TREK AMERICA - SOUTHERN SUN DAY 16

Grand Canyon - Free day.

I don't think I've ever been so cold in my life. The night was freezing, despite an extra sleeping bag, leggings, PJ bottoms, slipper socks, slippers, two tops, a jacket, a blanket, gloves and more I was not prepared for how cold it was going to get. I woke up in the night from water falling onto my face, it was the worst night. 

I got up early for the rescheduled helicopter flights with three other girls. We got weighed and everything then sat around waiting to see if we could actually go out due to the cloudy weather they were having, unfortunately for us again it was still poor visibility and they said we could try again later on in the day. Phil then dropped us off at the trail we was going to be doing, called the Bright Angel trail. When it comes to hiking Phil said to us it's easy going down but ten times harder coming back up so to take that in mind! Since we had planned to try and do the helicopter ride later on we decided to do the 1.5 mile walk down the canyon and then turn back around. 
trek america southern sun grand canyon


trek america southern sun grand canyon
trek america southern sun grand canyon
I wasn't entirely sure how well I would do with this hike, I am not the fittest of people and can out of breathe really quickly, the descent down was steady and easy. We stopped at various points to admire the amazing scenery that was around us and take photos. The thought that I've actually been inside the Grand Canyon still baffles me. IT just looks so unreal and unlike anything I haven ever seen in my life. It has dips and grooves and so many layers that it is actually so hard to see how deep it really goes. Once we had reached the 1.5 mile mark we stopped and had lunch, we figured it only took us half an hour to walk down, which we thought was quite good for amateur hikers.  As we started to walk back up the canyon we ended up bumping into the rest of our trek group as well as a several others from the other group camping with us, asking how they had found the walk and how far they were planning on going down.
trek america southern sun grand canyon
trek america southern sun grand canyon

Walking back up, was harder. Although thanks to the several stops we made I wasn't struggling and so out of breath like I thought I would be. I think it is important if you feel like you are pushing your body, then to stop and take a time out. I took us an hour to walk back up and I think all of us were proud for doing it. There are loads of other hikes around the canyon depending on your experience but all of them offer amazing views! 


Once we had got back to camp we then climbed back into the van to go to the shops, then to see if we could fly! Phil rang ahead beforehand and it turns out we wouldn't be doing the flight at all. It was disappointing, however I tried not to let it ruin my day, it meant I had more money to spend and then I could spend the rest of the day relaxing. 

Later on in the evening both trek groups huddled around the fire with blankets and spent the night talking about the canyon, getting to know the other group and playing games. It was a perfect way to end our last night at the canyon.

To read about the rest of my Trek America tour click here.  I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end. 

TREK AMERICA - SOUTHERN SUN DAY 15

Monument Valley, UT - Grand Canyon national park, AZ. 300mi, 580km.
trek america southern sun monument valley


trek america southern sun monument valley
Our tour guide John woke us up at seven am. Surprisingly, although I woke up a few times throughout the night I slept good, it was the warmest night I think we had thanks to the stove! It was mad rush packing our sleeping bags etc. away. We jumped back into the jeep this time to be taken to a new location to watch the sun rise. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn't on our side and it was too cloudy to see the sun come up, however it was still nice and a great start to the day. We then had breakfast of fruit, biscuits and the most amazing loaf bread washed down with a hot cup of tea. We we dropped of at the visitor centre for a quick half hour of getting ready and refreshing ourselves. I stayed in the same clothes, as did everyone else but some how managed to brush my teeth, take my make up off, wash my face and redo my make up. 
trek america southern sun monument valley

trek america southern sun monument valley
Being a fan of Forrest Gump and reading about the trip previously I knew what was about to happen, although it was a surprise for a few people on the trek. As we drove away from Monument Valley we pulled over. This was the spot where Forrest Gump stopped running, it was marked with a sign post and we all individually did the run before we did a group run, it was fun and a great way to really wake yourself up and say goodbye to Monument Valley. 

Today we headed to Grand Canyon, here me and a few others were meant to be doing a helicopter ride and a group reveal of the Grand Canyon. The weather however had other ideas, it was cloudy. We parked up and our tour guide got out to go see if he could see the Grand Canyon and he couldn't, he also stated he had never seen the Grand Canyon like this before, so for him it was exciting. It also meant we couldn't do the flight due to low visibility so it we rescheduled for the next day. 
trek america southern sun grand canyon

trek america southern sun grand canyon
trek america southern sun grand canyon
trek america southern sun grand canyon
Next we drove to the visitor centre, again our guide went to check the Canyon to see if we would be able to see it, he can back with a huge smile on his face, it was clear. He handed us all a paper bag and we drove faces onto them, placed them over our head and formed a human chain guided my Phil and a girl who had seen the Canyon before. Apparently a lot of people was amused by this and stopped to take photos, whereas I was more worried about falling down the many steps we went down. Once we reached the railing we all lined up and on three we lifted the bags off our heads and WOW. I was blown away, I've seen pictures before but it just wasn't what I was expecting, words can't express how large and deep it is but for me I was shocked by how green it was, I was expecting dry, hard and red rock everywhere, no green at all. It really isn't something you can put into words and I can't say the photos do it justice! 

