Thursday, August 24, 2017

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Hi everyone!

I got to check out Antelope Canyon followed by Horseshoe Bend recently. They are located about 20 minutes away from each other so it's easy to fit into one day.

Antelope Canyon has been on my imaginary bucket list for quite some time now. I had no idea that you needed to reserve a tour to check it prior to going so if you are interested in it, look into tours. I believe there are a few options and they are all located near each other in one lone parking lot. Tour guides take everyone down in groups like an assembly line through the canyon.

Things to note:
1. There are upper and lower canyon tours that you can choose from. There are different times of the day that are more ideal according to many sources for brighter pictures and sun beams if you are interested in this. The upper canyon during certain hours allows you to see these sun beams but it is more stair climbing from that I read.

2. We chose the lower canyon tour in the afternoon due to availability. Each person was around $30. We simply paid online. It was a one hour tour/walk through the canyon but the process took longer because the wait time. We got there an hour early and registration even for online registration had a 20 minute line, followed by another 30 minute line in the dessert leading into the canyon. Our tour was also an hour delayed.

4. Our tour guide adjusted everyone's camera settings to daylight and a higher ISO. Hopefully your tour guide can provide you tips as well. Also, there are certain parts of the canyon that have names and resemble different things. Our tour guide pointed these out to us and also took pictures of certain things for us along the way.

5. Because of the nature of the busy tour, it will feel like you are getting walked through the canyon quickly. It was a very unstructured tour and our guide, as nice as she was, was more of less there to keep us safe If you want more picture opportunities, there is a photography tour option with less people and more opportunity to take pictures.

6. This tour isn't strenuous for an average person, but has a lot of narrow pathways and narrow stairs throughout. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure you are hands free. Bring a small backpack for your belongings. I regretted this greatly. I had a sunhat that I had to hold along with my water bottle and phone. Make sure you can place everything into a backpack so you can focus on climbing stairs and taking pictures when the time comes.

I thought this was a pretty experience but I must say, I enjoyed the photos after I left more. I think photos capture the beauty of this place very well because you walk through the canyon pretty quickly while trying to get in a few good shots. But the pictures are a lovely and accurate reminder of how beautiful this place is. Glad I was able to go!

Right after this tour, we drove to Horseshoe Bend.
1. It's free to park and walk there.
2. It's less than 2 miles round trip. You walk on mostly a sandy trail to the actual bend.
3. Bring water, even if it's a short hike because the summer day had me baking.

This place was beyond magnificent. It was so large that I couldn't fit it in a picture. It could not be contained to a snapshot. It's so green and lush. There were people in canoes and boats while we were day, which had me vicariously living through them. It's a family friendly walk and adventure. Good and quick picture site with high aesthetic pay off.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Zion National Park - Angels Landing and the Narrows Hike

Hey everyone,

I finally got to check out Zion National Park and had to share what I saw and what I learned through the process. I have wanted to check this park out for some time now and I can finally say that I have hiked to the top of Angels Landing!

Angels Landing is a strenuous 4 hour hike that is 5 miles total. The reason it takes 4 hours is because the last 1/2 mile involves steep incline climbing. There are chains built into the trail to trek up these steep areas to get to the very top of this mountain. It's very narrow so everyone coming up and down must take turns and share passing each other. It was extremely satisfying for me to feel myself getting higher physically and finding a better and different view. The scenery looked straight out of a story book. Shouldn't there be a castle in the horizon?

For a one week visitor pass, regular cars pay $30.
Here are some things I did not know about the park that are useful:
1. Come early. There parking lot does get full and you will have to circle around the lot for parking.
2. Free shuttle buses run daily. While they are running, you must park in the lot and take the shuttle. The shuttles run every few minutes and take you to all the major stops in the park.
3. Bring a backpack and lots of water. If you're pursuing Angels Landing, one small bottle won't do.
4. There are no restrooms once you start the trails but there are water fountains/restrooms at the shuttle stops.
5. Bring snacks/food. We were at the park all day and it's not easy/efficient taking a shuttle to leave drive out of the park just to eat and come back. There are many restaurants and gift shops right outside of the park where you can eat before and/or after your day is over.
6. For the Narrows, if the water level is too high (due to flood watch), the hiking area closes. Check their website to make sure they are open the day you plan on heading there.
7. If you're not a hat person and it's the summer, suck it up and wear a hat. You will thank yourself and me for following through with that decision as it is really hot.

We spent majority of our day at Angels Landing and ended around 5PM/ We started late as we got to the park 10:30AM. The lot was full and we had to drive around for at least 5 minutes to find parking. Then the shuttle bus line was so long, which was another 30-40 minute wait. They run all day during the summer schedule until 8:30PM (through 9/24/17).

After we finished Angels Landing, we decided to check out the Narrows hike. It wasn't a priority of ours and we were really tired but decided to check it out since we were only planning on being at Zion for the day. The Narrows is an 8 mile hike. From the shuttle stop, you must walk a flat 1 mile walk down a paved path to where the river entrance is. You literally hike through the river against the current over sand, rocks, etc.

There were many people there even in the later hours but it really wasn't the best having to carry our backpack through a river. The water, depending on your height, will be below your knees. The water is muddy so you cannot see your feet. We "hiked" for about 30 minutes just to see what it looked like beyond the first 2 bends and came back. We were told by the ranger that it's a hike that you can do for however long you want and just return at your leisure. It wasn't very comfortable or rewarding for us but a lot of families with children seemed to be enjoying it. By the entrance, there is calmer water kids were swimming in as well.

Overall, this was a wonderful experience. Angels Landing was magnificent and the most challenging yet rewarding hike I have been on so far. If you get a chance to check it out, I hope you have as good of a time as I did!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Glitter Lambs Loose Glitter Nail Art

Hey everyone,

I absolutely love painting my nails and making swatches for colors and glitter. Here are some fun swatches I created for Glitter Lambs recently. Enjoy!

I really love how you can accent loose glitter however you want on any length nail. You can do a chunky effect on every nail or accent a few nails however you please. It allows for much more control in the overall style and feel of your nail look. Plus, you can pick out whatever glitter shapes you want and arrange them as you please. Thank you Glitter Lambs for working with me! It was such fun. :) Enjoy everyone.

If you are interested in purchasing or browsing lovely nail polish and loose glitter, click here to visit Glitter Lambs.

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