When was the last time you sat and fully watched the sunset?
For me it was May 31st at the Grand Canyon. Maybe I haven’t watched one since because sunset at the Grand Canyon is hard to top. This was the first official canyon we visited (though Hoover Dam is big enough to be a canyon), so we wanted to start with the most famous one. TBH it wasn’t my favourite canyon, but I still loved it. The interesting thing about the Grand Canyon, all of these canyons really, is that you would never expect it. I can’t imagine the wonder the first people who discovered it must have felt. The drive up is quite plain. There’s some desert grassland, a little forest, but when you leave the parking lot and catch the first glimpse of those giant reddish curves it’s unreal.
Getting to the rim walk and taking it all in is an incredible feeling. Especially if you’re a desert newbie like me. I’ve seen big mountains, oceans, and lakes, but nothing compared to this. Then it hit me that I was just standing at one little point of the south rim. This magnificent beast goes on for miles and miles and miles. There are probably entire countries that can fit inside the Grand Canyon. These photos show just a tiny fraction, and that’s what makes it so incredible. I would love to fly over it one day to see it in its entirety. I think you’d have to spend at least a week if you wanted to walk around the whole thing.
One thing that surprised me was that there are areas that aren’t fenced off. So be careful! I realize this is coming from someone who went pretty damn close to the edge, but I promise I was cautious. Another thing is that people throw coins into the canyon like it’s a fountain, which I find very uncool. I believe in the ‘take only photos, leave only memories’ philosophy when it comes to mother nature. Especially when it comes to something so big and glorious.
The sunset was around 9pm. Everyone was gathered around viewpoints at the rim walk. It was gradual but gorgeous, seeing the shadows slowly cover the rocks and the sky change colour. One thing about the desert is that the temperature drops pretty fast once it’s dark, and it’s windy AF. I changed into jeans when we arrived at the canyon and spent pretty much the entire walk taking my jacket on and off. Once the sun set I felt the wind even more and even wished I had another layer. Definitely worth it though.
Pro tip: if you’re planning on doing a similar road trip is to get an annual pass for America’s National Parks. As a Canadian, I was really surprised to discover that you have to pay to enter parks in the States. I mean, I get it, the maintenance must get expensive but I’m pretty sure in Canada all the parks are free. Anyway, if you’re planning on visiting multiple parks during one trip you’ll end up saving money by getting the annual pass even if you know this will be your only visit to the States in the year. The fees are about $25-$35 per park, and the annual pass is $80. So if you’re planning on visiting more than 3 parks per visit it’s worth getting the annual pass.
I spent most of June travelling. In the span of 3 weeks I saw 3 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents. It started out with a desert road trip that we had been planning since the beginning of the year. We flew into Las Vegas and then spent the next few days driving to various canyons in the area. The Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Bryce Canyon and Zion Park. Of course, we ended up taking hundreds of photos and I’ve got a lot to share. This first set is from Hoover Dam, where we stopped on our way to the Grand Canyon.
To be honest, I wasn’t very excited about Hoover Dam. We figured it’s on the way so why not. But it was the perfect place to whet my desert appetite. A few years ago all of these places weren’t on my travel radar, but since researching the desert and seeing more and more photos I ended up getting so excited before the trip. I’ve almost always lived near the ocean (except for the first 2 years of my life), so of course I have a great love for it. Before visiting the desert, I always felt like there was something missing from inland places. But this particular desert blew me away. The landscape is breathtaking, even with its major lack of water. It’s giant, it’s a bit lonely, but it’s so so beautiful.
What I loved about the desert and all the sights that we saw, is that it’s all so unexpected. You’ll be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by dust and little shrubs, when all of a sudden a majestic orange mountain range pops up in the distance. Then you’ll make a sudden turn and discover something even more amazing, like a gigantic dam carved into the side of said mountain range. I’m generally not too afraid of heights but this trip challenged that a bit. I never thought I’d be super impressed by a dam, but its size and location made it worth the stop. We both thought it’d be a quick pull over to take a few photos but we ended up spending about 2 hours there! That’s how big it is.
And then there was this spot … I couldn’t tell you where it is except somewhere in between Nevada and Arizona. It’s funny, all the spots that we visited had their fair share of tourists. But the roads that we took weren’t busy at all. There were points where we almost had them to ourselves. This was just a viewpoint on the side of the road and just as we pulled up the only other people that were there were leaving. It was so windy I couldn’t even face the camera to take a picture – just look at my hair! But damn what a landscape. I think it was then that I officially fell in love with the desert.
I hope that one day I can come back when I’m not on a schedule to get to the next place. If I do, I’ll wander all the way to that river and through those mountains.
