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Month: March 2017

Is travel an acquired taste?

Is travel an acquired taste?

It’s no secret to anyone who is even an acquaintance of mine that I absolutely love to travel. Maybe it’s something about how vast, uninhabited and unique the west is that just invites you to explore further. Perhaps it’s the feeling when standing under the centuries old architecture from other countries and feeling the awe of creation in a time that it wasn’t so easy. Or maybe it’s that my dad was in sales and we would always go with my parents on trips creating fun family memories. Whatever it is, I can’t. get. enough.

My friend Collin who was visiting a couple of weeks ago and I have both been bitten by the travel bug. We were discussing the contentment of some people to stay home compared to how we are both wired on our road trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to northern Arizona.

This got me thinking… is travel an acquired taste? Is travel sort of like beer in college (or high school – no judgment here), where you took your first sip and thought it was absolutely the worst thing ever. And your mom was so right about that nasty stuff but then gradually you realize it does go really well with pizza, and burgers? Maybe travel is one of those things you have to try a few times to learn the tricks… how to get through airport security without having a panic attack, that you definitely don’t want a less than two hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle Airport because you will have to run, or that odds are if you want to check your bag and not pay, they will give you the option once you get to the gate.

This got me thinking… is travel an acquired taste?

And once you get a taste for travel, it’s hard to go back to hanging out at home most weekends. There are always more places to go and people to share experiences with. Travel helps you get to know yourself better as well because experiences you have are much more variable than they would be if you were doing something similar week in and week out. Fortunately my job is also now allowing me to see the US, and I am so grateful for this.

What do you think? Were you born with a wanderlust soul or did it take over slowlyyyy or maybe all at once after one particular trip?

I have already shared some pictures from my adventures with Collin here. But I wanted to share the rest. Below is the portion of our trip in northern Arizona near Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend. And sorry in advance, I was a bit obsessed. It’s an absolutely gorgeous spot.

Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Me & Collin at Horseshoe Bend
Me & Collin at Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero ****If you haven’t read or listened to this book yet, PLEASE do. This is somewhere around the 10th time in the last year I have read/listened to it and it is SUCH a great book. Very influential mindset wise. I always get something new out of it each time.

Adventures are best when they’re shared

Adventures are best when they’re shared

When Austin first matched at Utah for residency, I really didn’t know what we were getting into. I visited Salt Lake City once in February during my own residency for an American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation meeting in February 2013 and I thought it was a miserable place. Little did I know that because I was visiting in February I caught the dreary inversion at its worst. Then Austin and I visited together when he was considering ranking Utah #1 and we had some very gracious hosts from my pharmacy school class. Utah was cool then, but I still didn’t really grasp the whole I-might-actually-move-there thing.

But then, match day came. He opened the match envelope and there it was. His #1 choice. Utah.

Then everyone started asking “oh do you ski?”

Me: “Nooooooo……”

Everyone: “Oh well how about the outdoors?”

Me: “Not really…”

I had always equated the “outdoors” with camping and getting dirty. I much preferred showers and a warm bed. But you have to think about where I am coming from. I lived in North Carolina since the age of 7. Growing up through college, I lived in central NC where there is neither mountains or beach. Then, after school I moved close to the beach. “Outdoors” in eastern NC was the beach. OR sweating your butt off on a walk around the park in the humidity, not ever seeing anything besides a pretty lake or pond because it was flat. And if you went camping, it was just to get dirty and say you did.

Austin’s very first vacation during residency we decided to do a “Utah world tour”. We wanted to check out all of the Utah national parks in 8 days. We were going to do some camping and some hotel stays. For anyone who is into National Parks, you know that just one day at most of these places is not enough…and we figured it wouldn’t be, but we lived here now so if we liked it enough, we would come back.

During that vacation we went to Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. It was pretty wild. And more importantly, I was hooked. Absolutely sold on the “outdoors”.

Since then, we have spent most of our free weekends exploring. It was even my idea to go camping a few weekends ago to Goblin Valley. Here’s a post about that weekend. I have wanted to share the beauty of Utah and the rest of the west with everyone since I moved here. Hey if I didn’t know about Utah, how many people did? (This is a rhetorical question…plenty of people knew, which is why they asked me over and over again if I liked the outdoors)

So when one of my friends, Collin, texted me about coming out to Utah over his spring break, I was pretty darn excited. Someone from the “outside” to share this place with. And he was a great sport. He arrived when I was out of town for work and explored the city and then when I got back, we immediately drove to southern Utah to get our adventure on.

We went to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Horseshoe Bend in northern Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is going to be my next post so stay tuned. Here I am just focused on the two National Parks. Here are some pictures from our trip. Be sure to compare these to just a few weekends ago when my parents were here (Bryce Canyon with my family & Zion National Park with my family)… it is AMAZING what a few weeks can do to the scenery.

