Three days ago I was tanning in the hot sun out at a racetrack in Las Vegas in 80 degree weather… and now I’m experiencing another SNOW DAY! I’m not mad about it because my midterm exams have been pushed back yet again (more time to study!) and I was able to use today to edit the rest of our vacation pictures! I am one happy photographer. Things are about to REALLY pick up starting this weekend and that means lots more portrait sessions and wedding blog posts rather than just my personal adventures! I hope you guys didn’t mind all the travel/vacation photos… I just have so much fun seeing all that I can see while I’m still only 20 years old and without a lot of “adult” responsibilities yet. That’s probably why I took 5 weeks of vacation last year… and 2 this year already. Oopsies. You can guess where all my extra spending money goes! I promise I’m generally a really big SAVER! Just instead of buying new clothes or new shoes… I travel. I’m also super blessed to have family and friends living all over the country (and the world) and people that offer to take me along on their vacations with them like the Horner family! Before I dive into this post any further I really have to give them another shout out to say THANK YOU!! I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Thanks to them (and Ms. Mary’s awesome planning skills), I got to see this last week…
That’s the GRAND CANYON!!! One of the seven natural wonders of the world… and it lives up to its name! We stayed at the Kachina Lodge on the South Rim and although it looked a little different than what I had in mind, it was SO beautiful. I think the South Rim offers a more colorful view and walking along the canyon edge was just surreal.
When we arrived at the lodge, Ms. Mary and I started up the canyon edge trail… and it was so pretty!! Thanks for the pictures Mary!
My boot… over one of the steep edges… so crazy how close you can get to just diving right off the side of the canyon!
The next morning we set out to hike Bright Angel Trail. It goes down for a total of 14 miles… I think we only made it about 1.5! The 8,000 ft. elevation is just insane. My lungs were really pushed to their limit during my runs up here!
Our last night at the Grand Canyon, we went out for sunset pictures… and here’s where the orange-y colors I had pictured in my head really started to show!
And of course we needed some portraits… :)
This is becoming my signature pose!
Best friends :)
Love these few of Tessa and her mom!!
On Tuesday, after two nights at the Grand Canyon, we headed to Bryce Canyon… which was even HIGHER than the Grand Canyon! Some pictures spots reached 9,500 ft.! Good thing we had had a couple days to adjust and my altitude sickness had passed by the time we got here. It was GORGEOUS! And snowy!! And sooo cold! On our way to Bryce we actually came within 2-3 miles of running out of gas… in the middle of the desert.
Um… could you imagine?! It was so scary!! All I could think of was all the horror movies I’ve seen about serial killers that trap tourists that get stuck in the open, remote areas of the West… thank goodness we found a Chevron and got back on our way to Bryce!
Our hotel at Bryce Canyon was so nice and warm and cozy :)
We only had one day at Bryce so we spent it hiking and stopping at every picture spot we could find. Well, not really hiking… more like pointing at the snow-covered trails and laughing… and then continuing to walk back to the car.
Isn’t it gorgeous?!
Bryce is famous for its “hoodoos” or the tall rock formations growing out of the ground!
Everything was so ORANGE! Even in the low winter sun. I can’t imagine how “hot” it must feel in the summer because just looking at the bright orange glow of the canyons made me feel warm… even though it was about 25 degrees!!
Here’s Thor’s hammer!!
Ms. Mary and I went on another walk down into the canyon!
I kept calling this the “Bible wall” because it looks like something I’d picture finding in Israel if I ever get to go there… :)
We then headed to Zion National Park for the last two days of our trip before going back to Las Vegas. This was probably my favorite of all the places we got to see. Instead of being above and looking down on everything like at the canyons, we were down in a valley and looking UP at all the mountains! It was just beautiful. I can’t imagine how much prettier it can get in the spring and summer time with the leaves on all the trees and flowers blooming… because it was just breathtaking on the overcast wintery day we got to see it!
This reminds me of something you might see in South America!
We hiked a couple miles worth of trails at Zion. There’s all kinds of “peaks” to see and pools to explore… and we got to see the backside of a waterfall… albeit a tiny waterfall :)
There are some really pretty horses (or they actually might be mules?) at Zion. If I ever go back with Justin, we will be doing some horseback riding for sure!!
I am so happy that I got the chance to explore a new part of our country that I’d never seen before. And to do it with one of my best friends and her family was just an extra bonus! Can’t wait for the next time I get to head back out West… :)