We arrived in the Monument Valley area at night time, only perceiving dark shapes in the horizon. We picked the closest campground in Gouldings in order to catch Monument Valley at sunrise. Waking up at 6 was really hard. As we drove out of Gouldings, Steph suddenly screamed and pulled at the side of the road by a trailer that read “Breakfast Burritos”. Of course! Honestly, it was probably the BEST breakfast of the trip: a HUGE burrito of thick tortilla filled with a potato omelet, two eggs and bacon. Plus spicy sauce for the crazy ones (=Steph.)
We then arrived at the visitor centre of Monument Valley and accepted the fee of $20 to drive through the monuments. After all, we weren’t going to be here everyday! We took the dirt road that loops around the famous rock formations immersing ourselves in the Western feeling of the park. Driving through the orange colours of the desert under a warm sun completely immersed us in the Western environment. But something was missing. As soon as we spotted horses by the side of the road, we knew what it was. If we were going to play our own John Wayne movie, we had to gallop through the valley! We therefore agreed to go on a little horse riding tour with one of the locals. It was so much fun to move through the valley on horses and even though it had been a while since we’d done it, Steph and I picked it up quickly! Plus, he got the white horse named Mustang, it helped a lot. He would gallop in front and yell “Yihaaaa!” Our guide was also very nice, though his thing was to gallop sideways and lose his hat every time – we would find out later why.
As we got back to the ranch, he and his friend asked if we could give them a ride as we had to go to the visitor centre to the ATM to be able to pay them for the ride. We explained that we only had 2 seats in front as it was a bed behind. But they were done with their day of work as it was veterans day and they were going to have to leave anyway. So they both got in the front next to Steph (picture two big guys on the passenger’s seat) while I sat on the bed at the back. Now this was a pretty insane couple of minutes to the visitor centre, and when we realized both were completely drunk! They would ask: “So where are you from?” and a minute later ask it again. I was at the back and they kept on moving, I was wondering what the hell they were doing. In all honesty I was a little worried! As we stepped out of the car at the visitor centre, Steph told me they were trying to “discreetly” pass each other a huge bottle of beer. Riiiiight. After Steph had to drive to Gouldings and back to an ATM since both of the ones at the Visitor Centre were out of service (wtf?), he payed them while they attempted to negotiate between themselves who would get what percentage. After a good laugh about it, we went back down the dirt road to take some touristy pictures of the three famous monuments before heading out.
Monument Valley was definitely one of the top stops on our trip, both for the amazing views as for the crazy experience. And to finish it beautifully, as we drove on the scenic road with the skyline of the rock formations at the back, we stopped to longboard down the empty and incredible road. PERFECT!
We drove to Grand Canyon at night time in order to be ready to visit early in the morning. The road was completely empty except for deers… So in an unlit road at night, we were carefully scrutinizing the road to check for animals crossing the way. Even in the dark, the canyon revealed itself by the side of the road, thanks to a strong moonlight. As we reached the first viewpoint, we stepped out and almost flew away with the crazy wind! Still, Steph braved the elements to find the tripod and take a night shot of the canyon under the stars.
We found a great campground in the forest and allowed ourselves to have a well deserved good night’s sleep with no alarm clock! In the morning, after struggling to make breakfast with such wind – picture glasses and bread spreads flying away – we passed by a deer on our way out. We might get used to this! We then chose the bus loop we’d go for. Yes, we were surprised to learn that we couldn’t simply drive or walk wherever we wanted. We had to park and then take the free shuttle towards different viewpoints. A bit of a disappointment to learn that after November 28th all roads would open and people wouldn’t need to take the bus. So close! We did the red loop, the Hermit’s Rest route. We stopped a the first viewpoint and walked towards the next few while contemplating the depth and size of the canyon, fighting the wind and getting some fun shots! The entire loop made it clearer and clearer just how gigantic and imposing the famous Grand Canyon is.
Oddly enough, we hadn’t even planned on making a stop there. But after hearing a bunch of people mention Horseshoe Bend that morning at Antelope Canyon, we thought we ought to go take a look! And thank god we did!
