Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

This past weekend I went on a roadtrip through Arizona. Contrary to the fact that I have lived in Arizona for three years, I have hardly seen any of this spectacular state. One of the highlights from the trip was hiking Devil’s Bridge in Sedona. I am absolutely in love with Sedona and this hike was only one of the many that Sedona has to offer.

We decided to hike right before sunset, which was a fail on our part because we were on the wrong side of the mountain to watch the sunset properly.  Nonetheless it was still beautiful, and the sky still filled with the most beautiful lighting and colors. This hike is an easy hike for all ages and skill levels.  It was about 25 to 30 minutes roundtrip if you do not include the time that we spent at the bridge.

The hike starts at a parking lot, but you also have the option with the right vehicle, to off-road to the trail head. Our Jeep Liberty could have made it all the way, but we only took it about half way until we pulled off to walk the rest of the dirt road. Eventually you will hit the trail head. Everything is well marked and there is only one semi difficult part where you have to scale some rock steps. Besides that it is just a dirt trail with slight inclines along the way.

Once at the top there are amazing views. Even in December, there was no snow, it was relatively warm, and everything was so green. The bridge itself was exhilarating. It can be somewhat scary for people that have a fear of heights but besides that it is just awesome. Sedona has the most breathtaking color scheme, ranging from the greenery to the red rocks.  It really reminded me of my hikes in Zion National Park in Utah, and quite frankly the colors are some of my favorite natural color combinations.

I would highly recommend this hike to anyone and will most likely make an attempt to visit and do it again!

 

Xx

Gabi

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UTAH HIKES YOU MIGHT LIKE IF YOU FOUND THIS HELPFUL:

Review: Noosa National Park  

Review: Emerald Pools and Optical Point Zion National Park Utah

The Thing About Angels Landing…

Utah Trip to Zion National Park

 

Thanksgiving in the South

Thanksgiving in the South

I have a strong love for the south. My entire family, besides my parents, reside in the south ranging from Texas to Florida. This year I had the pleasure of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family in Georgia! My Aunt and Uncle live in a small town outside of Atlanta called Roswell, Georgia and I am absolutely head over heels in love with it. It was about a four-hour direct flight from Phoenix, and an hour train ride into Roswell. The train I took goes from the airport and makes multiple stops all over the city and suburbs of Atlanta. It is called MARTA, and it is soooo helpful especially during the holiday season when the airport is  congested. Australia made me grow to love public transportation and since I have yet to experience a lot of it yet in the United States this was a nice change.

Atlanta in the fall is gorgeous. Unlike Colorado, where I was about a month ago, it is still full of vibrant colors adorning the tree branches, mild temperatures, and sunny skies. For Colorado the leaves had all fallen by mid-October, so you could say I was pleasantly surprised by this difference. I loved that I got to experience the hustle and bustle of the city while also being able to escape to the suburbs in Roswell. It made it feel very holiday like, but not to the point where it was being thrown in my face.

Besides the normal Thanksgiving eating and football watching, we had a couple of other fun activities we did while there for the week. We went down to Canton Street, which has to be my favorite place in Georgia because I am a huge shopper and I love the vibe of the area. Canton Street is essential a street full of restaurants and small businesses. It’s got an old timey feel that I love while being very authentic and unique. I shopped at a different couple places that all had great small gifts for Christmas and my mom went crazy for all of her work friends there. They were all moderately priced and all high-quality gifts down on Canton Street.

 

We also went to the Georgia State and Georgia Tech football game. My cousin is a senior at Georgia Tech on the football team and I have yet to have to opportunity to watch him, so this was an incredible treat to get to watch his team play. I got to watch his final home game and really be a part of the whole friends and family cheering on a loved one experience.

Besides those two activities and a lot of relaxation, we went to the local movie theater and saw Wonder which was such a cute and uplifting family movie.

