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    • Day 4

      Day 4 - Angel's Landing, Part I

      September 14, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      Sleep eluded some of us once again, and the alarms went off too early at 4:40am. The race against the sun and the crowds starts early in these popular desert spots. Zion National Park was over an hour away from our AirBnB, hence the extra early morning. Loading up our gear and lunches, we set out under cover of darkness, with only the bright stars and Olaf's headlights giving us an inkling of the wonder we'd see when the sun rose.

      But it was still dark when we entered the outer boundaries of the park 30 minutes later. Here the fun driving really began. Sharp corners, looming black & shadowy mountains soaring either side of the roadway... And then a looooong tunnel that wound through the mountain for over a mile! We could sense we were surrounded by impressive sights but the only things we could see were dim outlines. Descending into the canyon around hairpin bends and switchback turns, I was in my element while Nomes tried (and failed) to catch up on sleep in the back seat.

      We arrived at the visitor center just after 6:30am. As the only place to park, and considered one of the most incredible parks in all of the US, the lot fills up quickly. Already, many rows were completely filled and so many people were walking around!

      From the visitor center everyone boards shuttle buses that mooz (opposite of zoom, but beneficially so, there is so much to see even on the buses!) around the park. As the canyon restricts roadways, Zion's efficient shuttle system maximises visitor circulation, reduces cars and emissions... Win, win, win!

      By the time we arrived at Stop 6 (The Grotto, and starting point for the Angel's Landing hike), the sky was beginning to brighten, but a chill remained in the air. We decided to start out with sweaters on, knowing they likely wouldn't last long. The trail starts off deceptively flat, sandy and meandering along the Virgin River. The views looking up though, are almost indescribable (just check out the pics for 1000 words worth 😉). Before too long though, relaxing is over, the trail gets steeper, and switchbacks up the canyon walls begin. The sweaters come off, the hiking poles come out and we are ascending, on average, about 1.5 feet every 3 steps.

      The sun began to light up the tallest peaks on the opposite canyon wall and already some earlybird hikers are coming down the mountain! They must have started on the trail at 4am! Another lady and gentleman in their late 50's are running up the trail! No excuses. We are getting there.

      After the first set of switchbacks (oh yes, there are more than 1 set), the trail levels out as we cross through an elevated canyon, where trees and undergrowth grow thick and lush. We see signs asking us to hike in silence to avoid disturbing the Mexican owls, and apart from ragged breathing, we try to comply.

      The reprieve feels short lived, as we come to 'Walter's Wiggles', an interestingly named set of tight and steep switchbacks. We're not sure who Walter was, but he sure was wiggly and we (and everyone else on the trail actually) needed lots of breaks. Eventually we make it to Scout's Landing where, impressively, there were some bathrooms perched high up in the mountain.

      Scouts Landing offers amazing views of the last push to Angel's Landing (we're gonna go with 'AL' for ease of typing!) , and is a haven for anyone too tired, wary of heights or just content to not push it on the potentially treacherous last section. This last part which is a single file, occasionally chain-assisted scramble over the stunning sandstone spine.

      Already some bottlenecks had developed in the narrow trail points as even earlier risers were descending from AL. The sheer drops and narrow paths necessitate patience and cooperation with fellow hikers. The consequence for hastiness, slipping, or inattention etc. can be fatal, and has been for 13 unfortunate souls over the years :(
      We set out and climbed the first, steep chained section, arriving at another, even smaller 'landing'. The views were stunning, as was the distance to the canyon floor: 800 feet. This became my resting spot for the next two hours as Nomes is pushing on to AL, and Cilla, surprising even herself, decided to join her!

      Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter 😉
      - Becky
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      Traveler  The genes... perhaps? 🤣


      Traveler  This place is amazing!


      Traveler  Their shoes?😃

      11 more comments
    • Day 5

      Day 5 - Zion National Park, Part 2

      September 15, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

      After a dedicated 'chill' morning, we eventually packed up and left our RV home. This time the day before we had been travelling/hiking for over 2.5 hours! Searching for brunch spots proved almost as challenging as Walter's Wiggles (ok, maybe not, but we did strike out twice - google fail). Eventually we found a place on the outskirts of Zion. The property was 700 acres and employeed many locals. The view was lovely but we were the only people there besides the revolving door of employees rotating in for their lunches. Three delicious local bison burgers later and we hit the road once more for Zion. The gate attendant wasn't optimistic that we would find parking at the visitor center this 'late' in in the day and gave us a few other suggestions. Thankfully we found a spot on our second pass and even better it was in the shade!

      As we were approaching the shuttles we heard some bad news: only an hour or two before, a landslide had caused a road block beyond 6th stop. The Narrows was stop 9 :(. Unfortunately it sounded like some people were injured during the slide, and they weren't sure when it would be open. Thankful to God for keeping us safe this far on the journey. (Later update: a woman had been injured in The Narrows by a minor rockfall. Thankfully non life-threatening injuries, but it had happened only an hour before we had planned to be there)

      And so we headed to the Emerald Pools. Personally, I think Olive might be a more apt name, but they were certainly beautiful, especially contrasted against the red sandstone and green foliage. Pool 1 was situated at the bottom of a vast crescent of sandstone, over which water from Pool 2 drifted in a delightful mist.

      The second pool was up a series of stairs and with our muscles a little tired from AL yesterday, we took it pretty slow. Chains along the cliff edge prevented curious tourists from getting too close to the slick edge where some have tragically fallen.

      Emerald Pool the third was indeed the green jewel its name suggested. Despite the large number of people gathered around its small rocky shore, the sanctity of the place elicited mostly whispers. In fact, it was an ethereal experience sitting among fellow adventurers awed into silence by the beauty and peace of this oasis.
      Swallows flew tirelessly to and fro across the stunning blue sky which was framed by a vast cliff. This was the perfect place to be still and remember our Creator.

      The landslide still hadn't been cleared by the time we returned to the shuttle stop at Zion Lodge. But a large (and very rare) patch of shaded green glass was calling. While resting and starting this blog, five deer (including two fawns) slowly made their way over to graze. They were unperturbed at the tourist paparazzi as they enjoyed their lunch.

      On our way back down the canyon we stopped off at the 'Patriarchs': three peaks (yep, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob) bathed in the setting rays of the sun. On our way back out of Zion, every single turn in the road produced a new wave of wonder. While the sun was setting the canyon walls on fire, the rising moon graced the tops of the distant peaks. This park is indelibly etched in our minds as one of the most stunning places we've experienced.

      Farewell Zion. You represented your namesake well. May we see all of you in the real one soon.
      - Becky & Nomes, with photos from Cilla
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      Traveler  Zion was the name given by the Mormons whose eponymous book claims that the lost 10 tribes landed in the Americas - which is the promised land!


      Traveler  I appreciate the history! I did know that about the 'promised land' but didn't make the connection to Zion!


      Traveler  RJ??😅

      6 more comments
    • Day 9

      Day 9 - Canyonlands National Park

      September 19, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      After a relaxed start to the morning, we tuned into the Norfolk meeting (Cilla's husband 'Tuck' was exhorting on the 12 disciples, really interesting) and then hit the road just before noon towards Canyonlands. Our AirB&B hosts were super lovely and our space was relaxing and comfy. We all wished we could stay longer!

      Enroute we stopped at Wilson's Arch just off the highway to Moab. It's HUGE and dominates the surrounding landscape. Cilla and I climbed up and enjoyed the views.

      Next we stopped at a tourist trap called Hole in the Wall. An earlier Mormon settler turned a hole in the cliff into a home (5000 sq ft!). A few decades later, the area underwent a uranium boom and the site was a boarding place for miners.

