I still love New York

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In 2006/2007 I attended High School in Rhinebeck, New York for a year. Like so many, I fell in love with NYC during that time and every time I get to return, my stomach is filled with excitement. But NYC is only one aspect of New York State. You wouldn’t believe how much nature there is and especially Rhinebeck is in a beautiful area along the Hudson River. The Hudson sometimes is so broad that I thought it was a lake and in fall, the forests are so colorful that everything looks like in an idyllic painting. Returning to NYC and coming back to Rhinebeck still somehow feels like coming home.

While I was in Rhinebeck, I could catch up with family and some friends. We rode bicycles along the river, hiked to waterfalls and went to the cinema for 3$ 🙂

Four days out of these two weeks I spent in NYC. Every time I go there, I discover new things. One time, my host sister and I took Amtrak there because I received a 100$ coupon after I called them and complained about my 31 hour journey when I was going to Seattle.

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We took the free ferry from South Ferry Station. It brought us to Staten Island. On the way there, we had an amazing view on NYC’s skyline and passed by the Statue of Liberty really close. Then we had to leave our ferry and wait about 20min until we could board the return one to get back to Manhattan. From there we walked towards Ground Zero and bought a Gyros for lunch from one of the street vendors. I love food trucks!

Ground Zero is impressive with all the new high buildings and the black memorial fountains in the center.

From there, we took the subway to Union Square (they were shooting a tv show there) and then walked along Broadway towards Times Square. Of course we couldn’t go without a little shopping along the way 🙂 Times Square with all its lights and billboards is still is as exciting to me as when I was there the first time. Now with the chairs and umbrellas that are in car free zones all over the city it’s actually really nice to just sit down and people watch for a while too.

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On another day, I met up with Miriam. She was the girl who travelled through Western Australia with me and happened to come to Montréal the same time I was in NY. It would have been a shame not to come down here and so my journey kind of came to an end with the same person I started it with (there are only two weeks left now…). We just walked around downtown for half a day and looked at all the famous buildings and sights and then spent some time on the High Line. These are old elevated train tracks that were turned into a green oasis where NYC people can go for walks, drink coffee, eat ice cream and spot some decorated windows from the nearby houses.

View from the High Line

View from the High Line

In the evening, my host dad brought us to a speakeasy bar. Apparently, during prohibition times some bars existed anyways but they were hidden and you needed to know the places and a password. This one, we entered through a telephone cabin. I felt like in Harry Potter 🙂 That would be a good business idea for Switzerland too.

As luck would have it, one of my Rhinebeck friends was playing the guitar in another bar and we went to watch him for a while.

Entrance to the Speakeasy

Entrance to the Speakeasy

The next day, I finally had enough time to take the train to Coney Island. In all those years, I have never made it there before. In summer, it must be really nice and there is a lot of entertainment.

On the day of my flight to Honduras, I returned to the city once more. First, I went to the Museum of the City of New York on 103 St. There was a great movie about how NYC had developed since its beginning.

After that, I walked through Central Park and was surprised again how there still are paths I had never taken before.

Then, it was already time to meet a friend from my Whitsundays boat trip who lives in NYC. The world is smaller than we think and it’s nice to have several chances to see people again although you met them in a total different place.

In the evening, I took the NJ Transit train from Penn Station to Newark Airport (13$). I really enjoyed my time here. These two weeks have been the longest I’ve had time to stay there since 2007. Who knows when I will have such a long (chosen) vacation next time? Because I still don’t have a job yet and I really hope I find one soon after I return to Switzerland. I can’t just sit around doing nothing, while I could be travelling. However, stocking up my funds is not a bad idea.

