DONE with my first rotation, good riddance. Back to Texas I go.
So, for this rotation, I work 12 hour shifts and then get 3 to 4 days off in a row, which gives us plenty of time to travel. We got back from the Grand Canyon pretty early in the day and gave us time to rest and the game plan was to spend the next day working on our presentations and grocery shopping (I know, exciting). But then the other students asked if we wanted to go to Canyon de Chelly as a day trip and after much internal debate (ugh another hole in the ground in AZ, is it worth it?) I decided to go while Lauren played wifey and stayed home.
And yes, it was worth it.
Well, tip number one. Google map everything before you leave. GPS on our phones tried to lead us to the middle of the canyon and therefore we took the longest way there, ended up on a dirt road, then realized that computers aren’t smart all the time…
Consequently, we ended up on a windy mountain. At least it was pretty.
And we saw cows cross the road.
And more goats.
BUT WE FINALLY MADE IT!!!
Whats so cool about this canyon is all the LEAFY GREEN TREES. Even though North Rim Grand Canyon had trees, they were mostly needle trees. But here its like all nice and green with big walls of rock on the side.
hiking down to White House
Staci from Virginia, me and Tiffany from Iowa – I had to balance my camera on a rock
Then we went to the Spider Rock Overlook
Look at that view
Me and Tiffany from Iowa
The drive back was much quicker since we took the highway back. Came home hungry and Lauren had dinner ready for me – Shrimp Monica. I am lucky.
Two weeks left out here, six days of rotation.
So behind! Though I just finished posting about Moab, I actually just came back from my trip to the Grand Canyon – North Rim. On the way there, we stopped by Glen Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend. Horse Shoe Bend is 3/4 of a mile hike one way of mostly sand and no shade. I wish I knew this beforehand because I didn’t bring water and I was dying on the way up. With the temp of mid 90’s, it was a hard climb especially in the sand, but pretty spectacular view.
Fantastic view of Horse Shoe Bend
Anyways, the Grand Canyon. I have not personally visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, though I know it’s the more visited area since its more accessible. Though Lauren has been to both now and from what I heard and read from other people, here are the key differences.
-South is more crowded – lots of tour buses, lots of people at every view point. A lot of people stay in Flagstaff if they go.
-North is more secluded -not many people on the trails/vista points. The campsite within the park is limited space and you have to book it way in advance. There is a campsite outside the park and only like one or two inns in the closest town – Jacob Lake.
-South is the stereotypical view, what most people imagine when they hear the word Grand Canyon. You can see a view of the canyon from almost anywhere – vast mesas and layers of colored rock. So very easy to see a great view without hiking.
-North is inhabited by the Kaibab National Forest. Since its 1000 feet higher than the south, it’s a much cooler climate and has lots of trees. Great views are at certain vista points and might take some hiking which is more fun anyways.
So we went to the North Rim and we loved it. At some vista points, we were the only ones there and it felt like it was made especially for us. It just made it more personal and more breathtaking to be the only one taking the view. It was made, just.for.me. The climate was cooler which made the hikes more bearable, there were no group of annoying teenage boys around or big groups of people on buses. It was calm, peaceful, and relaxing.
And since the only place to stay is so far and expensive, we decided to camp instead. Please keep in mind neither of us have really camped before – as in others always took care of us and we never had to plan or set up anything. So we were really out of our comfort zones and didn’t know what to do whatsoever. Luckily, one of the pharmacist at the hospital let us borrow his camping gear! Man, the people here are nice. He wasn’t our preceptor, we have never worked with him before, and neither of us had a conversation with him before. So he let these couple of city
bitches girls borrow his stuff just in the name of nature (note: this guy camped for a month straight while climbing a mountain in Alaska). But just to make sure we didn’t break his shit, he even showed us how to set up the tent – in the pharmacy of course.
Pharmacist geeking out while setting up the tent
And because the travel gods are always on our side, we somehow got the last spot at the campsite reserved. Supposedly, the campsite is booked for the rest of the season already and there are rarely cancellations so if you decide to go, try to book it early! Or you can be like this Swedish couple we met who came up to us and asked if they could share our campsite with us and then paid us for the site. So we actually ended up paying for one night instead of two. Our theory is they asked us because 1) We didn’t have an RV 2) We were the youngest looking ones there 3) We had beer all over our picnic table
One day camping, I will conquer you
ANYWAYS, onto the good stuff – aka pictures with vague descriptions because I’m running out of time and energy to type. We woke up around 6 and left the site to drive to some trails and hike some stuff.
FIRST HIKE – Something… cape. One of the farthest drives. Easy and paved.
The best view on this hike are the ones without fences – so go find them
Its so big
Rotations are tough
SECOND- Spring Creek trail?? Sorry, lost my map can’t name all of these. This one is neat because it brings you to this small spring and it’s nice and cool. A great, short hike to do in the middle of the day since its shaded. A mile round trip.
Lauren gets cool pictures of her since I take so long to get to places
THIRD- Final Cape… something. Brings you to a view of the painted desert. Four miles round trip but super easy. Its through the woods and for the most part, there’s not much of an incline. It kinda gets rocky towards the end though and inclines towards the end too.
