley.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 2 out West

{ Day 2 - Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park - Moab, UT }
We stayed in Green River, UT which is about 45 minutes out of Moab, so the next day we woke up at 4:00am so we could drive in to hike and see the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park- the Island in the Sky district. It was an EARLY morning, but definitely worth it. The sunrise at Mesa Arch is stunning. It literally creates a glow beneath the arch as you look out over the canyon.

Above is a picture of the view through the arch.

Below, me and Mal as the sun began to rise overlooking the view beside Mesa Arch.

Above - the Sunrise view from the overlook by Mesa Arch. 
Below - Sunrise glow beneath Mesa Arch. 

Above - Daddy capturing his shot at Mesa Arch.
Afterwards, we went into Moab for some much needed coffee and a delicious breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe in downtown Moab. Then we headed back into Arches National Park to view more of the arches.

First up - Double Arch. 

The view was stunning. Every time we saw something new we thought, "nothing can top this," and then we would get to the next site. It's just amazing how beautiful our country is. 

Then we went to North and South Window Arch.

and we finished the day at Landscape Arch (pictured above) before heading back to Green River for the evening. Pictures don't even do these place justice, the size of these arches is insane.

All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, so you can imagine how beautiful the ones my dad captured on his camera are going to be!

Also this day we visited within Arches National Park: Devils Garden, Turret Arch, and Skyline Arch. I just don't have them pictured within the post.