      Canyonlands. I am running out of words to describe these stunning views. With limited time, we went to the more popular section called Island in the Sky. It's a HUGE Mesa (like kilometres across) with vast views of the Monument Basin and the Green and Colorado Rivers.

      We did two small hikes; one to Upheaval Dome, the origins of which are debated amongst geologists (either the result of a meteor strike OR a collapsed salt dome) and to Mesa Arch with a beautiful backdrop of sunlit mesas.

      The windy was quite gusty already so in a rare moment of reception we looked up the weather. Predicted up to 65km/hr gusts! We decided camping wasn't going to be a fun option in this dust bowl and were able to find a reasonable last minute deal for a decent motel (they call it separate cottages, but it's definitely a motel, albeit a nice one).

      As we arrived, the full moon rose bright and yellow above the mesas and buttes.
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      Traveler  I like that view a lot.


      Traveler  T-Rex.


      Traveler  haha my fav so far

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    • Day 10

      Day 10 - River Rafting & Arches NP

      September 20, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      We enjoyed a chill morning making breakfast at the wonderful AirBnB kitchen, sitting in the sun and generally trying to relax (definitely getting into the 'wearing out mode' & needing more breaks each day of our go-go schedule!)

      Heading out towards Arches at around 10 we were not overly surprised to find the park full and closed to any new vehicles. Signs saying 'Come back in 3-5 hours' had us rethinking our plan for the day. We decided to see if any Moab tour companies had availability. On our second try we hit the jackpot! Reasonably priced half day rafting tours on the Colorado River leaving in 20 minutes!

      After a wild scramble to change and gather our water gear we loaded on the bus and headed out on a 40 min drive up the Colorado river to our launch point. We were with 6 others: 3 older couples from all over the states and then our guide, Tyler. We provided some entertainment: Becky pulled out all her dad jokes in competition with Tyler (groaaannn) and Cilla and I sung a few snatches of songs here and there... Of course everyone wanted to know our stories so we told them too.

      The rafting was just that... The rapids were class I and II, enough for a gentle splashing but no huge thrills (none during September on this part of the river). That was ok by us. The scenery was epic, the company was fun and having a 'chill float down the river day' was delightful in and of itself. We passed buttes called 'The Preacher and Nuns' and 'The Wedding Dress' and Cilla called an unnamed one 'Wallace'. We hope that will stick for future tours. Tyler pointed out a majestic bald eagle he'd called Susan perched on the cliffs above the river.

      Tyler made sure to orient the raft so everyone got splashed at one point or another. We passed a resort nicknamed 'Fancy Pants Ranch' where celebs like T Swift and Johnny Depp had stayed. $900+ a night? No thanks, we're here for the rustic experience :). We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the banks of the river slightly reminiscent of the Murray. On the last rapid Tyler pulled out a portable speaker and played the apt Pirates of the Caribbean theme song :)

      Arriving back at the Moab base we decided to find our camping spot for the night before heading to Arches for sunset. 40 minutes and an extremely rutted and washed out road later, we decided to find a different location, choosing 'Klondike Bluffs' road. Again, record timing for campsite set up, we headed off to view sunset at The Windows - Arches NP where we had supper and hiked a rough but gorgeous trail around the stone monoliths. We enjoyed the transition of orange coloured rocks to deep auburn as the sun set through the side by side window arches and the stars came out. Cilla was giddy with joy at the golden light and we eventually had to drag her back to the car when the moon rose.

      Off to our cosy tent in the cool breeze of the desert night...
      - Nomes
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      Traveler  Love this photo🥰 cool plaits Cill!😃


      Traveler  🤗💕


      Traveler  ❤️

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    • Day 12

      Day 12 - Buckskin Gulch

      September 22, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      Ahh the inexpressible comfort of not having to get up for sunrise, and the irritation of waking up at sunrise anyway. Our AirBnB was super comfy and we pottered around, making brekky, sorting stuff, laundry and generally just not being active.

