Friday, June 16, 2017

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


The whole reason for our trip to Western Colorado was to check out the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.When we first moved to Colorado I found a picture of it on Instagram and showed it to Drew, he instantly fell in love and we've been trying to plan a trip over ever since.


This trip was planned before we found out I was pregnant, so as it got closer we had to tweak it. Luckily this is another Park that you could drive to all the different locations and didn't have to hike, if you didn't want to. Drew always wants to hike.


There are unmaintained hiking trails on the north and south rims of the canyon, which take about two hours to hike down, and four hours to hike back up. All inner canyon descents are strenuous and require Class 3 climbing and basic route finding skills., plus an official permit. 

From the entrance it is a 7-mile drive has 12 overlooks to test your fear of heights. A lot of the overlooks require walking a short trail but nothing difficult. The last point of interest is Warner Point Trail, and that's where we started from.


According to every single person who's ever been to the park, there is no better way to see the park than to hike a trail. There are a handful of trails that take you to spectacular overlooks. But we soon realized that I wouldn't be able to hike anything major. So Drew looked up the different hikes in the Black Canyon and found Warner Point Nature Trail.



It's said to be an easy grade hike (he also said that about the Pulpit Rock in Norway--he lied) But after reading many reviews, it said that it was a very family friendly hike, and that people toddlers were able to do the hike. The hike it self isn't bad. But the elevation is what killed me! Be prepared for that! 

 

Although the hike itself wasn’t exciting, but the views at the end were worth it! The only bummer was that this is the ONLY trail where dogs aren't allowed. But, we had come all the way with Rylie, and we weren't about to leave her in the car-so we took her with us. Luckily she was a very good girl and lots of people just wanted to pet her! haha





The park contains 12 miles of the 48-mile long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.



From Warner Point we drove back stopping at all the little look outs. There were a couple that I just stayed in the car for, the 3 mile hike definitely wore me out! But Drew was able to get some great photos.





The most famous "look out" is the Painted Wall. It was the busiest, but definitley the most impressive. If you only have the chance to check out one, This is the one you need to check out.





By the time we had gotten back the visitor center I was starving and ready to have lunch. We packed a picnic and decided we would eat when we made it down to East Portal Road, since it was near the river. It was totally worth the wait. Almost every look out point had a picnic area, but this was the only one next to the river. You literally go down into the canyon.


The East Portal Road gives you access to the river. Keep in mind that it is extremely steep (16%) with hairpin turns. They don’t allow vehicles over 22 ft. You are literally riding your brakes the whole way down. I could smell our brakes when we got down to the bottom.  Don’t forget to check to see if it’s open, since they close the road during winter.


It was a beautiful day, and an amazing trip. If you ever get the chance make sure to stop by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you won't regret it!


Here is Drew's video of our day there! 


Interesting Facts:

  • Parts of the canyon only receive a little over 30 minutes of sunlight a day. (Hence it's name)
  • The Gunnison River is the 5th steepest mountain descent river in North America. 
  • At its narrowest point, the canyon is only 40 feet wide at the river.
  • Painted Wall is the tallest sheer cliff in Colorado at 2,250 feet.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Colorado National Monument, CO


Over Memorial Day Weekend, we headed off to Western Colorado. The purpose of this trip was to head to Montrose and the Gunnison National Park. Unfortunately when we started looking I couldn't find any place to stay. So we decided to check out Grand Junction. When I Googled Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument was the major attraction there.



Drew and I love the National Parks Services! Our new goal is to see at least one in every state!

Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Even though it's small, this 31-square mile reserve boasts a concentrated version of Colorado's redrock expanses, deep canyons and sandstone towers that draw millions to the more popular parks in nearby southern Utah. Best of all, since it sees much less traffic, it's easy to have most of the monument to yourself.



Colorado National Monument was established on May 24, 1911. It contains spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations, and extensive areas of igneous rock. It is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests. It hosts a wide range of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, ravens, jays, desert bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Standing on the canyon rim, you can identify over 1.5 billion years of geologic history in nine distinct rock formations that remain neatly arranged by age.



We started off at the North entrance in Fruita, you could enter the park in Grand Junction, but since we were headed South after words, we decided it was a better idea to go North to South, instead of South to North, than back down South. If you are an avid hiker you could hike the whole canyon. I hear it's better to start off in Grand Junction if that is your plan.




If you're not an avid hiker- and more like me who would've love to stay in the hotel's hot tub for most of the day. You can take a beautiful drive through the National Monument. I've read books and articles calling it Colorado's "Grand Canyon". It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. Although the Grand Canyon is more impressive.



Unlike the Grand Canyon, you are able to drive through it, and have amazing views while driving. There are many over-looks that allow you to jump off the "busy" road so you can take pictures. make sure you clear your camera memory. I had forgotten to do it and was so mad when I ran out of room. Luckily I had already moved the older pics over so I didn't feel bad deleting them.



This was the perfect little trip to take. At the time I was still in my first Trimester and had little to no energy, so we took it easy. We ventured off the "path" for a bit, so we could get some cute pictures, and let Rylie work out some energy. Did I mention it's pet friendly too? National Parks are amazing because of that!


