When hiking in Vancouver’s North Shore mountains, I’m used to starting on steep uphills and being surrounded by thick forest. I’m not complaining, but once in awhile it’s nice to do a hike that is completely different from what’s in my backyard—I found it on the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. This 8 mile ( 12.9 km) trail starts at the canyon rim and descends into a wondrous, wide-open landscape of hoodoos, sinking ships, tower bridges, and Chinese walls. Continue reading
Part 2 of our extraordinary day at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona continues at White Pocket. If you missed Part 1, check out my post on South Coyote Buttes. I doubted that anything could match up to the geological wonders we saw at South Coyote Buttes. But then… there was White Pocket, another beautiful freak of nature. I’m really happy we saw both places on our combo excursion with Kanab-based Dreamland Safari Tours. I still can’t decide which one I liked better. Take a look… Continue reading
I got all excited about a hike called The Wave after reading about it on Another Walk in the Park. It turns out that getting a permit for the famous, much-photographed Wave in Coyote Buttes North is about as likely as getting struck by lightning (even mid-week in November). Luckily there is a so-called consolation prize—South Coyote Buttes. Permits are much easier to obtain but there is nothing “consolation” about this amazing hike. Located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, in remote northern Arizona, there was no way our Dodge Dart rental would’ve got us there. We hired Dreamland Safari Tours, out of Kanab Utah. Our day of exploring the stunning Navajo sandstone formations at South Coyote Buttes and White Pocket (next post) was the best of the best of our two weeks in Utah and Arizona. Continue reading
I was thrilled to be back in one of my all time favourite regions for incredible landscapes. Our two week circuit in southern Utah and northern Arizona included a national park trio I will never tire of visiting: Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Thanks to fellow blogger Meghan Another Walk in the Park, we also discovered off-the-beaten-path gems in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and overlooked beauties in Dixie National Forest. This post highlights the best of our hikes, ambles, and drives through the amazing scenery of the US Southwest. I forced myself to select one photo for each place—an image that reflects its essence (that was tough). In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more detailed posts, with lots of photos. Continue reading
Think Dr. Seuss meets the Flintstones— a magical, special place that brings a smile to your face and calm to your mind. That’s how I felt in Joshua Tree National Park. The enormous desert park in southeastern California has a large concentration of Joshua Trees. These whimsical, palm-tufted trees with branches outstretched in the oddest contortions are strewn among rock piles of precariously heaped boulders. For nature enthusiasts, hikers, and rock climbers, the park is a dream. We spent a day and a half sampling just a smidgen of park’s trails and viewpoints. Continue reading
I admit, I was a bit skeptical about Palm Springs. I had visions of golf courses, shopping, and old people (not that I’m a spring chicken). I had no idea that it has such great hiking. Since we were just passing through enroute to Joshua Tree National Park, we only had the chance to sample one amazing hiking area: Indian Canyons in the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, a 5 minute drive from downtown Palm Springs.
The Indian Canyons have miles of gorgeous desert trails to explore. Hikes range from easy strolls to strenuous all day affairs. Get your bearings at the Trading Post, at the Palm Canyon parking lot. You can pick up a map and speak to the helpful rangers who are happy to recommend trails that suit your interests, time, and fitness level. Continue reading
I rarely devote an entire post to a specific hotel, but I’ve just discovered one that deserves this special honour: The Orbit In, in Palm Springs, California.
The Orbit In is a small boutique hotel that has been lovingly restored to its original Mid-Century modern design. The minute you walk through the entrance gate, you are transported to another era and a place of soothing calm. The 9 rooms face an inner courtyard with a gleaming saline pool, retro sun umbrellas, and outdoor bar—a haven of clean lines and minimalist style, accentuated by the towering palms and monochromatic hues of the desert hills visible above the low profile building. Continue reading