      Today we are headed to Buckskin Gulch, via Wire Pass. When we arrive after a half hour bumpy gravel road we see two Sherrifs peaking in a van. We learn later that there is a woman who has been missing on the trail since yesterday. Such a warning makes us take preparation even more seriously. We tell a few friends where we are, packing lotsa water, snacks, first aid kits and a Becky. She'll be right, mate.

      The first 25 minutes were through a (currently) dry and entirely sun soaked river bed. Signs of heavy flooding were visible along the river channel and that is not a situation we wanted to find ourselves in. Flash floods in gulches/narrows are the cause of many deaths throughout parks across the states (thankfully there are no clouds, let alone rain anywhere in the upstream areas).

      Soon the sandy river banks turn into dark red sandstone and start to narrow and grow taller. Before long we are squeezing through 40 ft high walls that are as narrow as 3ft across! The sun is painting the the tops of the gulch a brilliant red ochre and the sky above is a ribbon of iridescent cerulean. The acoustics aren't bad (not as great ad Singing Canyon) and we sing a little as we wind our way through the gulch. We can see where the buckskin name came from: the soft gold and tan walls are marked in many places by 'desert varnish' (black and grey coloration caused by leached minerals and bacteria). The air is cool at the bottom of this slot canyon and the smooth, striated walls are incredibly detailed (and begging to be climbed, so I had to oblige!)

      Cilla is in her element, and we obediently trot around corners so she can capture unobstructed views of the canyon's twists and turns. For the next few hours we explore, sing, take pictures, marvel at the soaring height of the canyons and chat with fellow hikers before heading back the way we had come.

      On our last stretch we see a helicopter sweep low over the area, and presume it's looking for the lost hiker. When we approach the parking lot, the helicopter returns and slowly lands in a roped off section, blowing sand and small stones all over. We are relieved to find out that they found the missing woman who had made a wrong turn (easy in this trackless desert) and become lost. She is ok, despite having been out overnight. On our way out, the helicopter once again flies overhead and lands right next to the road! A search and rescue operative tells us they flew all the way from Salt Lake City (2.5 hrs flight). Cilla got pulled into the search amd rescue google rabbit hole and discovered that S&R ops have increased dramatically over COVID as more inexperienced hikers take local vacations.

      Our AirBnB host had recommended a local Mexican Restaurant which we enjoyed dinner at. Boy it was sooooo goood. We had leftovers to the moon and back. Can't wait for lunch tomorrow :)
      - Nomes
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      Traveler  Looks amazing! I know you've worked up an appetite but I also know you have leftovers. Haha


      Traveler  You know us well, all about those leftovers!! 😉


      Traveler  All that money spent on braces paid off. Great smiles! So pleased to see you are having a good time!


      Traveler  teehee yeah thanks 'rents!

      13 more comments
    • Day 80

      Monument Valley

      September 22, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C


      Der negst Stopp uf iescher Camperreis isch zMonument Valley in Utah gsi. En wunderschöne und idrückliche Ort, wa scho paarmal Kulisse isch gsi fer bekannti Western-Filma. Wier hei fasch nid gnüeg vercho va der Wahnsinns-Üssicht va ieschum Campground üs :-)Read more

    • Day 84

      Arches und Capitol Reef Nationalpark

      September 26, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C


      Der Arches Nationalpark isch bekannt fer schini Steikreatione und dLecher oder di Begu (Arches) ine Steina. Im Capitol Reef heiwer e paar bsundri Freunda chennu bestüünu, wa schich ufum Campingplatz ganz deheimu gfühlt hent :-)Read more

      Traveler  😍😍🙏💪🏽😘

    • Day 8

      Dirt bikes in Moab

      April 10, 2022 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

      Hired a dirt bike and had a guide take me out into the endless miles of trails around Moab today.

