• Live On The Edge At Pedra Do Telégrafo

    Pedra do telegrofo!

    Pedra do telegrafo!

    Maybe you’ve seen this death defying pictures somewhere on your social media or other blog sites that you follow? Maybe you’ve thought, “OMG why are people so crazy? The likes aren’t worth it!” But what if I told you that the most dangerous part of these photos was the hike to get there… and also the dangers of losing your mind while waiting in line to get these pictures taken.

    pedra-2

    Alright. So Pedra Do Telegrafo is about a 30 – 40 minute drive outside of Copa Cabana. Now, the trick is knowing where in this tiny almost favela town, this mysterious rock is located. I will admit, I cheated a little bit. There was a local man with a motorcycle who informed me that he would take me and my friend on his motorcycle halfway up the mountain which would save us almost an hour and a half of uphill walking. Why would I accept a ride from a stranger? Well.. because my friend and I were not prepared and were not dressed nor equipped with the tools to go hiking. Aka.. proper shoes or water. So we took the ride up this bumpy mountainside then began to walk for another 40 minutes. I fell down a lot… got a lot of scratches… could hardly breathe and was insanely dehydrated by the time I got to the top but MAN!!! The view was phenomenal.

    The view from the edge of Pedra do telegrofo.

    The view from the edge of Pedra do telegrofo.

    You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the view because there will probably be a 2 hour wait to take the picture you climbed the mountain for. Yup. A line. A line so long that the weather actually transitioned from clear and sunny to cloudy and rainy. But the experience is fun nonetheless. Seeing other tourists who have traveled far and wide to take goofy looking photos.

    When the clouds rolled in

    When the clouds rolled in

    The final product is usually a million times worth it though. I will admit it gave my Facebook friends and MOM a serious shock. There will be people who know it’s all camera angles but, the photos will serve it’s purpose.

    Just be careful on your way down the mountainside. It’s still a tough walk and the round trip excursion can be classified as your day’s workout. Also, be careful when walking around the town. It’s not necessarily tourist friendly if you catch my drift. But it’s fine, you’ll have your “Living on the ledge” pictures to keep you company.

    The town I walked through after my hike to Pedra do telegrofo.

    The town I walked through after my hike to Pedra do telegrafo.

    This may have been one of the highlights of my trip if I do say so myself… aside from the Olympics of course.

    :P

    😛

  • Road To Rio – Summer Olympics 2016

    View of Rio from Sugar Loaf Mountain!

    View of Rio from Sugar Loaf Mountain!

    The Summer Olympics occurs once every four years, but for some, the chance to experience the Olympics (be it, as a spectator or athlete) may occur only once in a lifetime. With that said, I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend 10 days in Rio de Janeiro and watch some Olympic games. So strictly speaking, this post will be about my overall experience at the Rio Summer Olympics and popular questions I was asked upon my return. 🙂 Here we go!

    Was Rio ready?

    This was a popular question not only from my friends and family, but apparently, the media of the world. The general conclusion was that no, Rio, would not be ready. With that in mind, my expectations were very low. However, it seemed that Rio was as ready as the city could have been. The Olympic stadiums and the staff were organized and helpful, but the issues I ran in to were prior to entering the grounds. Issues such as no uber driver knowing the roads to the arenas and also the lack of food options at the Olympic parks. (I was real sick of burgers by the time i got home! grossss…) But from my Olympic research, it turns out that asking if the host city is ready, is a common occurrence. Unless the city is Tokyo… because those guys already seem ready.

    Some of the buildings in Rio. Beautiful color and fairly clean streets.

    Some of the buildings in Rio. Beautiful color and fairly clean streets.

    Was Rio safe?

    Yes, I thought so. But of course that comes with the disclaimer that you should still not go down sketch alleys and ideally stay near the tourist locations. There was security everywhere (because of the Olympics). When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Olympic stadiums, near the boardwalks, on street corners. The military police were intimidating at face value but very approachable. I can’t speak to how Rio is on a regular basis, but in my experience, I have been to far shadier places.