After setting up camp we headed back to the Canyon to have dinner and watch the sunset. Phil had prepared wraps with fresh salad, and even bought some vegetarian 'meat' which I actually enjoyed. I have to point out it was freezing at this point, here's me thinking the Grand Canyon would be slightly warmer at night, but in the dessert it gets cold, really quick! As we drove back to camp, another trek group had set up their camp, we did try and socialise with them but they all seems a little bit sleepy and disinterested, our group huddled under the canopy, as rain began to fell and had a game of 'have you ever' and took solace in how well I group gone on together, for me this was something I was worried about having read about people not getting along on other tours, I was just so thankful to have an amazing bunch of people to travel around with.  

TREK AMERICA - SOUTHERN SUN DAY 14

Santa Fe, NM - Monument Valley, UT. 280mi, 450km.

Today I was flat out in the van, I don't know if it was because I was tired or the fact I had a cold. This wasn't our longest drive either but it felt like it took forever to get to Monument Valley, again we watched thunderstorms from a far, the rain made some of the mountains and rock look like they had been painted silver. Up ahead for most of the journey I could see this large mountain and it looked like a castle in the sky, it was mesmerising. I'm sure our tour guide said it was called Jeff's rock but I can't be sure. 
trek america southern sun monument valley

trek america southern sun monument valley
Monument valley was a place I was looking forward to, when I first began looking at the southern sun tour I saw so many pictures taken here. Today we did the Navajo tour with the optional activity of sleeping in monument valley which all our group agreed to do. Navajo's are native Americans of the Southwestern united states. Our guide was called John who was really friendly and informative throughout the tour. We rode around on an open top jeep, it was freezing and at first I found it hard to enjoy myself with rain hitting me in the face. 
trek america southern sun monument valley

trek america southern sun monument valley
trek america southern sun monument valley
trek america southern sun monument valley
trek america southern sun monument valley
It took me a while to appreciate the beauty around me thanks to the weather. Our first stop was John's point, we got of the jeep to take photos, did the typical jumping shot and admired the view. The jeep ride was really fun thanks to the rockiness and unevenness of the road we were bouncing all over the place. After John's point we went to a stop called the giant 'Hogan' a hogan is a traditional Navajo dwelling, it gets its name due to the shape and having a hole in the top much like a hogan. Once inside the giant hogan we laid back at looked up, if you look closely you can see an Eagle pattern on the rock. Our guide then explained to us how monument valley was created, with rock, water and sand, and how all of this used to be under the sea and many fossils have been found from sea creatures that went extinct years and years ago. As we were laying back on the rock our guide brought our a hand held drum and began to sing a native song, which echoed throughout the hogan. 
trek america southern sun monument valley

Our next stop was given the name the giant ear, we ran up a sand dune to take photos, then on the way back down we all held hands and ran, although one person ended up falling over and face planted the sand. On our way back through monument valley the sun had begun to set, reflecting light of the rocks which shone a beautiful golden colour. The navajo's had prepared us dinner of tacos, mine was without the meat but it was so fresh and filling, it was a comfort food to warm us up on such a cold night as they got a fire blazing. I also had the bread with some honey on afterwards for dessert which was just as good. 
trek america southern sun monument valley



Once we had finished eating, we all circled around the fire to watch a traditional song and dance that mimicked animals such as butterflies, it was so beautiful to watch. I felt so lucky to be able to experience this, once he had finished we then all joined in with the dance, it was so much fun, something I will remember forever. Since we were stopping in monument valley for the night we were then driven back to the hogan we would be staying in, it was so warm and cozy. I have to point out the toilets are drop holes and there is no where to wash so I just slept in my make up and the clothes I had on. We all slept in a circle around the stove, played games as we all drifted of to sleep. It was such a wonderful and magical day.


To read about the rest of my Trek America tour click here.  I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end. 


TREK AMERICA - SOUTHERN SUN DAY 12 & 13

Austin, TX to Amarillo, North TX - Van appreciation day. 500mi, 800km

Austin to Amarillo was the longest trip on the trek, the drive was around ten hours in total. We left camp really early, as everyone else was fast asleep under a sky full of so many sparkly stars. When we drove away from the site we spotted deer slowly appearing from no where, wandering down to where we had been camping almost as if they were reclaiming their home. 

