Arizona Part 1: Marble Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon

Arizona Part 1: Marble Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon

My first big hiking trip is in the books, 9 days 3 cities and countless hikes. It was truly an amazing experience and really forced me to test myself!

Day 1

We landed Friday night and the adventure began, we landed at 11 pm so we stayed in a hotel near the Phoenix airport.  Clearly, the adventure started here, as it took them 3 tries before they found us a room where the key pads on the door actually worked, so we didn’t get to bed until around 2 am

Day 2

Saturday we woke up, had breakfast, and we started the drive up north to Page, Arizona!!!!

The entire drive north my eyes were glued to the landscape. Arizona had everything Red Rocks, Snowy mountain tops, Canyons, Cactus, and even cattle (the western term for cows)!

As we got closer to the amazing Red Rocks we were stoping every five mins to take photos. We may have annoyed some of the locals, and gotten honked at one point…whoops.

On the way to Page we decided to take a detour and visit Marble Canyon. We stopped at the Navajo Bridge where we saw two huge California Condors sharing lunch!

 

 

As we still had daylight after our nearly 5 hour drive, we decided to do a hike! Initially I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to be sore for the Grand Canyon, but we had a day to rest before so why not?

We did the Lees Ferry and Spencer trail lookout, 3.5 miles and 1,614 ft of elevation gain.  The hike was a switch back filled trail, but throughout the entire trail you have an amazing view of the Colorado River which really keeps you going!

When you get to the top you have incredible views of not only the Colorado River but the Vermillion Cliffs.

 

After the hike, we checked into our hotel and got some delicious BBQ food.  We went to bed early because the next morning we wanted to catch the sunrise over Horseshoe Bend.

Day 3 Page Arizona!

5:30 wake up call, to make it to Horseshoe Bend for the sunrise. Horseshoe Bend is a 270 degree turn in the Colorado River.  The hike in is about 1/2 mile and doable for people of all fitness levels.  While Horseshoe bend is an incredible place, and I highly recommend visiting, it is extremely important that you get there early to beat the crowds and ensure parking. We were one of the first people there at 6:45, but within an hour the parking lot was filled and there were tons of people everywhere.

 

Next stop Lower Antelope Canyon! Lower antelope is a slot canyon. The colors are constantly changing due to the amount of sunlight coming in.  We had a 10 am tour and the colors were just beautiful!  I’ve seen pictures before and thought they were probably enhanced … nope, they’re real.

In order to do the Antelope Canyon you need to book a tour, we decided to take a private tour with Kens tours! It was a little bit more money to do the private tour, but in my opinion totally worth it! Our tour guide, Roc, was amazing and knew all the best spots to take photos!

 

The tour starts with a stair case down into the canyon, and proceeds for about a mile through the canyon. The canyon is shaped like a V, narrow at the bottom wider at the top, so some areas are a little narrower as your walking through.  This however adds to the unique shapes and colors you get when you walk through it.

 

Now to explore Upper Antelope Canyon! Again, you need a tour for this.  We used Antelope Slot Tours by Chief Tsosie. This tour is a little different, as you have to get on a bus a drive to the canyons.

While lower antelope is shaped like a V, upper is shaped like an A, wider at the bottom narrower at the top. So you get some nice light beams coming in from the top.

 

After visiting both, I personally enjoyed lower Antelope more; it is a longer tour, more colorful, and less crowded.  But honestly both slot canyons are really amazing!

Now back in the car to head to THE GRAND CANYON!!!!! But First Strawberry thick shakes from Sonic!

Stay tuned for my next blog posting … my hike down and up the Grand Canyon

New Hampshire: 7 Mountains 3 days

New Hampshire: 7 Mountains 3 days

It is official I have now climbed 21 of the 115 high peaks in the Northeast….not bad considering as of May I had only climbed 1. Last month we set off to NH to climb:
Mount Cabot-4,120
Wildcat D-4,070 ft
Wildcat- 4,422 ft
Carter Dome-4,832 f
South Carter-4,430 ft
Middle Carter-4,610 ft
Moriah- 4,049 ft

The Monday before we left for New Hampshire, rain crept into the forecast for our trip. I was not happy. I did not want to cancel our trip because of rain, but we had an overnight planned so we decided to watch the weather.