View in Central Park

View in Central Park

 

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Vancouver

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The bus trip with BoltBus from Seattle to Vancouver was quick. The only nuisance was that we had to carry our entire luggage across the boarder and walk through customs and then put it back on the bus again. Once in Vancouver, I took another bus to get to my couchsurfers house. I expected the usual small appartment where I’d sleep in the living room. However, this time I entered a 3 mio. dollar appartment with an amazing view over Coal Harbor, the boats and sea planes and the mountains in the background. The Vancouver waterfront is very scenic. We went out do dinner in a delicious Japanese restaurant. There are so many sushi places here that all the competition keeps the taste high and prices pretty low. Vancouver is also the city of Japadogs. A hot dog with Japanese seasonings. I tried one from a street vendour and it was delicious! I strolled along the ocean and watched the sea planes land and take off and I watched the huge cruise ships at Canada Place. There also is the Canada Trail, where they mark all major Canadian cities and states on the ground.

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I wanted to do the free walking tour but almost couldn’t find the group at the starting point at the art museum, since Taiwan Fest was going on. I finally found them just as they were about to leave. I didn’t necessarily see new things but I learned about why there are so many neon signs, riots when Vancouver loses an important hockey game and the city’s history. We ended up in Gastown. On a cute street with shops and small cafĂ©s there was a steaming clock that played a melody with steam pumps every quarter hour. There also was a food festival in Chinatown and the PNE fair. It seems like there is always a lot going on in Vancouver. I went to the fair the next day. There were a lot of vendors trying to sell household utensils but there also were farm animals, loads of free samples and rides.

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One evening, my couchsurfer brought me to Stanley Park. We went there right before dawn, so that we could see the park with daylight but then would have the view of the city with all the lights on. The skyline was amazing! Afterwards, we went to one of the restaurants at Coal Harbor for a drink. The restaurants are all very pretty and there was live music too. Unfortunately, I never made it into Canada’s nature but I’m sure there will come a time for that. On my last day it poured all day, so that I decided to spend it looking for jobs at home, after I got soaked when I went to buy a donut at Tim Horton’s. Plus, my couchsurfer’s building had a free gym on the 31st floor with a Jacuzzi and a sauna. The windows were from floor to ceiling and therefore, I felt as if I was cycling in the sky, while I was on the bike.

Gum Head by Douglas Coupland and the society

Gum Head by Douglas Coupland and the society

After 5pm on Tuesdays, the Art Gallery is ‘entry by donation’. Since my flight left at midnight, we still had two hours to go there and afterwards eat a huge (and cheap&delicious) sushi platter from Momo Sushi (try the house roll). I arrived at the airport early enough but it took me a long time to check in since the woman who checked me in wasn’t familiar with the ESTA visa for the US. It’s electronically attached to the passport and therefore, she shouldn’t need to see a visa or number from me. After about 15min of trying different numbers from the receipt which I luckily still had saved on my laptop, her supervisor told her that she could skip that whole visa page. Still, I didn’t get around paying 25$ for my suitcase for flying in the US. Apparently, Canada doesn’t count as international. I didn’t have to pay when I came from Fiji. The flights to Newark via MontrĂ©al were short and ok. However, there wasn’t any free food on Air Canada. I guess they are not on the same level as Swiss and Emirates. Anyways, Vancouver was a nice last stop on the North American West Coast. I’ve wanted to come to Vancouver for a long time and now I’ve finally seen this clean city with its beautiful waterfront.

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San Francisco in two days

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We arrived in San Francisco in the early morning and tried to sleep a couple more hours on the benches inside the Greyhound station. Then, we first enjoyed a wake up coffee at Starbucks and had a look at the ferry building at the water front. There even was a farmer’s market with delicious smells everywhere. But with our luggage it wasn’t so pleasant to walk a lot and therefore we looked for the BART metro to take a train to Oakland, where the motel we ended up booking was located.

In 15min we drove in a tunnel under the water to get to Lake Merritt station. Unfortunately, we couldn’t check into the room yet. Therefore, we went looking for a Laundromat. While our clothes were spinning, I went to look for an early lunch and walked right into the Chinatown street fest. Life looked a lot better with a free cone of cotton candy in my hand 🙂

I found delicious dumplings, which we then ate while our clothes were drying. By that time, we could finally drop our bags off in our room and get ready to go visit the city.

