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Six in the Southwest

May 24, 2017

Sorry I've been a little MIA as of late gang, in between packing & moving out of Vancouver, visiting Montreal & trying to get my life organized to take off to the UK next week my brain has pushed blogging to the far recesses of it's abyss. But never fear! While I might be knee deep in travel sized toiletries & deciding which shoes to bring with me, my girl Joy is taking over the blog today sharing some of her faves from her latest road trip around the American South West earlier this spring. In case you don't remember, Joy was featured on my BC Babes blog post a little while back capturing all of our attention with insanely stunning photos & simply beautiful captions of her adventures through Vancouver & the surrounding PNW. So without further adieu, I'm leaving you in the capable hands of Joy & the open road. To find out where she's off to next & google at her shot check her out on Instagram .

 

 

Everyday, for as long as I can remember – I told myself, I have to make it to the Grand Canyon. Joy, get your butt to the Grand Canyon. All plans aside, I put Arizona at the top of my travel list. Because I really had to be there, in person, and see what it was all about. See, I don’t like missing out. And maybe it’s a social media thing, but when you see almost every post geotagged “Grand Canyon,” “South Rim,” or “Arizona,” there must be a reason why. So over the long weekend – my best friend and I made it happen. We flew from Vancouver to McCarran Airport, rented a car and drove around Las Vegas, Utah and Arizona. In a one-word summary: incredible. Might I add that the flight to Vegas had the absolute most spectacular views?

 

1. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park 

 

I must say, I’m a lover of all sand dunes. Last year, I was lucky enough to check out Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley. And I was blown away. So this trip, I made sure to add “Sand Dunes” to the list of must-sees. What’s most intriguing is its geology. Created by sand and high winds, the coral pinkish orange sand is the perfect spot to frolic around and, well, be girls. 

 

 

2. Zion National Park 

 

A fifty minute drive from the Sand Dunes lies the infamous Zion National Park, or as I call it “Mother Nature’s Red Carpet.” This was our first National Park checkpoint and had I known, I would have taken the shuttle bus offered by the park. It gets packed early in the day and finding parking can be challenging. Find yourself emerged between massive sandstone cliffs that soar into the sky. Weeping Rock Trail and Canyon Overlook Trail – both very family friendly trails, and the views are unimaginable. Until next time, Angels Landing!

 

3. Bryce Canyon National Park 

 

There is no place like Bryce Canyon. This is an absolute must-see in southern Utah. Whatever your itinerary is, make sure Bryce is on your list. It is grand and majestic, but… not like the Grand Canyon. Bryce has its own crimson-coloured taste and hoodoos formation spanning hundreds of acres of it. Now that’s fascinating! It is a forest of stone with tons of hiking available and photos seriously do not do it justice. 

 

 

4. Hot Air Balloon in Sedona

 

Sedona is something else. And when you’re up in the sky in the early morning before the rest of the world, you’ll find peace and calmness – and that’s very rare. An absolute incredible experience and highly recommended!

 

5. Seven Magic Mountains

 

A cool art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, located 10 miles south of Las Vegas. This large-scale artwork is the middle ground between the natural and the artificial: the mountain ranges and desert versus the highway and constant flow of traffic between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This exhibition runs until May of 2018, so if you’re in town – check it out!

 

 

6. Chapel of the Holy Cross

 

A Roman Catholic Church perched high up on a hill in sunny Sedona – Welcome to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. There’s something about this structure that exudes a feeling of total respect. Side note – one of my travel goals for this trip was to take photos with cacti. Mission accomplished!

 

7. Horseshoe Bend

 

Drive along US Route 89, about 4 miles southwest of Page to find Horseshoe Bend – A horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River. It‘s cool. Bring water and sunblock, as you hike to the overlook. Arizona afternoon heat is no joke!

 

8. Antelope Canyon

I highly recommend booking a tour to Antelope Canyon. Located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona, it is “the place where water runs through rocks.” Formed by a combination of flash flooding and rainwater. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to capture beams where direct sunlight radiates down from the openings of the canyon. It is a dream for photographers and tourists alike!

 

 

9. Grand Canyon National Park

 

Some days I wish we had driven rim to rim, but North Rim was still closed when we arrived during mid-April. Instead, we opted to take a walk on the skywalk… a exhilarating 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon to marvel upon the most unparalleled views of the one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. Try it, then come back and tell me what you think. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and it can only be experienced in person to be truly fascinated by Mother Nature’s very own. 

 

 

 

10. Valley of Fire State Park

 

Unfortunately, by the time we drove into the park the sun had already set. I can tell you if you’re looking for an amazing star-filled evening, this is it. I’m sure the vistas are just as spectacular in the daytime!

 

 

 

 

Now there you folks have it, 10 reasons why you should make it to the American Southwest.  So book that ticket, pack your bags (and sunscreen) and go jetsetter! 

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