Wildlife in Zion National Park
Wildlife in Zion National Park
Collin & I on top of the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Collin & I on top of the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Me at the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Me at the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Hiking in Zion National Park
Hiking in Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Life is all about perspective, right?
Life is all about perspective, right?
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

The trip was fantastic… going to have a part 2 for the northern AZ portion coming very soon. Once again, be sure to check out the posts from just two weeks ago to see how different the parks looked (Bryce Canyon with my family & Zion National Park with my family).

 

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero ****If you haven’t read or listened to this book yet, PLEASE do. This is somewhere around the 10th time in the last year I have read/listened to it and it is SUCH a great book. Very influential mindset wise. I always get something new out of it each time.

A Date with the Goblins – Camping near Goblin Valley State Park

A Date with the Goblins – Camping near Goblin Valley State Park

Over the weekend, we decided that we would go camping near Goblin Valley State Park. We were a little delayed getting started as Austin didn’t end up getting off of a work until after 9. However since we figured he wouldn’t get off until around 6 we booked a hotel halfway to Goblin Valley in Price, UT so we wouldn’t be setting up late at night. This turned out to be a great move.

Camping in the actual park requires reservations but the BLM lands surrounding the park are available for camping for free. There were plenty of campsites that had fire rings already there. We were excited to find a great one.

Campsite in BLM lands
Campsite in BLM lands
Goblin Valley State Park
Dex playing at the campsite

After setting up we went into the park and went for a hike on the Carmel Canyon Trail. While on the trail, we ended up taking a detour to Goblin’s Lair and it was incredible. The detour Goblin’s Lair made the entire trip absolutely worthwhile. Here are some of the photos from the Carmel Canyon Trail.

Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Austin on the Carmel Canyon Trail
Austin on the Carmel Canyon Trail
View on the Carmel Canyon Trail
View on the Carmel Canyon Trail
View on the Carmel Canyon Trail
View on the Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Carmel Canyon Trail
Me on the Carmel Canyon Trail
Me on the Carmel Canyon Trail

Now for some Goblin’s Lair pictures…

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An attempted family photo
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Me & Dex… he wasn’t a fan of Goblin’s Lair
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A view of Goblin’s Lair

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img_20170304_141403996

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Another picture of Goblin’s Lair
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Austin inside Goblin’s Lair
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Austin & Dex
goblin-valley-11
Goblin’s Lair
goblin-valley-10
Me inside Goblin’s Lair
goblin-valley-9
Me inside Goblin’s Lair (again)
goblin-valley-6
I think you get the idea
goblin-valley-5
Austin decided to go all the way down. Here’s his view looking back up.
goblin-valley-1
One of several panoramic photos that Austin took of the view up into the top of Goblin’s Lair
goblin-valley-2
One of several panoramic photos that Austin took of the view up into the top of Goblin’s Lair
goblin-valley-3
One of several panoramic photos that Austin took of the view up into the top of Goblin’s Lair

Okay… clearly we were a bit obsessed. Seriously though, Goblin’s Lair made the whole trip to Goblin Valley State Park well worth it. If you happen to go there yourself, make SURE you take the detour to check this out.

Here’s the actual valley itself…

Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley
One of the Goblins
One of the Goblins
Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley
For some height perspective... Austin and Dex next to some Goblins... check out the wind blowing Dex's ears
For some height perspective… Austin and Dex next to some Goblins… check out the wind blowing Dex’s ears
Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley

Once we got back to the campsite however, things got a little dicey. The wind was picking up on our way off of the trail and once we got back to our campsite it was so windy we were almost surprised to still find the tent in place. It was the night of the Duke-Carolina game so we listened on satellite radio and waited for the wind to die down. It didn’t. We cooked on a propane grill and then settled in for a fairly sleepless night with the tent flapping all night. The wind got worse overnight so we packed up pretty early in the morning and headed back.

As we drove back to Salt Lake City, we noticed it was windy virtually the entire drive back and that night there was a massive front that came through with some inclement weather. I am not sure if Goblin Valley State Park is usually that windy or if it was an across-Utah front. I suspect the latter but don’t quote me on it. Overall… definitely interested in going back. There were some other trails just outside of the park that would be very fun to try out if Dex wasn’t with us (Little Wild Horse Canyon & Bell Canyon loop).

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 3 – Zion National Park

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 3 – Zion National Park

My last two posts were about the first portion of our family trip down to the Nationals Parks – Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Park. The final part was the grand finale – Zion National Park. Zion National Park is the most well-known national park in Utah, and it is a pretty incredible place. Instead of driving along the rim like you do at the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon, you drive IN the canyon and get to look up at the massive stone walls.

