Tag Archives: Photography

Utah Road Trip Diaries: Camping, Kayaking, and A Lot of Great Stuff in Moab

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After leaving Capitol Reef National Park, we stopped by a local restaurant at the intersection of two main highways that claimed to have some of the “best food” around. It was aiite (I guess their great personalities and effort make up for it). Outside on the patio, we ate our sandwiches and talked to two guys that were on a similar national parks road trip for the past few months. We were incredibly envious. They made it to the Grand Canyon too (my dad kept texting me fire updates and weather reports about Arizona, saying it was like 124 and 126 degrees out there, so we avoided that whole state in general). AND they actually saw bighorn sheep! One of the guys was like, “Yeah, he was a daddy sheep, looking at us all mean-like because he had a baby sheep behind him”. Sounded more like a protective bighorn mama sheep.

As we drove on we continued to see more signs saying “America’s Scenic Highways”. And goddamn, it was truethe land looked fucking AMAZING. Tall, brick-red and dark-colored rock formations surrounded the land around the road. It was almost unreal.

IMG_1581-155The only problem was that we had been going in the wrong direction for quite some time now (and we were almost out of gas, with no stations around for miles). We actually drove to the border of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (also near Natural Bridges) instead of going north towards Moab. We were so SAD to have to turn around (I’ve seen tons of photos of Glen Canyon in Backpacker magazine, and I have to say that it’s definitely a top priority on my next road trip. It looks stunning out there!)

It was so pretty, however, that we just had to get out of the car and take a shitload of photos…

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Utah Travel Diaries: Rocks and More Rocks at Capitol Reef National Park

The next morning we decided to do a few short hikes around Capitol Reef. Joy’s foot blisters still hadn’t healed, and we remained a bit drained from our hike through Escalante’s slot canyons just the day before. I wanted to check out the park’s famous Waterpocket Fold (it looks bananas from the brochure!) but I think that you can only access it by backpacking – or using a heavy-duty 4WD vehicle. We kept shouting excitedly as we drove around the park in the Highlander:

WATERPOCKET FOLD!!!

WATERFOLD POCKET!!!

WATERSHIP DOWN FOLD!!

FOLD THE WATER POCKET!!

POCKET WATERFOLD!!!!

From: http://jakeklim.blogspot.com/2010/06/under-suns-anvil.html

Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold. From: http://jakeklim.blogspot.com/2010/06/under-suns-anvil.html

One of the main short hikes that many visitors tend to love is the hike through the “Grand Wash” – just be careful of flash floods. They say that you should always check the weather reports the day before to see if there are any storms on the horizon. Even an inch of rain a mile away can turn into a devastating flood through a narrow canyon.

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Road Trip Diaries: From Escalante National Monument to Capitol Reef National Park: AKA, The Day We Met The Thirsty Spirit (Part II)

(Continued from my previous post about our trip through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)

After our fairly “exciting” adventures in the slot canyons, we said goodbye to Escalante and headed out on Highway 12 toward our next destination – Capitol Reef National Park. However, I had heard that the BLM campground at Calf Creek was pretty nice (it also contains the trailhead for the gorgeous-looking “Calf Creek Falls hike“), so we did a short pit stop to check it out.

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A site at Calf Creek campground

Oh man. It was pretty dope. The campground was small and so scenic. Almost every site was secluded and surrounded by trees and tall carved rocks. If you’re able to secure a spot (the campground seems to be pretty popular), that seems to be one of the best campsites to stay at in the Escalante area.

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Highway 12 to Capitol Reef

The sky darkened overhead as we tried to race toward our next destination before nightfall. As a light rain pelted our windshield, we watched as our surrounding scenery progressively changed around us. Instead of bare dry rock for as far as the eye could see, we were now surrounded by a mixture of tall dark pine and glowing white aspen trees along the highway. It was refreshing.

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As we began to approach the park, we could see tall, brightly colored rock formations rise up around us like sculpted rainbow mountains. I haven’t heard much about Capitol Reef, but it looks like a photographer’s playground…

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Utah’s Bryce Canyon: Winner of the “Most Out-Of-This-World Hike in a National Park” Award

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It’s still gorgeous: outside of Zion National Park

We could have definitely stayed at Zion for another week or so, but Joy and I were only at the beginning of our National Parks road trip – we had just a little over 3 weeks left. This is how awesome Zion is: we met two Canadian guys on the Zion shuttle back to our car who said that they had driven all the way from Vancouver to Utah, JUST to hike and backpack Zion National Park!! They only had like a week and a half for the entire trip, so they pretty much drove down for a few days, spent a few days in Zion, and turned around and went straight back to Canada. No other stops along the way.

P1100722-105As we made the drive towards Bryce Canyon National Park, we stopped to hit up a mini-mart to get some snacks for the road. The store carried hardcover Babysitters Club books and used leather cowboy boots! (the kid who worked the store said that the owner “was kinda weird” and liked to stock his store with interesting stuff). But we just bought drinks and sour straw candy. We on a budget, ya know.

babysitter club book

BABYSITTER CLUB BOOKS in hardback!!

