Results for tag "travel-photos"

Into the Wild: Photos from My Hike at Zion National Park

Virgin River and mountains at Zion

The river was lower than normal (it’s winter) but that didn’t stop the deer from making this river their playground. I saw a dozens of them hanging out here.

I was supposed to go to New Orleans last weekend but my trip was canceled at the last minute, so I decided to go to Zion National Park in Southern Utah instead. I went by myself, which proved to be a rather emotional and lonely experience (more about that later) but the park itself was gorgeous. I highly recommend going there. I stayed the night in a motel and spent two days hiking and wandering through the park. Here’s a photo recap of my stay.

I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday morning with the plan to leave Las Vegas for Zion at 6:30am. I was on the road by 8:30am (Ha ha.).

church and village of Springdale Utah

Springdale, Utah is the closest town to the park. It’s literally right next to it. You can walk into the park from the town’s center.

Because this trip was so last minute Because I’m lazy, I hadn’t booked a hotel, so I wasted my first couple of hours there trying to find a cheap hotel room.

In honor of President’s Day weekend, the park had waived the entrance fee, which naturally meant there were tons of people in town.

By the time I had checked in and made it into the park, it was getting dark. I went hiking anyway though. It was spooky.

Tiny swamp at Zion

Zion may be located in the desert, but it’s actually home to little baby swamps like this one.

Virgin river at Zion

There’s a river that runs through the park. Being winter and all, the water was really cold. But there were people wading in it. They must have been from Canada…

The next morning, I woke up early early-ish and drove up the mountain.

1921154_10100369906102280_1379245158_o

1655423_10100369896516490_1768366712_o

20 minutes and a large cup of coffee later, nature called.

I pulled over to the side of the road in search of a bush I could use as a potty. Because I was paranoid of running into hikers or park rangers, I wound up walking really far away from the highway. Afterwards, I hiked around these cool checkered mountains.

1654540_10100369896411700_537385102_o

I was feelin’ pretty adventurous, so I took a selfie in an attempt to capture the moment.

I was going for “mysterious adventurer” but I think I just wound up just looking ridiculous. Oh well.

1779262_10100369896576370_1265302357_n

Next, I hiked a mile along The Overlook Trail.

The path takes you through a cave, across a rickety wooden “bridge” and along the edge of a cliff. I was patting myself on the back for being a daredevil until I saw some two-year-olds on the trail. Hmpf.

1781074_10100369894570390_1631719809_o

It was really windy at the lookout point.

1896771_10100369900438630_746844292_n

Really, REALLY windy.

1464672_10100369906212060_15358145_n

Also, my cell phone camera sucks. The view was stunningly beautiful. I guess you’ll just have to trust me about that. Or google it. This was the best I could do:

1780262_10100369896466590_291850166_o

I was feeling great after my successful summit to the lookout, so I decided to take on a trail called “Angels Landing”.

The sign said it was only 2.5 miles. I thought: “How hard can it be?”

1795945_10100369896666190_1923232895_o

Turns out, the hike was pretty intense! See that winding trail? I hiked up that. This photo was taken at the half way point.

1782471_10100369894495540_1768318365_o

You can’t tell, but that’s a cliff.

Would you think I was cool if I told you I stood right at the edge and looked down? No? Okay, great. Cause I was too chicken.

1939907_10100369920942540_1717888250_o

Here’s a photo of the view from near the top.

1911079_10100369894550430_535204806_o

And there you have it. I survived the hike. I did not fall off a cliff. I did not plummet into a canyon and have to cut off my arm. The scariest animal I saw all weekend was a crow. As far as adventures into the wild go, this one was pretty tame. But I’ll get another chance in a few months when I go back for a camping trip. Stay tuned for Round 2!

Tips if you’re planning on going to Zion:

* Zion is only 2 1/2 hours away from Las Vegas, so it is possible to go just for the day. But I wouldn’t do that if I were you! Lodging isn’t too expensive (my hotel room was just 50 dollars), plus there’s a lot to see. It makes more sense to go for at least two days if you have the time.

* There’s a $25.00 charge per vehicle to enter the park

* Even if you don’t like  hiking, you should still go! You can drive through the park if you’re feeling lazy and there are a lot of easy, flat trails you can try.

Future Travel Plans: New York, New Orleans and Mexico

In 2013 I visited Austin, Texas, Europe, New York (twice), LA (twice) and Northern California (too many times to count, ha!).

Here’s where I plan on visiting in 2014:

1. New York, New York

Manhattan skyline

Photo courtesy of Eric

I go to New York a lot (about twice a year). I used to live there (I finished high school there, attended college in a hippie town upstate and then spent a year living in Brooklyn), so I guess it’s no surprise that I go back a lot.

I’ll be heading there for a few days after Christmas (I’ll be in the city for New Years!). This isn’t so much of a “vacation” as it is a chance to catch up with old friends and get out of Las Vegas for a bit.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

river in New Orleans

Photo courtesy of Greg L Jones

I’ve never been to New Orleans but have been wanting to go for about five years now. I’ll be going with a friend from high school (the same girl who went with me to Jamaica, Hawaii and Austin). Got any recommendations for things I should do while there?