The best word to describe it? IMPRESSIVE! We walked for a mile to discover the gigantic rock in the middle of the canyon surrounded by a halo of turquoise water. All the more impressive was just the steepness of the cliffs we stood on. Nature once again reminded us how little we are and capturing the scene from such heights and posing so close to the edge was a little stressful… But absolutely thrilling!
After yet another night on a Walmart parking lot (hey, it’s free!) we made it to Zion National Park on a Saturday morning. It was probably not the best idea to do it on a weekend, but something had to fall on a weekend at some point.
Based on friends’s advice we decided to take the Angel’s Landing hike to the summit of the canyon. Classified as a strenuous hike guys! It was really cool, with lots of steep and narrow ways up top, bringing quite the aerial experience! There were chains to hold on to and steep cliffs right by us. It was quite exhausting and painfully reminded us that we’re not on the best diet for exercise… But reaching a breathtaking 360 view at the top made it absolutely worth it! I even managed to hurt myself, “falling like a baby goat trying to walk for the first time” according to Steph.
All in all, we had no idea why to expect and were offered a truly scenic 4 hour hike that was absolutely amazing and truly deserved its name: Angel’s Landing. If you’re in the area, this is where you want to go. Except if you’re afraid of heights, we did see some people crawling on the floor at the beginning – don’t think it they made it too far!
Though we didn’t stay too long on this beach (you know: no waves, no surf, no Steph), it was definitely worth the detour. We landed there while driving on the scenic roads along the ocean around Eureka. A bit of a steep walk down to land on a stunning beach, just enough to make sure it doesn’t get crowded and offers quite the view!
Driving down the Californian Coast while searching for hidden surf spots can bring a few unique surprises. One of them was the appearance of a magnificent elk as we reached Stone Lagoon. In a magical and fairytale inspiring landscape, the animal and his herd made their way towards the lagoon, passing right in front of the car. We quietly watched them up close completely amazed as the elk observed us in return, protecting his own. We knew we absolutely loved the majestic appeal of the animal, especially at a time where elk and deer designs and patterns are so popular, but seeing one up close was a revelation! Some tattoo ideas reaching the surface? Only time will tell.
As you can tell from our previous post, we almost set camp in the Umpqua Hot Springs to live there as hippies forever. But then lucky for you we thought we’d continue our road trip first – I mean, who knows what Hot Springs Yosemite is hiding huh?
So basically we got to Crater Lake a little later than we should have and missed the sun. Nevertheless, we still got to be impressed by this giant volcanic bowl of very still and very blue water, as well as the little Wizard Island in the middle that has its own little crater (The Witch’s Cauldron). Incredible to think this has existed for over 8000 years, since Mount Mazama erupted. And in case the photos don’t make it clear, it was freezing up there! One of the most windy spots ever.
We took the scenic drive around the Crater to view it from different perspectives and catch some rays of sun between the clouds, before heading back to civilization. As we drove down, we even got to catch a beautiful Vanilla Sky-like sunset.
We continued down the Oregon coast towards Pacific City (very fitting name). After a quick stop in Tillamook for some free cheese samples at the visitor centre, we were in this tiny town. It basically consists in one street, the ocean, a sea stack and a sand dune. So we kicked off our shoes and climbed up the sand dune for a pretty good work out. At the very top we got to enjoy a perfect end of the day sunlight so we spent most of our time exploring it and shooting videos. But even better, we got to run down the dune and roll over. Totally worth it!
The following day, Steph went for surf session in the freezing water while I treated myself to a delicious Chai Latte to continue reading my book #GirlBoss (Thanks Stephanie!) A few hours later, we were on the road towards hipster land, I mean Portland.
Welcome to Oregon! After a night in a ridiculously expensive campground in Seaside, we headed to Ecola Park, just North of Cannon Beach. This lovely place offers a great view of Cannon Beach and the giant sea stacks sticking out of the ocean. Those vertical rock formations are really what makes the Oregon Coast so unique. Dispersed through clouds, fog and agitated waves, they truly create a unique Lord of the Rings like atmosphere.
Then, Indian Beach is a small and wild beach within the park. A great place to watch waves and run after seagulls.