Because the monument is open year round, there is always something to do. Whether it be nice hikes through the park, enjoying scenery and wildlife on a nice drive. Cross-country ski during the winter. Or rock climb in the beautiful summer. No matter the group you are with, the season you visit, or your interests, Colorado National Monument has something for you.

--
Address:
1750 Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, CO 81521
Pets allowed on Paved trails only
Cost: $15 per vehicles / Free with NPS Pass

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Announcement


Back in February, I shared where we were in our infertility journey. It's been a rocky road, Four years to be exact but I am so happy to share, that come December, we will have a new adventure seeker joining us on our travels! 

We are so excited for this little miracle and can't wait to see where these next year takes us! <3


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spirit & Frontier Airlines : What you need to know



America has finally joined the bandwagon of cheap flights, and I LOVE it. Being in Europe Ryanair was our go to place to fly with, can you really beat 20 euro round trip tickets? Although Spirit and Frontier airlines aren't that cheap, they are just like Ryanair, a low budget, no frills airline designed to get you from point A to point B for the cheapest price possible. People are complaining about paying $35 to check a bag, who cares when you're flying round trip for under $100?! Here's some tips I've complied to make your trip a little less stressful.

+ Check Ins start 24 hours in advance.
Check in as soon as you can. In this day and age with smart phones and WiFi everywhere, you don't have an excuse. But luckily you don't have to print our your boarding pass, You can download the app, or screen shot your ticket and have the picture up on your phone.

+ Should I buy a seat?
NO. I would create a profile on either pages and you can put your "preferred" seat of choice. Most of the time you get it, but if you don't, no big deal. They say that there is no guarantee that you'll be seated next to one another, but so far, I've never been separated from my party.

**Note: If you're buying your tickets separately, chances are you won't be sitting next to one another. I'd suggest either buying it together, or using the same e-mail address so you can all sit together.

+ Baggage Rules
Here's the tricky part; for Spirit and Frontier you are only allowed one "personal" item. But honestly as long as your personal item can fit under the seat in front of you I wouldn't worry about it. **Tip, use a duffle bag, or backpack that is easy to maneuver.

Carry on VS. Checked back; if you need a larger bag, skip the Carry On and just check a bag. It is $35 to check a bag, vs the $35 it is to carry on a bag. I'd rather check a bag and be able to use a bigger space. If you are checking in a bag, make sure you do it in advance, it's usually cheaper when checking in. (*Standard rules apply, 50lb weight limit, check your airline's website just in case)


+ Got TSA Pre-Check?
If you have TSA pre-check, both Spirit and Frontier let you check in and skip lines! Make sure to add your Known Traveler Number when checking in.
**Note; If you do not have have TSA Pre-check I would highly suggest it. For $75 it's good for 5 years, and you don't have to wait in those crazy lines, take your shoes off or laptops out. It's great! If you can afford it, I'd spend the extra $20 and get Global Entry, You get Pre-check for free and you can skip those pesky border lines.

+ Travelling with small kids
Bring snacks, I'm sure you already know this, but the reason their prices are so cheap is because they charge you for everything else you would get for free on other big name airlines, water, coffee, snacks, etc. You are able to Gate check strollers and Car seats for free.

*Unsure about something? Call the airlines just to make sure!

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you want to travel for as cheap as possible, this is the way to do it. If not, then spend the extra $200 per ticket and go with a big name airline.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

A day in the West, Sedona, AZ


Back in July I took another trip to Arizona. Drew and I both fell in love with Sedona and really wanted to take another trip there. So for our 5th anniversary, I flew back out to Arizona so we could spend some time together! I knew that while visiting Sedona we would have to take a Jeep tour, it's THE thing to do while visiting. I researched so many places, before we settled on A day in the West.



To be honest, we chose to go with this company because they had a Groupon, going around, and I love a good deal! It worked out great because the Diamondback Jeep tour, is the same path that most of the other tour groups go on as well. The Diamonback Jeep tour is rugged 4 x 4 trail that is sure to get your heart racing, as it climbs through the back country of Sedona's western canyons.




We chose to do the sunset tour, because if you've ever been to Arizona in July, you know that the average temperatures are over a 100 degrees! (**If you take this tour make sure to take a jacket, by the time we got back the sun had set and I was freezing!)



There were a total of 7 of us including our guide, it was us and another family of 4. The bumpiest seat are the back ones. Our guide was great, he told us all the interesting facts about Sedona and the red rocks. He pointed out some cool little spots to take, and even told us where to go for our hike up to the Devil's Bridge the next day. Our driver was so knowledgeable as pointed out natural landmarks around the area and fondly told us about them. I learned later that it was a family run company that has been around since the 40's! How cool is that?




If you have a heart condition, not a fan of bumpy roads, I wouldn't suggest this. But if you're a fan of adventure, want the "Sedona experience" you have to take a jeep tour, and you can't beat the price with A day in the West. Besides, the views while on the tour are the absolute best in the city!