3.  San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

colonial mountain town in Mexico

Photo courtesy of Jack Newton

One of my college friends (she went to Finland, London and France  with me last summer) works for a delux resort chain in the Caribbean. One of her hotels is located in this Spanish colonial mountain city in Mexico and my friend says she can arrange it so we can there stay the for free. So although this town has never been on my bucket list, I’m not going to turn down staying in a five star resort free of charge. Plus, from all accounts San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city that’s popular with expats. Have you been there? Got any recommendations?

Well, that’s what’s on my list for now. I’d also love to visit Washington D.C. (I’ve got a friend there) and Denver, Colorado (I have a cousin who just moved there). We’ll see if my budget will allow that…I’ll keep ya posted!

New York, LA and Everywhere in Between: Where I’ve Traveled So Far This Month

Ok, so I’m sorry for neglecting this blog over the last few weeks but I have a great excuse: I’ve been maddeningly busy! It’s true. Here’s the photographic evidence.

In the past 30 days, I…

Visited Northern California…twice

Flew to New York for four days to be in a college friend’s wedding

And completely re-fell in love with the fall foliage. We don’t get much of that here in the desert.

Went Cliff Jumping*

1262449_10100267846525490_2088489018_o

*That’s not a picture of me (Duh). But I did jump off this 30-foot cliff.

Went Camping in 30-Degree Weather

It was freezing! Some friends and I went camping at Mt Charleston, which is only about an hour north of Las Vegas, but the elevation is much greater (its 11,916 feet tall – that’s 3,632 meters), which means that its usually a good 30 degrees cooler there than it in Las Vegas. While this is great news in the summer (when the Vegas valley can get as hot as 120 degrees Fahrenheit) it makes for somewhat extreme mountain camping conditions in the fall and winter. Although it wasn’t as cold as it was when I went camping there in February, it was still cold – 30 degrees cold – and I hadn’t been as prepared as I should have been. I really need to get me some cold weather camping gear (one of my friends had a heater in his tent…genius!).

Took a Roadtrip to LA for My Birthday

And then Yesterday I…

Almost Died While Hiking Through the Arizona Desert*

1412275_10100290007280160_1391590277_o

*Ok, so maybe not so much. I didn’t almost die…but but after five hours of rock climbing, scrambling and hiking uphill in the sand, my muscles certainly felt like they wanted to. Then there’s the fact that I got attacked by a poisonous velcro plant and hurt my wrist while sliding falling down a giant boulder…but I’ll have to tell you more about that later.

So. As you can see, every weekend in the past month has been packed full of activities that (sadly) have not included spending some quality time with the old blog-a-roo.  But that’ll change soon! I promise.

Here’s what I was doing this time last year (cause I bet you were just dying to know, huh?): http://www.takenbythewind.com/2012/09/09/fred-flintstone-horse-race-coyotes/

What have you been up to the last month?

I See London, I See France…I See Photos from My European Vacation

A few weeks ago,  some friends from college and I went to a friend’s wedding in Finland. We then caught up with some peeps in London and France. Rather than bore you with all of the details, I figured I’d give you a photo recap of our adventures instead.

Thus, here’s the cliff-notes version of what happened:

My friends and I met up in Finland, where we played around in a train graveyard

1149765_10100243514781500_2033687427_o

1149420_10100243514836390_1065586790_o

And got lost

1074201_10100243516158740_1607143727_o

We saw some cathedrals

1097144_10100243511792490_347758527_o

1097894_10100243511782510_1354109392_o

And then went to London

892593_10100247415479470_1245074685_o
1167597_10100247418732950_35110911_o

1233250_10100247424501390_187173894_o

Where we took some silly photos

1237416_10100247418628160_71065686_o

And then got lost some more

1237350_10100247419102210_755122046_o

We saw some blue trees

964838_10100247424596200_639895076_o

And a blue rooster

1146769_10100247426612160_131587450_o

And went to high tea

1237448_10100247426891600_904681312_o

Where we ate some buttery scones with strawberry sauce…Yum.

1233193_10100247427051280_1426874490_o

Then we went to Hogwarts

1146290_10100247431986390_1555148197_o

Okay, not really…

But my friend DID get photobombed by a guy that looked a lot like Harry Potter

856467_10100247430374620_1020514077_o

Next, we went to Paris

964236_10100247441013300_1631478274_o

Where we sat in cafes

1000942_10100247630992580_1856790167_n

And saw some more cathedrals

739899_10100247438672990_614550680_o

And got lost (again)

1237434_10100247439127080_916754670_o

And then 36 hours later…

1263840_10100247674191010_109186310_o

…I left my friends and headed to a city in the French countryside

1237303_10100247673532330_19840847_o

Where I met up with friend I hadn’t seen since I lived in Germany

964254_10100247674630130_40209416_o

And ate some cheese, some duck and this delicious creme brûlée

980539_10100247673796800_1661488467_o

And then took a train to the top of a volcano to visit some ancient ruins

1265510_10100247675139110_217389393_o

1233248_10100247675488410_1426892592_o

1119906_10100247675443500_164090073_o

Okay, so obviously a bunch of other stuff happened that I left out. Mainly my friend’s wedding ceremony and reception, my accidental detour to Latvia and my stay in a 747 airplane-turned-hotel in Sweden…but nobody’s got time to hear about all that, right? It was a whirlwind trip (I visited seven cities in eight days) and by the time I arrived home from France, I was exhausted and jet lagged and I swore that I was done with traveling for good…

Ha. Just kidding.

…I’ll be traveling to New York in two weeks.

Where have you been recently? Any where good?