Antelope Canyon

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Antelope Canyon

Arizona

After Horseshoe Bend, we decided to grab a quick bite at Sonic Drive-In before heading to Antelope Canyon. The food options weren’t as impressive so keep your expectations low if you’re in the area and need to grab a bite to eat. But anyway, Antelope Canyon is just a short drive away from Horseshoe Bend. I highly recommend doing both if you’re in the same area!

After lunch, we headed out to Antelope Canyon. There are two canyons: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Of the two, the former is the most visited hence one of most photographed canyons between the two. I hear that the Lower Antelope Canyon is smaller and has stairs you have to use to get to the slot canyons. We ended up at Upper Antelope Canyon. It’s mandatory to book a tour if you want to visit the canyon. There are several tour companies but we ended up with Navajo Tours since we saw a sign for Upper Antelope Canyon (I didn’t do any previous research beforehand so I just went with whatever we saw first). Keep in mind that the tours are every hour! We had paid $40/person for the tour as well as $8/person for the admission fee. They accept cards but only on the tour. The admission fee had to be paid in cash. You can’t bring any bags in with you but you can bring water and your camera (phone or whatever you use to take photos).

Road to Antelope Canyon

Wander Hour - Antelope Canyon

At the time of your tour, you will board a truck with a small group and a tour guide. Our tour guide was Jolene and she was wonderful. She drove us through a dirt road for about 15 or so minutes to the entrance of Antelope Canyon. The drive was pretty dry, dusty, and very bumpy.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Wander Hour - Antelope Canyon

Wander Hour - Antelope Canyon

Wander Hour - Antelope Canyon

Wander Hour - Antelope Canyon

Upon entering Antelope Canyon, it is wide with lots of light. As you walk through the canyon, the path starts to narrow and it is vital to keep your eyes peeled so you don’t walk into the walls. First thing that came to mind was how busy the canyon was. I’ve seen so many photos of the canyons and always thought it was an intimate experience. Boy was I wrong; there were tons of groups with their tour guides in there. But Jolene was wonderful as she told us the best spots to take a photo of. She kindly took photos of the groups and whenever an opportunity opens up (such as when a spot in completely people-free) she jumped at the chance to tell us. With that said, despite on how busy it is, it’s still worth it because of how beautiful it is.

As we came here passed noon, we didn’t get the opportunity to see the light beams. During the summer, the sunlight shines through the slot of the canyon forming beams. Because of how beautiful it is, Jolene mentioned that it is the busiest time to be in the canyon.

And if you’re wondering, the story behind these canyons is that over time, flash floods rushed through these canyons and eroded the Navajo sandstones to form what the canyon is now today. The sand (just like the ones at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes) was soft and fine. In certain parts of the canyon, you can see trees that are stuck above you from previous flash floods. Jolene said that the water can go as high as 30 feet hence why they are stuck and inaccessible to remove.

Tips

  • Bring water and your camera but leave your other belongings in the car.
  • The canyon is actually not as hot as outside.
  • Wear appropriate footwear; you’ll be walking quite a bit through the canyon and then you will be walking back the same way.
  • Speaking of footwear, I wore my new Nikes and they got a bit dirty because of the sand. I highly recommend wearing an older pair of sneakers if you mind having dust on your new sneakers.
  • It can get dusty in there as well as the drive to the canyon!

Have a great weekend friends! We have a tropical storm heading our way so not sure if I have anything planned this weekend. See you all on Monday!

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Circle Market Bag

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Wander Hour - Circle Market Bag

H&M dress ($69.99 now $29.99), H&M block heels, circle market bag from Etsy

Circle Market Bag

If you’re a regular follower on my Instagram, you would have noticed my constant use of this circle market bag. I have been searching for a circle bag for years. When I found this bag on Etsy, I bought it immediately and sent it to my mother’s house in California. The item came in a timely manner despite it being shipped internationally (from the UK). I must say that the leather handles have an odd smell but it hasn’t been as prominent as it has been when I first received it. I heard baking soda might work to get rid of the smell? Anyway, I loved the circle bag so much, I bought a second one with a top handle versus the leather straps. I ordered it from a different website but the seller of this bag also has one. I’ve gotten so many compliments lately!