First we went to Haight St because JB needed some googles against the desert dust at the Burning Man festival. The street was bustling with people and it was fun to look at the colorful houses. After that, we took a bus and tried to get to Crissy Field to get a look at the Golden Gate Bridge.

We came past the Palace of Fine Arts which is a very impressive building and there were about three wedding parties which were taking pictures.

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We proceeded to the seafront and made our way towards Golden Gate Bridge. It was quite a long walk against the wind but at least the sun was shining and the bridge wasn’t covered in fog. Finally, we reached The Warming Hut café. There is a little pier from which you have a beautiful view on the whole bridge.

Then, we walked up the path to get to the top of the bridge and then took the bus to get back into town. Our 3 hour 2$ ticket was still valid.

We drove to the North Gate quarter and had a look at the bars and pubs from the outside. Little Italy seemed to have a lot of nice places to eat but since we had pizza several times, we decided to find something in Chinatown.

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After that, it was quite cold and since we hadn’t slept enough the night before, time to return to the bed. I still had to book my transportation to Seattle for the next day. I would have liked to stay another night in San Francisco but JB was leaving too and I didn’t want to spend so much money on a motel room for myself. Of course, the Greyhound bus was now fully booked too and therefore, I decided to take the Amtrak Coast Starlight train. The trip would go 22h30min. I didn’t know before that there was no easy option to get to Portland or Seattle. But the ground way was still a lot cheaper than flying and the train would give me a different form of transportation on the US west coast.

At least, now we both had another full day in San Francisco, since my train was leaving at 9pm the next day and JB’s bus to Reno at midnight.

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We enjoyed a comfortable sleep in a bed and were only woken up by the earth quake that was going on for about 6 seconds. It was the strongest one I’ve ever felt.

Back in San Francisco the next morning, I stored my suitcase at the Amtrak station. For the ticket price I paid I would have expected friendlier people with a better work motivation at the station but perhaps the people who worked that day just didn’t like working on a Sunday.

JB and I walked along the waterfront from Pier 1 up to Pier 35, where we had a look at the shops, restaurants and seals and then tried a fish&chips. We continued a little until we reached the park in front of Ghirardelly Square. To my advantage, we received some free chocolate samples. We relaxed in the park for a while, with a nice view on the Golden Gate Bridge and then made our way back along the Piers. I had a clam chowder in a bread bowl for dinner. I was a bit disappointed because I probably had only about 3 clams in it. After that, I had just enough time to go buy something to drink and eat for the long train journey ahead.

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A bus came to pick me and some other travelers up at the Amtrak station, to bring us to the train station. I hugged JB goodbye. He wants to go on travelling for another year and perhaps our paths will cross again somewhere along his trip. The last 10 days had been so much easier in many ways. We could share all the expenses, always had somebody to talk to and could try each other’s foods and drinks instead of having to choose one thing because you can’t eat more than one. But I realized that I had hardly any alone travelling left. In another 10 days I would fly to my host family and friends in New York and after that visit a friend in Honduras and well, then it’s time to take a plane in direction home.

I left San Francisco in a bus over the bridge to Oakland and could enjoy a view on the city by night. There would have been a lot more to see and do in San Francisco but I’ll have to postpone this to another time. Our stay here was short but with this nice weather that we had, the city with its parks was very enjoyable.

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Sleepless before Seattle

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The bus from the Amtrak terminal in San Francisco to the Amtrak train station left right on time, only to then have to wait an hour at the train station because the train was delayed. At 11pm, I was finally on my way towards Seattle. 130$ for just a seat is quite a lot but at least you could fold the legs up a little too and I could be in a half-lying position.

