Canyonlands National Park + Independence Pass

For day four of our best friend trip, Katie and I had an early start at Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Maze, The Needles, and The Rivers (Green and Colorado rivers).  There are no roads that link each section of the park, so keep that in mind while visiting. We decided to visit the Island in the Sky section, as it was the closest to Moab. The 34-mile round trip scenic drive was gorgeous. There were many overlooks to stop at, as well as a few trailheads if you wanted to hike. I definitely recommend the short, quick hike to Mesa Arch. *Tip: I recommend using a map to get to, from, and around the park. Your GPS will get you lost.* After we spent a few hours at Canyonlands we headed back to the cabin for the night.

On day five we drove another five hours east to Colorado Springs to visit my dear friend, Caitlyn and her sister Heather and her family.  We took Independence Pass, the highest paved pass in North America. It passes over North America’s Continental Divide, which the geology nerd in me loved. It was the most gorgeous drive I’ve been on. I highly recommend it.

So without further ado, here are the last three days of our best friend road trip.


Our first viewpoint featuring White Rim Road. For those who have multiple days to devote here and don’t mind a soft, narrow, and rugged road, White Rim Road is a great option.
Mesa Arch was gorgeous! A popular sunrise spot (I can definitely see why). We arrived around 9 a.m. to Mesa Arch and still had gorgeous morning light.

Buck Canyon Overlook


On our last night in Norrie, I had to photograph some of the gorgeous Aspen trees. There was also a mountain rain shower that ended with a beautiful rainbow. What a gorgeous farewell, Norrie!


Independence Pass was stunning. The road is paved the entire way, but is narrow and doesn’t have guard rails at times. So keep your speed in check, though that wasn’t an issue for us, as we were gawking at the gorgeous sights!


We got to spend a wonderful 24 hours in Colorado Springs with these lovely people! I’m sad it wasn’t a longer stay, but am glad we got to see them. Heather made us a delicious homemade Indian meal. They definitely always spoil their guests.

Heather runs a lifestyle and fashion blog over at The Arbitrary Fox. You should definitely head over to the site and check out her fun style and gorgeous family!

Heather’s two dogs, Gretta and Buffy were upset they weren’t invited to be outside with us humans.

That’s all for this trip. Until the next adventure!

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Arches National Park

Katie and I headed five hours west to Arches National Park in Utah for day three of our best friend road trip. Arches National Park has always been high on my list of “must see first” national parks, and I was thrilled to finally be seeing it. It did not disappoint. Luckily, we were staying in a nearby town, Moab, for the night, so we had all day to explore this park. Arches National Park has the most natural stone arches in close proximity in the world. There was a cold front that moved in mid-morning, so we had an unusually cool, cloudy day at the park. Katie and I definitely enjoyed that. We spent 5.5 hours driving around the park and leisurely hiking to some of the arches.

So without further ado, here is day three of our best friend road trip.


First stop was The Courthouse Towers, which provides the first grand view of the park.

The next section of the park was The Windows Section. It is home to some of the largest arches in the park: North Window, South Window, Turret Arch and Double Arch. There were short trails that led to the arches in this section. You can walk right up to them and even climb up some of the rocks.

Hi, mini Katie!

Next section was the Fiery Furnace Section. It provides a view of the Salt Valley overlook and the famous Delicate Arch. We sadly were running out of daylight to hike to Delicate Arch, so we didn’t get to see this one. Next visit though!

The last section of the park was the Devils Garden. Here many trails, both easy and more difficult, branch off for continued explorations. We enjoyed walking around while the sun was setting.

As we were leaving the park, we were fortunate to see a grand, final display of Arches National Park at sunset.

That’s all for this day! Part three is coming soon.

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Oregon Adventures: Oregon Coast

On the last day of our Oregon trip we drove about an hour and half west to the coast. Normally I’m not a beach and ocean person, I’d much rather be in the mountains, but I’ve fallen in love with the west coast. It’s different from the beaches my family and I would visit in Florida and around the Gulf of Mexico. We visited Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park, luckily they were about 10 minutes away from each other so we didn’t have to travel far. Cannon Beach is a charming tourist town filled with local shops and tons of fresh seafood. It is also home of the famous Haystack Rock, which was an incredible sight. Ecola State Park was lovely and definitely worth the fee you have to pay to get into the park. Both places provide stunning views of the ocean on one side and cliffs with tons of trees on the other. If you are ever in the area, these places are a definite must visit!

