TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek: monument valley

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valleyAfter two days ticking the Grand Canyon off of our bucket lists, it was time to say hello to Navajo nation!

On the way there we stopped off at a Navajo gift shop where I bought my girls back home a little handmade dream catcher, before visiting a small Native American museum which was really insightful. For those Forrest Gump fans out there, we also paid a little pit stop to that famous scene before finally arriving at Monument Valley!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley run forrest run stopthat famous ‘run Forrest’ run’ scenelinebreak

As we would be spending the night in the valley with no showers, we packed an overnight bag (which consisted of a hoodie, shorts, flip flops, sleeping bag, pillow and clean underwear aha) and placed it in the 4 X 4 jeep for our tour!

The jeep tour was so good! We had a slightly crazy ,but happy guide called Jamie who kept doing Woody the Woodpecker impressions and told us all about Navajo life. Our first stop on the tour was a female hogan where a Native American lady showed us how they made their beautiful blankets and even demonstrated a typical Native American hairstyle on one of the girls from the other tour groups.

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley view 1travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley view 2travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley - welcome signmonument valley views, ‘welcome’ hogan signlinebreak

Jamie then took us to a large natural hogan where we laid down, closed our eyes and listened to him playing the flute. It was so peaceful, and it really made you think just how lucky you are to be in such an amazing place.

All was calm until, you guessed it – a thunderstorm was approaching (typical trek!) But like the troopers we are (we handled Cedar Point, so we can pretty much handle anything), we embraced the weather and made it to our next stop – a rock formation up a massive hill of red sand. We all had a little race to the top and back down before it started pelting it down. Talk about perfect timing!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley hogantravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunset lightningrock formation, thunderstorm during sunsetlinebreakJamie was so nice at this point and traded in our roofless jeep for a van, whereas the rest of the tour groups made their way back in the rain! Go us! As the rain calmed down, we met with the other groups and had a Navajo dinner – Indian fried bread with onions, lettuce, beans and a buffalo steak. It was so delicious and was a refreshing change to pizza.

Entertainment then followed with a Navajo showing us their traditional dances such as ‘the sneak up’ and ‘duck and dive’ in their Rennailla (it’s disrespectful to call what they were wearing a costume). I felt very privileged to experience a different culture and learn things from their perspective. What’s more, they even got us to join in and have a dance off!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley - foodtravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley entertainmenttraditional food, Navajo entertainment
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When the entertainment ended, it was time to head to our special hogan for the night. Me, Polly, Bobbi, Dave and Matty decided to sleep out under the stars, whilst the others decided to spend the night in the hogan. After the thunderstorm, the weather had calmed down and it was such a beautiful night, so we thought we’d take advantage of it! The sky was so clear and the stars were twinkling – it was such a surreal moment and we even saw shooting stars!

About an hour until we had to wake up, it started spitting (what’s new there aha?) so luckily, we ran into the hogan and joined everyone before the rain hit us again. It was nice staying in the hogan and outside it, and to say we were all smelly, dirty and tired, it’s a moment that I’m sure we’d do again in a heartbeat!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunrise hearttravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunriseshowing our love for monument valley, sunrise
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After an hour’s sleep in the hogan, we packed up our stuff and went to watch the sun rise, which was quite possibly the best sunrise I have ever seen in my life! The silhouettes of the rocks and the colours in the sky were so beautiful!

After an amazing day and night, it’s time to say goodbye to Navajo nation and head to New Mexico! Did someone say tequila?

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek: grand canyon

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 - grand canyon national parkToday we are on our way to the Grand Canyon! This stop has been on my bucket list for ages!

After napping in the van on the way there (hey, yesterday was such a full on day!) Morgan took us for a ‘Grand Canyon reveal’, where we had to close our eyes and do a trust walk. We placed our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us and let Morgan lead the way (this was a very big thing for me as you all know I have a habit of tripping and falling everywhere), but we made it to the edge of Mather point and we opened our eyes…

I can’t really describe how I felt in that moment apart from feeling extremely lucky to see one of the natural wonders of the world. It truly is breathtaking in real life as it is on film or in pictures! Naturally, we took plenty of selfies before having lunch and chilling out by the watch tower.

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - hiking to ooh ahh pointtravel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - me and polly grand canyontravel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - watch towerthe grand canyon, me and polly, watch towerlinebreakIt was then onto camp to quickly set up our tents before heading back out for our Grand Canyon helicopter ride. Another first for me! I was a bit apprehensive before the trip as to whether I would do it. as it’s so expensive (a whopping $285!) but it was the most expensive thing I bought on the trip (a close second was a Wicked Broadway ticket in New York) but it was well worth it! You get to see the canyon from a different perspective and we all got some great aerial shots!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - helicoptertravel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - me and polly helicopter ridetravel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - grand canyon view 1helicopter, me and polly, views of the canyon from abovelinebreakAs I’ve mentioned before, one thing I discovered about going on a trip like this, is that you hardly get any sleep! So on the helicopter ride I decided to sneakily close my eyes – for just a few seconds – and enjoy the moment, but Polly cheekily said I fell asleep – let’s just say word got out to the trekkers who left and they wouldn’t let me live it down! According to them it was the most expensive nap I’ve ever taken! All in good jest I suppose aha! Once the ride had finished, we headed back to camp so me and Polly could cook tea for everyone – a delicious spag bol! It was then time for an early night as we would be up at 3.30am for sunrise!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - sunrise grand canyon 1travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - sunrise grand canyon 2sunrise in the grand canyonlinebreakWe surprisingly woke up on time this morning (to say all of us were shattered from the previous few days was an understatement) to catch the 4am bus to see the sun rise on the Grand Canyon. All of the girls decided to have a chill day today, bar Matty and Dave who wanted to do a big hike. So me, Polly, Bobbi and Kirsty all headed to prime sunrise spot Yamapi point. It was surprisingly so cold but we all braved it! As beautiful as it was to see, I think I prefer seeing the sun set to rising as its a lot prettier but it was still an amazing experience to tick off our bucket lists!