The next morning, we were traveling through beautiful nature. I passed time with reading, writing, watching Dawson’s creek and looking out of the window. At around 3pm, the train came to a rather abrupt stop and you could clearly smell the friction of the iron wheels on the tracks in the air. I joked that somebody must have pulled the emergency brake but when a conductor came running through our compartment, we thought that something serious must have happened. Through the window, I saw the cabin of a truck and a few minutes later a message on the speaker informed us that the train indeed hit the trailer of a truck. Nobody was hurt but we knew it would be a while until we’d be able to leave that spot. Nobody had foreseen that it would be 9 hours though. They kept telling us that in 20min this and that should work again or get cleared by authorities. The 20min kept adding up and we started to feel like hostages on a train, since we weren’t even allowed to go outside. I wouldn’t have thought that possible in the US, where the infrastructure should be well enough to organize a different locomotive or buses. We were only half an hour from the next stop too. But there we were, just sitting and waiting, with the occasional message from the parlor car, telling us that they still have free seats for lunch or dinner. At least we didn’t run out of water and they did bring us a small snack.

At Pike Market

At Pike Market

At around 10pm, we finally started moving again (I should have been in Seattle 2 hours ago) and we were in for a second night on the train. It was actually good that in the end it took them so long and we therefore arrived at 5.30am the next morning and not in the middle of the night. Now, I only had to wait for half an hour until JB’s friends were awake. They were so nice to let me stay with them and Jon extra got up early on his day off to come and get me at the train station.

Did you know that Seattle was at least as hilly as San Francisco? I hadn’t before but after pulling my suitcase up the hill, believe me, now I know.

Finally, I could take a liberating shower and then had the best nap one could have on a window sill. Cécile and Jon live in a tiny studio and therefore it’s even more awesome that they put up with me! The only space for someone else to lie down was the big window sill but that was cool, I felt like a princess in her winter garden balcony.

But actually, it was too much of a waste to sleep through the morning because the weather was perfect.

Pike Market

Pike Market

I walked down to the waterfront past all the chowder shops and the ferries wheel. From there I took the stairs up to Pike Market where I had a look at the big fish and sampled some food. Plus, I visited the first Starbucks ever. Yup, it’s in Seattle.

Afterwards, I walked through the Olympic Sculpture Park and eventually made it to Seattle Center. A nice green patch with a big fountain in the middle of the city with lots of entertainment, museums and the Space Needle.

By that time it was late afternoon and I felt kind of tired and thought about going home. However, Bennett, a couchsurfer wrote me and came to pick me up with his convertible. Suddenly, I was on a beautiful sunset ride with Bennett and another couchsurfer from Germany. We stopped at a view point and then proceeded to the Ballard Locks. There is a pretty park with a nice mansion in it. The locks themselves are very interesting. That’s the place where they regulate the water to transport ships from one water body to another. There also is a salmon fish ladder and we tried to find them but by then it was too dark and we only saw one big fish.

Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

After that, we were hungry and had earned ourselves some dinner. Pia had watched a series called “Taco Wars” and so we went to the El Camion food truck which was supposed to have Seattle’s best tacos. And they surely were the best tacos I ever had (but I usually eat quesadillas, so I’m not really an expert on tacos).

The next morning, I wandered around Chinatown. Bennett had created this awesome scavenger hunt for tourists (www.seattlefunmap.com). I didn’t have enough time to finish it though because soon, Bennett picked me up again, this time with three other couchsurfers (from Texas and Washington) in tow. We drove to the locks again with the plan of shipping through them in an inflatable boat (we asked the night before whether that was possible). But first, we had some delicious fish and chips at the entrance of the park.

This time, there was an incredible amount of big fish in the salmon ladder and we even saw a seal too.

After looking at the animals, we went to pump up a boat and a kayak and set out on the river. It was awesome to just row and drift between all these other big boats and ships. Getting into the lock was no problem and it was a lot of fun to slowly start sinking with the water that they let out and then be ready to leave and row out into the Pacific Ocean. There were beautiful houses along the shore but unfortunately nobody was having a bbq-party and wanted to spontaneously invite us.

