The best of the American west

This girl finally got her ass out of Canada and started exploring some of the U S of A. I’ve been wanting to go to America for such a long time, and seeing as I live over that neck of the woods now I thought it would be stupid not to.

America is a weird and wonderful place with questionable laws and epic landscapes. I spent two weeks on the west coast, road-tripping through little Mormon towns, hiking while fuelled up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (vegan problems), getting lost in desserts and being completely in-awe of my daily surroundings – then finishing up in foggy San Francisco (yes I left my heart right there).

I did so many memorable things in such a short space of time, these are the five I’ll never ever forget. Here we go:

  • Hiking Angles Landing in Zion National Park

I’m not an avid hiker at all, but since living in Banff I’ve tried my best to climb as many mountains as my legs will allow. Never did I think my body would be capable of climbing something as strenuous as Angles Landing. You’ve probably heard of it, or maybe seen some cool GoPro footage on social media – it’s the one with the chains and the exposed long drop-offs that leads you to an insane Jurassic-Park-like-view. It’s only a 5k round-trip but you really have to put a lot of trust in your body to climb the thing; terrifying but truly satisfying. It’ll get your heart pumping and you’ll be feeling the adrenaline-shake for days afterwards!

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  • Just all of Yosemite

I’ve wanted to go to Yosemite National Park for SO long. From all the videos I’ve seen and everybody I’ve spoken to that’s been there, I just knew I’d love it. And lemme tell you, it did not disappoint. You’re surrounded by beautiful mountainous landscapes, the biggest trees you’ll ever see, waterfalls, switchbacks that make you eager for what’s around the corner and so much wildlife. The colours are insane too, an autumnal palette of green, orange, auburn, yellow and a bright blue sky shining above. We stayed in tent cabins for three nights and managed to squeeze in two hikes and a trip to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. There’s so much more to see of Yosemite and I feel like I only got to experience about 20% of it, but it’s fine because I guess I’ll just have to go again won’t I?

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  • Watching the sunset while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco was our last destination and the second city we visited in the space of two weeks. We were meant to walk across the Golden Gate bridge about mid-day but the traffic coming into the city was WILD – an absolute jungle – so it took us a hell of a lot longer. Once we finally arrived the sun was just about to start setting and by the time we got to the other end of the bridge night had fallen. Walking across this iconic bridge that I’ve always wanted to visit since growing up watching Charmed (the Charmed house is actually in LA though, boo) with traffic blaring was completely euphoric. I was so pumped by the end of it I felt like I’d drank about 11 coffees. But watching the sun set half way on the bridge was magical and I’ll never forget it. I suppose we were meant to get stuck in traffic…

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  • Exploring a Wild West ghost town

I didn’t particularly know what to expect from this. It was a strange little spot on our itinerary and I hadn’t done much research prior to the visit but I absolutely loved the experience! Bodie is located in the east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and apparently a massive hotspot for professional photographers because of its eeriness and beautiful lighting. Only a small part of the town survived but that which did is completely untouched; from dusty beer bottles at the saloon, an ancient piano in the church (creepy AF) and children’s books at the school…

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  • Death Valley 

Sounds terrifying right? The hottest, driest and lowest national park in the whole of the United States. We hiked there on our second day and half way through I thought “yep, this is where I die”. It wasn’t anywhere near as hot as it gets but it’s still pretty unbearable when you’re hiking with the sun blazing down at you for three hours. Completely worth it for the experience though – and the golden tan. I did think I’d have to fight off some snakes and scorpions along the way but thankfully all the little creatures where hiding far away under the shade. I’d really recommend coming here for a day or two if you’re a national park junkie. Death Valley is a burning gem and like no place else, how can you say no to this golden sand and blue skies…

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I’m hoping to go back to America in 2019 once the winter season is over in Banff – for a completely different trip however. I’ll be in desperate need of some vitamin-sea and sun by then so possibly Hawaii? Florida? Who knows…the plan is to get outside and keep exploring!

 

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