The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

I am going to do a three-part series this week. This was all one giant road trip that I took through Arizona in December, but I want to split it up so you can really read up on the places I talk about, if case you are interested in seeing them for yourself!

Part one: I had my first trip to the Grand Canyon! I know that seems wild since I have lived in Arizona for three years now, but sometimes I seem to find life scurrying away from me. I do want to go back again when it is warmer, but this was a super fun experience even though I froze my booty off.

We camped in the park campgrounds. Surprisingly there were more people there than I thought there would be for winter, but it was not nearly as crowded as it can normally get. The campgrounds were generic with a firepit provided. During the winter season when we were in attendance, the site only cost fifteen for the one night that we were there.

The wildlife was awesome! We saw elk, and even got up close and personal with them (safely). They were not even frightened in the slightest. Also, you could hear coyotes at night… and they were close. The cackling of a clan of coyotes celebrating a kill could be heard in the middle of the night, which I am not going to lie made me a little sad but also was a unique thing to hear.

It was cold, cold, cold, during the night, but the stars made all the layers worth it. I have never seen a night sky like that one before. Star gazing is one of my favorite things, so this was a treat for me to be able to see more of the galaxy then I could ever see in the city. I highly suggest anyone who has studied astronomy to go out to The Grand Canyon for some perfect viewing opportunities. It was an incredible first time of exploration, but this definitely was only a scratch on the surface. I cannot wait to come back and explore more and go into The Grand Canyon.

Which leads me to my announcement… I will be returning to The Grand Canyon in May to do Havasu Falls! I am so excited and if any of you have been would love your tips and expertise. Drop me a comment or send me an email to trade tips or if you have any or questions about my first trip to The Grand Canyon. Later this week I will post about my trip to The Painted Desert and The Petrified Forest.

 

Xx

Gabi

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Weedon Island

Weedon Island

My life has been infused with tons of adventure and nature from living so close to the Tampa Bay. For as long as I can remember, my parents would take my younger brother and I out to the Weedon Island Preserve that has been around for thousands of years, in order to experience aquatic and onshore ecosystems. Many people walk the trails, boardwalks, and fishing pier to learn more about this fascinating preserve. It never ceased to amaze me how the city of Tampa would protect the wide range of diverse animals and natural resources located in this area. As a family we would take jet skis out along the banks of the island or paddle board through them to experience close encounters with numerous wild life.

Several years have gone by and I still constantly come to this place spending great weekends with friends that love adventure as much as me. The fishing is incredible throughout the protected mangroves. There is an abundance of fish, the most popular ones in this area tend to be Snook, Red, and Trout. It is so peaceful outdoors on the water, with the Florida sun giving off a strong heat. My Ranch Bucket gives me the perfect shade whenever I am on the boat or at the beach with my friends. Not only does it look great, but the fit feels perfect especially with any type of movement. The only problem was that all my guy friends were stealing it from me saying how good they looked in it…told them to get their own!

That same day we caught about six Trout and four nice sized Snooks. Both fish are great to eat but we decided to let them go back to their aquatic ecosystems to live another day (I feel guilty sometimes because I love animals so much). The sport of fishing has really become a hobby of mine, because of the exhilarating game that is combined with patience and fight on the water. Weedon Island Preserve gives this feeling to those who love to fish, which is why the location gives off a strong attraction. I wish everyone could see this beautiful environment to remind them the damages of air and water pollution.

I cannot wait to come back during my spring break and spend all my time on the water. Now I am back at University of Central Florida located in Orlando, so it is time for me to explore this busy city. So keep up to date with me!

New year, same world so take care of it!

~ Explore ~

Devin

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Sedona

Sedona

Okay, this is hands down my favorite place in Arizona. I have been living in the lovely desert now for three years and Sedona is by far the most beautiful place I have experienced, in the state.

As you already know due to a previous post I hiked Devil’s Bridge, which was a great hike, (I will link my review of that below) but we did a few other things besides that while there. Sedona is known for it’s spirituality and for these things called Vortexes. Vortexes are supposed to be center points in Sedona that swirl with energy (not something you can physically see, this confused me a little too don’t worry) and are said to bring with them healing and a strong sense of self-exploration. Many people report a sense of peace when visiting them as well. All of the Vortex locations in Sedona have the most beautiful views as well, so even if you are not a “believer” the view is well worth the visit anyways. There have been many reports that it also causes the feeling of your blood stirring and the sensation of being recharged and inspired.

Sedona is often referred to as a “healing heart” and the whole town is essentially known to be a vortex, but there are four specific sites that are considered the most intense in feeling. I will link a list of these locations below! All of these places are easily accessible to all age groups.

The town is very hippie and is all about auras and spirituality, if you are into this stuff, this place is for you! The place is swarming with mediums and all sorts of cool healing rocks. I purchased a salt lamp here and I am in love with it.