I wore this outfit when Charles and I went to Smorgasburg in downtown Los Angeles. It was our first time and reminded us of Eat the Street and Honolulu Night Market in Hawaii. I came for one thing only and it was the acai bowl from Amazebowls (I’ll post later). Definitely worth it. Back to the outfit, I saw this dress online but looked passed it as it wasn’t styled as I would have worn it but when I tried it at the store, it was actually pretty cute on! It has a vintage silhouette which I gravitate towards to a lot. It is a bit too long so it was kind of annoying to walk in. Maxi dresses aren’t usually too long for me so I don’t really bother with hemming it. I might keep it long though but we’ll see!

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Horseshoe Bend

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Horseshoe Bend

U.S. 89

Page, Arizona

Having seen Horseshoe Bend on my Instagram feed, I had to add it to our Utah and Arizona itinerary. About 153 miles away from Bryce Canyon and a 2 and a half hour drive, Horseshoe Bend was a spectacle to see in person. As you drive down south from Bryce Canyon, the landscaped changed immediately with the color red as far as the eyes can see.

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

There is a parking lot off the 89 where all the cars park for Horseshoe Bend. There were signs scattered about warning of extreme heat. In the beginning of July, the temperatures were at 90 degrees around noon. We each carried our own bottle of water. You go up a gradual path and in my head, I thought that was it. As you reached the top where they have a covered area where you can sit, you can see that you still have a quite a bit more to go. Normally, the distance isn’t something I would complain about (in fact, it’s quite short compared to the hikes I’ve been on in Hawaii) but when the sun is right above you and it’s 90 degrees, it sure was a longer than I imagined.

When we finally reached towards the edge, Horseshoe Bend didn’t seem real at all. The bend itself was unreal. As you move, it didn’t move (hope that makes sense). It was a “trippy” thing to see. Keep in mind that there are no railings and one can easily fall. One wrong move can send you down to the Colorado River below. Charles was a little wary about me being at the edge as I’m “clumsy” so I kept a fair distance from it.

Tips

  • Bring water whether it’s hot or not. During the summer, it was about 90 degrees so carry at least an entire water bottle with you.
  • Wear sunscreen! There is no shade except at the beginning.
  • Exercise caution while at the lookout. There are no railings.
  • Photography wise, anything around noon is hard to photograph (maybe not beaches though. Those are much beautiful when the sun is shining). I believe golden hour would be an ideal time to photograph Horseshoe Bend.

Hopefully you guys had a great weekend! My mother came to visit so I spent some time with her along with my brother and Charles. She had a short stay but she will be back next month though! Happy Monday!

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Wander Hour - Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

After a night spent in Utah, Charles, his family, and I headed down South to Arizona to stop at Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. We had left later than expected but along the way, we saw signs for sand dunes. After a beautiful trip to the sand dunes back in April (sand dune post found here), how could I not want to stop by the sand dunes? I impatiently waited for my iPhone to receive service and when I found that the sand dunes were in fact pink, I had Charles make a right at the next road that lead to the sand dunes.

We drove a long a narrow road until we hit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. We had paid an admission fee of $8 per vehicle. You also have an option to rent ATVs or boards. Because we were pressed for time, we opted out of those amenities and only came to marvel at what is

Wander Hour - Coral Pink Sand Dunes

wearing H&M dress (on sale for $9.99 online, not sure about in stores), H&M parka (seasons ago), Barneys New York backpack, and Zara sunglasses

At first glance, the sand dunes didn’t look like the “coral pink” it’s named after. One thing is for certain, these sand dunes are much harder to photograph than the previous sand dunes. Pink and red in general is hard for me to photograph right off the bat. Take that with the sun high above giving off harsh lighting, I had a hard time getting these photos right in the short amount time I was there (probably 15 minutes). Don’t know if I’ll be back here but I guess I need to do some research in the event I end up somewhere similar!

Wander Hour - Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Right under a observation platform, the sand was cooler and because the platform obscured the sun, I was able to truly see the sand at it’s finest. The sand here came from Navajo sandstone with a combination of high winds. They were absolutely soft and fine, it actually made the detour just a little bit worth it.

In general, it’s a cool thing to see (maybe golden hour would be best) but if you’re pressed for time, I don’t think it’s necessary to stop here. But if you do stop here, don’t forget to bring a body board so you can slide down the sand dunes.