Fountain at Seattle Center

Fountain at Seattle Center

At some point we decided to turn around and row back. To our dismay, the lights now were on red and we had to wait around until they opened the locks again. While we waited, a bigger, expensive boat invited us to come aboard and so we climbed onto the boat and lifted our rafts on it as well. It was nice to be on the boat and not to have to do anything anymore but everybody in this group wanted to prove to us that they were the one in charge and therefore the mood on our little boats had actually been much better.

Finally, it was our turn to get into the lock and we were slowly lifted back up into the river. The boat we were hitchhiking on kindly drove us close to where we parked the car and from there we rowed back ashore.

On the way back to Seattle, Bennett stopped at the man under the bridge. That’s a statue of a giant troll under a bridge. I thought that was really cool.

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On Thursday, I met up with the couchsurfers from the day before to go to the art museum. It’s donation based and so we only had to pay a dollar to get in.

After that, I separated from the group who wanted to do the funmap. I went to have lunch at the busy Pike Market. I found the best yoghurt I’ve ever had outside of Switzerland at the Greek Yoghurt corner and I bought two more bagels because they are just so delicious here.

Then, I made my way to the EMP museum. It cost 19$ but it was absolutely worth it. They had an exhibition about fantasy stories and horror films and I could put on a cloak of invisibility. It was awesome. The top floors were filled with exhibitions about music and musicians. Did you know that Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Hendrix and Macklemore are all from Seattle?! So much musical talent here!!! The facts to read were extremely interesting but there were also a lot of fun stations to interact with. It came very close to the ACMI film museum in Melbourne, which I absolutely loved.

From there, I strolled back through town to the other end where my hosts live. I first needed to eat the remaining part of my Ben&Jerry’s when I finally made it up the hills.

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Unfortunately, it was already time to pack my suitcase again. On the last morning in Seattle, Bennett and the girl from Washington picked me up again. We quickly stopped at the library to look at the awesome building and take the elevator to the platform on the 10th floor.

After that, I finally made it to the chewing gum wall at Pike Market. Since BoltBus was leaving from Chinatown, we went to fill our stomachs with dumplings and noodles before I hugged them goodbye and boarded the 4hour bus up towards Vancouver.

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Visiting the US isn’t complete without a nice road trip

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

At about 4pm, we finally left Las Vegas on I-15 North towards Grand Canyon. After about a two hour drive was our first stop in St. George to buy some food and water supplies at Walmart and then we had dinner at a Thai restaurant across the street. This time, my Pad Thai was delicious.

We drove on and finally found a camp site in Jacob’s Lake for 20$ (without showers). JB’s tent was more for 1 person than for two and so to really fit we had to sleep with each other’s feet in the face J But I really like this way of being able to just put the tent anywhere (well in the US on campsites because we didn’t really see rest area stops like in Australia) in a beautiful nature spot and sleep among trees and grass, being woken up by birds and sunrays.

The next day, we started the entrance road to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon NP. At the entrance, we bought the annual pass for 80$ and then proceeded towards the visitor center. It is located next to a beautiful lodge at the picturesque Bright Angel Point.

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I hadn’t remembered which part of the Grand Canyon I had been to in 2009 but obviously, it was the South Rim, because everything here seemed new to me. And very impressive. After having seen so many canyons and gorges in Australia, the wideness of Grand Canyon still didn’t cease to amaze me.

We drove to Cape Royal from where we walked to Angel’s Window and then had lunch in the shade of the trees close to an outdoor chapel on the brim of the canyon.

On the third attempt, we finally spotted the starting point of the Cliff Springs walk. That was really cool with orange overhanging cliffs and the path was often shaded by trees.

In the end, we drove to Cape Imperial. From there, Grand Canyon looks never-ending, spreading along the whole horizon.