    Hanging out with some Military Police at the Christ the Redeemer statue!

    Hanging out with some Military Police at the Christ the Redeemer statue!

    What games did you see?

    A little of everything! Women’s medal matches for Football and Volleyball. A Gymnastics gala. Women’s basketball. But my favorite were the Athletics sports. Athletics included Relay Races, (where I saw Women’s USA get screwed by Brazil and then ran alone later on), watched Usain Bolt SPEED past his competition and also found a new respect for the men’s Decathlon. I do wish I had a chance to see men’s basketball and of course watch Michael Phelps swim, but I know damn well that any event was a once in a lifetime experience. No one really cheered for the USA, but the feeling you get when you see the USA flag in 1st place and when you hear the National Anthem play is priceless.

    Front Row at the Women's Gold Medal Football match!

    Front Row at the Women’s Gold Medal Football match!

    How did you get around?

    Uber. More Uber. Lastly, Uber. That’s how I preferred to get around, but of course there were other options. There’s a metro and the public bus system, but Uber was the easiest option. It would take you closer to the Olympic drop off points. (With the exception for the two times I hitchiked.. once up a mountain on a motorcycle and the other while trying to get back to civilization from a gorgeous beach. But more on that later.) Uber is also a great way to flex your trust muscles. By trust muscles, I mean… you don’t know what real trust is until you fall asleep in someone’s Uber car during a 2 hour ride and you wake up in front of your apartment and not in a dark ditch. 🙂

    Would you do it again?

    I would absolutely do the Olympics again in a heart beat. Either the Winter or Summer games. However, I don’t believe I have a desire to return to Rio. I loved being able to experience the city and explore the sites, you’ll see some incredible pictures I’ve captured! But the truth is, Rio didn’t capture my heart the way other destinations have and we all know that life is too short to revisit a place you didn’t love when there is the whole wide world in front of you!

    Peace out Rio~ Sitting 4th row back at 2 days of Athletics!

    Peace out Rio~ Sitting 4th row back at 2 days of Athletics!

  • First Time Rafting The Pacuare River

    Costa Rica Pacuare 3

    I’ve been to tropical places before, but spending time on the Pacuare River in the middle of a Costa Rican rainforest, was the most isolated I’ve been in the jungle. To give you an idea of my location, their disclaimer said it would take “help” about 3 hours to get to you, should you need emergency assistance. I guess that’s what happens when you drive 4 hours from a major city and begin to raft down 14 miles of river.

    Before I talk about my exciting, first time ever rafting experience.. let me get something out of the way. I did not like my tour guide :(. He was a little extreme in terms of “perfect rafting form” and it took away from my fun a little bit. I understand that rafting is dangerous and everyone needs to be putting in their best effort, but yelling at someone brand new and basically telling them they are terrible at rafting and they just need to move to the back isn’t really the most positive experience to have. HOWEVER. I try to be easy going and didn’t let it get to me too much. I omly mention it here so that others are aware that rafting can be seen as no joke by some people and to know that sometimes, tour guides suck. End of story. 🙂 Alright! Moving on!

    Pacuare River takes about 4 hours to arrive to, coming from San Jose. The drive is beautiful though! You pass some rad river flows from a near by volcano (when I went, the two rivers were actually two completely different colors!!!) and you drive through gorgeous hillsides that make you feel like time has momentarily gone back 40 years.

    Hillside on the way to rafting.

    Hillside on the way to rafting.

    Once you get allllllllll your gear on and actually begin the rafting itself you realize very quickly that rafting is one hell of a work out. It works your legs, arms, core, back and mind. Take that with a grain of salt when deciding if this is an activity for you. But trust me, no pain no gain because it was the experience of a lifetime!

    Riding the rapids felt like a roller coaster, then jumping off the raft in to the cool water felt like a scene out of the Jungle Book. There are usually many other rafts and tourists with you during these excursions, so you won’t feel alone with nature, but if you can tune them out and focus on yourself in that moment, you will remember it forever.