On the drive I also randomly saw a Zebra in some ones garden, I know in America the law of exotics pets is very lenient. Everyday on the trip we would stop of somewhere nice to have lunch. The time around we stopped of in a place called Anson, it was strange. It was quite a rural place, areas were rundown yet there was a pool, golf club and parks yet nobody was around. On top of the strangeness of that there was this building all fenced of with barbed wire, had no windows, the door was padlocked from the outside, yet inside you could clearly hear a TV or radio which was home to I can only assume stray dogs, who had a little hole to get inside and out, honestly it made me so upset. They kept yapping and barking at us, waggling their tails, I just wanted to take them home with me. I did write down the name/area of the place because I wanted to research what this place was but nothing came up when I typed it in to google. As we were leaving, we saw our first sign of human life, a policeman who drove up to where we was eating then around that area. 
Trek america southern sun Amarillo

The long drive went really quickly, I loved our campsite the Armarillo KOA, it was such a cute campsite, if a campsite can be called cute. They had a little gift ship filled with some unique and interesting souvenirs so I picked up a few things here. Even now I was still finding it so strange how friendly everyone is, honestly in the UK I feel people rarely give strangers the time of day, everyone just keeps to themselves. 
trek america, southern sun

trek america, southern sun

trek america, southern sun
We relaxed at camp for a bit before heading to the Texan steakhouse. We had two limos come pick us up to take us there. The steakhouse was filled with taxidermy, a gift shop, a game of shooting, old photos that morphed into different images, it felt very Texan. 
trek america, southern sun

trek america, southern sun
Now me and another girl on the group are vegetarians, this is most possibly the worst place we could have gone for food, the only vegetarian options were side orders... So I ended up eating a small bowel of macaroni cheese and fries. There was also a 72oz steak challenge going on which was fun to watch, they had an hour to eat everything as well as all the sides, there was a lot. Nobody completed it and I can't even begin to imagine how anyone can eat that much in one sitting, it was crazy. Here we also bumped into another trek group, and spoke to a few of them. 

After dinner we headed back to camp, after getting ready for bed one of the guys in our group shouted night to everyone, next minute I hear him calling our tour leader over saying that he had found something in his tent. I'm pretty sure I was the worst person to come over because there was the hugest dead spider inside his tent! I just questioned him on why did you kill it etc. Turns out it was a prank and that him and our tour leader had found it earlier and wanted to scare us girls.. Afterwards they scooped it up in a cup and put it in one of the girls tents, followed by lots of screaming. Then it was bedtime and the most windiest night! 

Amarillo, TX to Santa Fe, NM. 280mi, 450km. 

Everyone always seems to picture Texas of the dry land of cowboy and Indian films, however it was only today that the landscape started to morph into that. From a far we could see thunderstorms, I don't know how many of you have ever seen a storm or rain from a far but it is really surreal. 

We did our shop this morning at Walmart and whilst there our tour guide set us a photo competition which consisted of most American, hottest stranger, statue, most Texan, best dressed, excited about life, sleeping, Halloween themed, friendliest stranger, route 66 and cutest dog. 
trek america southern sun Cadillac ranch

trek america southern sun Cadillac ranch
trek america southern sun Cadillac ranch
We stopped of at Cadillac ranch, a art installation consisting of Cadillac cars to represent the evolution of the car line, it was built in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels.  The Cadillac's are all spray painted and we took a few cans to spray our own messages onto them, whilst everyone was busy me and my team mate spotted a cute dog so we ran and asked to get a photo with him. 
trek america southern sun route 66

trek america southern sun route 66
Next stop on our trip was route 66, honestly, travelling along route 66 has always been one of those things I wanted to do. When I think about a road trip across America, route 66 is one comes to my mind. If anyone has watched Cars you will recognise Mater, apparently one of the people who owns one of the shops on route 66 voiced one of the characters in that movie, although I can't be sure who. We also stopped of at a gas station which had a route 66 museum inside it, which was interesting to walk around.
trek america southern sun santa fe
trek america southern sun santa fe



Sane Fe is beautiful, the buildings are pueblo style, in so many different shades of brown, it reminded me slightly of Star Wars... Here we completed the rest of our photo challenge running around, trying on clothes, asking strangers to do odd things for us (we asked an elderly man if he would pretend to be asleep for us, he said yes!) It was a lot of fun. On the way back to camp which was located near the Santa Fe trail was a picturesque location, we set up camp, had dinner then sat around the fire whilst Phil judge the photos, we ended up coming second after a tie-breaker. Since the bathrooms were located down the hill from where was was camping I got lost several times trying to find my way back in the dark, after breaking my torch! We had a thunderstorm tonight, with lightning flashing away in the background and stars all around us. 

To read about the rest of my Trek America tour click here.  I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end. 


Designed by FlexyCreatives