Monthly Archives: June 2016

2016 Road trip, cont.

After spending a week in Nevada, it was time to say goodbye and drive into what would be an amazing road trip through Utah. Our first stop would be Zion National Park. Although swarming with tourists that time of year (and we happened to go there on NO FEE weekend, which meant our annual pass was useless and there was probably more people then usual!), it wasn’t exactly something we could just drive past.

First off, Utah is GLORIOUS, and Zion epitomizes everything that is so great about Utah. The canyons, sandstone pillars and towers, the foliage and the landscape are just breathtaking. Once again I have compiled a small gallery of some of my favourite photos, with a link below to view the full gallery on Google photos.

We arrived at Zion in the middle of the afternoon, which meant that all the campsites had already been taken. Not wanting to spend over $300 USD for lodging, I went online to scour the internet for a free camping place nearby. Luckily, I found something online and the Toyota FJ Cruiser was going to have no problems making it up the dirt road up the mountain. Driving through here at sunset, we found many people knew about this place but there was plenty of space to go around. I even got a fantastic shot of the sun setting on Zion National Park from far away.

The first afternoon that we arrived, we hopped onto the free shuttle bus which would be our only way into Zion for that time of year. We decided to do the tour up and down to get a feel for everything, hopping out once or twice for a quick walk or to take in the impressive big walls looming above us. We were even fortunate enough to see a couple groups of climbers doing some big wall climbs and that was certainly inspiring for the amateur climbers that we are.

We went to bed early that night, making ourselves dinner while huddling in the dust that was inevitable everywhere in Utah. We rose bright and early, packed up our tents and headed out to catch the first shuttle at 7am to get a chance at beating most of the crowd on the infamous Angel’s Landing hike. It was a good plan and the shuttle bus was entirely packed, with everyone except one couple getting off at the Angel’s Landing trailhead! We stretched our legs for a moment and then started on a brisk hike uphill. It wasn’t long before we were passing multitudes of people, weighed down by the inexperience of hiking uphill and probably less motivated then we were to reach the top first. The switchbacks went on and on but before long, we arrived at the top at the first lookout and took in a breathtaking view. From here, called Boy Scout landing, we would scramble along the narrow passage towards the summit of Angel’s Landing. One pair arrived there just before us, and we would have the entire place mostly to ourselves for an hour or two until the hoards of people began to arrive!

We scampered, or rather ran, down Angel’s Landing and found some lunch in the local town of Springdale. The day before, we had arranged for an overnight permit in the park at the East Rim. The West Rim hike, which had been our original preference, had already sold out. That afternoon we started our 7 mile hike to the East Rim. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad here and it got increasingly cold and windy and later that evening started to rain. When we woke up the next morning, we were delighted to see sunlight illuminating the tent. It was short lived. After a short snooze, the sun quickly disappeared and was replaced instead… by SNOW! We hurriedly packed up camp, foregoing both our treasured coffee and breakfast and began our descent down. There were various periods of hail, snow and light rain but we managed to get back to our vehicle relatively dry before the real storm began. The rest of our trip in Utah would be marred by bad weather and many of our plans were unfortunately forgone. However, the road trip itself was still epic and rain, hail, snow or sleet Utah is an incredible state.

The Utah road trip will continue in another post!

Midwest USA 2016 Roadtrip

I’d like to share with you a collection of some of my favourite photos from my roadtrip through part of the USA in April 2016. This was my second time visiting Nevada, after going to Las Vegas for five days last year followed by another four days climbing in the desert. This time, we stayed in Red Rock for a week and then drove up to Utah to Zion. In Zion we hit some bad weather that lasted through the rest of the trip (we are talking intense rain, hailstorms, snow, and lots more rain). However, Utah is still an AMAZING state and I got many good photos. After Zion, we took the Burr’s Trail and enjoyed incredible views through the Scenic Byway up to Moab where we stayed a few more days before driving back to Colorado where I would fly home from. I have everything uploaded to Google photos which is my online gallery, but please enjoy my favourites below!

I’ve decided to break this series up into three distinct posts. The first is my week in Nevada, next will be our 2.5 days in Zion National Park, followed by the remainder of our 2 week roadtrip driving through the rest of Utah and into Moab. I did not take any photos leaving Moab and going into Colorado since it was buried under several inches of snow with about one half mile of visibility! Yikes!

Red Rock and Nevada

I flew out to Las Vegas (LAS) from my home airport in Comox (YQQ) on April 15. I decided to fly a few days before my friend would arrive to get more practice flying and traveling solo, as well as to spend a couple of days relaxing and acclimatizing to the heat and dryness of the desert. I camped at Lake Mead Recreational Park for two nights and managed to swindle myself a good deal for a car rental, which can be difficult to afford for driver’s under 25. I realized I am not good at relaxing and doing nothing. The weather on Saturday was extremely windy, and I found myself quite bored since it wasn’t hot enough for me to feel like swimming and the waves were incredible with the windstorm. I managed to read for a short while, then laid in the sun to work on a base tan and then went for a drive to see some of the look out points around Lake Mead before settling on a rock bluff near my campsite to go scrambling.

Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and drove to Boulder City where I would go on a 11.9 mile guided kayaking tour of the Colorado River, starting at the Hoover Dam and ending at Willow Beach, AZ. I’ve been in a kayak a few times and really enjoy kayaking, but wasn’t secure enough in my abilities to go rafting solo. Although this tour came with a hefty price tag ($320 including the USD to CAD exchange rate), it was well worth the money. It gave me something interesting to do and see, and our guide was pretty amazing. The group was small, just myself and another couple, and he showed us many slot canyons as well as an amazing cave which glittered in the afternoon sun. That evening, I drove back to Las Vegas and had dinner at my favourite Chinese food place: Veggie House. Afterwards, I turned to trusty Hotwire to find my a budget hotel and found myself that night at the Super 8 in the Wedding district. My friend Teslin drove out from Colorado that day and arrived in the middle of the night. Monday, we returned my rental car and drove out to Red Rock to camp for the next five days.

View the rest of the gallery.

Google Photos has been my photo host of choice lately, and they have an interesting function to upload frames for an animation which they will then create. Below is my first attempt, but a neat one!



(c) Copyright 2016 - Searching for Sanuk, Michelle Leech, mexxlee.