southwest

Road tripping through Utah

Hi guys!

Apologies for the unintentional break I took from this space. Between life on the road and then getting sick almost as soon as I got back east, this space was pushed a bit from my mind. Anyway, I’ve officially been back home for a bit after a whirlwind three weeks on the road. It felt SO GOOD to be back out in my element; hiking, skiing, and just daydreaming on endless stretches of highway. After meeting up with my friend, Allee, in Arizona, (and our brief detour in Colorado!), we set our sights on Utah.

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I first visited some of these places a couple winters back, but that didn’t make them any less amazing the second time around. If anything, I was more excited, as I knew the cold temps would make them less desirable to visit. Pro tip : if you’re looking to have hiking trails in the southwest to yourself, visit in the winter! Even at sunrise, I’ve always shared hiking trails - especially national park trails - with other people. While there were a couple other brave souls out enjoying the sights, it was nothing like summer time with hoards of people!

Our first stop in Utah was Monument Valley. This time around we car camped nearby, but my first time visiting this place, we stayed at The View hotel, which looks right out over the infamous buttes. It was a bit overcast, but we had a small window of clear sky that made for a perfect sunrise. Like most southwest spots, you’re going to want to plan around where you’ll be for sunrise or sunset. That’s when the landscapes truly seems to glow.

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This section of the trip was definitely about car camping - aka saving money on lodging! - and we continued the following night at Dead Horse Point State Park. Using the ioverlander app, Allee was able to find a camp ground in the park, just a short drive from where we’d be shooting sunrise the following morning! With the recent snowfall, we couldn’t pass up a visit to nearby Arches National Park. Like I mentioned earlier, this place is a ghost town in winter! We had entire trails to ourselves, and got to explore the snow covered red rocks to our hearts content.

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From Moab, we continued our journey north in search of a little sunshine. I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love Winter, the goal for this trip was definitely to embrace the sun and some WARMTH. We were able to find both at our next stop - Mystic Hot Springs. This place is a trip, I loved how unique the individual tubs are! Once we we were closer to Salt Lake City, we hiked to a natural hot spring (I personally preferred the natural pools. Can’t think of a better reward after a hike).

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I knew I couldn’t leave SLC without at least ONE ski day, and fortunately my long-time friend, JJ, was able to meet up with me to make it happen. We spent the day at Solitude Mountain, where I was able to use my Ikon Pass (have I mentioned lately how much I love this pass?! I’ve skied more this season than any other because of it! More on that in my next post). Solitude is unlike any mountain I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never skied in powder so deep in my life! It was such a fun day, and truly has me dreaming of more winter trips to the area. There’s certainly no shortage of mountains - Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird being a stone’s throw away.

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On our final night, our friend, Kevin, brought us out to nearby Antelope Island for a sunset campfire. If we had gone nowhere else in Utah, this place would be enough. It’s INCREDIBLE. Roaming buffalo scattered throughout, and mountain vistas that made me feel as though we had been transported to southern Alaska. It was a dream.

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Can’t wait to share the last leg of this trip with you guys! Promise it will be soon.

xo

J.

A week in Arizona

Hi guys!

I took a bit of a break from this space, as I’m currently back on the road! As some of you may know, V is originally from Phoenix, so every winter, we head back to visit with family and explore the Southwest. Usually we spend a week straight on the road, and then a couple days with family. This year, we decided to change it up a bit and just explore around Arizona! There’s SO much to see in this state, and it completely blows my mind that you can go from a ski resort to the desert in less than an hour.

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Our very first stop was up north, where we stayed in the cozy A Frame Flagstaff. By now I’m sure you guys know my love for cabins - a frames specifically!, so I was SUPER excited that we were able to stay here. It was just the right amount of space for us, but can easily accommodate larger groups with the loft (we just used it to binge watch movies and eat popcorn, ha!). The cabin has one bedroom, a kitchen, living room, and loft space. There’s even a wood stove to keep you extra toasty on cold nights!

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The grounds surrounding the cabin border the Coconino National Forest, and we couldn’t help but get out and explore a bit (honestly, any excuse to soak up that southwest sunshine.). If you’d like to book a stay at the A Frame, head to their Airbnb link here!

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We passed through Sedona on our way back to Phoenix, and visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Although we’ve explored in Sedona numerous times, we’ve never seen this beauty before! It’s amazing how it’s situation right in the surrounding red rocks. Truly a remarkable place, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. After a few days exploring in Phoenix, and visiting my favorite shops ( Local Nomad, Frances, and Pueblo are always go-to’s!), we headed further south to Tucson and Saguaro National Park. Maybe it’s because they’re so out of the realm of what I grew up with, but seeing that many cacti in one place blew me away! It was so much fun to drive around and walk on the trails.

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After that, V had to head back to New York, so I met up with my friend, Allee, to kick off our road trip. We started out in the Superstition Mountains, and I have to say, went on one of my favorite hikes OF ALL TIME. Views the whole way up made going slow (we we’re snapping photos around every turn!), and the summit was out of this world. This was without a doubt the cherry on top of a perfect week exploring this state, and I’m already missing it! Currently in Colorado, can’t wait to share more from the road!

xo

J.