    I can’t wait for another rafting adventure and even though I have nothing to compare it to just  yet, I know Costa Rica has set the bar very high and I hope everyone gets a chance to experience the Pacuare River the way I did!

    View of twin rivers on the way back.

    View of twin rivers on the way back.

     

  • What To Know When Going To Manuel Antonio

    Walk through the Cloud Forest (cloudy rainforest) to get to the beach of Manuel Antonio.

    Walk through the Cloud Forest (cloudy rainforest) to get to the beach of Manuel Antonio.

    Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s National Parks. Word of mouth and a few helpful forums told me this was the place to go to experience the beach life of Costa Rica. I don’t want to say they were wrong, but I do want to say to take it with a grain of salt. By that I don’t mean it was terrible! All I mean is be prepared!

    The idea of going to the beach from San Jose is all too tempting. I didn’t realize that 2.5 hours per google maps actually meant 3.5 – 4 hours in Costa Rica. The laid back attitude and traffic will delay your journey. A day trip may not be in your best interest if you are on a time crunch. Be ready to leave early in the morning and arrive late at night if traveling from San Jose to Manuel Antonio.

    We made a stop to see some crocodiles.

    We made a stop to see some crocodiles.

    Closer image of the crocodiles. There were so many!

    Closer image of the crocodiles. There were so many!

    So when you finally arrive, let me talk about the humidity… again. I know. But of course the humidity is ampliphied by the proximity of the beach. Of course wear appropriate clothes, but mostly, be aware of the humidity because you may find it hard to breathe. The walk from the entrance to the beach is steep in both directions, and like me, you may have a difficulty breathing due to a heart problem or asthma, etc. Bring plenty of water to keep yourself cool.

    Walking through the rainforest of Manuel Antonio.

    Walking through the rainforest of Manuel Antonio.

    You are walking through an actual rainforest, or cloud forest as they are called in Costa Rica. That means there are animals everywhere! Monkeys, birds, deer, moths, sloths, and mosquitoes! These animals will want to come to you… I don’t just mean the cute monkeys. I also mean the mosquitoes. Wear bug spray, but put it on BEFORE you get in to the park. They are very protective of their wildlife and park rangers will frown upon you launching bug spray in to the air. I’m warning you. The beautiful rainforest demands blood for you to pass through it.

    So many monkeys! Almost as many as there are bugs.

    So many monkeys! Almost as many as there are bugs.

    There are SO MANY PEOPLE. It is not only a popular tourist destination for foreigners, but for Costa Ricans alike. This is not the park to have a secluded moment on the beach… UNLESS… you are brave and willing to wonder off from the pack, like I was. I found a little cove at the far end of the beach where there was no one! Even though I was only a 10 minute walk from the masses, it was a welcomed break from the crowds.

    Found my little peace of quiet in Manuel Antonio

    Found my little peace of quiet in Manuel Antonio

    Speaking of the beaches, Manuel Antonio beach is beautiful and makes for some great photo ops, but it’s a rocky beach and difficult to get in the water if you have sensitive feet. I know Costa Rica is known to have some of the MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!! But… I would say this one was only super nice. I know I can’t judge the whole country based off of one beach, but I’m just saying. Maybe it was also the cloudy weather? I guess I may never know… unless I go back of course.

    After your time spent in Manuel Antonio, prepare for the trek back to the entrance. It’s exhausting and you think you’re never going to make it, but just remember, there’s cold coconut water and beer at the end of the rainforest. Cheers.

    Imperial Beer after a day at the Manuel Antonio Beach

    Imperial Beer after a day at the Manuel Antonio Beach

  • Things To Know When Visiting Costa Rica

    Hanging out on the beach at Manuel Antonio! The humidit was intense.

    Hanging out on the beach at Manuel Antonio! The humidit was intense.


    It rains and it’s humid. Like REALLY humid.

    I know Costa Rica rains.. hence their rainforests. I did not know that it rained so much too the point where I don’t remember being completely dry. My hair… my skin… my clothes.. EVERYTHING was moist the whole week I was there. I’ve been in humidity, but sometimes I forget how sticky it can be. My recommendation is DO NOT where form fitting shorts, because you WILL have a terrible time trying to put them back on once the humidity has kicked in.