As the week went on, the likelihood for rain shifted to just Friday, but it lookedlike the rest of our trip would be nice and dry; just a little cold. This being the case we decided to do Mount Cabot, an 8.8 mile hike on Friday and the longer hike from Wildcat to Moriah Saturday into Sunday.

In order to properly plan for this, we all brought extra gear. We didn’t want to be walking in wet gear for our long hike! I packed a pair of old hiking boots, my new purple Salomons (I love these boots), and my smaller 20L bag….thank god I did this!
DAY 1:

Friday morning we woke up early in hopes to beat the rain….we didn’t. We got to the trail head and it was already raining. we started on the 8.8 mile trail to the top of Mount Cabot (4,170ft). When you’re about a ½ mile in, you hit a fork in the trail … stay to your right…this is VERY important, or you will find yourself going 5+miles out of your way.

In case you were wondering we did not stay right, we went to the left; the trail less traveled … where we had to cross over streams and fallen trees. About 3 miles in, we realized we had made the wrong turn, but we had no choice but to countuine on the path we were on. The rain started coming down harder, and the hole in my old hiking boots was not helping. After approx. 5 miles we got back to the path we were supposed to be on. The last 1.5 miles is the steepest part of the trail, but it’s not that bad. This was my first hike in NH and I have to say those white mountains are beautiful!


We started to make our way back down, picking up speed to get out of the rain. At this point our pants were soaked through, our socks soaked, and our raincoats were doing there best to keep as us as dry as possible under the circumstances.

While crossing over a stream I lost my footing and went down hard…it was a month ago and the cut on my leg is still not fully healed.  If my pants weren’t wet before, my butt definitely was now from falling in the creek. I brushed it off and kept going.Looking back, I probably could have followed the map better, but the hike was so much fun! Sometimes getting lost is the best part of the journey!  Another 4,000 footer in the books. 6 more to go this trip!

Total steps: 39,997 (thanks Fitbit)

DAY 2:

5 am wake up call! We were lucky to have an awesome hotel owner who offered to drive us to the trail head so that we could drop off our car at the end of the hike.We arrived at the trail head atPinkham Notch Vistor Center and started on the trail (Part of the AT)!  In the first 5 minutes, you are greeted by amazing views of the Lost Pond.  We kept stopping every five minutes to take photos.

You follow this for 2.1 miles, though it feels like forever; just a long slog up, with a lot of false summits on the way. If you look on the ground on the way up it almost looks like there is broken glass the entire way up, the trail was covered in Mica. It was amazing.  At times, the way up was pretty steep! Some parts I was almost crawling!

When you get to a sign that says: “The Real Wild Cat” on a small platform, you made it to the summit of Wildcat D. Snack time, it is important to remember to refuel when your body starts to get tired (like a Stinger Waffle) even if you’re not overly hungry…this will help you keep going. 
2 DOWN 5 TO GO.

We started our way to Wildcat, and my ankle started acting up, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me!  You drop a few hundred feet and then you have to go up to 4,422 so it is a decently steep trail up.

We reached the Summit 3 DOWN 4 TO GO.

Time to start towards our highest peak Carter Dome,  follow the AT for another 2 miles. Heading down it was a pretty steep and relentless down. You suddenly come to an opening with a lake! There is a hut here for thru hikers.

We decided to stop for a lunch in the middle of the trail, chicken and gouda sandwich with garlic mayo … YUM.  We also made two friends over lunch;  the first was an AT thru hiker making his way to Maine and the second the most adorable little Squirrel. The squirrel stopped and hung out with us for a bit. He even let us take a photo.

When we got to the top there was a little opening, the views weren’t great but it was a great place for us to stop for water and drop our packs for a bit!