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Although, we had achieved a lot in the first half of the day, we still had enough time to drive to Page. And that with about a 100mile detour do to a landslide over the normal road. We had dinner in a delicious pizza place and then found a campsite on the Wahweap Campground at Lake Powell.

Unfortunately, the shower building was so far away from our campsite, that we drove back down by car. In a machine, I exchanged 2$ to get 8 quarters, with which we paid for a 17min shower (if you don’t have to pay for a shower on campsites in the US, the campsite is a lot more expensive).

The night was a bit restless because there was a group of drunk adolescents close by. They were French, like 80% of the visitors in the US seem to be at the moment. In Australia, almost every person I met was German and now here, everywhere you turn to, people speak French.

We enjoyed our daily breakfast donut with a beautiful view on Lake Powell. Then we drove to Horseshoe Bend, which luckily, was accessible, although it was along the road with the landslide. It was still early morning when we got there but the heat was already picking up. We walked across the sandy path to get to the edge of the cliff and have a nice view on the beautiful bend the Colorado River had carved into the rocks here. The different colors look so intense next to each other, you shouldn’t miss this stop if you go to Page, Arizona.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

Then, we drove back to Lake Powell, to take a cooling bath before heading on to Monument Valley. We stopped at the Welcome Center to enquire about horseback riding. Someone then told us to go to the Visitor Center to get a better deal. Normally, you’d have to pay an extra 20$ just to get to the visitor center, from where you then drive down to the monuments (you need a 4×4, which we didn’t have). Since, we weren’t sure whether we’d really do the horseback riding, we asked whether we just could quickly drive up there to ask about the price. To our surprise, they let us in for free.

The best horseback ride option would have been a sunset trip but for that we’d have had to wait around for at least two hours and there wasn’t really anything else to do there. However, from the visitor center, we had an amazing view on the monuments, which you don’t have from the road. We saw everything! I didn’t really feel the need to go down there and see them from up close. Plus, we thought we could go horseback riding in Arches or Bryce Canyon. So, we hit the road again to drive towards Moab, the closest town to Arches. And wow, what a beautiful drive! That road was amazing. We weren’t the only ones who felt this way, because there were cars stopping everywhere along the road to take pictures of the straight long roads and monuments.

We camped at the cute Up the Creek Campground for 32$ and walked to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. I miss Pokéz in San Diego.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

The next morning, we drove into Arches NP. It turned out that all the horseback riding here was outside the park and therefore we postponed that idea to Bryce. It was very hot in the park and therefore hiking wasn’t so agreeable. We still made it to the big Landscape Arch and saw the famous Delicate Arch from further away. I liked the Windows section the best.

In the afternoon, we drove on towards Bryce. Black storm clouds started to appear on the horizon and unfortunately, we were heading directly towards them. It started raining and it got colder by the mile. A night in such a tiny tent would have been very unpleasant and therefore we opted for a motel.

The next morning was still raining cats and dogs and so we profited from the wifi at the motel and tried to find an accommodation in San Francisco, which wasn’t so easy either. There is a big music festival coming up and I think all the people from the festival decided to come to San Francisco before that.

Arches

Arches

Before noon, we finally made it into the park. It was still raining and the clouds were hanging deeply in the rock towers of the canyon but to just do the drive to the viewpoint and take a picture-tourist thing it was ok. Luckily, the sun then came out and the clouds disappeared. I have been in Bryce in 2009 and I loved it. It’s like a wonderland built out of orange and white sand that somebody had let dribble to the ground and build castle towers with.

We had saved Bryce Point for our last stop and in my opinion that actually was the nicest spot of all. We then even tempted a 5 mile hike. It could have started raining again but luckily it was dry all the way. The paths were a bit muddy but it was awesome to walk in between these rock formations. It was a bit like a labyrinth with one way. We weren’t the only people who decided to go down there despite the weather and guess what, they were all speaking French! Sometimes, I forgot that I was in the US.