    They take USD

    No need to change your USD currency if you will be visitng popular tourist destinations. $1 was equal to $500 Colones when I was there. Fairly straight forward to buy items, your change will just come back to you in Colones. I personally still enjoy changing my currency. I like to think it makes me look more local.

    One of my favorite looking buildings in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    One of my favorite looking buildings in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    It’s not as cheap as you think it would be

    Speaking of money… be warned.. Costa Rica is not a budget traveker’s paradise. Sure you can buy a meal for about $5 – $8 bucks at a local Soda (small hole in the wall spot). The downside to Sodas is that they are not commonly located in the capital. In the capital, where I stayed, the prices were equivaletn to the United States. Sometimes I would catch a break and buy street empanadas or meat on a stick for a low cost, but that was only sometimes. The hotels, transportation and tours were all still relatively pricey. Not a bad thing, but just something to be aware of.

    The Capital (San Jose) is pretty centrally located. Centrally FAR.

    I wish I had time to bum around on a small beach town, but alas, I only had 1 week. Instead of being isolated on a beautiful beach, I opted to see as much of the country as I possibly could in a short amount of time. I chose to stay in San Jose which was centrally located to the sites I wanted to see. Now, if you want to follow in my foot steps, I must warn you that just because it was central, doesn’t mean it was close to anything. San Jose was roughly 2 hours away from anything of natural beauty. It’s a sweet location for some people, but I know all that travel time is not ideal for all. I personally enjoyed it.

    San Jose is the red dot. We went to North to Arenal, South West to Manuel Antonio and East to Pacuare.

    San Jose is the red dot. We went to North to Arenal, South West to Manuel Antonio and East to Pacuare.

    Bring Bug Spray and Sunblock

    I don’t get bug bites and sun burns are a foreign concept to me… but my best friend was with me and ended up with about 25 bug bites and some gorgeous looking sun burns. In fairness, I used sunblock too. But not because I burn, but because I don’t want cancer.

    You need to like animals

    Costa Rica is full of wild animals who have integrated their natural habitat to that of their surroundings. For the most part, they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. As a matter of fact, the locals don’t like you bothering them, so don’t. But if you’re calm and steady, you can see some real gems! You have more luck seeing animals when near the rainforest versus the city. For example, I saw the most animals when I was hiking through Manuel Antonio, their National Park and also Pacuare River when I was river rafting. Some animals I saw are pictured below! (But I definitely saw more than what is pictured.)

    It's a sloth in a tree!

    It’s a sloth in a tree!


    A deer! A female! Ray... a drop of golden sun...

    A deer! A female! Ray… a drop of golden sun…


    It's Marcel from Friends!

    It’s Marcel from Friends!

    Pura Vida

    Last but not least, be ready to learn the Pura Vida lifestyle! Pura Vida is a saying meaning Pure Life, but it really means anything positive. It means, have a nice day, thank you, you’re amazing, enjoy your stay, have a great life, best wishes, cheers, you’re a rock star… you get the deal? The Costa Rican people are happy and kind and you’ll have the best experience possible if you let their lifestyle find a place in your heart too.

    PURA VIDA!

    Pura Vida it up at Manuel Antonio

    Pura Vida it up at Manuel Antonio

  • Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    The sun is starting to shine again in Las Vegas, while I know most of the United States has some snow falling to the ground. However, just because Las Vegas is on the verge of a heat wave doesn’t mean all of Nevada is warming up. Just under 2 hours north is Cathedral Gorge State Park. Now, Cathedral Gorge is usually very dry and is colored red and pink from the ground to the top of the rocky peaks. It also usually features some slot canyons that are ideal for exploring and hiding from the sun. HOWEVER…. I didn’t know that in the winter there it snows… a lot. This wouldn’t sound like such a crazy idea… (snow.. in the winter?? Who would have thought?!) except for the fact that it only snows in southern Nevada maybe… once every two years if we are lucky. So I was shocked to think that a place like Cathedral Gorge, that didn’t feel much higher in elevation had their ground completely covered in the white stuff.

