Support your National Parks

First off, I’m sorry for missing last weeks blog post. Angel and I have been road tripping around a few of the National Parks on the west coast. We visited four parks in total and I thought I’d share our itinerary with you all!

Los Angeles – Joshua Tree National Park

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This was a short drive, only 2 and a half hours. We stayed in Hidden Valley Campsite which is one of the first campsites you reach as you drive through the park from the West Entrance. It’s actually quite beautiful, for a desert. Giant grey boulders tower the sky line. It’s bright, so bright from the reflection of the sun off the white sand on the floor! As we drove through we saw fields of Joshua trees that reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss. But the best time to see this park is in the evening, not only because of the scorching heat in the summer months but because of the sky.

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When the sunsets it turns the rocks golden and when it gets dark, it gets really dark. So dark that you can see the milky way! Standing and starring up at the sky when it’s lit by thousands of stars you can actually see is unreal! It’s like nothing you have ever seen before. Living in the city creates too much light pollution to see the stars properly and you don’t appreciate the number of stars there actually are until you see it. Thousands of tiny lights twinkle in the black sky and you can see a faint shimmering blue ring that curves across the sky, the milky way! It’s not clear or obvious but it’s noticeable enough to know that it’s a galaxy.

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Joshua Tree National Park – Grand Canyon National Park

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The drive from Joshua Tree to the Grand Canyon was a whole lot of desert. The black roads and freshly painted white and yellow lines popped out against the flat sandy landscape. 5 and a half hours later we arrived at the Grand Canyon and set up camp in Desert View campsite. I’ve seen plenty of photos of the Grand Canyon but nothing prepares you for how big it actually is. Deciding to hike down really shows you how big it actually is.

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During the summer they advise you not to hike down between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm because of the heat down in the canyon. We began hiking around 9 am and reached the bottom at 1 pm. The heat didn’t get too bad until we were almost at our final check point but then we had to wait two hours for the heat to go down so we could walk back up. Down is optional but up is mandatory.

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One evening we watched the sunset over the Grand Canyon while a storm rolled by. You could see the individual lightning bolts shoot out from the sky as the sky changed from blue to orange.

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Grand Canyon National Park – Sequoia National Park

This was the longest drive by far, 9 hours. The land scape changed from dry desert to pine trees and as we hit the pine forests the smell was overwhelming. For miles all you could see was rows and rows of deep green trees. We arrived at Sequoia late making driving down the winding roads in the dark slightly daunting. Once we got to the park entrance we saw that there was only space in one campsite, 70 miles away. So we ditched camping for one night and stayed in a hotel near the park.

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The next day we spent a few hours in Sequoia visiting the largest tree in the world in cubic meters. The sequoia trees are huge and tall. It makes you forget what a normal tree looks like and makes you feel so tiny.

Sequoia National Park – Yosemite National Park

IMG_6233Photo by: Sophie Bitton

The drive from Sequoia to Yosemite is only 2 and a half hours. On the way we drove through the hills as the sun was setting and I have never seen a sunset like it. The sun looked likeĀ  a fire roaring through the gaps in the hills. When we arrive at Sequoia we thought it was so beautiful because it was such a difference from the deserts we had been surrounded by. But when we saw Yosemite Valley we realised we hadn’t seen anything. Whilst hiking we met this guy backpacking around Yosemite who said that everything in the park was perfectly placed and he was 100 percent correct. As you drive through the valley the grey rocky mountains peak through the pine trees towering over you with waterfalls running down them.

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Our first hike was a short one up to sentinel dome. At the top is a panoramic view of the park where you can see both Yosemite falls and Nevada falls with the half dome sitting right in between. It’s incredible! Our second hike was my favourite though. We took a 3.5 mile hike up the mountain to Yosemite falls. It was a hard hike and at one point I felt like we would never get there. When reached the top clambering over rocks we came across a small pool at the top of the waterfall and people were jumping off the rocks into the fresh clear water! The rocks allowed you to climb right to the edge of the falls and watch the water crash over the cliff face. It was a long hike but it was definitely worth it!