The end of the two mile hike
Got back around 1 and got this brilliant idea to buy hammocks at the store and try to set them up. To feel less stupid, I drank a beer then started to set up my hammock so I could blame the beer if I felt dumb… brilliant really. Finally rigged them up and ahhh
Hammocks. Are. Awesome.
We literally laid there in our hammocks, listened to music, and drank beer until at least 6. Then as I finished up my last beer, I had this sudden urge to go on a walk/hike at the Transet Trail which runs along the campsite. It might just be me, but my senses are heightened when I drink a little, so tipsy hiking was a great (not so great) idea. The hike is through this nice path and it SMELLED SO GOOD. And everything was SO PRETTY since the sun was setting.
The North Rim is so green! This was especially breathtaking due to tipsy hiking
Next morning, one last hike.
North Kaibab Trail – the only trail that brings you into the canyon. Shared by mules, so watch out for the poop – terrible, terrible smell. Smart people brought bandanas to cover their faces. It’s a long trail (10 miles one way I think) so we just went a short bit and turned around. Easy climb down but steep and tiring the way back up.
We didn’t get very far… it was miserable with the fresh mule feces. Its easy to hold your breath on the way down but not the way up…
Anyways, Grand Canyon North Rim trip, a success. Beautiful sites and just super relaxing. Much needed after 12 hour work shifts and since we’ve been on the road non-stop in between. Hammocks + beer = awesome. Two and a half day trip, one and half days to rest.
The drive back… not a bad view
Well, I actually went back to Arizona with my neighbors…. but until next time…
I am so in love with Moab.
The fresh air, the redness, the rivers, the cute shops, real thrift stores (not “vintage”), the hippies, the mountains in the background – in love. Absolutely, positively in love. Like pictures do it no justice.
So after we finished repelling, it was around noon and blistering hot so we decided to do some indoor activities. We went to this placed called Love Muffin Café and it was SO cute, and well, super hipster. Framed little graphic art on the walls, tofu sandwiches, wannabe banh mi, coffee that taste like coffee and the food we had was super great. We split the Summer Love BLT and it was divine – tons of bacon, perfectly crisp, pesto mayo, loads of avocado- it was perfectly heavenly.
Afterwards we tried to find some thrift stores and FINALLY, a thrift store that’s really a thrift store with $2 shoes and $1.25 jackets – not some dumb over priced vintage shop. At the first place, I got this cool fun (not fugly…) jacket thing and this flowery, probably too hip for me, grandma purse – a total of $3.75. Then at Wabisabi, I got two skinny ties for a friend (you know, when skinny ties were popular and now they’re popular again) for a buck each, and a Fleur-de-lis scarf tie thing.
The print in the background is my jacket thing – still haven’t decided if its fun or fugly yet
But the most important thing I bought was this.
Lauren and I always joke around how the road trip gods are always on our side because we needed a small cooler for our canoe trip and bam, this arrived in our hands for a dollar. TY travel gods. You have saved us money on something we would only use once.
Did some errands, rested etc, ate dinner at a sushi place (while wondering where Utah got fish…) and finally went back to Arch’s National Park to do the quintessential hike to Delicate Arch. Three miles round trip, the hike there was way more tiring than the hike pike. Going up, especially on a huge slick rock with a “gentle” slope can get tiring and get you out of breath. Not too bad though, not classified as easy and considered a moderate hike.
The slickrock you walk up – so tiring
But the walk is beautiful, the place is beautiful in general. And then you arrive to this.
Camera phone, no filters – its just that pretty
There’s a but.
I really hate when there’s too many people around (how dare you enjoy nature at the same time as me!) so it’s a bit loud and for some reason teenage boys were everywhere. Its bound to happen and our trip to the Double Arches were like that. And then there’ s THOSE people who pose a billion times in front of the arch and the whole time you’re just thinking… can you get out of my picture?
But that’s just me being cranky. The next morning we did an 11 mile canoe trip down the Colorado River. Peaceful, beautiful, and $65 for the both of us. Had a packed lunch, drank some beer while we drifted at some parts, and listened to some good music. A good way to end the trip.
The stats of our 2.5 days in Moab – hiked 10+ miles, canoed 11 miles, repelled a total of 210 feet and was just happy the whole time. If we had more time, I would’ve done Canyonlands, some more hiking, jeeping etc but until next time Utah, I will be back.
Next stop, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Moab is so great – I wish I had more time I would go to Canyonlands and do some more hiking but maybe I’ll make it out here again in the future…
“Hey Lauren! Wanna go repelling??”
-do you even know what repelling is????
So we met at Moab Adventure Center bright and early at 7 am where they bused us to an entrance of the park (sorry don’t know the name of it…) where we went off for our canyoneering adventure which included repelling! It took a little over a mile to get to the repelling and the hike was 3.4 miles altogether one way since they picked us up on the other end. I HIGHLY recommend this place – they’re all very professional and knowledgeable. This is the company that helped with the rigging and set up of 127 Hours and even showed us so cool pictures of them on set. The route they take you is great and it was an awesome experience. Definitely one of the more scarier things I’ve done, I think I was more scared of this than skydiving.