TBH I wasn’t planning on making a post of this trip. It was an intentionally wifi-free weekend – not because I didn’t have access, but simply because I didn’t want to. The main purpose of the trip wasn’t touristic. It was a long overdue visit to catch up with old friends. Catch up we did, but they also showed us some lovely spots around town. So in collaboration with Expedia.ca, I wanted to share my recent trip to Kelowna, BC.
WHAT TO DO IN KELOWNA BC
If you’re not from BC or Canada, Kelowna is a resort town in the middle of the province. It’s situated in between mountains and Lake Okanagan. It’s a popular spot for skiers/snowboarders in the winter and, well, everybody in the summer. Yet in my 18 years of living in BC I’d never been before! It’s about a 4 hour drive from Vancouver, but the only way there is through the mountains so it’s not always an easy drive. We went on the Easter weekend back in March and it snowed on the way there! I guess that’s not surprising for Canada, but it was for us Vancouverites. Especially since we rented a super sporty car … not the wisest choice in hindsight but it was a fun drive until the snow hit.
We spent the first night hanging out at our friends’ place, but they had a full itinerary planned for us the next day. It was lucky for us that we were staying in a house with a puppy and a baby (both under the age of 2) because it meant everyone was up early. We really only spent a day in Kelowna, but we did so much it felt like more.
We started the day off with a hike at Knox Mountain. The trail we hiked was called Paul’s Tomb trail; morbid name but gorgeous views. It starts off with a view of the entire city and continues off to pretty views of the lake and mountains. It even leads to a little beach after a while. And yes, it does lead to the tomb of a man named Paul but don’t let this throw you off – it’s a very pleasant trail. And it’s dog friendly! Lady and our friends’ dog Mars were both having an awesome time.
After the hike we refueled with some pannekoeken (Dutch pancakes) at De Dutch, and then went to Bean Scene for coffee. For some reason cocktails are cheaper than a plain drip coffee at De Dutch … so don’t get coffee there. Bean Scene was lovely though.
KANGAROO CREEK FARM
We left the babies (fur & human) at home to rest, and took a quick trip to the neighboring town of Lake Country to make up for the loss of cuteness. Kangaroo Creek Farm is a petting zoo filled with kangaroos, wallabies, capybaras, emus, goats, and Patagonian Cavies. This was probably the highlight of the trip because you know how much I love animals. I hadn’t seen kangaroos/wallabies since I was a kid in Australia and I’ve had a mild capybara obsession for a while now. Also I held a 3 week old baby goat in my arms!!! Cuteness overload x a million.
As much as we loved making new animal friends, we couldn’t stay away from our own little creature for too long. So we headed back to Kelowna and our friends showed us around downtown. It’s small but cute; lined with little brick buildings that are home to local shops and restaurants. The nicest part is definitely the lake/harbour though. Lake Okanagan is massive – Kelowna is just at one end of it. There’s a pretty esplanade and pier you can walk around, and a beach for the summer.
We spent the next night chilling at home as well, since we had a long drive ahead the next morning.
If you’re travelling to Vancouver and are wanting to do a little road trip, I’d recommend Kelowna. Especially if you’re a wine lover; there are a lot of wineries in the area (we didn’t have time to visit plus given our circumstances it didn’t really make sense, but I know a lot of friends that have done winery tours). And if you’re like me and live in BC but haven’t made the trip … do it! I’m sure you’ve heard many people talk about trips to Kelowna, and I think it’s worth seeing what all the fuss is about.
It’s not spring without a cherry blossom shoot, is it? I hope you’re not too tired of them yet. Even though I see them in the same places every year, I never do. They’re like nature’s limited edition treats. Just as I look forward to peppermint mochas and pretty light installations to distract me from the cold in December, I know that cherry blossoms will brighten up even the gloomiest April showers. They’re the little rays of warmth that the sun can’t provide me yet. And the perfect background for this lace crop top & mint duster. Ripped jeans/chain earring too, because you know I can never go full-girly.
Well, I know it’s May now and the blossoms are almost gone. As always, it was good while it lasted and I’ll be sad to see them go. But also happy because it means the start of my favourite season – summer. I can finally feel the sun’s warmth guys! I’d almost forgotten how it felt. I think this shoot was the last day I wore the duster and I’m not planning on wearing it any time soon, now that the temperatures are steadily in the late teens. All it took was a few warm days for the past winter to feel like a lifetime away.
I often wish I lived somewhere milder (though Vancouver is like a tropical paradise here in Canada), but at the end of the day I’m glad I survived all the rainy days and cold snaps. They made me tougher. They gave me appreciation. This spring, and the blossoms, had me thinking a lot about changes. The changes I want to make in my life and the changes I wish I’d made sooner. Now that I’m 25 and officially in a new demographic, there are a lot of things in my early 20s that I would have done differently now. But time travel is impossible so I have to live with them. And that’s ok. I had to make those mistakes so that I could learn from them now. Better late than never, right? Just like cherry blossom season.