WHAT A START!!

Hey there, thanks so much for making your way to my blog and taking a moment out of your day to read this! My goal with all my writings, is that they wouldn't just be meaningless rambles about things that you honestly don't care about, but instead full of helpful info for scouting for your next trip or great info that you can take about photography and gear!

This year has started off pretty great so far, I've been fortunate enough to have gotten out to a few really cool destinations. If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely already seen some photos from the trips, but my hopes here are that I can give you a little more info about where I went that will hopefully encourage you to visit these places for yourself sometime. So enough with the rambling, ha ha, here we go...

FIRST STOP... VEGAS!

So in all honesty, I think Las Vegas is a really cool city. Lots of beautiful lights and sounds, but I go there for a much different reason than most, I go there because it's a great location to fly into if you're looking at exploring south western Utah! I flew into Vegas and then grabbed a Lyft, and hopped over to Escape Campervans, to pick up a sweet van I had rented to cruise the desert in.

After picking up the van, I had a few hours to kill before my two buddies, Seth and Sam, flew in. Another great thing about Vegas is all the amazing places to visit that are within only an hour or so from downtown. One of my favorite places to go is the Valley of Fire, located just north east of Vegas. Of course before hitting the road, I had to pull off for a delicious burger at In and Out burger (soooo good!!) Then off I went!

I only had a couple hours there, so I made sure to do my research beforehand and what sights I wanted to see while I was there, and also figured out where I wanted to photograph sunset from. Unfortunately I spent too much time at my first location which turned out to also be my last location ha. Oh well, it was a really cool spot and it was nice just enjoying the view, especially because the park was pretty empty and so it was very peaceful and quiet. This spot is right at the trail head for Rainbow Vista. Definitely a spot worth checking out!

Finally it was time to pick up those slow pokes who were finally arriving! I hit the road back to Vegas. I had one little issue with picking the wrong road at the airport though. Not knowing the airport that well, I was trying to navigate around trying to find the correct terminal, when I finally come to the right entrance, I found that my van was too tall, and with all the lanes being too short, I scrambled to figure out where to go before creating a traffic jam. I saw a little side road and took it, unfortunately this led me into a long taxi line, and then I got yelled at by a cop on a bicycle for being in that lane, ughh. I did finally make it through, picked up my friends and we were on our way! Our next stop would be Zion National Park, and more specificly, Angels landing for sunrise the following morning. We didn't worry too much about it being 11pm when we left Vegas with a 4 or so hour drive ahead of us to Zion... oh well, we could sleep when the trip was over!

Early the following morning we pulled into Springdale, found a spot to park the Van and quickly went to sleep. What felt like only minutes later our alarms went off (we each set an alarm on our phones to make sure we didn't oversleep), it was now 5 in the morning and we were pretty tired. We ignored that and quickly put our boots on, layered up (it was just below freezing), grabbed our packs, cameras and snacks, and hit the trail in the dark of the way too early morning. We had 2.5 miles to the top of what's known to be a pretty steep and exposed trail, with more switchbacks than any other trail I've ever hiked before. About half way up we were finally passed the switchbacks and were actually onto some flat ground, at least for a little bit. But we were approaching what many feel is the hardest (mostly mentally) part of the trail. For most of the remainder of the trail, you hike along a steep clifside, narrow knife edges and then up the spine of this massive mountain, all while only having the comfort of holding onto a fixed chain guiding you to the top.

It took us some time (not a place you want to rush at all), but we finally made it to the top, and all that we had heard about how amazing the view was did not disappoint!

After enjoying sunrise, we turned around and starting making our way back to the camper van, of course still enjoying the incredible sights on the way down.

We left Zion, enjoying the incredible views as we headed south East towards our next stop, Buckskin Gulch. We arrived later than we were hoping to, but there are so many amazing sights to see along the way that we couldn't help but stop here and there to sight see and take photos.

For a little side note, I usually put a ton of time into putting together an itinerary for trips like this, trying to make sure every single bit of time is utilized to its max! That said, I view that more as a guide for our trip, and not something that we have to stick to 100%, there will always be things that come up and the schedule is always being pushed around, because ultimately, the journey itself so often is just as much fun as the destination. So I try to not be too anxious about getting to that next spot, and instead just focus on enjoying each moment as it happens.

Alright, back to the trip. So we made it to the trail head at Wire pass, heading into Buckskin Gulch. And honestly from the parking lot, nothing around us looked that great. We hadn't really seen anything too special on the dirt road to the parking lot, and there were nothing but rolling hills around us. But I had seen photos of this place and new there was something special ahead of us, so we started our hike. We were getting a later start than we had hoped for, as we entered the canyon, the sun was already had a pretty low angle, only giving us a few hours of daylight. So we moved quickly.

As we finally got into the canyo