    The drive out of Las Vegas to Cathedral Gorge is easy enough. You drive north. Simple. I noticed on the drive there that there weren’t many people heading the same way. That was totally cool with me since I love an open road and less people in my photographs. Also fun perk, I can take all my middle of the road photos that I love so much! See below to know what I mean. 😉

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    The drive takes you through so many small towns and I loved it!! And when I mean small towns.. I mean if you blinked or sneezed, you would miss it. However, the snow made it look lost in time and I love moments like that. My favorite part was the park… .no soul around to show you someone was there except for tiny foot prints.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    After you soak in the small town liife, you will finally find a small sign that directs you to Cathedral Gorge State Park.

    So… I mentioned snow earlier… well at the park there was so much snow we couldn’t get much further than a mile within the entrance because we lacked snow chains and wanted to err on the side of caution since it’s been over an hour since we located another human.

    Cathedral Gorge 3

    It was of course a bummer we could not explore further in to the park… it was another bummer that the snow was so deep I couldn’t get to the slot canyons!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I was highly disappointed that I came all that way and couldn’t even snap a good instagram pic. BUT that was all left at the wayside when I stopped to apprciate the beauty of the snow and the quiet of my surroundings. The white snow looked exceptionally white against the pink rocks and the snow was undisturbed with the exception of bunny snowprints. <3 … oh and my phone marks in the snow as I tried to set up my camera phone for a photo… and then I failed. But I think it still turned ok…

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    After some time of trying to walk through the snow and taking tons of fun photos, it was time to move on. I didn’t want to get caught in the snow in the dark… the drive home was just as lovely and allowed the opportunity to stop next to some lakes for a snack.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    Overall, even though I did not have a chance to hike the area as much as I would like to, I think seeing it in such a way that can only be described as rare made the day completely worth it. Sometimes magical things happen when nothing goes as planned.

  • 10 Things Only Travel Can Give You This Christmas

    Many people buy their Christmas gifts from Amazon or their local retailer, but this year I’ve realized the best gifts come from travel. Actually, there are some things ONLY travel can give you this Christmas. The gifts are not only one of a kind but truly beautiful to behold. The list can go on forever, but let’s focus on 10 of the,.

    10. Sense of Wonder

    Every time I visit some place new, I don’t just check an item off my bucket list, it means I have room to add even more. The world never ceases to amaze me. Traveling shows you just how little you actually know and how much more there is to learn. Travel ensures you never become an expert in anything.

    LOGO

    9. Problem Solving Skills

    No trip goes completely as planned. Things happen, or things don’t happen. Either way, YOU NEED TO FIGURE IT OUT. You have no choice and in a way, that’s the best part. You are forced to learn and those problem solving skills are totally transferable in the rest of your life.

    8. Tolerance & Understanding

    When you travel, you are exposed to many new people, places and the cultures that go with it. Usually, no place is like home and it gives you a peak in to the rest of the world.. The more you travel the more open minded you become. When you are out in the world you are usually the outsider in a new place hoping the locals will tolerate and understand you, and the role reversal is something that stays with you when you return home.

    7. Stronger Sense of Self

    You need to know who you are when you are with people who know nothing about you. They can’t tell you who you are, it is up to you to decide who that person is. Traveling has made me personally so much stronger in spirit and mind. It’s also given me so much confidence because I know I can trust myself and I can do anything I put my mind to without the help of the crutches of my daily life and resources.

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    6. Stronger Bonds With Friends

    As I just mentioned, traveling strengthens the relationship you have with yourself, but it also solidifies those with you y=travel companions. I think  my best friends are those I travel with. Those are the people who you know will stick with you through thick or thin, when plans don’t go your way. Travel gives you shared memories that will never go away.

