Zion National Park

Zion indeed! The scale and beauty of this place is insanely lovely and incredible. We visited in April and had just had 2 days to explore; this is what we did:

-Angel’s Landing (WOW)
-Overlook (also wow)
-Emerald Pools
-Checkerboard

_20170424_121518
Beautiful Zion colours
ziono1
Canyon Overlook
zionolook
Hiking buddies
angels
Angel’s Landing climb

 

 

_20170425_115306
The view North from the Angel’s Landing trail

Angel’s Landing was definitely the highlight. It is best started earlier in the day because it can be quite hot and sweaty which to me, detracts from the beauty of the hike.  The last little bit of it is a bit freaky – there are huge drop-offs on either side of the trail and it can be quite windy. When we were up there, a sudden hailstorm came up and boy was it terrifying! I attached myself to another couple leaving the top ASAP while Linda and Austin lingered in the rain. Much braver than I am!

_20170425_112237_001
Look at that skinny trail!
_20170425_104145
This way up…phew!
_20170425_102600
Views from Angel’s Landing trail
_20170424_161844
Emerald Pools trail
_20170424_151723
Emerald Pools
_20170424_151632
Emerald Pools trail

_20170424_141316

zionch
Checkerboard

To know:
-Some parts of Zion are not accessible to car traffic – there is a shuttle that runs regularly up the valley to drop off and pick up at the various trailheads.
-The Subway requires a permit – I believe it is done by lottery – and it is a strenuous hike. The Narrows is a different hike, and does not require a permit and is a day hike.
-There are plenty of accommodations around the park and there is camping within the park – reserve well in advance during busy summer months.

Next time:
The Narrows and the Subway.

Advertisements

Albingo!

The theme of the trip so far seems to be early morning wake up calls! Our flight left for Calama at 0645 so we had to leave for the airport by 0445. Zzzzz….. We used the same shuttle company we used to come in to town and they were very professinal and prompt. Allow time to pick up other passengers, although the shuttle company is usually quite good at coordinating it.

We got to Calama bright and early and easily picked up one of the transport services to SPdA. The desert is a perfect place to capture wind power and there are a lot of windmills on the way to San Pedro.

image

  The driver didn’t speak English but was very friendly stopped for a view point just outside of San Pedro.

image

He dropped us off directly at Hostal Mamatierra. This is one of the top rated hostals in San Pedro and it’s not hard to see why. It is very clean, not too big, not too noisy and there was a towel and water provided and they helped us to book all our activities while we were there.

We went into town to run some errands. San Pedro is very cute and small but busy with lots of tourists. I had a delicious lunch of guacamole wrap and learned ‘palta’ is a kind of shortened way to say avocado.

That afternoon we joined a tour to see some of the salt lagoons with a few Aussies from our hostal and others. It was really lots of fun. Laguna Cejara is not for floating in but was gorgeous.  The pool we were allowed to swim in was not as salty as dead sea but quite cold. We saw our first flamingos here! They are just beautiful and look like planes when they fly.

image

image

image

We also saw all white flamingo which we promptly nicknamed ‘Albingo’.

From there we drove to another pool that we could swim in and took shadow photos in the setting sun.

image

image

image

Lastly, we visited Salar de Atacama and saw more flamingos. I almost lost my swimsuit top. Don’t worry,  wasn’t wearing it,  but had tied it to my bag to dry out. Luckily it was quickly relocated! We also tried our first pisco sour. They were delicious! This resulted in lots of giggles with the girls.

image

image

The desert gets quite chilly at night and we were pleased to return home for delicious fresh tomatoes and avo for supper.

Going East Coastal

EasterCoasters

October 13-24, 2015
I set off for a wonderful adventure back to the East Coast to visit my nursing school friends and Jeramy’s family. The East Coast is beautiful in the fall, it is absolutely my favorite season on the whole and especially spectacular in the east. The West Coast is majority big old Dougie firs, and cedars, the evergreens, that make up the rainforest; but the East Coast, on the other hand, is a patchwork of reds, greens, browns, yellows, and golds, spread thickly over the rolling hills. No mountains here, this is pastoral, open land.
12144955_10156163648635268_9076831148445413171_n
I had a great flight out of Calgary and then from Toronto to Moncton, there was a child sitting in front of me that reminded me how little I desire children of my own! This little duffer had a massive meltdown roughly every 15 minutes, even giving his mother a nosebleed. Yuck. I think that with all our technology and innovation today, there should be a better way to amuse and soothe children on a plane. Jeramy on the other hand, had decided to drive across the country to get home. What a nut. Pretty sure this is why they invented planes? Got confirmation that he was regretting it when he called from just outside Winnipeg, saying, ‘You were right. I’m thinking about renting a storage locker large enough to drive my car into.’
I started the trip out in Fredericton, the city where I met Jeramy, went to nursing school, started volunteering at therapeutic riding, and trained for my first half marathon. I never thought that I would say this, but I do miss Fredericton. If the hospital there was a bit nicer, I just might consider living there again. I had a fantastic visit with nursing school friends, tried Chess Piece Cafe (yum!), picked apples at Everett’s Orchard, did some classes at Moksha Yoga, saw my amazing doula friends, met a whole heap of new babies, saw a few of my old profs, and did some shopping at my old Le Chateau. It was so incredibly lovely and I definitely felt nostalgic and sad to leave.
12112278_10156163648210268_4180301537778143863_n
Apple picking with Laura, my fave running buddy. We trained for a half-marathon together!
After that as a few days in Moncton over the weekend, with Jeramy’s parents. It was great to spend time with them and their 4 dogs, all Gordon Setters. We didn’t do too much the first day, just hanging out, and Jeramy and I did some shopping in the afternoon. I also got to take a ride in the sidecar of his stepdad’s Ural motorbike. I have a goal to ride as many kinds of transport around the world as I can. This was my first time in a sidecar! Jeramy’s parents were going to a dinner that night where his mum was going to receive an award for her incredible work with education of everyday people about hands-only CPR. Very proud! Jeramy and I went to the 3D showing of Pan, which was good as far as costumes, music, and graphics but the storyline was a bit off compared with the rest of the stories.
12074953_10156167789615268_5664551781173128793_n
The next day we set off on an afternoon adventure to Martin Head Beach via Alma. Alma is a tiny village along the Fundy coast, notable for delicious sticky buns and seafood.
12088137_10156171749250268_2078646101469864008_n
Martin Head is down the coast from Moncton, past Hopewell Rocks, down a nicely graded dirt road which turns into a bumpy logging road, which turns into what can best be described as a washed out creek bed at a 15% grade. Wheeee!
12141632_10156171336240268_7539243704887812601_n
The beach was beautiful, set along a rugged coastline with cliffs abruptly diving down to the ocean. When the tide is low, you can cross over to the spit of land that leads out to Martin Head itself, which unfortunately was not possible at the time we went. It was such a beautiful day though and with the Fundy Footpath crossing along here, it would be awesome to come back. Martin Head is also a UNESCO Biosphere reserve, and it’s not hard to see why. It feels so remote, so serene, and so untouched. There are many birds around and no real predators.
12141772_10156171747060268_9158509543104253247_n
Beautiful grays and golds as sunset begins.