The most famous hikes in Zion National Park are Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. Both of these hikes are decently dangerous with Angel’s Landing having very steep drop-offs and chains to keep you steady and the Narrows with extreme flash flooding risks. That being said, for in-shape/avid hikers, those are both MUST hikes.

Since we were a little less aggressive, we opted for the East Rim Overlook Trail. This is a trail I had never been on before that still offered a fantastic view without the extremes of the hikes that I mentioned previously. It was not extremely steep, and therefore much more generous to my east-coast family.

Although we made this trip from Salt Lake City, Zion National Park is only 2.5 hours from Las Vegas and definitely a worthwhile, shorter-trip-than-visiting-the-Grand-Canyon adventure.

Here are some of the pictures from the hike!

 

Zion National Park
Walked under this massive rock along part of the trail.
Zion National Park
Here is my attempt at a panorama picture to demonstrate what it looked like under this rock.
Zion National Park
Walking along the edge…this is looking down.
Zion National Park
Christina on the trail.
Zion National Park
The view from the top.
Zion National Park
Another shot of the view from the top.
Zion National Park
Christina at the top.
Zion National Park
Mom & dad
Zion National Park
Dad showing off on the rocks.
Zion National Park
Me at the top.
Zion National Park
Christina at the top
Zion National Park
Yoga time!
Zion National Park
Christina at the top!
Zion National Park
Family photo 🙂

 

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

If you caught my last post, you know that my parents visited over President’s Day weekend and as they had already visited once before, they decided they wanted to see some parts of Utah besides just Salt Lake City and Park City. Therefore we decided to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks. We planned a nice little loop from Salt Lake City with the first stop being the closest national park – Capitol Reef. The next stop after that was Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is definitely more popular than Capitol Reef, but still not the most well-known national park in Utah. It is also significantly higher in elevation than Capitol Reef. Since our visit was in February, we caught it in the snow! It is truly a magical place in the snow. If you want to do some hiking in Bryce Canyon in the winter time (or ANYWHERE at a high elevation), you will definitely want to invest in some Kahtoola microspikes. These spikes attach to your hiking boots and will help substantially with your footing in the snow. As a side note, these are the exact spikes that I have and I highly recommend them. Many people go instead with Yaktrax, which are much less expensive but also not nearly as substantial. I have heard many reports of these breaking.

Here is a link to the Kahtoola microspikes:

Since the whole family was not equipped with these, we decided to pass on the hiking. However, I have done the Queens Garden trail twice which takes you down in the canyon so you can see it up close and personal. It is very beautiful!

Bryce Canyon is famous for the “hoodoos” which are beautiful rock formations. You can see a lot of these various formations in the pictures below.

 

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park

So this is part two of our weekend trip from Salt Lake City. Once again, if you missed part one, you can check it out here. Be on the lookout for part 3 coming soon.

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Weekend Trip From Salt Lake City to the National Parks – Part 1 – Capitol Reef

Weekend Trip From Salt Lake City to the National Parks – Part 1 – Capitol Reef

My parents visited over President’s Day weekend and as they had already visited once before, they decided they wanted to see some parts of Utah besides just Salt Lake City and Park City. Therefore we decided to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks. We planned a nice little loop from Salt Lake City with the first stop being the closest national park – Capitol Reef.

As a side note, you could spend a week in each national park in Utah and not see everything. This was more of a “let’s hit the highlights” type of trip – and one that my parents really enjoyed.

Capitol Reef is a little under 3.5 hours south of Salt Lake City. It is the least famous of the Utah National Parks making it extremely enjoyable all year around, even during “busy” season. The hiking trail we visited, Hickman Bridge, is one of the more popular choices. However we still only encountered 2 other groups while we were hiking – much less than during the spring, summer, and fall but it doesn’t seem to ever get really crowded.

The Hickman Bridge trail is about 2 miles long and 500 ft of elevation gain. Not much, but if you aren’t adjusted to the elevation it can be a little challenging. Be sure to bring water.

Hickman Bridge
Hickman Bridge
Christina and Mom under Hickman Bridge
Christina and Mom under Hickman Bridge
Dad under Hickman Bridge
Dad under Hickman Bridge
Family photo minus me
Family photo minus me
Let me take a selfie ;)
Let me take a selfie 😉
Ok let me take two selfies ;)
Ok let me take two selfies 😉
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
One of the "Capitols"
One of the “Capitols”

So to summarize, it is totally doable to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks and Capitol Reef will likely be your very first stop. Be on the lookout for the next two posts from the rest of our trip!

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie