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My First Post

Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.

β€” Ibn Battuta.

This is my first ever post on my blog. Jotting down what I saw in my trips. You will get to see some nice photos/moments captured by my dad. Keep reading!!

A trip to US West – Day 12

July 15, 2019

To start our journey to the Valley of Fire state park, we ate our breakfast in quite a hurry. This was because the temperature outside will be hot at noon so we decided to go early. It is the first and oldest of Nevada’s state park. The short trip took about 1 hour. The National Park pass we bought from the White sand national park did not work for the Valley of Fire Park because it is a state park.

The park got it’s name from red sandstone formation named the Aztec Sandstone, which formed from shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago/Jurassic era. It’s the main attraction of the park, because the sandstone looks like it is on fire when the sun’s light is reflected.

The park has a warm and dry climate, and while we were there, the temperature was around 110F, which made us tired, sticky, hot and hungry. I still remember the heat like it was yesterday.

We took a photo of me in front of the park entrance.

Our first destination was the Beehives. Like the names suggest, they actually look like beehives with one “big” difference, these beehives are really big.

Beehive

Then we went to the Atlatl Rock. Before this point there was another one called Fire Cave and Wind-stone Arch but we missed both of them. My mom and sister stayed inside the car because it was too hot outside. There are stairs to help you climb up, but it seemed that we did not need them to get on top because there is another set of stairs already, that look old like the American Indians made them. On the top, there are paintings that strangely looked like “dinosaur” but faded. Maybe “dinosaur” still lived at that time but only God knows. Also there were some perfect circles that resembled “sci-fi portals”. To sum it up the Atlatl Rock point was AMAZING!!!!

Then we heard that there was an arch named arch rock. I found out that it is also hard to put in the sentence before ;). We just passed by and looked at it, and could not take a photo. We turned around and headed to the point called Seven Sisters and had our lunch.

Then we set out to the visitor center to get more info and to find a restroom. Inside there was petrified trees and some history of how the canyon was formed also with the history of the ancient Indian American. Outside, thankfully there was a restroom where we could finish our business. Near the visitor center we saw a herd of mountain rams grazing on top of a rock.

From visitor center, we drove through the Mouse’s Tank road and stopped at Rainbow Vista to take the picture of our car driving in Mouse’s Tank Road.

From Rainbow Vista, we took a turn to Fire Canyon Road to get a view of the Silica Dome, which looked like Vanilla Chocolate ice cream πŸ™‚ . It is also said that a star trek scene was filmed there.

After taking some photos, we headed back to the Mouse’s Tank road to go to the last location in that road – The White Domes trail. We didn’t take any trail as it was too hot. We just drove through the road and enjoyed the beauty of the park.

Temperature showing 108 on the way back to Hotel

After that we headed back to our hotel to spend the rest of the day resting, Haha! The next day we started our trip back to our home in San Antonio.

We got our breakfast from McDonald at Las Vegas and started our journey. It was a straight drive from Nevada to Arizona. We had our lunch at a Taco-Bell in Arizona. Next state in our trip is New Mexico.

On the way, when we reached New Mexico, it was drizzling and of course there was a rain bow.

The next day before noon, we got home and that concluded the exciting and marvelous trip, and of course, I am eagerly waiting for another one like this.

A trip to US West – Day 11

July 14, 2019

That morning we ate two burger buns with cheese in the middle. First we headed to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which is starred in many Hollywood movies. There is a long queue in front of the sign, obviously people wanted to take pics with it :). We also took some photos of the famous sign, but getting in front of the line was hard. We thought there will probably be only a little commotion like in front of the border signs. But as you now know, there is going to be mobs all over the sign.

Then we decided to check the Treasure Island Casino which we will be visiting that night along with the Volcano show outside the Mirage and the fountain of the Hotel Bellagio. So, as I was saying, we went to the hotel and started to roam around. When we entered, my mom saw a store and (you know what is going to happen) said she wants to shop there. My family and I searched the whole store on my mom’s order and found nothing she wanted. So, my mom announced that we are going to get an angel token for my teacher along with one more for my mom’s friend. When we entered the casino, we saw a lot of shops, there was one in particular that had a tusk of a mammoth that had curving inside it that showed a war in China/Japan.

Then my mom assured us that we are going to go to the adventure dome in the hotel where we are staying at. When we were getting our tickets we took photos with different backgrounds. Then we got an all day pass. The money we had to pay was $32 for people 48 inches or taller and $18 for people that are 48 inches under, so about $100. With the pass we got a wristband so the people could check that we actually paid for the pass. There is a roller-coaster named canyon blaster, a lot of small rides and an arcade with lot of games even a bumper car ride named canyon cars. But to sum it up, we got into a most of those awesome real good rides. Then my sister wanted to go on the carousal so, I went with her. The funny thing is that my sister did not want to get off the carousal, so we had to wrestle her away. My sister could not get on most of the rides because only some were suitable for her height. My mom and sister went back to the room to rest while I tried to win dolls for my sister. I was so successful and lucky that we got an extra one for my mom. We were hungry after all of those rides that we decided to buy some ice cream sundaes. After that we were ready for a small small nap.

We woke up around 8:00 P.M and had a small dinner. We really needed to go fast on our small tourist route of Treasure Island and Bellagio. We started off with our first destination – The Mirage Volcano Show. We took our car and parked it at the Treasure Island parking garage and took the tram to The Mirage hotel where we got of and reached the place where the Volcano show is going on. We realized that we were late because the show was almost over. But my dad got a lot of pics, or at least I think so. There a couple of ants bit me and I was dancing like I had my back on fire. From there our next stop was the Caesars Palace. But this time I had to say bye-bye to car because we were walking on foot. Along the way we passed by some Roman/Greek statues. After what seemed like 50 million minutes we finally reached what looked like the Caesar palace. Next to it there is Gordon Ramsay Hell’s kitchen. But at the opposite side of the road there was a Ferrari car parked advertising some company. We took some photos of it and started going forward to our destination with a bottle of water as our refreshment, but as soon as I climbed the stairs to the pathway to Caesar palace, I was sooo hungry and tired after all that walking. Even if we did not go to Paris to see the real Eiffel Tower up close or the miniature one down the street I saw it in the view from the top of the bridge. Now all I needed to do to reach Caesar palace was to go through a bridge. But it was over the road which is kind of weird if you ask me. As soon as I got in, I wanted to go to all the restaurants in that area but that dream ended with one reason: my parents did not bring their wallet. We finally got through the Caesar palace and to our next destination – the Bellagio fountain to see the fountain show. There were storm troopers and other characters in movies around the fountain and the show lasted for about 30 minutes. The water looked like it was actually levitating all over the place. But sometimes I was just thinking about how tired I was and how hungry I was.

When my dad got enough photos, we started going back to our hotel in a big long journey which I think lasted for hours. The moment I got back I wanted to sleep but I had to go bathe as it was too hot outside. Then I gladly ate even if I did not like the food. Then of course, we slept finally crashing with exhaustion.

A trip to US West – Day 10

July 13, 2019

We departed from Williams, AZ with a cup of coffee and some pancake with honey. I devoured the pancake and at the same time savored the honey. When we were done, we got dressed and ready for our next destination. Our plan was to go to Las Vegas by route 66 and in the way we wanted to see the Hoover Dam. We got in to the car and started driving onward to our first destination. On the way we stopped at Ash Fork the beginning to our route 66 journey. Before we hit the road, we got into a gas station and filled the tank.

After that, we cut through Lewis avenue and went back to proceed to the extremity of our destination. Some time passed and we entered route 66. When we came by the Crookton area, we saw a train coming from our left. It’s a long one with many, many, many wagons. I was trying to count the wagons. Then, we stopped by an old town named Seligman. It took about 30 minutes from Ash Fork to reach there. I desperately wanted to go to restroom and my dad stopped at a shop.

When we finished our business, πŸ˜‰ my mom wanted one magnet. But instead ……….(drum roll please)……………………… we gave her two πŸ™‚ . Sorry if you did not like me wasting your time with this silly “drum roll please” thing. We did continue our journey though. Some more time passed by and there were some boards with different wordings in the right side of the road, that made us laugh, think and obviously stay awake. Then we reached Kingman and we turned right to exit from route 66 and enter the Interstate high way. From Kingman, we turned right which leads to Las Vegas through Hoover Dam.

After an hour of boredom, we finally reached Hoover Dam. We crossed the dam and parked in a place at the bottom of a lookout point. In the car we had our rice lunch and set out to explore. It was too hot outside. Suddenly mom yelled “ahhhhhhhh! the killer bugs are gonna kill us” – well, she more like thought it and told us. Actually there were some bugs that were flying around the dam and bugs started to bite my mom that’s all that happened. My family and me wanted to go to the restroom, so we went on to look for one. After walking for sometime, we found a restroom in one of the pillars. After that we went to the Hoover dam angel statues. It was so hot that we wanted to go inside and cool ourselves.

Angel Statue

We decided to go inside the museum. There was a checking line that looked like people from the airport that forage for explosives in the bags. We had to remove our belts, bags, watches, and shoes. In the interior of the museum there are boards that says the history of how the monolith dam was made and info about how the turbines in the dam work.

To top it of I have read about the rumors on anti-gravity, Illuminati signs and the destruction of the dam foretold in the fifty dollar bill in google, but these tiny bits of information is not in the dam’s museum. And as a warning don’t look to far in those websites though!

We explored some more in the museum and got back to the car after the long day.

We noticed the welcome sign to Nevada state when we were entering to Hoover dam. We wanted to take picture, there, but we are not allowed to stop the car on road. So we decided to park in the parking lot and walk to the sign.

Me and my dad started to go on a zig-zag path. My mom and sister didn’t want to take the snaps because it was too hot and they were tired. Literally we were running to reach the sign as it was too hot. After taking some snaps we headed out of the dam to the lake Mead overlook.

We didn’t spend much time there as we wanted to reach Vegas before night. From there it took about forty-five to fifty-five minutes to get to our hotel in Las Vegas that we were staying in. We stayed in the Hotel-Casino named “Circus-Circus”. It has a variety of entertaining things to do there for adults, juveniles and little kids. So to summarize it, the hotel has a casino and an amusement park. When we got there it was bustling with people. It is a place where I call crowded. My mom and I waited with my sister at the waiting lounge while my dad was checking in. This process took about a good 45 minutes. When we got to the room we took some time to enjoy the soft bed like anyone should in their vacay. Then (with me not agreeing), we went to check the hotel’s fun places.

After spending some time downstairs, we headed back to the room, had some food and went to bed early. A hotel stay is not complete without a television night for me ;), but I soon fell asleep. Next day, we need to explore Vegas as well as the amusement park at the hotel.

A trip to US West – Day 9

July 12, 2019

We started our Journey with waffles and a cup of coffee. After almost 1 hr drive, we reached Tusayan and we stopped at Tusayan Grand Canyon Visitor Center to see if we can get some details of the national park because we thought that it’s the actual visitor center, but we were wrong. This one also has the maps and details about the park, but it’s outside of the South rim. So, we headed to the grand canyon south rim entrance. This is where the fun begins. My Dad parked the car at the butterfly parking lot and we got out to go to the real visitor center. My mom got the map and we proceeded to Mather point.

Mather Point is the closest viewpoint destination to the visitor center/canyon view plaza, a 5-10 minute walk. Due to the proximity to the visitor center, this is the most popular and crowded area of south rim. It is often the first stop for most of the south rim visitors who want to see the view of the red, colorful canyon. Mather point has two narrow ,railed overlooks.

In Mather Point, I looked at the scenery and explored to see if I could find special types of rocks (not to keep of course). My baby sister was enjoying the freedom and relishing it by making my mom fussy. If you ask how, then it was because she was running all over the place, up and down and all around. Meanwhile, my dad took photographs of the view.

View from Mather Point Overlook
Another view from Mather Point
Panoramic view of Mather Point

In the south rim, there are four bus routes, Blue Route/Village Route,Orange Route/Kaibab Rim Route,Red Route/Hermits Rest Route,Purple Route/Tusayan Route and Hiker’s Express Route. Some of these routes allow private vehicles and others do not.

From Mather Point, we took the shuttle to Yavapai point and Geology museum. There we could see the Phantom ranch far away and many other history rich places. Inside, there is a gift shop, history plaques that have texts about (you guessed it) history of Grand Canyon and other texts about the ancient backstory of the canyon and Colorado river. Grand Canyon has multiple layers of rocks. The oldest formation is at the bottom and starts with the Precambrian – Vishnu Schist then Cambrian stage – Tapeats Sandstone, then Bright Angel Shale and Muav Limestone. Next layer is Redwall Limestone, then comes Supai Group and Hermits Shale, Coconino Sandstone, Toroweap Limestone, and Kaibab Limestone.

Outside of the museum, there are tourists binocular and a tiny telescope that shows the narrow Suspension bridge across the river. This is the closest point to the Colorado River, that is why you can see the bridge. Also, another exclusive thing in Yavapai point that we saw a lot are tourists, tourists, tourists, and tourists.

We explored more areas of the Yavapai point. Finally, we found a good spot to enjoy the view. My sister was, as usual, racing around, while my mom was not too far behind. My dad and I were the actual people enjoying the view. When my sister settled down my mom got some time to view the scenery. My dad then took the opportunity to take photographs of the view. By then, I was bored and hungry. So after some time my dad got enough photos, and my mom finished enjoying the beauty of the scenery, we went back to the shuttle bus stop. My dad kind of got distracted and went to take more photos while my baby sister regained her energy, so my mom was not exactly happy at the time. In the meantime, I met some Indians. Then the strangest thing happened. My sister started to quiet down when my mom started talking to these newfound friends. This is weird, but it must be because the people were strangers to my sister. Finally, a bus came by and my dad came running back to the bus stop right in time.

We boarded the bus and got out in the visitor center. There I went to look for a restroom in the gift shop. No luck. Then finally the cashier gave me the directions. I thanked her and raced to the destination with my dad behind me because he wanted to watch me to see if nothing goes wrong and to see if there was a suspicious-looking person that will grab me out of nowhere and take me to space and give me to aliens so they could study me like the last set of people that got dissected ;). By the time I got back, my sister got a toy in her arm. It was a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Then we went back to the car to have some food. When we were all finished Mother nature started crying. In other words, it started to precipitate in Grand Canyon National Park South Rim. We were so tired that we dozed off in our car for an hour at most.

When Mother nature’s sobbing decreased, my parents decided to do a drive around the Blue Route/Village Route. In the route, there are lodges, a train depot, a market plaza, park headquarters, and campgrounds. After that, we went to Pipe Creek Vista. That is when I woke up and saw the very beautiful scenery. There me and my mom got out and took a lot of photographs. The climate was cool since it rained.

Pipe Creek Vista
Pipe Creek Vista
Pipe Creek Vista
View from Pipe Creek Vista

After spending some time there we headed to the Duck on a Rock. The scenery is, of course, beautiful, but the thing that most viewers get confused by is where “the Duck” is in Duck on a Rock. To answer that question, the Duck in Duck on a Rock is in the topmost part. A fun fact that most people don’t know is that the beak of the duck has fallen off because of erosion.

Duck on the Rock

On the way to our next destination we saw some elks. But they went deep into the forest when my sister yelled through the window. Our next stop was at Grand-view Point. There we went down to the hiking trail. We went one third and my parents said to go back to the top. I was eager to go on but my mom and dad said it in a way that I thought that if we proceed then a bigfoot will come and get me like the victims that he had eaten before. But the reason we did not go forward in the trail is that it is difficult to go with my sister.

Grand view point
Me and my sister at Grand view point
View of Canyon from Grand view point

As a favorite of photographers and painters, we visited Moran Point. It is one of the favorites of my dad. If you have read my earlier pages you will know that my dad is a photographer and so now you know why it is favorite of my dad. What is more, interesting is that my dad went farther in and I followed him which was exciting to me personally. My mom and sister was waiting for us at the view point. Finally, we got back to the car and showed her that how beautiful the scenery is.

View from Moran Point

In Lipan Point and Navajo Point, there was nothing that interesting other than the amazing view of the canyon. So here are the photos.

Navajo Point

When we reached our final destination – Desert View, I explored the place. There were tourist binoculars, history plaques, and the desert view watchtower itself. By the time we reached there, it was sunset. My dad took photos of sunset, while me, my mom, and sister enjoyed the view. It was amazing. I went to look through the binoculars and read the plaques. My sister ran energetically, my mom not too far behind.

Desert View Watchtower
Sunset at Desert View
Sunset at Desert View

There is a trading post that offers desserts and a general store for campers to get he groceries. The plaque near the watch-tower talks about the TWA mid-air air-craft collision.

When we got back to the car it was already dark. We decided to go back to the hotel and we got some dinner on the way. It probably took about two hours for us to reach the hotel. Then I got fresh and ready to sleep.

A trip to US West – Day 8

July 11,2019

Our plan for today is a short visit to Zion National Park and the head to Grand Canyon North Rim. From Page it’s almost 2 hours drive to Zion. We started around 10 AM from Page, and reached the Zion entrance by 12:30 PM. I was sleeping most of the time and I woke up only after we entered into the park. From the entrance, there is again almost 1 hr drive to the Visitor center. Our plan was just to do a drive through the park since we need to reach North Rim.

Zion National Park Entrance
View of road from Entrance of the park

The road in the park looked different in color. Both sides of the road has different type of sand stone cliffs of different colors, cream, pink and red. As soon as we entered the park, we realized that we will spend more time here than we planned. The park is just awesome. We regret that we didn’t plan a day here in our itinerary.

We drove down and reached the visitor center. There are some locations in the park, where we cannot go by our car. We need to catch the shuttle and get into those locations. It was afternoon and the temperature was high.

We decided to catch the shuttle to have a view of those locations as well. We will have to cut down the North Rim, but the beauty of the park made us do that. The last stop of the shuttle is The Narrows. The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with thousand feet tall walls and the river, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park.

We got down there, thinking we will go for a small walk on the river side. But we all were tired due to the heat and my sister started behaving weirdly, so my parents decided to go back. I wanted to do the hike at Narrows, and my parents assured that we will do that next time. So eagerly waiting for our next trip πŸ˜‰

View of Zion national park
View of Zion national park
View of Zion national park
View of Zion national park
Zion- Mount Carmel Tunnel Entrance

On the way to the park visitor center there is a tunnel – Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. It’s almost 1 mile long. Also the road has several hair pins. The Google map shows those hair pins and it looks hilarious :O

Hair pins as shown in Google Map :O

We started from Zion national park to Grand Canyon after 4:30 PM. As per Google, we will reach North Rim only after 6:30 PM. From North Rim, we have again 4 hrs of drive to Williams, where we have planned our stay. So we decided to remove North Rim from our plan and decided to drive to Williams.

We reached the hotel around 9:30 PM, we had dinner on the way and went to bed as soon as we reached. We all were so tired, and we need to visit South Rim next day morning.

A trip to US West – Day 6 & 7

UTAH – Life Elevated

July 09,2019

Today, we are leaving from Arches to our next destination. Our plan is to start early morning and take some night photos in Arches and then start our journey so we can reach Monument Valley before Sunrise. We will spend some time there and head to Page.

We woke up around 1 AM and got ready. I was still feeling sleepy, also excited to continue the journey, so we can explore the new places. We went to the Arches for the night photos. We first stopped at Balanced Rock to take the milky way shot. Mom and us were sitting in the car and dad went to take the shot. There was another photographer who was taking the night shot there. While dad was taking the photos, me and mom were watching the night sky and tried to identify the constellations. My sister was sleeping in the car.

Milky way at Balanced Rock

From Balanced rock we went to The Windows. My dad wanted to do some light painting at Double Arch. This time, I also went with dad so I can help him with lights. We spent some time there and headed back to car, so we can start our journey to reach Monument Valley on time. From Arches, it takes more than 3 hours, so we started by 2:30 AM from Arches.

Double Arch

Dad was driving the car and we all slept on the way. Our plan ws to take the photo of the Monument Valley at sunrise from Forrest Gump point. We can have a distant view of Monument Valley from here. The point got this name from the film Forrest Gump, where he ended his cross-country run in the movie.

We reached here just before sunrise and my dad setup his camera to take the sunrise photo. The rainbow colors over the Monument Valley is awesome. While the sun was rising, dad took some photos of mine too πŸ™‚

Jump at Forrest Gump
View of Monument Valley from Forrest Gump point

After the sunrise, we headed to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. It’s located at the Utah-Arizona border.The gate to the park was open, but the visitor center was not open when we reached there. We found the Gift shop and the restaurant open, so we just went in and freshen up ourselves, got some coffee. My sister found a doll that she liked at first glance and she grabbed it and asked my dad to get it for her. I saw several “dream catchers” which I wanted to buy, and my dad got one for me.

While I was searching through the craft items in the gift shop, my parents were talking to the staff over there on how to get inside the park. It has guided tour as well as non guided tour. There are some places in the park which can be reached only by the guided tour. We took the non guided tour, so we can drive in our car itself. After the small shopping, we headed to the car. We had some bread and peanut butter as our breakfast and started our drive through the park. It’s a graded dirt road which will show you around the park. We can see the major monuments on the way. Below are some of the photos that is taken.

View inside Monument Valley
View inside Monument Valley
View inside Monument Valley park
View inside Monument Valley Park

After completing the loop, we reached the parking lot, where we started from. Our next destination is Page, Arizona, on the way we will be visiting the Antelope Canyon X. We started our journey. As soon as we left the park, we saw the “Welcome to Arizona” sign. It’s in the middle of a barren land, where there is less vegetation.

Welcome to Arizona sign board

It’s almost 11:30 AM, we need to reach Page before 3:00 PM. We have booked the tour to canyon X at 3:00 PM. From Monument Valley, it takes only 2 hours to reach Page.

I was sleeping most of the time, we reached Antelope Canyon office by 1:30 PM. Our booking is for 3 PM and we need to wait one and half hour. So my dad decided to check in the office if we can pre-pone the tour. Luckily the group for 1:45 was small, so they confirmed we can join that group.

We didnt go for the famous Antelope canyon as we heard it’s so crowded, so we picked Canyon X, also suggested by one of my parents’ friend.

We are not allowed to go by our own car. The office has 4 X 4 vehicles that will take us to the canyon entrance. It’s a ten – fifteen minutes drive to the canyon entrance from the office.

As soon as we reached, we met our guide, Chris. He is a student doing part time job in the Canyon as a guide. Chris took us to the first slot canyon. It is a short walk through the slot canyon. I was holding the Gopro to capture some photos/videos. I need to learn how to take nice pictures from my dad, as not all of the photos which I took was good.

The canyon looks so beautiful and colorful. We tried to throw some sand to take some beautiful pictures. In between Chris played his flute which so soothing to the ears. After the first slot canyon, Chris took us to the second canyon. It’s also beautiful and colorful. We spend some time, taking snaps. After the second canyon, the tour is over and we headed back to the entrance. We took some rest and waited for the transport vehicle to pick us and take back to the car. Everyone in the group was so happy and amazed by the beauty of the canyon.

Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X
Canyon X

After the Antelope canyon, we headed to the hotel and checked in. After taking some rest, we went to the Horse Shoe Bend. We parked our car and started the hike to the view point. My sister was also excited to walk. We reached the view point before the sunset, so my dad could take some sunset shots.

While my dad was taking photos, my mom, me and my sister were sitting away from the bend, as it’s dangerous for my sister as she was running here and there. Me and my sister were climbing the rocks and was playing, while my mom was busy on a call.

Horse-Shoe Bend
Horse Shoe Bend
Sunrise @ Horse Shoe Bend
Sunset @ Horse Shoe Bend

After sunset, we headed back to the hotel as it was a long journey that we started early morning. We all needed some rest. We have not planned anything for the next day. My dad wanted to take some sun rise pictures at the Horse shoe bend. Lake Powell is also in the list, but not in the morning, we will relax and go, may be in the evening.

July 10, 2019

Next day morning, dad went to take the sun rise photo while we all were sleeping. Dad came back by 8 and we all had breakfast. Since we have not planned anything for the day, I started watching TV and my baby sister started exploring the hotel room as she didnt get chance on the previous day. My mom switched on her laptop and was checking emails, and dad was busy copying all the photos from the camera. Half day went like that, and then we decided to explore Page downtown and Lake Powell in the evening.

Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River. Glen Canyon Dam is built on Colorado river, which created the Lake Powell. It’s a popular recreation area in Page. Glen Canyon Dam is an arch dam, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. Lake is famous for boating and fishing, also it’s a famous location for movie shooting.

Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam
Massive Turbine – Glen Canyon Dam
Lake Powell – View from Glen Canyon Recreational Area

After spending some time in the recreational area, we thought to drive through the Page downtown. We did some shopping there and went back to hotel, so we can go to bed early, and start early next day, back to Utah – Zion National Park.

A trip to US West – Day 5

UTAH – Life Elevated

July 8, 2019

Today is our last day in Arches National park. Tomorrow we will be heading to the next place in our itinerary. Our plan for today is to cover the Balanced rock and Devil’s Garden. Balanced rock is an easy one. Devil’s garden has many arches in which some are easy, but many of them are difficult trails. We thought to cover the easy ones like – Tunnel Arch, Pine tree arch and Landscape arch. The other arches in the Devil’s garden include – Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O arch, Dark Angel Arch.

Balanced rock can be seen from the main park road. It’s a short hike of 0.3 miles round trip around the balanced rock. It’s a large stone balanced on a narrow stone tower.

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock
Me and my little sister enjoying πŸ™‚
Balanced Rock

This is famous for stargazing and night photography as it’s located near to the main park road and away from city lights. My dad took some night photos here.

From Balanced rock, we headed to Devil’s Garden. It’s one of the premier locations in the park. It’s located at the very end of the park. We planned to take the easy trails to Tunnel Arch, Pine tree arch and the Landscape arch. The trail becomes difficult beyond the Landscape arch.

Me and my sister were excited to do the hike. We started from the parking, my sister started running as she got freedom from her car seat πŸ˜‰

It started off with flat surface. As soon as we started off, there are two sand stone fins to the left of the trail with a narrow path in between filled with loose sand which might be due to the erosion of the sand stone walls, with slope. We both climbed up even though it was difficult due to the loose sand.

Two sand stone fins and loose sand in between – Devil’s Garden Trail

Throughout the trail, we could see vegetation and several sand formations.

Devil’s Garden Trail
Devil’s Garden Trail
My little sister taking a break πŸ™‚
Devil’s Garden Trail
View from Devil’s Garden Trail

Me and my sister was running ahead of mom, while dad was slow and taking pictures. I had to run to catch my sister as she was running all through the trail.

Tunnel arch is less than 1 mile from the trail head. The trail to the Tunnel arch and the Pine tree arch goes downhill. My sister fell down when she tried to run ahead of me and she started crying and asked my mom to hold her.

Tunnel arch looks like a pothole or tunnel. We can view it from a distance.

Tunnel Arch
Cooling down between trees in the Tunnel Arch Viewpoint
View of Tunnel Arch from Viewpoint

You can see a small arch next to the tunnel arch. It is formed by the same process as Double arch – downward water erosion.

Next arch is the Pine tree arch. It’s not too far from the Tunnel arch. It’s a tall think arch. The trail leads to the arch and we can stand under it. The arch is named because pine tree is growing under the arch.

On the way to Pine tree arch
On the way to pine tree arch
Pine tree Arch
Pine tree arch
Pine tree arch

We took some rest under the arch. We met another family with a baby girl and my sister befriended with her soon. Both of them started playing in the sand, running around. They didn’t want to leave. Since we need to cover the Landscape arch, we decided to leave. Both of them didn’t want to leave, they wanted to play. Her mom picked her up and they headed to Tunnel Arch. My sister again started running.

Landscape arch is the longest arch in the park. After Landscape arch, the trail becomes difficult to the Double O arch. So most of the visitors will turn around here.

Few years ago, the trail used to lead under the arch, but due to the rock fall in 1990’s, it’s closed and visitors are not allowed to travel underneath the arch. Now we can only have the view of the beautiful arch from the view point.

View from trail to Landscape Arch
View from trail to Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Trail to Landscape Arch – you can see the arch behind us
Trail to Landscape Arch – you can see the arch behind us

My sister was tired by when we reached Landscape Arch. She started crying and asked dad and mom to hold her. We headed back to the parking and it was around 3:15 PM. As soon as we put her in the car seat, she started sleeping.

On the way back from Devil’s garden, we stopped at Skyline arch. Mom just stayed in the car as my sister was sleeping.

Skyline arch trail is a short and easy one. This arch is situated in a high fin. We tried to climb on a smaller fin next to the arch. My dad could reach the top, but I was stuck halfway 😦 My dad took some photos of the arch and the panoramic view around it.

Skyline Arch
Skyline Arch
Skyline Arch – Me taking a break while my dad climbed the top of the fin
Skyline Arch
Rocks fallen off from Skyline Arch
Skyline Arch

After spending some time, we went back to the car as my Mom and sister was alone in the car. On the way back, I slipped on the rock and scraped my knee. Luckily we had the first aid kit in the car, so my dad cleaned it and put a bandage. Everyone was tired, so we didn’t stop any other view points, and headed back to Hotel. On the way back, we stopped at a restaurant to have some refreshments. We decided to try the Ice cream shake to cool off the heat. It was so delicious, I wanted to go back again.

After reaching hotel, we all went to bed early. We need to start early morning next day, from Moab to reach our next destination – Monument Valley to see the sunrise. Also my dad has a plan to take the night photos at the Arches before we leave, since he could not get one on previous days, due to clouds. So our plan is to checkout by 2 AM, so we can reach Monument valley before sun rise after taking some night photos at Balanced Rock and The Windows.

We all were not happy to leave Arches. We still have many attractions that we missed this time, we will surely come back to see those.

A trip to US West – Day 4

UTAH – Life Elevated

July 7, 2019

Early morning, before Sunrise, dad went to the park to take some sunrise photos. We were sleeping. Dad’s plan was to be back for breakfast. He went to The Windows section to capture the sunrise, as it’s famous for the sunrise view. Hikers usually sit on the Window to get the panoramic view with the sunrise colors. This is one of the most scenic locations in the park, and it has North Window, South Window, Turret Arch and Double Arch. This area also include Garden of Eden, Elephant Butte and Parade of Elephants.

Morning at Double Arch
Sunburst through The North Window
Sunrise at “The Spectacles”
Sun rays kissing Turret Arch

My dad came back by 8 AM and we had our breakfast. We thought to visit some of the places in the park and do some hiking. After the Delicate Arch, I was super excited to visit the other arches and wanted to do some hiking. Hike to Delicate arch boosted my confidence to do more difficult hikes πŸ˜‰

Dad took us to The Windows first. When we reached there, the parking lots were full and we had to take a round to get the parking. My sister started sleeping, so me and my mom went to the Double arch. It’s a 0.25 mile trail from the parking lot and it’s an easy one with some loose sand, where two massive arches that are joined at one end. It’s the tallest and the second longest arch in the park. In the past, it was called Double Windows.

Double Arch Trail information
Double Arch
Double Arch
Me in front of Double Arch πŸ™‚

After spending some time in Double arch, we went back to the parking lot, so we can visit the other arches in the same area – The Windows and Turret Arch.

When we reached the car to check my sister, she was already awake and ready to explore. Dad and sister joined us to the walk to “The Windows”.

The trail to the Windows section is an easy one, and that makes it a busy section in the park. The trail started off flat- gravel surfaced path and then stairs till we reach the North Window. We can stand and sit directly beneath the North Window. We sat there for sometime waiting for dad to come as he was busy taking snaps.

From the North window, we continued the trail and reached the South window. We didn’t go down there, as it’s beautiful view from the place where we stood. Both North window and South window together called “The Spectacles” because from a distance it resembles glasses.

Hikers using the shade of North Window πŸ™‚
South Window

We continued the trail downhill to the Turret Arch. It’s the smallest arch in the Windows section. There is a small arch near the main arch, which may combine in future with the main arch and form a larger one. We climbed up the rock slope to get a nice view of the area. I helped my sister to climb up the slope while my dad was helping mom to climb it.

Turret Arch, you can see the small arch near the main arch
distant view from Turret Arch
Turret Arch
Distant view from Turret Arch

I walked along the Turret and climbed up a rock formation to take some photos.

We walked back to the parking lot and got into the car. While walking back we had a nice view of the Double arch and the Parade of Elephants.

Double arch and Parade of Elephants – View from Windows trail

We thought to take a drive through the other attractions in the Windows section. It’s almost 1:30 PM and we could still see people are coming to visit the Windows.

From The Windows section, the next stop was Delicate Arch View point. There are 2 view points – Lower and Upper. Yesterday, when we went to the Delicate arch, we could not notice it from the road, but now we could identify the magnificent, free-standing arch from the main road.

Lower delicate arch view point is a 90 yard round trip trail and it’s an easy one. We cannot hike to the arch from here. We get a very distant view of the arch from the lower view point. The information about the arch is also exhibited here.

Delicate Arch from Lower view point

Upper view point trail is longer and moderate trail which climbs steeply 0.5 mile to the view point. It’s separated by a canyon from the arch. Since it was hot and we were tired, we didn’t go on the trail, even though I wanted to go to the view point and have an excellent view. We missed it 😦

We came back to the car and had some refreshments, so we can explore more attractions in the park.

We drove further north and reached the Sand Dune Arch trail. It’s an easy one and great for kids. Sand dune arch, as the name says, there is a lot of sand around it. The arch has shade almost throughout day due to the two large sand stones guarding the arch. We spent some time there playing in the sand and walking around it. My sister was not happy initially, because she fell down at the entrance of the arch, but later when she saw the sand and the stones, she started enjoying it.

Me and my sister at Sand Dune Arch Entrance
Sand Dune Arch Entrance
Sand Dune Arch
One of the 2 Large sand stones guarding Sand Dune arch
Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch – You can see the sand around it
Me at Sand Dune Arch
Me in the middle of the large Sand stone

Broken arch trail is 1.3 mile round trip and an easy one across open grassland. There is no shade on the way, but we can see lot of vegetation. We could see the broken arch from the parking lot, but it’s farther than we think it was. It’s named so due to the visible crack on top of the arch, but it’s intact. It will stay that way for a long time. We reached the broken arch, dad and me climbed on it, but mom was staying down as she was tired. So we didn’t continue the trail to Tapestry arch, and we headed back to the parking lot.

Broken Arch
Broken Arch – You can see the crack on top of it
Broken Arch
Broken Arch

From there, we just drove through the Devil’s garden loop, and thought to take a break for the day, as we all needed some rest, and my sister is also exhausted. So we headed back to Hotel, and on the way, we all were very hungry and we bought some burgers from McDonald’s in Moab. We all were so tired, so we slept as soon as we got to the bed.

A Trip to US West – Day 3

COLORADO – Colorful Colorado

July 6, 2019

7 AM in the morning, and we are getting ready for the journey. We need to have our breakfast and then start from Santa Fe. Around 9:00 AM we checked out the hotel and started from Santa Fe. This time, my mom was driving. Our next stop is Durango, Colorado for our lunch. As per initial plan we didnt have Colorado state in the list, but last minute change added Durango in our way.

After almost 3 hrs drive from Santa Fe we reached the New Mexico – Colorado state line. We stopped near the state line to take pictures. My sister was sleeping, so we 3 went out to take the snaps with the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” board.