4 DOWN 3 TO GO.

After about 2 miles with a pretty deccent down, and then back up we reached the top of South Carter!  This was one of the easier peaks of the day.

5 DOWN 2 TO GO.

Time to hit our last peak of the day Middle Carter this was our shortest distance, only 1.3 miles. the views on top were really pretty. 6 DOWN 1 TO GO!

At this point it was starting to get late, there was another group on the summit with us, and we weren’t sure how many campsites were left, so we decided to split into two 2 groups (All’s fair in love and hiking). We had heard that the decent was steep, so we sent Bob and Tristan ahead to the campsite, and my dad stayed with me so I can take my time down the steeper sections. The views down were amazing as the sun got lower in the sky the colors were amazing!

The intial descent was not bad off middle Carter. It wasn’t until you got to North Carter that the drop got steep. Coming off North Carter, I was stopped by someone saying “You have purple shoes, we passed two guys a few minutes back … they want you to know that they are continuing to the campsite.” When you split into groups it is good to make sure that you communicate however possible, and without cell service there aren’t many options so other hiker will do!   In about another mile we found a note written in the dirt with a stick letting us know what time it was when they go there so we could gage how far ahead of us they were.

I have to say, the 3 miles to the campsite felt like the longest 3 miles of the hike, I was starting to get tired and hungry.

We were lucky enough to get the last campsite available. When we got there, the tents were already set up, we got fresh water from the stream and steri-penned them, ate dinner (another chicken and gouda sandwhich) and then time for bed. It was so cold! But after 12+ hours of hiking I was exhausted and asleep by 9.

Steps: 45,411 (thanks fitbit)

DAY 3:

One more mountain left….we got this! We woke up early and packed up our gear.

We continued on the AT for .3 miles until we reached the Stony Brook trail junction. Here you continue on the AT for another 1.4 miles till you hit the summit of Mount Moriah. On the way up, we caught parts of the sunrise, which were totally amazing.  I think of all the mountains we climbed this trip, Moriah was my favorite. There were scrambles and giant slabs the entire way up.

Over the last few months I have learned the importance of being able to trust my feet…this is something that I have struggled with in the past, always afraid that I am going to fall. It was crazy to realize that most of the fear was almost gone, that I could just walk down the slabs….its not like I am running down them yet but it’s progress!

The views at the top were amazing! We did it … 7 DOWN 0 TO GO

We headed back down Moriah, back to the Stony Brook trail junction, this time you bear right down a steep down…what goes up must come down. Now that we are back down to the bottom the next hurdle….finding the car. My dad ran ahead of the group, since we weren’t sure if we parked at the base of the trail. When we reached the bottom, we called him, but he still hadn’t found the car….Fear not he was headed in the right direction we just didn’t realize how far we had parked from the trail.

Steps: 24,140 (thanks fitbit) 

We did a quick change into comfy clothes before getting back in the car, we were greeted by the smell of our wet clothes that had been sitting in the car over night. We headed home…and got about ten mins away before realizing my dad had left his wallet on the roof of the car…never a dull moment.

We turned around and were lucky enough that no one had taken it … it was sitting in the middle of the parking lot….we got out of the car and waddled to the wallet (our muscles had tightened from being crunched in the car). It is safe to say that it was an extremely successful weekend! It even ended with a Strawberry thick shake from sonic like every good weekend should!

Now that the summer has ended and I have had time to reflect, I realize how far I have come. I can’t wait to see where my future adventure will take me and what my body will be able to withstand.

I did this hike not only for me, but for Girls inc. of Long Island! It is not to late to donate to this amazing organization that empowers young girls. click here to donate

Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half

Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half

This weekend we decided to take on the first half of Devil’s path, described as one of the more challenging hikes in the Northeast.

I was PUMPED and yet mildly concerned by what I had heard about this trail.

The trail spans 4 of the Catskill 3500:

Indian Head: 3,573 ft

Twin: 3,640 ft

Sugarloaf: 3,880 ft

Plateau: 3,840 ft

Continue reading “Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half”