      The views were out of this world, it felt like I was riding on the moon a lot of the time. Crashed twice, one was a low speed drop, the other more of a thrown over the handle bars at 30mph situation... thank god for deep sand... although I wouldn't have come off if the deep sand hadn't been there. I also weed myself a little riding along a terrifying dirt road on a cliff edge, sandy, gravelly, 100ft drop at the side and nothing to stop you if you get it wrong... fortunately I didn't!

      The day was made all the more hilarious by Jim my guide (or Jim Trump) as he will be known from now on. He started a lot of his sentences with "I'm not racist but..." which is obviously not going to be followed up by a statement of support for the black lives matter movement. I learnt all about his Thai mail order wife (genuinely not a joke, and ironic given his views on every minority group) who he doesn't love and she knows his rules, "it's a sex only thing" (this was half an hour after I met him) and his girlfriend in New York and his other girlfriend in Denver... he was a very popular man by the sounds of it. He also had quite strong views on gun control "they're takin' our fuckin' guns away man"... the mug he gave me my coffee in in the morning set the tone really...

      ... Oh and Jim Trump's favourite mattress is the one he found on the side of the road... yep, it's not only his favourite mattress for sleeping but also apparently very good for having sex on... (I was told this 1 hour after meeting him).

      He did take me out in his Baja rally truck though after we'd been biking... so he does win back a few points for that... oh and the truck was sponsored by discountstrippers.com... obviously. Once we'd finished for the day he offered me his trailer for the night if I didn't want to ride back to Green River which was very kind of him but... no... thanks... ill be cold for an hour riding back to the motel rather than sleeping on his stained pavement mattress.

      Other than a (hopefully not) broken finger, today has been mind blowing in so many different ways.

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      Traveler  I’ve got a finger that shape from falling off a bike 🙂 Obviously not as memorable as your experience though 🤣🤣


      Traveler  Wow!


      Traveler  Sand burn?


      Traveler  sand blasted I think

      6 more comments
    • Day 69

      Arches NP

      April 17, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Es ist Ostersonntag und wer geht da schon in den Park? De Rauber.....
      Natürlich hätten wir bei diesem Ansturm uns um ein Zeitticket kümmern müssen.
      Holten dies online nach und fuhren dann um 15.00 in den Park rein. Das Licht ist sensationell gut.
      Der Park hat weltweit die meisten Steinbögen der Welt aufzuweisen. Es wurden mehr als 2000 dokumentiert.
      Read more

      Traveler  Sensationelle Bilder.

    • Day 70


      April 18, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      So, mal Pause mit Gesteinsformationen:
      Im Nowhere, irgendwo im Gügerühü gibts gutes Fleisch, gebraten vom Chefgrilleur. Dabei hat er es nicht leicht mit dem sandigen Boden, eher ein Krampf, bleibt oft stecken, das Fluchen folgt zugleich.
      Ich würde was drum geben, hätte ich mein Migros Salatgewürz dabei. Die Salatsauce ist gewöhnunsbedürftig.
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Utah, UT, ዩታህ, يوتا, ܝܘܬܐ, Utah suyu, Yuta, یوتا ایالتی, Юта, Штат Юта, ইউটা, ཡུ་ཊ།, یووتا, Γιούτα, Utaho, یوتا, Yù-thâ, Uka, יוטה, यूटा, Youta, Յուտա, Yútạh, ユタ州, იუტა, ಯೂಟ, 유타 주, Uta, یوٙتا, Juta, Jūta, Юто, Јута, യൂറ്റാ, युटा, ယူးတားပြည်နယ်, Yutah, युताः, Áshįįh Biiʼtó Hahoodzo, Ютæ, ਯੂਟਾ, उटाह, یوٹاہ, Utá, यूटाह, யூட்டா, యూటా, รัฐยูทาห์, Yuta Shitati, Йуута, יוטא, 猶他州, 犹他州

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