Now on to the good stuff… food! We are a pretty ordinary family when it comes to our Thanksgiving food, but I will let you in on what we had this year that was a little bit different. Before we had Thanksgiving dinner we had Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It was absolutely delicious, and not too filling that it ruins your dinner. We had it around three in the afternoon and our dinner at six.

Our nontraditional dessert was Oreo Balls. I spent the entire weekend eating these bad boys like popcorn, and they are so easy to make. I will include some good recipes below for both, and my favorite pie recipes.

It was a great holiday with friends and family and I absolutely loved wandering around the streets of Atlanta in my Ranch Bucket, don’t you worry Georgia I will be back!

Xx

Gabi

Oreo Balls

Pumpkin Pie

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ranch Bucket Hats

Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters

Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters

I have one FINAL post about my favorite place in all of Australia, Sydney.

So, I have not done an outdoorsy review since my hike of Mount Warning in New South Wales. Unfortunately, I have nothing to rave about when it comes to the Blue Mountains in Sydney. I had much higher expectations for this endeavor. The Blue Mountains have a lot of rules that come along with it, which often impedes on your ability to truly hike and explore them on your own as far as I found. We somehow got roped into being with a tour guide. I have said this before and I will say it again, I hate hate hate looking and feeling like a tourist, so naturally I hate guided tours. I wanted to hike the mountains and explore all that the nature had to offer on my own with my friends but that is not the experience I necessarily got. We hike enough to know what we are doing, and I feel we are all in good enough shape to do so. This is not what we got to do though this time around but hopefully next time.

We started off with the Scenic Skyway. This was cool since you got a full view of the rainforest and The Three Sisters (which I will discuss here in a minute), but it was over almost as soon as it started. It also just felt super touristy being smooshed into a small space, with a guy on a loud speaker, and little kids strapped to their dads in those hiking baby carriers. I would not pay to do this portion again honestly.

After this we were given a guided tour through a little path at the bottom of the rainforest. It was a path that should have been fifteen minutes, but our tour guide had to stop and talk about some piece of nature every two minutes, this just made me antsy. If you are looking for in depth information about the rainforest in Sydney, then I do highly suggest taking one of these tours, it was just not my cup of tea. The path eventually would lead us back to a railway where we took a train up and it released us back at the top of the Skyway where the gift shop was. All in all, we were done within an hour and a half.

All that aside, the rainforest was beautiful. It was super green, lush, and I felt like I was in the amazon jungle. There were so many weird sounds coming from within the forest. Ranging from intriguing birds and other unknown animals to me.

The Blue Mountains are full of history. Particularly they are known for the story of The Three Sisters. I am not going to go into detail about this story, but I will include a link below, so you can read about the legend. The story made the actual natural wonder seem even more mysterious and beautiful. I would have loved to explore and hike more on my own with the girls but maybe there will be other places and other times for that. I am just glad I got to experience another glorious creation within our world.

 

Xx

Gabi

The Three Sisters Story

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Other Articles on Sydney

Other Articles on Sydney

 

 

Continuation of Sydney

Continuation of Sydney

By popular demand today we have more on… SYDNEY one of my favorite of places! Last time I really only talked about my experience in Bondi, but it was not the only place I spent my time. Today I want to touch on the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Opera House, The Rocks Markets, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are like a dream out of your favorite Disney princess movie. When we were walking through, there happened to be a wedding going on, adding to the magical delight of it all. I was just awestruck at the beauty within the gardens. They were in full bloom while we were there, which was in September. This time of month is pretty much their spring, so it was not necessarily warm, but everything was creeping into the new growth stage. It was relaxing and de-stressing to just stroll through the gardens, and there was more than enough to look at. I felt like I was a part of the fairy tale as I explored around. I wish I had more time to explore the area, and maybe even picnic in the park.