    5. A Break From Routine

    Routine can get dull… fast. Travel is not routine. Even if you feel like you travel often and “do the same things in different places” my response to that is, do you really though? The answer is no. A break from routine can be such a breath of fresh air that can give life to your real life.

    Street BBQ

    4. Bragging Rights

    Let’s be real for a moment. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE loves to tell people the cool places they’ve been, the sweet things they have done and how badass their life is. Trust me. I mean EVERYONE. You know what that is called? Bragging rights. You know what travel gives you in spades? Bragging rights. Paris? Yeah I’ve been there. The Grand Canyon? Like five times! London? I lived there. Beaches in the Philippines? Of course, I winter there. …. See what I mean? Pretty cool right?

    3. Appreciation of Daily Necessities

    If you ever explore outside of the USA (since that is where I live) you will realize how good you have it here. (In fairness, it’s pretty good in Europe too) but I mean to Southeast Asia… or South America… many of these places don’t have the luxuries that I have at home. Running water, a great bathroom, air conditioning or a heater. Things I took for granted once upon a time, I no longer do. You can often find me in the shower saying “Man, I love running hot water.”

    2. Finding Happiness at Home

    Seeing the world is amazing, but so is coming home. Every time I leave Las Vegas and find my way back, I think I love home a little more. I love it because it does not trap me. Travel has made me realize that although there is only one place on my address, I can be a citizen of the world. However, just like the saying goes, if you love something, set it free, If it comes back it is mean to be. Well I keep finding myself back in Las Vegas and travel has made me OK with calling it home.

    Home Sweet Home

    Home Sweet Home

    1. Inner Peace

    Everything listed above, all combined gives me the greatest gift of all… inner peace. I am so happy and thankful for everything I am able to do and see in the world and experience at home. Travel has given me a chance to slowly ensure I don’t live with regrets and honestly, what is better than that?

     

    Meditating on a Philippine Beach

    Meditating on a Philippine Beach

    Go forth! Travel and receives the best gifts that it has to offer you!

  • Canyon Dreaming at the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon many times but I have decided that Maverick Airline’s Canyon Dream is the BEST way to see one of the natural wonders of the world. What is it? Why is it awesome? Three words. Airplanes and helicopters!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Leaving from Las Vegas, you board a Beechcraft 1900D. It’s a small 18 seat plane that will get you to the Grand Canyon National Park in a mere 50 minutes. That means it just saved you 3 hours of your life. If that doesn’t sound like arriving in style to you… then I don’t want to be your travel buddy! All that extra time you save can be put to excellent use by exploring the park upon arrival. Now, the Canyon Dream isn’t ideal for hiking since you are scheduled to ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon!!!

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The airplane is nice and pretty fun but the helicopter is the peak of the tour. You fly for about 30 minutes over both the South and North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Honestly, you of course see the canyon at the edge of the viewing stations and you can experience the depth by hiking in to it through trails… but you get to see parts of the canyon that are only visible by air. Nothing beats the views of the canyon from a helicopter.

    Canyon Dream 7

    The Colorado River looking muddy after heavy rain fall.

    The ride gives you a true appreciation for how large the canyon is and how much character it has. You see the winding rivers, changing colors in the rock (you even see the second oldest piece of exposed earth!!!) and the difference between the South Rim and the North Rim of the canyon.

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The North Rim in itself is a big deal to see. It’s much more difficult to drive too and is only open during part of the year. The higher elevation of the North Rim creates more vegetation and a truly beautiful view to see from above. Not only is the scenery during the ride breathtaking but it’s just fun. If you like roller coasters and thrills or a general fan of trying something new, the helicopter ride is so for you!

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    After all the excitement of the bird’s eye view of Grand Canyon, you hop back into the trusty Beechcraft and jet back home. Be sure to look out the window so you can see the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas as you fly in. That is, if you are not exhausted. Otherwise, the seats are at least comfortable enough to sneak in a good nap.