Happy Friday everyone! I’ll be heading out to Kauai tomorrow for a day since my mother is flying in for the weekend! Kind of excited to see and eat at places I didn’t get the chance to the last time I was there (post found here). Hope you guys have wonderful weekend.

 

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Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Vintage dress, H&M jean jacket, Urban Outfitters leather slides (on sale for $29.99!), Zara sunglasses, and Topshop hat

When Charles’ mom expressed interest in a road trip to Utah, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, plan, or do. It’s not that I’ve never had the desire to go, I just wasn’t familiar with what’s out there. So, I spent time researching and planning out an itinerary for us. Many tourists flock to Zion National Park but having seen Bryce Canyon on a Conde Nast article, I made that the destination of our choice (I’m always trying to go where less people have gone).

We began by driving from Long Beach, California to Las Vegas, making a stop at Lotus of Siam to try their famous garlic prawns (more on that later). Afterwards, we drove to Utah arriving around 6:00PM at the canyons. Because the sun doesn’t set till close to 9, we had a substantial amount of lighting left to explore a little bit of Bryce Canyon.

Sunset Point

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

My goal for this trip was to find the hoodoos. Hoodoos were formed through a weathering process that erodes plateaus over time. As a result, these beautiful nature-made structures were scattered throughout the amphitheater mimicking what I thought was the Milan Cathedral. I’ve never been but it looks pretty close from the pictures I’ve seen. As we awed over the hoodoos from the overlook, Charles spotted people down below and had asked me if I would like to explore. At first, I was hesitant, not sure if the trail was sanctioned but sure enough, it was! We descended down the trail, weaving through the paths with the hoodoos towering over us. The trail that took us through the canyon started to narrow the more we walked. We finally decided to turn around and this is where things got a little sour. I hike and swim quite often in Hawaii so I was all game for a hike BUT due to the high elevation (about 8000ft), I had a hard time walking up the trail. The air thinner up there and it was definitely dry which it made it difficult for me to breathe normally. To make matters worse, I only had half a bottle of water left and rationing it throughout the walk up was difficult!

Tips

  • Move slowly through the trails. The air is thin and a lot harder than it would be at a lower elevation. Take breaks if needed. I’m the type that tries to push through when it comes to hiking. That was a big mistake of mine.
  • Bring lots and lots of water.

Overall, Bryce Canyon is stunning and unlike anything that I’ve seen before. I would certainly go back! Not necessarily in the near future as I plan to visit more places I have yet to seen, but surely I’ll be back.

Milky Way

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

Wander Hour - Bryce Canyon

After we had left the canyon, checked into our “cabin”, and ate dinner, we waited for the sky to get dark so I can marvel at the night sky. The sun didn’t set until close to 9PM so after driving approximately 8 hours, I was pretty lucky that Charles and his family were willing to stay up with me. Around 11PM when the sky was completely pitch black, we headed out back towards the canyon, finding a turnout spot to park the car. As soon as we stepped out, the night sky put on a show for us showcasing the most beautiful Milky Way I’ve ever seen. I get to see the Milky Way here in Hawaii but the same Milky Way is even more stunning in Bryce Canyon. The clearest skies I have ever seen to date. I have pretty bad night vision but you can not mistake the Milky Way in Bryce Canyon. It illuminated the otherwise dark sky.

Tips:

  • For Milky Way shots, use a tripod and a remote to take the shot. This long exposure was about 25 seconds using my iPhone which is connected to my Canon 6D.
  • Use the lowest f-stop. Mine can only go down to 4.0. The ISO was I believe set at 5000 (not entirely sure about that). The higher the ISO the better (but not necessarily too high, play around with the settings). (EDIT: Charles informed me that the ISO might have been 10000)
  • Be safe. If you can, take the shots in the National Park where you are out of harm’s way (i.e. drivers). It is completely pitch black out there and we were lucky to find a turnout/overlook that allowed us to park without being in the way.

Also, you won’t find 5-star accommodations here in Bryce Canyon. If you’re looking for a W Hotel or even Hilton Hotel at best, you’re out of luck. We stayed in a cabin not too far from the National Park. It was unusual but it was clean (in fact so clean because it was newly built). Happy Wednesday friends!

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