While Martijn is preparing sausages on the campsite grill, I finally found some time to update you guys about our Grand Adventure. You won’t believe it, but it’s been a busy trip and none of the rooms and campsites we stayed in/at after Aspen had wifi. The hotel in Las Vegas asked 15 USD per day for wifi so we thought that was pretty overrated, when it’s for free at Starbucks next door. That’s why we’ve only been posting snapshots on our Facebook and Twitter pages. I hope we didn’t get you too worried with the wedding chapel picture from Vegas! We thought it would be fun to get some rumours going 🙂 We didn’t get married, although we did have good times…
This has been a very intense week, I can’t believe we’re almost on the road for 2 weeks already. Since our last update from Aspen we’ve been to 4 national parks, did at least 25 hours of hiking, won 10 dollars in the casino and met the most awesome people along the way. One of the most memorable things we’ve seen so far is the Grand Canyon. Upon arrival I got a bit anxious seeing all the tourists, literally thousands of them, it felt like Disneylands for sure! At the first viewpoint into the Canyon (called Desert View) the crowds were gigantic and we were pushed aside by people wanting to take pictures. So we decided to get up really early the next morning to beat the crowds and head out on to the Bright Angel Trail. We chose this hike as we wanted to do a good full day workout and it is actually one of the most popular trails to do. Initially, we wanted to hike from the Rim to the River and back in one day but eventually decided against that, since it was told by park services and many others that it’s too difficult, given the circumstances (meaning the
hot temperatures during the day and the massive elevation difference). From Rim to River is about 1.500 m. of altitude change and there’s no shade on the trail in the summer, the temperatures in the canyon rising up to about 40 degrees. As people have lost their lives attempting to do this hike in one day, we decided to be smart and just to hike down to Indian Gardens, about 1.000 m. below the Rim. The way down was easy, we got up at 3.30 am and started hiking at 04.30 am. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise above the canyon and were down at Indian Gardens within 2 hours. Then the walk back up started, the sun now having risen above the canyon and heating up the trail. Even though it was warm and we thought we were pretty slow, we did OK and reached the Rim again 4 hours later, taking just 6 hours for the hike in total. We came well prepared though with our hikingboots, plenty of water and walking poles. There were actually people wearing flipflops and without water… no wonder National Park Services have to do about 250 people a year from the canyon… We ended our stay at the Grand canyon with a helicopter ride above the North Rim, which left us breathless. No matter how many tourists there are at Grand Canyon, it’s a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime (as Teddy Roosevelt said). Another highlight of the trip was our stay in Moab. It’s a hippie style town where everyone is friendly and laid back and nothing really matters. We visited two national parks there, Arches and canyonlands and eventhough they are relatively close, they are really different. Arches is known for it natural arches, there are in fact more than 2.500 of them in the park. We did a lot of hiking there and enjoyed the most bizarre rock formations. In Canyonlands we watched the sunrise above Mesa Arch (another early wake up necessary) and the giant canyons made by the confluence of the Colorado and Green River. We also met up with Allen, who I know through some mail art groups I am in. He showed us around and took me out for breakfast while Martijn was mountainbiking at the Slickrock trail. The three of us we hiked the Negro Bill trail together, which was a lot of fun. Thanks for hanging out with us Allen, you rock!
And then there was Vegas. Wow, what should I say. It’s beyond crazy, way over the top! They say you will hate it or you will love it. We loved it! We stayed at Planet Hollywood where we tried the 20 Dollar Vegas trick and it worked, we got upgraded to a room with views on the Bellagio fountains. We spent our free day with our friend from California and basically drowned ourselves in the craziness. We gambled (I won 10 dollars!), had brunch at the Bellagio, went shopping, visited the outrageous large hotels and finally and amazed ourselves over the fountains at the Bellagio that give an awesome show every 15 minutes. Oh and we visited the Pawnshop from the tv show. Since I don’t watch tv I didn’t know it (Martijn wanted to go) but according to the huge line in front of it waiting to go in, it was something special. It turned out they were actually shooting the show right then, so you might just catch a glimpse of us while watching the show.
This morning we left Vegas behind and got back into nature. We have now arrived at Zion NP, where we just came back from hiking and now it’s getting dark and cooling down. The temperatures have been too hot (over 40 degrees celcius / 108 Fahrenheit) but we are taking it easy and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
There’s simply so much left to tell and I got some great ideas for blogs but I don’t want to spend my whole evening behind my netbook. Instead I am going to enjoy my hotdog, do some stargazing and prepare for another great day in this most amazing place.
***This will be a post without pictures as wifi is slow here and I will be happy if it just uploads the text. Just go to our Facebook page for some of the shots we’ve taken.***