October 23, 2017

Visiting The White Cliffs of Dover

I always struggle with writing my travel recap posts for two reasons. First, writing them brings back memories that make me want to turn back time and second, trying to narrow down pictures and words into a coherent and helpful post is a serious challenge.

I go back and forth on whether I should just photo dump or provide a more cohesive outline for future travelers and today the first won over. Guides are probably more helpful, but going to the White Cliffs of Dover is pretty self explanatory.

We did this as a day trip from London. We started our trip by taking a bus to Canterbury. Now something will always happen wrong when you are travelling and this was our wrong. We missed our first bus that we had already pre-payed for. So we had to repay and get to Canterbury later then anticipated. We walked around Canterbury a bit, but weren't much impressed. The cathedral which is the main draw was covered in scaffolding and with lots of construction.

So we took a train to Dover and that is where the awe set in.
 
We walked from the train station to the cliffs. There are tons of little paths for you to walk on. There are 2-6 inches of wear to the cliffs from wind so it is wise not to walk too close to the edge. It is white because it is composed of chalk. The black streaks are flint.
  
The day wasn't too clear, but on a clear day you can see France. Dover has a huge port due to its close proximity.

The world has some beautiful places and beautiful faces...made of chalk!

October 20, 2017

London Day Trip: Surrey

Want to take an amazing day trip from London? Surrey needs to be on your list! It is a beautiful part of the UK designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 
The area of itself is actually decently sized. We could have enjoyed exploring the area a bit more. The home from The Holiday is in this area! Would have been cool to see that!

We took the train from London to Boxhill and Westhumble. From there we walked a short while from the station and stared our walk on the Ranmore Circular. It is a 6 mile (9.5 km) walk passing through all sorts of amazing landscapes. From forest to field to village to vineyard, this trail was nothing short of phenomenal!
 

Stopping at Denbies Winery was the main reason I knew of this area. The walk we went on was just icing on the cake. The winery was beautiful and we had a great tour. We even stopped at their local little shop and grabbed some cheese, meat, and bread and made a picnic overlooking the vineyards.
Now we did also stop at the Boxhill Stepping Stones which is supposed to be one of the "most beautiful paths on the planet." It runs over the River Mole and indeed is beautiful, however, there are so many people there that it makes it difficult to enjoy.


It was the perfect little day.

October 16, 2017

Becoming a Traveler

I LOVE to travel. I never really did as a kid. We traveled to visit family in Ohio and around the state of New Mexico for my swim meets. That was it.

But I think subconsciously I knew I would love to travel. When I was in my 8th grade technology class, we all had to research a career that we wanted to pursue. I wanted to complete my paper and research on being a flight attendant. I was stopped by my teacher and was told to pick a different career because there were "reach requirements" for flight attendants. I was too short to become a flight attendant. Looks like now in 2017 airlines have made it easier for us short folk to get a job. But back in 8th grade, not so much! For those of you wondering, I did my paper and research on another career: Interior Designer. Very laughable. I would really have to learn a lot to be good at that job...

Anyway, I was at work the other day and someone asked me “How did you get into travel?" My response was pretty simple “I just went.” Throughout this conversation, this person began to tell me about what a hard life they had and travel was not an option for them. I told her that everyone in life has "setbacks." But I told him I truly believe that you can steer your own life in the direction that is right for you.
My husband was really someone who has shaped me in so many ways, but especially in travel. I know people solo travel, but I started to travel when I met him and we love travelling together and hope to do that for a very long time. Kevin traveling with me has changed not only how I perceive life, but has also given me a much greater appreciation for everything that I learn and experience while traveling the world.

Over the past five years being married, I have had the opportunity to explore Calgary, Cinque Terre, Bahamas, MauiCancun and more! These are locations as a kid that I could have never dreamed of experiencing. Even places like Zion National Park which seemed so far away have been amazing to visit. 

One thing I do know from my travel experiences is that the world can be a beautiful place full of inspiration.

I hope our travel experiences help inspire you.

October 13, 2017

Fat Man's Loop and Where to Eat in Flagstaff Arizona

Where do I recommend staying when going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park? Flagstaff. It is located in Northern Arizona with good hiking around the area. If you are travelling through Flagstaff, here are some places you should check out.

Where I Ate:
Criollo
We only had happy hour here, and it was alright. The food was decent (try the Fish Tacos) but what is even better there is the vibe. They have a commitment to using local goods and they did a really great job designing the place. Makes you want to hang out there.

Fat Olives
I mean, after Fat Man's Loop we kept the name by going to Fat Olives. This was a great pizza place with good service. Looks like they also have a great happy hour! Always a bonus!


Hiking: Fat Man's Loop
2.5 miles loop | 1 hour | 700 feet | Easy | Trail #25
This was an easy, fun trail. You can get a nice view of Flagstaff in addition to hiking through forest and some pretty cool boulders.

The view from the top! Not bad at all!

Have you done any hikes in Flagstaff that are awesome?
Let me know!

October 9, 2017

Day Trip to The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

Imagine living in the Grand Canyon State and not ever visiting the Grand Canyon. That was me and I knew that had to change. When you visit, you truly realize why it is a must see destination. There is a lot to explore and I only had a day so I knew it was important to research and determine before you arrive what area(s) to explore.

We based ourselves out of Flagstaff for this trip, an easy 1.5 hour road trip away from the South Rim. After researching hikes, I knew I wanted to do the South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail. I knew we couldn't do both...unless we could?

Who says you have to hike a full hike? We did short parts of both hikes and it was beautiful! As always water and good shoes are a must need for hiking. We were lucky enough to have perfect weather too!

Entering the Grand Canyon South Rim entrance, we were required to pay a fee of $30 or use your America The Beautiful pass (their annual pass).

Your first view of the Grand Canyon is just like you imagined: breathtaking and out of this world. The vastness and grandness of it all is pretty overwhelming. You can’t help but take a ton of photos hoping that one will capture the vastness of it all. But remember not to stand and drool too long, going down below the rim is beautiful too.

Our viewpoint we used was the Pipe Creek Vista. It is the main canyon between Kaibab and Bright Angel. I highly recommend it!
We parked at the South Rim Visitor Center and took the free shuttle to the start of the South Kaibab Trail. (Access to this trailhead is by shuttle only, no personal vehicles allowed). So let's talk about the hikes!


South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point
1.8 miles RT | 2 hours | 600 feet | Moderate

We hiked down to Ooh Aah Point, which was 1.8 miles round trip. That will land you 600 feet below the rim. The total walking time is about an hour total if you don’t linger, but what’s the point in that! It took us about 2 hours because we stopped frequently to take photos. If you are up to it, you can head farther down into the canyon to Cedar Ridge (3 miles total) or to Skeleton Point (6 miles total). Both require stamina and a lot of water!

After finishing the downhill portion of our hike to Ooh Ahh Point and grabbing some great shots, we headed back up the trail.

Bright Angel Trail
1.8 miles RT | 2 hours | 600 feet | Moderate

Then we went on to the Bright Angel Lodge where the Bright Angel Trail begins to the lower tunnel. It too is a longer trail (steep 12 miles total) It has more switchbacks than South Kaibab, but you may not notice given the tremendous views that this trail offers.

I can't wait to be back soon!
What is your favorite Grand Canyon Hike?

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