We made it back to our car before sunset and then took Highway 12 towards Boulder. The guy at the motel had told us that that was the second most scenic route in the US. I forgot to ask about the first one but it’s probably Highway 1 along the West Coast.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

We stopped in Escalante because it looked like a cute place to spend the night and it was very cheap compared to the other places too. We had a very delicious burger and then decided to take a cabin for 50$ instead of camping (for 16$, the cheapest we have seen), since it was still freezing compared to the other nights.

In the morning, we continued on to Boulder. From here, the route really started to be beautiful, with a wide landscape and canyons. When we then continued on to Zion, it started raining again. We were hoping that it would be better weather once we arrived in Zion.

We finally reached it at 4pm. The canyon was dry and it was a nice drive through the mountains. In the visitor center, we looked at what hikes we could do. I would have liked to do Angel’s Landing but on the website they had written that it was closed a few days every week to recover the park and we were one day early for it to be reopened. However, in the visitor center, it then was written that the East Rim and not the West Rim trail was closed. So, I asked whether the hike was possible and the guy confirmed that it was. Great, now we only had 4,5 hours until the last shuttle bus and the hike should take about 4 hours. Either, we’d make it or we’d have to walk an extra 2 miles back to the car park. We would have hurried a bit more to get to Zion if we had known that this trail was open.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Anyways, we then took the free shuttle to The Grotto station (no public vehicles are allowed in the park, which probably is a good idea ecological wise.

The hike had an easy beginning on a concrete path. We saw a male deer drinking from the river. Then there was a steep zick-zack path but we were very surprised when we already arrived at the top. We had planned for a very strenuous hike, like the description said but there was no way we’d need four hours for this. Well, we weren’t at the top yet. Now the fun part with climbing along the mountain crest began. There was a metal chain to hold on to. You wouldn’t want to be up here during a storm. It went 400m straight down to both sides of us. But the views down into the valley were absolutely stunning. It looked like a place where dinosaurs could still be alive and poke their heads up in between the trees.

Once at the top, there were still other people up there having a picnic and enjoying the view. And there was even a pair of cute chipmunks playing around. I want one as a pet.

View from Angel's Landing

View from Angel’s Landing

On the way back down, luckily safely back on the big path, a tarantula (!!!) crossed our way. One of these big hairy things. Ugh, couldn’t it have crawled across the path a few minutes later? I had to leave Australia and come to the US to see one of them. A few more meters down, we then saw a foe and her baby, that made me like nature better again.

In the end, we had only needed 3 hours (with breaks) for the hike and therefore made the shuttles without any problem.

We drove out of the park to have dinner in the charming Springdale and then already covered some miles towards Las Vegas. We found another expensive campsite for 31$ a little outside Hurricane.

Our last day with the rental car we spent driving back to Las Vegas. We dropped the bags off at JB’s couchsurfer’s house. They were so nice to just let me spend a night there too. Since we still had a lot of time before returning the car, we drove to Primm to have a look at the fashion outlets there. But they weren’t the same as they used to be anymore either. Plus, it rained again and the roads were flooded with rivers of water. Still, we made it back to Las Vegas before our assigned time and dropped the car off quickly. Leaving “Paige” behind was a bit sad, since we had such a good time with her this week.

Two deers in Zion

Two deers in Zion

Since JB hadn’t really seen anything of the strip yet, we went to have dinner there and spent 3 more hours in the casino jungle before taking the bus back to the couchsurfer’s house.

It was good to have a relaxing night since the next day and night, we had a 16h bus trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco ahead of us. We still didn’t have any accommodation because all the couchsurfers were full and no cheap hostels left. If worse comes to worse, we’d just have to take a motel. Like with this road trip, something would work out in the end. And this rather spontaneous week in these canyons and national parks had been amazing.

It has been an amazing trip!

It has been an amazing trip!