We got in around lunchtime so we grabbed lunch at Ecola Seafood Restaurant and Market. This restaurant offered fresh seafood. It was delicious!triptych

Next we got coffee at Insomnia Coffee Co. Such a great coffee shop!

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We then headed out to Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach. We spent most of the day here walking around and exploring.IMG_8136 IMG_8286 diptych2 IMG_8153 IMG_8205 IMG_8293 IMG_8210 diptych4 IMG_8307 diptych3 IMG_8262

That’s it for this trip! Now onto the next adventure!

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Oregon Adventures: Crater Lake National Park

Next on our Oregon adventure, we drove four hours south of Portland to Crater Lake National Park. The drive in was breathtaking in itself! Crater Lake National Park is home to America’s deepest lake, a lake so blue it almost doesn’t look real. Surrounding the lake is an old-growth forest and cliffs with sheer drop offs. There are many options to get the most of your trip to Crater Lake including, a road that goes around the entirety of the lake (depending on the time of year), hiking trails, boat tours and trolley tours. We chose to drive around the lake, which took approximately two and a half hours. During the drive there are many lookouts to view the lake at different perspectives. The day we went it was extremely windy, with winds from the north. That made the temperature, with wind chill, a lovely 36 degrees with occasional freezing rain and snow flurries. Even with the cold weather the views were incredible and definitely worth the occasional numb fingers. Tip: Bring gloves.

So what should you see?  If you have half a day to a day, I would recommend driving around the lake. If you plan to stay longer than a day, hike down the Cleetwood Trail. It’s the only trail that safely goes down to the lake surface. There you can take a boat tour to Wizard Island. No matter what you do, you’ll be enchanted by the beauty of this place.
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Oregon Adventures: Portland

The first week of October my friend Sarah and I took a rather spontaneous trip to Portland, Oregon. I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest. It’s dreary and cool. It has a lot of trees, mountains and coffee shops. So I was excited to finally be taking my first trip out there. We spent a day and a half roaming around downtown Portland and the outer parts of the city. I’m normally not a big “city” person, I usually get extremely overwhelmed with the constant commotion, but I actually enjoyed Portland and its chaos. Plus, the traffic wasn’t too terrible and that usually is what stresses me out. As always, links to everywhere we went will be in the post. So without further ado, here is all we did in Portland. diptych10The flight in we had some awesome views. On the right is Mt. Hood from the air.diptych9 Our first stop was at Powell’s Books. A four-story, block wide book store. (!!!) This was the number one thing I wanted to see in Portland. Powell’s can be overwhelming because of its size, but luckily they have maps of the store so you can easily find the section you need. I finally found the book that I’ve spent more than a month looking for. They even have a coffee shop in the store where you can sip on some coffee and read your newly purchased book.diptych12

Of course I had to find the Harry Potter section. In the kids section they have “A Kid Pick”, which are book recommendations for kids by kids. I like this Imogen girl. She has good taste!diptych8 In Portland there is a coffee shop practically on every corner. My friend Heather recommended Stumptown Coffee Roasters as a definite must visit coffee shop. Plus my friend Sarah was overly excited that their logo has a bison in it.IMG_7757We then headed off to Mount Tabor City Park because we read online that it has a great view of the Portland skyline. It did not disappoint! IMG_7808 On the other side of the park we had a great view of Mt. Hood.diptychThe next day, we ventured again to downtown. It was overcast and cool. There is something so fascinating about architecture photography. I haven’t dabbled much into it, but I love when I get the chance to take city photos.
diptych2 IMG_7959 diptych11 diptych7 We then stopped at Public Domain on a whim. Their coffee was great and they have tons of windows to look out of to see the city.IMG_7955 One of the many bridges in Portland.diptych6Afterward, we ventured 45 mins east of Portland in hopes of finding a closer spot to see Mt Hood. It didn’t happen because of all the fog, but we did get to drive through Mt. Hood National Forest. It was breathtaking!diptych5 diptych3 diptych4 IMG_8109 On our second to last day in Oregon, we went and got doughnuts at Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai. They serve speciality chai drinks and make their doughnuts right in front of you. So you have a fresh, perfectly fried mini doughnut to enjoy.IMG_8114

That’s all for this post. Be on the lookout for part two of our Oregon trip soon. If you’ve been to Portland, leave in the comments what your favorite spot(s) was.

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