The first repel I believe is 90 feet. You go down, hit a ledge, lean back and keep going.
This is the view from our first repel – I think it was called Ephedra’s Grotto.
Ok I admit, the initial leaning back, walking down a cliff that you can’t see its terrifying. After you get going for awhile, it gets easier but I could NOT relax and consequently did not go as smoothly as others :[
The next jump was 120 feet and right next to a natural land bridge.
Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but halfway through this jump you lose your footing and you’re letting yourself down and dangling and I was NOT expecting and I’m like WTF WHY ARE MY FEET NOT TOUCHING THE ROCK!? I was so utterly confused and scared hahahaha. But once I realized I just let myself down, well. It was. Awesome.
I should be patient and post when I have better pictures, but I upload all my pics from my phone onto Tumblr so its a lot easier. The internet I have is always slow (when I have it at least…) so its hard to upload…
SUMMARY: Walked off a cliff, it was scary. My hand hurts. It was super cool and I would do it again. DO IT!
PS So much to do in this area, I wish I could stay here longer. More adventures in Utah later.
MOAB, UT – I am so in love with you.
If it wasn’t for this rotation, I don’t think I would ever experience this part of the country like this – spending so much time in all these beautiful places. Every time we are driving, its like you can’t help but slow down and soak everything in. Its eyegasms everywhere!
Anyways, we just did a 5 day stretch of work – 56 hours and it was pretty exhausting. I really do love my site – working with IHS is pretty awesome and pharmacists have a lot of responsibilities and respect here. I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things, be in the OR and just learning a lot in general. An awesome, awesome rotation – I highly recommend it.
But since we worked so hard this week, that means its time to play hard! Which means, roooaaaad trip!
Actually, I lied. First we finally drove up closer to Shiprock since it was on the way.
I’m not too sure about the story – but all I know is that its a big volcanic piece of rock and you cannot climb on it because it is sacred to the Navajo people. Its really beautiful when the sun is setting – I usually stare at it as I walk home from the hospital.
Next was Four Corners. Just so I can say – Hey, I was in four places at once!
But it was pretty annoying to stand around with huge groups of people and thinking how they should get out of the way.
Okay, next was UTAH!
We did a pretty straight shot to Moab after that. Just stopping when we saw a sign for Wilson’s Arch that was on the side of the road – which we climbed to the top of course.
Then Newspaper Rock. Ancient graffiti – because its ancient, its preserved. Lauren wonders if the graffiti under 59 will be considered ancient in a couple hundred years and will be considered art………
A bit outside of Canyonlands
And went by two wineries and walked off with 5 bottles of wine between the two of us. GAWD I would love to own a vineyard with this view.
Spanish Valley Vineyard
Scenic route to Castle Creek Winery
Since we got there and it was pretty warm, we did some easy hikes at Arche’s National Park – a little over 3 miles altogether – yes, we counted. We felt bad for eating pizza for three meals in a row so we counted every bit of it…
Window’s Arches – take the primitive path back!
Double Arch – the third largest arch in the park
The walk to Sand Dune Arch was SO nice and peaceful
some small places
Sand Dune Arch
Arche’s National Park = awesome. Easy hikes for the lazy ones and some longer harder ones if you’re up to it. We’re going to do a longer one this evening at sunset.
Anyways, that’s it for now! We just finished repelling and had a nice lunch but we’re about to get ready for our canoeing trip tomorrow so you get to hear about our 120 foot scale down later.
So life without the internet can be a little rough but it just shows how dependent our lives are on technology (says the girl tethering her phone at a hostel so I can finally update this).
Anyways, I just finished a 5 day work week of 56 hours so we though we deserved to go on a trip! Although I am currently in Utah, I will finish last week’s trip in Colorado. Also, I apologize that all you get so far is Instagram pictures. I left my cable for my dSLR at home and I’ll post those + Lauren’s pictures later…
Anyways, to end our Colorado trip last week, we headed to the Great Sand Dunes National park where we went SAND SLEDDING!!!!
Omg, climbing those dunes are so tiring but so fun. Tip, lean back so the sled doesn’t dig into the ground and stop. Because an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outer force… so when the sled stops and you don’t you will eat it and roll down which I did a couple of times. Note – if you scream on the way down you will get a mouthful of sand.
NEXT – down the road was Zapata Falls. The ride up is only about three miles but it took FOREVER since its so rocky. The hike up there is less than a mile and when you climb up, you really can’t see the actual waterfall unless you walk in there and get your feet wet, which we did of course.
Like, you literally had to turn the corner and enter this little valley way and the temperature drops like 20 degrees and the water is freezing.
AND THERE WAS A GLACIER ON TOP still melting. OH man, it was sooo beautiful.
But then we finally had to go back… I love the ever changing scenery in Colorado. Mountains, sand, snow, green everything! I think our peak elevation of the drive was 10,000 feet.
But side note, we tried to go to this beer house thing that we found on roadside america but it was fail. Creepy, couldn’t get in.
OKAY going repelling tomorrow! BYE