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In parks like the Yosemite theres constant warnings of blacks bears. At the campsites food has to be stored in these special boxes to stop the bears getting hold of any food. The bears are curious enough to break into cars to get hold of any food and they are known for being aggressive when they can’t get any more. Once they become aggressive park rangers have no other option but to shoot them so it’s so important that food is stored correctly! One morning we were preparing to leave the campsite when someone saw a bear. We headed over and this baby cub with light brown fur was crawling the shrubbery in between campsites. It was amazing! We had to be careful not get too close incase the mum was around.

Each national park is so unique and so beautiful in it’s own way. If any of you ever get the chance to visit any of them you definitely should! The entrance fee for most National Parks is $30 for 7 days but you can buy a pass for $80 which allows you entrance to all the National Parks in United States for one year. So go support your parks!!

Take a peek at our video if you want to see more of each national park!!

Peace out guys x

The City of Sunsets, Traffic and High Times

Over Christmas I visited my boyfriend in Los Angeles where he showed me almost everything this city has to offer. I had an amazing time and wanted to share the best parts of this exciting city. I felt the most appropriate way to do this would be to create a list of things to do whilst in LA. So here it is, my “top things to do when in LA”.

The day after I arrived we headed off to the Aquarium of the Pacific. I love aquariums with all the beautiful colours however, this one had so much more then any I have been to before. There were so many opportunities to be interactive with the animals. We got to stroke sharks, feed birds and TOUCH JELLY FISH! There was also a whole area especially for otters and they were so cute, we stood and watched them for about half an hour.

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There are quite a few theme parks accessible from Los Angeles, one of them is Knotts Berry Farm. The rides are quite intense at this theme park. I’m usually pretty good with rides but the first rollercoaster we went on made me feel a bit sick. Towards the end Angel took me on this ride where the seats were like you were riding a horse. Whilst we were waiting for the ride he continuously told me that it was slow and boring and I believed him. It was the complete opposite but I loved it!

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Another theme park easily accessible from Los Angeles is Universal Studios Hollywood. I’ve never been to any Universal Studios but when we arrived I was in my element! The first thing we did was going on the studio tour which I would highly recommend no matter how long the wait. They drive you around the studios in carts and you get to see some of the sets where different films and TVĀ  shows are filmed. I would also recommend seeing ‘Water World’ the stunt show.

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The last of the theme parks we visited was Disney Land Anaheim. I love Disney Land and this park did not let the side down! It’s very similar to Paris although there are a few rides that you don’t get in Paris such as a submarine that goes underwater and interacts with all the Finding Nemo characters. Another upside was that it was Christmas and Disney at Christmas is always amazing!

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Up on the hills is the grand building of Griffith Observatory. It’s a centre dedicated to the study of space and offers amazing views of the city. Outside the building, there were small telescopes set up looking at specific constellations and stars. There was also one big telescope that looked up at the moon. It provides amazing sights and also offers great hiking trails during the day.

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There are many art museums in Los Angeles but the one we went to was LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). This art museum has a lot to offer. There are lots of exhibits as well as the tar pits around the grounds that surround the main museum area.

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A great free thing to do when in Los Angeles is hiking. There are so many trails all over the place like hiking up to the Hollywood sign or around the Santa Monica Mountains. You can get some great views and its amazing to become surrounded by nature not far from the hectic traffic of the highways.

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Lastly, something that honestly cannot be avoided. Watching the sunset! The sunsets in LA are beautiful. Every evening the sky is a different rage of colours, a different shade of orange/red, you can never take too many photos. There are lots of view points you can watch the sunsets from such as the beach or from hiking trails. One of the points we went to was at Billbots park. It looks over the city and is amazing! There was also one other but I’m silenced to secrecy about its location, this one looks over the ocean!

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So there you have it, a few things you should go and see if you’re ever in Los Angeles! I hope you enjoyed!

Peace out guys x