It was about 5 pm and cloudy when we rolled into the park. The air was muggy but cool (much cooler than Zion), sunlight beamed around the clouds, and the land was beautiful. Mule deer and their babies ate peacefully along the sides of the road as we drove past them towards the hoodoos.

After the sun set, we drove around to secure a campsite. While you can crash the campsites (there’s a few in the park), the good camp sites aren’t guaranteed (many people, it seems, do make reservations in advance). We ended up driving to the North campground where we settled in a nice spot with a lot of space in the middle of a loop. Some sites on the edges of the campground however, have amazing views of the hoodoos from their “backyard”! There’s probably only a few of them, but STILL. That must have been an amazing experience.

The next day, however, made all our campsite-finding problems totally worth it…

Bryce Canyon

View from the overlook

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Realization: I should have said “F*CK a school loan” and became a travel photographer for a magazine instead

Sometime back in June,  Backpacker Magazine emailed me and asked me if they could use one of my photos from our Sykes Hot Springs backpacking trip (2012) for an article that they wrote about hiking to the springs. I was elated. This is my dream come true!!! I LOVE that magazine (during our summer of 2013 National Parks road trip, Joy and I kept a huge stack of Backpacker magazines in the side door of our car and consulted them every time we hit up a new park or wilderness area).

Then I realized: why the hell did I go back to school. I should have tried to get gigs doing camping and travel photography for magazines instead.

Joy's ass is famous

Joy’s ass is officially famous. It’s worth its weight in gold. Or maybe tin.

The grass is always greener however. Maybe I’ll save that career for another lifetime! Or maybe in another 5 years, we shall see…

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The Best of Peru: My Top 10 Places to Go and Things to Do

Since I only spent about three weeks in Peru total (including transportation time), these are just a few recommendations that I’ve been able to compile with my limited experiences there (I have a new rule now: minimum 1 month per country. If you haven’t done so before, travel abroad for a month or longer and you’ll see why…!)

In no particular order:

1. El Camino Inka to Machu Picchu

Experience some gorgeous and amazing (4 days of) hiking while learning more about Peru’s Incan history and their temples along the way. Just make sure to respect the environment as much as possible and take it all in as a spiritual journey too. (Warning: All fitness levels are allowed, but not all make it to the end. And altitude sickness is about genetics, not physical fitness!). While it can be tragically way too touristy at the “end”, (AKA Machu Picchu) the history there goes deep. Those stone stairs on the way there are pretty rough, though…

day 1

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Travel Diaries: The Top 10 Bad @ss Things About Bolivia

la paz

Before I made my plans to go to South America, I told my friend Darrell that I was planning to go to Peru, and then fly to Argentina to see Patagonia. I had no other plans to visit any other countries, because I only had two months.

“You have to do Bolivia”, he told me.

“Why?”

“Just because – it’s awesome.”

Yeah, Bolivia was AMAZING. I want to go back. I didn’t even make it to Argentina on this trip because I spent so much time there.

ANALOG GIRLS’ TOP 10 THINGS TO DO/SEE IN BOLIVIA: (Dedicated to all my good folks out there right now)

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Carnaval in Uyuni: Ninja Turtles, Vikings, and All-Day Water Balloon Fights

After we ended our four-day “Tupiza to the Salar de Uyuni” tour, the Swiss couple (that I met on the tour) accompanied me in search of a better hostel. We came across Hostal La Magia de Uyuni, a much more upscale place with great looking bedrooms and an excellent breakfast. It was pretty pricey though – as a budget traveler, I aim to pay less than $10 a night – $20 on special occasions. However, after 4 days with only one hot shower (not including the hot springs soak), I was looking forward to a quiet night’s rest in my own room. Unfortunately, an expensive room does not equate hot showers – I was shivering in (almost) lukewarm shower water that night (I think they didn’t have the water heater turned on at the time).

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One of my favorite things about Bolivia (and Peru) is the amazing festival music – a combination of triumphant-sounding horns and energetic drums. Everyone seems to have access to brass instruments and can form a marching band out here! While most people in Bolivia go to Oruro for Carnaval (where the big parade goes down), Uyuni was preparing for its own Carnaval parades that weekend. I don’t know what it’s like in Oruro, but I have to say that Uyuni’s Carnaval made me fall a little bit in love with this small city, and it’s awesome people.

Getting ready for the festivites in Uyuni

Getting ready for the festivities

Balloon and water pistol vendors

Balloon and water pistol vendors

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Ladies and Gentlemen: the Salar de Uyuni

Despite the heavy rains that had been plaguing southern Bolivia for a few weeks, by the time we got to the Salar de Uyuni, most of the rain water had cleared – except for a layer of water on the actual salt flats itself. Roads were now completely usable, and we had very few fears of our jeep getting stuck out on the cold Salar somewhere.

We awoke at 5 am to get going on the day. During our slow drive, we were greeted by an amazing sunrise that reflected like a mirror on the Salar’s watery surface:

Antes de la amanacer

Antes de la amanacer

Brilliant

Brilliant

Driving through the Salar's waters

Driving through the Salar’s waters

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