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Arches

38°43' 59" N 109°35' 33" W Arches National Park

Nov 24, 2014  –  by Maeva

It was a long long drive from Monument Valley to Moab and a big detour on our road. But we had heard only great things about Arches National Park so we figured it was worth the drive. On our way we stopped at a cute coffee shop in a town in the middle of nowhere to enjoy come cappuccino and chai latte before taking the road again.

In the evening, we arrived in Moab, the town where the National Park is located. We tried to find a campground but the first two we visited were closed for the season. Luckily the last one wasn’t, although it seemed like it. Slick Rock Campground had no office during the winter season, just an envelope based on the honour system: leave your money in it and that’s it. That wouldn’t work everywhere! Happy to have somewhere to cook, we made another one of our delicious chilis con carne. We then headed back to find the laundry mat as it was becoming necessary. We enjoyed the wifi there along with all the hippies and travellers of the city!

After a pretty chilly night, we were thrilled to discover hot and free showers in the campground – it doesn’t happen that often around here. And after a warm Starbucks, we knew we were going to have a pretty good day! We even discover a new kind of trail mix, with nothing but different sorts of peanuts, called Peanut Lover. Well, we ate the whole thing in one day (650g, yes it’s a lot)!

We drove to the Arches National Park and after the Park Ranger warned us against the upcoming snow (what?!) we drove up the road in the gigantic park. The area covers indeed 76,359 acres (30,901 ha) and contains over 2000 sandstone arches. Obviously, we had to pick what we would do! So we drove all the way to the end of the road to hike the Double O trail. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we knew things were going to be rough. The wind was blowing like crazy and it was freezing! We put our coats and hiking shoes on and headed hastily towards the trail, trying to warm up as we walked. The hike was really nice, especially because once we reached the Landscape Arch, it turned into primitive trail which meant: no beaten path, less people, more climbing on rocks, more fun! We walked among the rocks in an amazing scenery and finally reached the double O arch, which was definitely worth the effort. We couldn’t even resist climbing all the way to walk at the very top of the arch for the best aerial experience of the park!

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Maeva drinking water on hike
Maeva drinking water on hike
Maeva watching the landscape in Arches National Park
Maeva watching the landscape in Arches National Park
Maeva walking on the Double O arch
Maeva walking on the Double O arch
Maeva at the top of the Double O arch
Maeva at the top of the Double O arch
Steph jump in front of the Double O arch
Steph jump in front of the Double O arch
Maeva's jump on the double O arch
Maeva’s jump on the double O arch

Afterwards, we drove to watch the famous Delicate Arch and watched it from the viewpoint, too cold at this point to attempt another 3 hour hike. We then went to see the Window Arches and followed the trail to see the North Window and South Window side by side. We also peaked at the Double Arch and Turret Arch.

We were definitely not disappointed to have made it all this way for the arches, because this incredible orange landscape of rocks was really the best way to finish our national parks tour.

Maeva's eye in front of eye like arch
Maeva’s eye in front of eye like arch
Maeva's jump in Window Arch
Maeva’s jump in Window Arch
Steph and Maeva's jump in Window Arch
Steph and Maeva’s jump in Window Arch
Windows arch
Windows arch

The colours of Big Sur

36°10' 37" N 121°41' 52" W Big Sur

Oct 21, 2014  –  by Maeva

We continued our drive down Highway 1, one of the most beautiful and scenic road we’ve ever taken. We discovered the two colours of Big Sur on the way: orange and turquoise. And just like every night for the past two weeks, we caught another incredible sunset on the Pacific cliffs. We may get used to this.

Steph and Maeva on the scenic highway in Big Sur
Steph and Maeva on the scenic highway in Big Sur
Cliffs in Big Sur
Cliffs in Big Sur
Steph and Maeva in front of sunset in Big Sur
Steph and Maeva in front of sunset in Big Sur

As night time was approaching, we started looking for a campground and the only two in the area were completely full, so we followed other travellers’s advice and went up a dirt road to find several cars and tents doing the same thing. Improvised camping is the best kind of camping! Definitely another amazing spot to stay at, as we caught the last colours before dusk over the ocean and were offered a spectacular starlit sky letting us perceive the milky way.

Stars and milky way in Big Sur
Stars and milky way in Big Sur

In the morning, we went to check out the waves on potential surf spots, and although the swell was big, no one was in the water so we kept driving!

Waves in Big Sur
Waves in Big Sur