 

My next day was spent going to Saint John to see Gloria, my former roomie, and Emily, a former classmate and fellow doula. Always nice to see friends!

Jeramy and I set off for Halifax the next day. I got to see the beautiful and wonderful Leah, and she took me into some beautiful little shops and the new Halifax library for a ‘blueberry fog’ (yum!). The new Halifax library is beautiful and very optimally situated and has a great view of the city. We had a delicious dinner at one of the Korean restaurants, kimchi jeon, kimchi chiggae, bibimbap….so good! Our next day consisted of similar:  eating delicious sushi at Sushi Nami with our friend Rachel, shopping at Biscuit General Store, and having afternoon coffee and salted caramel brownie at Apothecary. 🙂 dinner that night was at The Stubborn Goat, sharing a variety of tasty treats like lobster mac n cheese, deep fried avocado, and chickpea fritters, to name a few.

That night Jeramy and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary. We rented a hotel room and drank wine, ate cheese, and generally enjoyed just taking some time with just us in the craziness of visiting.

We drove back to NB the next morning, Jeramy taking a moment to drive me through Halifax Airport – silly guy! We ended up in Cap Pele for lunch at one of the local seafood restaurants with his mum and took the scenic route along the coast to get back to Moncton. The next couple days were just filled with visiting, eating, walking, and enjoying being there. Highly recommend a trip to the Maritimes – everyone is so friendly!

Who am I when I’m not on the road?

I’m sitting here in our basement with the wood stove crackling merrily away, binge watching Gotham (hello, Ryan! Oh, do you not go by that outside the OC?), drinking Davids Tea (Cranberry Orange Muffin), and cutting fabrics for my new quilt.

When I’m not travelling (or spending time planning a trip), I am usually keeping myself quite busy. Apart from being an RN, which keeps me busy for four 12 hr shifts a week, I’ve got two dogs, Newman, 3, a Minpin x Italian Greyhound, and Mac, 6, a Minpin. We like to adventure around our home in the Kootenays of BC, where there are lots of mountains and trails to explore. I try to document our times via Instagram (@trnscontinental) to promote the beautiful area we live in and to remember the beauty in the future.

Mac and Newman
Mac and Newman
2015-11-05 21.20.42
Pet finds quilt to be a snuggly bed. -_-

I’m an avid seamstress/quilter. I’ve completed
2 quilt tops recently (see below), have one cut, and have just started cutting another. I’m told I’m not permitted to just collect quilt tops however, so I’ll have to start actually quilting them soon I suppose! I’ve got 2 pairs of PJ pants on the go for myself, some Christmas napkins, and a couple other little Christmas present projects. Always lots of fun to create something new by hand. Like to think it’ll help keep me from getting Alzheimers!

2015-11-05 21.20.08
Two quilts and one pair of PJ pants
2015-11-05 21.21.10
Another quilt, fully put together and awaiting quilting and binding, and two sets of napkins.

Yoga, horseback riding, reading, card-making, and studying languages are also fun. I like using Udemy and Duolingo to study, although I have about 4 different Korean language apps on my phone. I’m losing my Korean, as I’ve lost my French and Japanese, so studying on my lunch break helps a bit. How do you learn new languages best?

What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not working or travelling?

And yes, Netflix, Shomi, and I are pretty good friends. After travelling and being surrounded by noise, new people, and new places, being home alone is too quiet for me!

Updates coming soon!

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly and that’s about to change! I’m making my New Year’s resolution early and it’s all about dedicating myself to travel and the promotion of travel. I want others to understand more about the world and what it has to offer. I’ve also been thinking more about how I can give back when I travel and how to become  more efficient and eco-friendly traveller. Look for upcoming posts on that as well as packing for a variety of seasons and activities in one bag without breaking your back.

I’ve got a post nearly done about my most recent trip to the Maritimes, Canada’s East Coast. Upcoming are posts about Chile, Bolivia, and Edmonton and in the new year watch for Mexico, Ireland,  Scotland and more.

My other goal for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016 is #30by30. It’s a big birthday for me next year and I hope to have visited at least 30 countries by August 25th. I’m close but not quite there yet!

Thanks for subscribing! Tell the world about it!

Gillian