    Canyon Dream 5

    Views of Lake Mead from the Beechraft Plane

    Have I convinced you to jump on the next open seat for Canyon Dream yet? I hope so! Because it truly is an awesome experience. If you are NOT in the Las Vegas area but I have sparked your interest, at the Grand Canyon you can book a helicopter ride separately with Maverick Helicopters right next to the National Park. It can’t get more simple!

    So tell me, have you ever been on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or any other remarkable views? How did you like it? Leave me a comment and maybe you will inspire my next flight!

  • Mesa Verde Colorado

    Mesa Verde 6

    On my road trip to the Four Corners and Monument Valley, my friend and I thought it would be fun to stay the night in Colorado. We chose the small town of Cortez, Colorado. Upon check in, we were informed almost the whole town was sold out! It was shocking and asked why, to which I was told “Mesa Verde.” What is that, I wondered? Well! It’s another National Park! If you have been reading my blog, you know me and my National Parks.

    Mesa Verde 3

    Mesa Verde is home to some of the best Ancestral Pueblos in the United States. Now, to be honest, I did not get a chance to spend much time at all in Mesa Verde. Just about an hour and a half to ball park it. It was enough time to see the pueblo known as Step House. The pueblos are located by access of a downhill trail, that will take about 10 minutes to walk down and 15 minutes to walk up. The pueblos were interesting to see. I don’t think I have ever been as close to an actual archaeological site. Pretty neat to see. I wish I could have spent more time there! Maybe next time.

    Mesa Verde 5

    Since Mesa Verde is up high in the mountain and hills of Cortez, it did offer some beautiful view points that were just a quick hike from the parking areas. The height of the park serves as an excellent vantage point.

    Mesa Verde

    The views were so lovely and the fresh air made it that much more enjoyable. On my way out of the park, I also had to stop and take some pictures near their field of burned trees. It was too beautiful not to! The contrast of the sky and earth were perfect. It was a delightful ending to a quick visit.

    Mesa Verde 2

    If you have been to Mesa Verde, let me know what else I missed out on and if I should go back. 🙂 I’m just happy I spent SOME time in Colorado.

    Mesa Verde 4

  • Monument Valley

    Forrest Gump sign at Monument Valley

    Forrest Gump sign at Monument Valley

    I enjoy visiting cities and places that I’ve seen in movies and television. Monument Valley is the location for one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies… Forrest Gump. If you’ve seen the movie, the pictures should all make sense to you! If you haven’t, I suggest you watch it ASAP. There is a part in the movie where Forrest runs across the country and then comes to a sudden stop, right here. He looks at the crowd and says “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.” Simple, funny and powerful. I adore that part in the movie and I was willing to make the 4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas to see it.

    View of Monument Valley from the Navajo Park

    View of Monument Valley from the Navajo Park

    Located near the border of Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley is on Navajo land. There is a Navajo park close by where you can see some of the rock formations up close. I accidentally ended up inside of one, thinking that’s where the Forrest Gump spot was. I was wrong. However, the $10 was still worth it to see some of the sights. If you have more time than I did, they also offer tours (for an additional fee I’m sure.)

    I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now. - Forrest Gump (Monument Valley)

    I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now. – Forrest Gump (Monument Valley)

    My priority was Forrest Gump. I learned it is located near markers 13 and 14 on Highway 163. If you are driving AWAY from the monuments, you will miss it. I did. The easiest way to find the exact location is to drive towards them and get a feel for the view you are looking for. There is a pull out near 14 and if you look to your left… you will know you are in the right spot. The view will look perfect but this cute sign will let you know you are right!

    Me and the coolest roadside sign.

    Me and the coolest roadside sign.

    Finding this sign made it all worthwhile. I almost gave up when I was first driving and missed the marker. I am so happy I turned around and tried to look for it one more time. If you blink, you will miss it on the road. There were no other tourists there when my friend and I found it, but as soon as we pulled over and began to take pictures, I think they knew what we were doing. If you can’t find the sign on your own, keep driving in the general area until you see cars pulled over. Just don’t give up! The sign is there! Just be careful when recreating your Forrest Gump pictures. Cars drive about 90MPH on the road. Stay safe and have fun! I know I did.