No architecture compares to The Sydney Opera House. It is just unparalleled to anything else I have ever seen. Being here was one of the most surreal moments of my Australia journey purely because it is one of those places we all grew up knowing existed, seeing pictures of, and wanting to visit. It could not have been any more unique. It was interesting to go inside and read all the signs explaining the history behind the monument, and although I did not do a tour due to time constraints, I feel like I got a lot out of the visit. The location of it was perfectly ideal to explore other parts of Sydney. One of my favorite things is to listen to music, and I am a sucker for street artist. This area has no shortage of them. We ate at a restaurant across from The Opera House while listening to street music, and what a surreal view that was. I will say the day we went was very windy, my friend Kate even had to chase her sunnies down the stairs of The Opera House, so pick a low wind day to visit!

I am a big art fan. I even took art classes from age six to seventeen, so I was not going to pass up the opportunity to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. It is located right across the bay from The Opera House. There is a multitude of sections and floors to look at with a wide range of mediums. I have a strong respect for modern art due to the variety it brings along with it, there are no rules. With no rules comes uniqueness, and sometimes some weirdness. One of the select things I was not as interested in was a video that was playing. It was a video of people just laughing to no end, and not in that cute infectious way but in a creepy way. The cool thing about it though, is even though that is not my cup of tea when it comes to art, I am sure someone out there enjoyed that or was at least entertained by its weirdness.

One of my greatest hobbies and greatest skills I might add, is shopping. I am never one to turn down a street fair or some good markets, and The Rocks Markets did not disappoint. There were tons of cute little vendors, a really good food selection, and a perfect location of across the bay from The Opera House. I got the cutest handmade coasters there for my mom as a gift made from limestone. If they are up and running when you are visiting, drop in and I am more than sure you will find a couple deals there.

 

Xx

Gabi

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Ranch Buckets

Maximizing the Faith

Maximizing the Faith

Lately I have been focusing on maximizing my faith. My faith in myself, and my faith in the ability to do all of this traveling on my own. Traveling takes a lot of faith. The amount is actually unfathomable. It is by sheer willpower and desire that we blindly stumble into the unknown future on our own. We leave behind the things we know and just leap, venturing into the world. We must trust we will be safe and okay throughout our travels. No one goes into a trip thinking, I may get sick, I may get lost, what happens if I get hurt. Somehow, we just blindly choose to go without thinking of those things, numb to all the terrible evils of the world and bad possibilities that could be lurking around the corner.

We have to trust we will always have our life essentials. Food, water, a place to stay, so imperative yet we leave with a little bit of money in our pockets and no thought about those essentials.

With little regard, we trust strangers. We do not know who these people are. They could be a kind soul offering assistance with no desire for reward, or they can be manipulative beings, taking advantage of this trust that traveling bestows upon them.

We experience new cultures. Sharing in something our minds and our bodies are not used to, and only the bravest of us fully submerge in the novelty of it all.

Simply, in my opinion, there is nothing that requires more faith than traveling. It can change your life, it can be your worst experience or your best, but I guarantee you will learn from it. Traveling maximizes every aspect of our survival skills and brings out the best and worst in our personalities. Our true being. I am a big reader, and a good friend of mine recommended a book called The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer. I really resonate with a portion of the book that talks about how we do not truly know ourselves until we tell our inner voice and our past experiences to frankly, shut up. Once we learn how to do this we get to know who we really are. I feel that a lot of time, travel can help us with this. When thrusted into a new environment, we throw away that inner voice and past experiences because they cannot help us in something we have never known before. It is just you and the new experience, and you get to live it as yourself with no person from the past blocking you and no outlook to rely on. You get to remain present in the moment. Travel in life to be lost, and to find yourself. This is the best way to test how strong your faith is.

 

Xx

Gabi

 

The Untethered Soul

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Sydney was my all-time favorite place to visit in Australia, and I have a multitude of stories and places to share from there. I was afraid it was going to be just like any other city and nothing unique, but oh was I very wrong. We stayed in Bondi Beach, which is world renowned and absolutely incredible. I went with five of my girlfriends and we stayed in a hostel this time instead of an airb&b.

