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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Grand Canyon Info

Havasu FallsProcessed with VSCO with b1 preset

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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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

 

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

 

 

Continued Review Bali

Continued Review Bali

Today I thought I would do a more in-depth review of specific things in Bali. I had many requests about a more detailed review on restaurants and activities I liked in Bali, so I created a list of all the best places I would recommend on your trip to Bali.

RESTAURANTS

Sisterfields: This is a great place for brunch. They have an excellent menu with pristine presentation for those of you who are interested in aesthetically pleasing, Instagram-worthy food. I recommend getting a juice; they were delicious, homemade, and came in the cutest little bottles. Sisterfields is located in the heart of Seminyak, so right after you eat you can head out on the town and shop.

http://sisterfields.com/

Motel Mexicola: We went to this eccentric restaurant for dinner on our last night. The environment is unparalleled to any other place I have been. There is a bar area, dance floors, and an upstairs. There is always music playing and you just want to get up and dance the whole time you are there. This is the place you want to go when you need a fun night out. The menu is similar to most Mexican restaurants you probably have already been to, but for me Mexicola was all about the experience not necessarily the food.

http://www.motelmexicolabali.com/

 

Lacalaca: Another Mexican restaurant that I attended my first night in Bali. It was only a short walk from our place and was a more low-key version of Motel Mexicola. I would advise going here on a night you want Mexican food but less of a crowd to deal with during your meal.

https://www.lacalongtime.com/lacalaca-cantina-mexicana

 

SPAS

All of the spas I looked into were extremely booked up and most did not take walk in appointments. I would highly suggest booking these before you even make your way to Bali, since it was a pain attempting to call and contact them as well since my number was not Balinese.

The Prana: The spa I did get to attend was The Prana and it was breathtaking. The architecture was so unique and made you feel like you were royalty. I did a body scrub and a flower bath – a flower bath had been on my bucket list for a while. They exceeded my expectations, and they had the best lemon ginger tea. I would book there again given the chance and maybe try out some different treatments.

Most of the massages and treatments I had done during this trip were by people who came to our Airbnb through a service provided. It was always cheap and they did such a good job, so I would recommend looking into the services offered where you are staying.

ACTIVITIES

 

Monkey Forest: This is in Ubud, which was relatively far away from where I was staying in Seminyak. It was hands down the coolest experience I have had and well worth the drive. Contrary to rumors, the monkeys are not dangerous and do not carry diseases that cause fatalities. Although there will always be freak accidents and exceptions to this, the forest is popular and known to be safe. Bananas are cheap to buy and the monkeys are friendly. Make sure all of your belongings that are important to you are put away safety or left in the car because we had one monkey UNZIP my friends backpack. They are such smart creatures.

https://www.monkeyforestubud.com/

Hanging Gardens: This is actually a hotel/spa outside Ubud. We thought you could just go there and check out the grounds, but you cannot. If you use the spa services for the day though you get full access. We opted to eat lunch there and look over the property which was absolutely stunning and well worth the money spent even though we could not get into the pool or go too far into the property.

https://hanginggardensofbali.com/

Potato Head: This is a beach club resort. It has free entry and pool access that also leads down to the beach. It has a cool location and is a fun place to hang with friends. I loved the pool, but I was not obsessed with the location of the beach.

https://www.ptthead.com/beach-club-in-bali/

 

TEMPLES

Tanah Lot: This temple was so unique, it stands alone in the water and you can only walk to it through water at low tides. There are tons of cool things surrounding it to do including markets and food shops. It all is just enthralling to look at and the temple itself is mesmerizing. I loved the flowers they gave out and the location is just absolutely breathtaking.

http://www.tanahlot.net/home/

 

WHAT I WISH I HAD DONE

Lake Batur: I have heard so many good things about this place, from the hiking, the nature, and the lake itself. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the volcanic activity I was unable to get over there because of safety concerns.

http://www.greenerbali.com/batur.html

 

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: This temple was also closed due to Mount Agung and it’s sensitive volcanic activity to my dismay.

http://www.baligoldentour.com/ulun-danu-temple.php

 