Welcome to Colorful COLORADO

We visited Aspen, Colorado in the last fall, and it’s beautiful place with fall colors. It’s Summer, but Colorado is full of green and beautiful.

Colorado in fall
beautiful Colorado
beautiful Colorado
Road in Colorado

We reached Durango by 12:45 PM, after we did some research, we picked the Himalayan Kitchen which is a Nepalese, Tibetan & Indian Cuisine. We picked the Indian cuisine for the lunch, so my sister can also have some rice/roti. The food was nice and we enjoyed.

After the lunch, we resumed our journey to Arches National Park, Utah. By 4 PM we reached the Colorado – Utah state line.

Welcome to Utah – “Life Elevated”

UTAH – Life Elevated

From the state line, it took around 1 and half hour to reach Moab, where we booked our stay, and for next 3 days we will be staying there. We checked into the hotel and took some rest and then headed to the Arches National Park. It’s a beautiful place to be. This park has over 2000 natural stone arches.

on the way to Utah – an interesting sand formation
At the entrance of Arches National Park
At the visitor center

Even though it was showing heavy traffic in the park entrance, we were able to get in without any delay. We drove into the park and our first arch in our list was Delicate Arch. It’s a free standing arch and the recognized symbol of the state of Utah. This arch is pictured in the Utah state board at the Colorado Utah state line.

It’s difficult to see the Delicate arch from main road. The trail to Delicate arch is 3 miles round trip and climbs 480 feet. It’s one of the difficult trails in the park. We decided to hike to the Delicate arch and we all were really excited about it. We packed the water, juice and some food for my sister. My dad also packed his camera in his bag, and we all were carrying one bag each. I thought it would an easy one, but I was wrong. Though I liked the hike, it’s too long. I have to give credit to my lil sister, she never cried or asked our parents to pick her up (but our parents picked her up on the hard parts). She was very happy and excited. As we reach near to the arch, the path narrows.

On the way to Delicate Arch
We found some Raven during the hike

Once we reached the top, I went to the middle of the arch while my dad took some photos of mine standing under the arch. My lil sister was trying to play around, but my mom was holding her, not allowing to run around as it’s too dangerous.

me standing under the Arch πŸ™‚
me and my sister at Delicate Arch
Beautiful Delicate Arch
Sunset view from Delicate Arch, you can see the narrow path to the arch

Weather was crazy and it was too windy. My dad was planning to capture the sunset there, but it was cloudy and almost blocked the sun. Wind blew away my sister’s bag and while I was trying to get a hold of it, wind took my favorite cap 😦 . I saw it flying down the hill where we cannot reach. Later my dad showed me where it landed 😦

Since it was too windy and we could not handle it, we decided to go back. We met some nice people there and walked back to the parking lot with them. It was dark while going back to the parking lot. While going back we could see lot of stars even though it was cloudy.

Once we reached the car and had our dinner – bread and peanut butter sandwich, my favorite, and decided to go back to hotel. On the way back, we stopped at balanced rock, so my dad can take take some night photos. We all slept in the car while my dad was taking some snaps. It was cloudy, and he was trying to take the star tails.

Star tails at Balanced Rock

After that, we headed back to hotel. We went to bed as soon a we reached hotel, so my dad can wake up early to get some sun rise shots.

A Trip to US West – Day 2

NEW MEXICO – The Land of Enchantment

July 5, 2019

It’s morning 8 AM, I woke up by hearing my name. Dad was calling me for breakfast. We all slept for long due to the previous night tiring journey and the activities during the day. We need to have breakfast and continue our journey.

Our second stop is Santa Fe, New Mexico. We started from Alamogordo around 11:30 AM. We had only one destination in our plan in Santa Fe – Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, which is around 250 miles away from Alamogordo. The park is open only till 4 PM.

Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the Pueblo language Keresan. It has cone shaped tent rock formations due to the volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago.

We reached the park after 3:00 PM. We had the lunch and thought to take one trail. But we saw some people coming back from trail and they informed that the rangers are already there and they are sending back the public. So we just took some snaps and left to the hotel, so we can plan for the next day.

A view from the parking lot.
Can’t believe how the rock formation stays on top.

We checked into the hotel, and took some rest. For dinner, we picked up an Indian restaurant – Paper Dosa. It’s a well rated restaurant at Santa Fe, we knew there will be a long wait to get a seat from the reviews. We had to wait 30 mins to get a table. It has variety of South Indian items, especially Dosa. Dosa is similar to pancake made of rice and black lentils. “Paper Dosa” has dosa that is thinner than the regular pan cake. We ordered Paper Dosa, Classic Masala Dosa and Paneer & Peas Dosa. It was yummy and delicious. The restaurant ambiance also is awesome. If you ever pass through Santa Fe, don’t miss a chance for dinner here, if you are fond of South Indian dishes.

After dinner, we headed back to hotel, our parents were planning about the next day, while I was watching cartoon in the TV.

Our initial plan was to go to Four corners monument from Santa Fe. But my dad read some reviews about it which made him to remove that from the list and we changed the plan and added Durango, Colorado in our trip.

We decided to go to bed early, so we can start early next day to Colorado and continue our trip.