If you are not a believer in this kind of stuff my suggestion to you is to take everything and everyone’s words with a grain of salt. Just really focus on enjoying the natural beauty. There are plenty of hiking trails and rock stores to check out while in town. If you are a believer or even slightly intrigued by the concepts, let it take over your experience and really let in all that Sedona has to offer you.

This place has a beauty to it that is hard to compare to anything else, with similar colors to Zion in Utah, but terrain almost like the desert or Garden of the Gods in Colorado, it is just unparalleled. Everything is flawless and vibrant. The temperature in December is cool but not unbearable. I loved this trip and I plan on going again at some point in 2018!

XX

Gabi

Devil’s Bridge

Vortexes

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Living in A World All About the “Picture”

Living in A World All About the “Picture”

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I am an active participant in technology and the world of social networking, and because of that I have encountered many people in life who tell me to “put the camera down and enjoy something”. For the people who have similar experiences as myself, here is what I suggest you try saying to them next time.

Just because I want to have that perfect Instagram picture does not mean that the moment I am in right now is any less important to me than it is to you.

Just because I am on the beach facetiming a faraway friend does not mean I still do not hear the waves, smell the salt, and have my feet all dug up in the sand.

Just because I am texting my boyfriend while I am sitting in a café halfway across the world does not mean I am attempting to isolate myself.

It is possible to take everything in around you while still having a camera ready to go in your pocket. No one should have to apologize for wanting to snap a photo during a really beautiful moment. We should not have to apologize for picking up the phone to call our mom when something insanely amazing happens. There should not be an apology for blogging about a crazy encounter that just occurred. Just because we want to share the journey that we are all on via social media does not mean that we lack the comprehension of the value in the experience we are having. Who would not want a photo to remember that great moment for just a little longer than your memory can hold. Technology has made this huge world smaller and more attainable for everyone.

I live for the moments when I get to snap a picture in my Ranch Bucket hat on top of the mountain I just climbed in Colorado. Or the beaches I get to photograph in the land down under of Australia. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience and share so many things, so what if I want to take a picture of it. For all of the picture haters, you will be seeing A LOT more of my pictures, from more traveling, to more pictures just lounging at home in my Ranch Bucket and I hope to see some of yours in the New Year to come.

Xx

Gabi

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Small World

Small World

It is crazy how it took me traveling all the way across the world to learn that the world is actually a small place. Yes, I have always understood that the earth is just a speck in the workings of the entire universe. This makes me basically non-existent, but when it comes to our tiny little speck it felt pretty big growing up. There are seven billion people on the planet, and this number is fluid and constantly growing. There are 195 countries on the earth, and all of them possess different cultures. There are five different oceans, and I have only dipped my toes into three of them, but moving to Australia made me realize the world is not actually quite as expansive as my young mind once thought.

I moved half way across the world to live with girls from my home state. Yes, this is true, I moved to Australia only to move in with two east coast girls and two girls from Evergreen, Colorado. Evergreen is an hour and thirty-minute drive away from where I grew up, but a fourteen-hour flight from where we live in Australia. I now have three girls I have met and become close with in Australia that attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. It has lead us to connect over mutual friends and childhood experiences. I will get to keep these forever friends close to my heart and close in vicinity. I got to have little piece of home away from home and I honestly could not be more thankful.

I have a sorority sister that has recently moved to Australia. It was wild to me how this sisterhood had brought me the ability to travel the world and still know there was always going to be someone close by to have my back, no matter where in the world I was residing. That was a feeling that did not parallel anything I have yet to experience.  Along the line of my sorority, even one of my roommates happens to be a sister of mine who attends Boulder. I have now even been blessed with the opportunity to expand my sisterhood through my study abroad journey.

I have met so many individuals from the United States. States all over, states I now cannot wait to visit. I have even made one friend, from Nevada and she knew people that went to my college in Arizona. The world continues to grow smaller and smaller to me.

Coming to Australia I expected a very different educational environment. The most intriguing thing I did not see coming is that one of my professors was American. Not only was he American, but he also formerly taught at my rival school… the scumdevils… sorry Sun Devils back home in Arizona. What are the odds of that out of the four classes I choose to attend during my trimester abroad that would happen.

Along the way we met people from the same state as us, even the same city sometime. That is something I could not have imagined when my plane took off for this adventure. I have had a lot of favorite things about this experience, but my very favorite has to be what I am taking away with me, a whole new set of people who have substantially made a huge difference in my life. Thank you guys, and I love you guys.

Kate, Mollie, Jen, Carroll, Lauza, you have my heart.

Also, big thanks to Veronica for always being down to adventure or for a photo-shoot for my beloved Ranch Bucket! I am so glad to have you joining our team and I am so lucky that the Gold Coast brought me you!

Xx

Gabi

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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

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