Review: Springbrook National Park

Review: Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park should be on your list of places to visit if you are in Queensland. It is a beautiful place to explore, with plenty of ground to cover and differing aspects of nature. I spent a day there roaming and hiking through its beautiful forests and I was not disappointed. We went in August so the temperature was perfect for hiking. Not too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze and sunlight peeking through the leaves and branches up above us. The trees were the most fascinating aspect to me. They were trees like I had never seen before and many were even hollowed out, making it where we could get inside them or stand in them. You could tell they were hundreds of years old if not more, which is always mind boggling to me, I always remember as a small child counting the rings on the inside of chopped down tree to figure out how old they were.  We hiked all around but my favorite was the hike to the bottom of the waterfall. It is not too difficult of a hike, and the water is something like I have never seen. The water was green, like moss. Against a black rock background. It reminded me of Hawaii a lot, which was fitting since I went with my good friend Veronica who is from Hawaii and my boyfriend.

The waterfall was not incredibly large but beautiful nonetheless. The water was FREEZING, at this time of year no one was getting in. It was even too cold to stand next to for a long period of time. We got some good pictures though before moving out of the way and off the very slippery rocks. There were plenty of trails and plenty of things to do in Springbrook. I enjoyed meandering through different pathways. It was not far from the Gold Coast where I live, so that was nice as well since I constantly find myself driving and flying all over the place to see all that I have to see.

I really liked these hikes and the location better than Mount Warning. It just was more versatile and I felt like I had more control over my pace and the difficultly level. All ages and skill levels can explore this park and even if you do not want to walk around or hike you can drive through many portions of the national forest. The drive up into the park was probably one of the most beautiful experiences. It reminded me of the Redwood Forest up in California. If you look close enough you can maybe even see some kangaroos!

XX

Gabi

 

Mount Warning Review: https://ranchbucket.blog/2017/08/01/mount-warning/

Review: Noosa National Park

Review: Noosa National Park

Review: Noosa National Park

The Fairy pools

Anyone who gets the chance to spend some time in Queensland should take a bit of time to venture up to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. I have done a review of Byron before, and I like to think these two go hand in hand. Although I enjoyed the shopping in Byron more, and Byron is a little more hippie and laid back, I would say Noosa is a more classic or upscale version of Byron Bay. I absolutely loved this quaint little beach town. Per usual, I have nothing but high regards for all the places I ate at. They had a plethora of places to eat with live music, which I am absolutely head over heels in love with. My favorite part of this weekend getaway though was the beach, the national park, and the fairy pools. The beaches were close to flawless and the national park was very unique. The park essentially took you on a bush walk throughout the head of the coastline. It was sand for the majority of the walk which made it kind of tricky to walk on after a while, but a good exercise none the less. If you go when it is quiet you can see koalas in their natural habitat which is incredible, and we even saw a gila monster. Drum roll please… my favorite part… the fairy pools! I felt like I was in a dream, first off let me say I have no idea why they are called fairy pools when in my opinion if we are talking about mythical creatures, these things are made for mermaids. The color of the water was unreal, crystal clear, and relatively warm. What I found to be the coolest part of the fairy pools was the ability to see all of the marine life within them. They were so colourful and alive. Little fish swam around everywhere, darting back and forth and sea urchins clung to the sides of the rocks; I even saw something that resembled a sea tarantula. These pools were not too hard to get to just a little climb and they were not unbearably crowded. We went early enough that we had an hour or so of them all to ourselves before our party was crashed by more tourists. We hung out there for quite a few hours; it was even an impeccable tanning spot.

IF I had to rate all of my adventures so far, there would have to be two different scales:

a beauty aspect/breathtaking…

Whit Sundays, Queensland

Noosa Sunshine Coast

Burleigh Heads

Mount Warning, New South Wales

Springbrook National Park

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Gold Coast, Queensland

 

Favorite trip/activity

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Australia Zoo

Whit Sundays Queensland

Burleigh Heads

Springbrook National Park

Noosa Sunshine Coast

Gold Coast Queensland

Mount Warning New South Wales

 

If y’all have any questions let me know and I’ll leave some links to different activities and national parks I have done below along with the link to my Byron Bay post!

Xx

Gabi

 

http://www.australiazoo.com.au/  (They do student discounts)

https://ranchbucket.blog/2017/07/10/review-of-byron-bay/

https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/burleigh-head/

https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/

http://www.mtwarningrainforestpark.com/the-experience