The hostel we stayed in is called Bondi Backpackers. They were reasonably priced for being a hostel, and it was clean (all important things to me). They have private rooms for six, so lucky us we all got to be together. They offer a lot of different perks that you can participate in as well. These include sunrise yoga, kickboxing, and different meal opportunities. They also rent out towels and have included Wifi, which most hostels do not so this made the stay more enjoyable as well. It was a great place to stay and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in Bondi where it is less busy and closer to the beach instead of the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you do decide to stay in Bondi or even take a trip down there, I highly suggest taking a casual stroll down the street in the morning to Parisi Juice Bar. It is not even a five-minute walk and they have the best fresh pressed juices I have ever had. They also had a bagel shop around the corner, and if you are American and have been to Australia, you know how rare it is to find bagels in Australia, especially good ones.

The Iceberg Pool is an iconic Instagram spot… but here is a little secret, it’s overrated. It is a really small pool and only makes for good picture opportunities during high tide when the water is splashing up into the pool. Don’t get me wrong it is beautiful, but it is hard to find a time to get a good picture with high tide and it not being super crowded. If you are going for that picture-perfect Instagram then give it your best, but otherwise a casual stroll by it will do just fine and will save you a lot of time and energy.

Next there is the Bondi Beach Walk. The walk is a great exercise and should be alright for any age level to participate. It is kind of a long walk so definitely wear comfy shoes, but it is absolutely breathtaking and has many stopping points to check out along the way. Many people run the path and there are dogs all over, which I honestly did not see many of during my Australia travels. All of the dogs were a breath of fresh air. There are great beaches to stop at, monument marks, and great picture opportunities. The only part I did not like is the large portion that is a walk through a cemetery, purely because cemeteries give me the creeps. Besides that, this is a must do so carve out a good portion of the day to do so.

My final suggestion for my Bondi Beach goers, do your research on your food places. Long story short, with my groups lack of research we ended up in some pretty intriguing places and not necessarily intriguing in a good way. Boy did it make for some funny stories though!

Xx

Gabi

Hostel

Juice Bar

Some Pictures from the Trip! Iceberg Pool, Bondi Beach Walk, Parisi Juice Bar, and explored parts of Bondi!

 

 

My Weekend Call To Action

My Weekend Call To Action

I think one of the most difficult things in the world sometimes is to be the first to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I have yet to figure out what is so difficult about this task, but it is undeniably a challenge sometimes. As human beings we are made to communicate and connect with one another, but yet, many of us find it so daunting to ask strangers simple questions. Social media can sometimes be a road block for this as well. It enables us to hide behind a screen, say more with less emotion behind it, and takes away the key social interaction.

Traveling on my own has done many things for me, but one of the greatest was forcing me to self-advocate since no one else was present to do so for me. The more I HAD to ask strangers questions for my own survival, the easier it got to just talk to strangers. Like all things, practice makes perfect. So, as we all head into our weekend adventures I want to challenge y’all to ask a stranger about their day. Why, well because I think it is time to bring back some good ole’ social interaction.

I promise you won’t regret trying it. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something interesting to say. When you are out relaxing on the beach this weekend, or climbing that beautiful Colorado fourteener, find someone new to meet. Sometimes targeting the people we so often peg as “off the beaten path” or the quietest people have the most incredible stories or the most intriguing secret lives they are leading.

Be open to listening to everyone, if you are going to ask a stranger about their day, care about the answers you are going to receive. If you do this, you not only will make someone’s day, but you will leave the conversation feeling like a better person than who you were when you entered into the day.

My last request… Message me about your weekend adventure and the new friend you make. Include a picture of you in your Ranch Bucket Hat and you might have a chance to be featured on our blog or on our instagram! Happy adventuring!

Xx

Gabi

Ranch Bucket: How it Fits

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My Favorite Fall Hat