After sunrise we headed to the market plaza for breakfast! It was so nice to eat food, chill and chat! After a little pick-me-up, Kirsty and Bobbi headed back to camp whilst me and Polly headed to the South Kaibab trail to do a small hike to Ooh Ahh Point. A moderate trail which takes 1-2 hours to go up and down, the South Kaibab trail was just what we needed to do some exercise all at our own pace. Saying that, we both smashed the whole thing in 45 mins – go us ! We of course stopped along the way to take in the views and get plenty of pics! After our mini and wait for it… last hike on this trip – we headed to the visitors centre to watch a film about the Grand Canyon before heading back to camp, where we met with the girls and all snuck a free shower before spending the rest of the afternoon in the laundry room – standard!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - me at ooh ahh pointtravel - trekamericas grand trek day 27 and 28 grand canyon - me and polly ooh ahh poointI finally made it to ooh ahh point!, me and polly
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That night Kirsty and Bobbi cooked us a yummy sweet and sour, whilst Polly, Steph and Emma headed back to the canyon to see the sun set. The rest of us, feeling tired after a long day stayed in camp and hung out. We all made our own horror movie up with classic cheesy deaths and Morgan being the serial killer – it would deffo sell out in the cinemas! When the girls came back we then set up a camp fire and made smores before heading to bed!

The Grand Canyon has been a nice, chilled retreat after the hedonistic time we had on the Northern Trail and in Vegas! Bring on tomorrow and Monument Valley !

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek instagram snaps week four

travel - grand trek insta snaps week four

It’s the fourth week of our trip and that officially marks the end of our Northern Trail tour!

travel - grand trek - trek family and universal studios hollywood The Northern Trail family / Universal Studios, LA

linebreaktravel - grand trek - downtown vegas and angels landing Downtown Vegas / On top of Angels Landing, Zion

linebreaktravel - grand trek - grand canyon and monument valley Sat on top of the Grand Canyon / Sunrise at Monument Valley

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After three weeks of rain, pranking and hiking, the Northern Trail finally came to an end in LA. We spent the last couple of days there at a baseball game (let’s go Dodgers, let’s go!) and on our free day; a few of us went to Universal Studios, whilst the rest hit Venice Beach. It was so sad the next morning saying goodbye to our friends but we had one thing to keep us going – Viva Las Vegas! What can I say? Vegas was incredible! The Bellagio Fountains were just as I imagined (amazing!) and it’s safe to say, we all had a good time there! We then conquered Angel’s Landing in Zion – one of the most strenuous and dangerous trails in America’s national park system – something of which I am incredibly proud of! The next couple of days were spent at the Grand Canyon, where most of us pretty much chilled out and took in the views. (And did the last and final hike of the trip, yay!) The week ended on a high at Monument Valley, which was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced! We slept under the stars, had a traditional Navajo dinner, danced and did a jeep tour of the valley. The first week of the Southern Sun tour has been amazing so far, and I cannot wait for the next few stops to come – Austin, New Orleans and Nashville! 

Stay up to date with all the latest goings-on with my USA trip on instagram – @sazwatson.

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – my usa bucket list

travel - my usa bucket list

As today marks the first day of my trekamerica trip, I thought that I would share with you guys my USA bucket list.

new york citytravel - my usa bucket list new york city
The concrete jungle where dream are made of. New York has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. The bright lights of Times Square, the spectacular skyline view from the Empire State Building and sailing near the famous Statue of Liberty are all things that I’m excited to tick off.

los angelestravel - my usa bucket list los angeles
Home of Hollywood’s finest, a visit to LA has been imprinted on my brain ever since I saw The Hills. From a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame to hitting Venice Beach, I can’t wait to get my so-cal vibe on when we land in LA.

grand canyontravel - my usa bucket list grand canyon
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is another place I can’t wait to visit. I’m probably gonna be one of those people who take 83922 photos of it, but hey, it is a natural wonder after all!

las vegastravel - my usa bucket list las vegas
The city that never sleeps… One minute I’ll be next to the Eiffel Tower and the next I’ll be taking a selfie in front of an Egyptian pyramid. If that’s not already enough to make me giddy, there’s always the nightlife and the Bellagio fountains.

new orleanstravel - my usa bucket list new orleans
We will always have Bourbon Street. And voodoo, swamps and of course gumbo. From the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter to a cooking class, NOLA is another place on I can’t wait to tick off my wish list.

Keep up to date with my American adventure on instagram – @sazwatson.

What’s on your travel bucket list?
[Images are from google]

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – all about america

travel - all about americaIn two weeks time I shall be jetting off to New York to start my seven week trekamerica adventure!

Is it normal to be excited yet nervous at the same time?! After what seemed like weeks of planning and decision making, (travelling around Australia was on the cards with another option being a Thai adventure) in the end I chose trekamerica’s Grand Trek.

A 43 day camping tour starting and ending in New York, the Grand Trek visits some amazing cities including Chicago, LA, Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans, plus some spectacular sights such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park and Monument Valley. Covering 26 states, I just couldn’t pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity.

I am hoping to do some packing and what places I’m looking forward to visiting posts before I go, with some diary posts of what I’ve been up to when I come back.

To keep up-to-date on my latest adventures, check out my instagram – @sazwatson.

If anyone can recommend me any places to go or eat at in New York (where I shall be on my lonesome) it will be very much appreciated!

sigyhl

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