Year: 2016

How to Visit Monument Valley for Sunrise (PHOTOS)

  The sun peeks over the horizon in Monument Valley, Arizona; it is a sunrise that needs no caption: Accessing Monument Valley from Utah: If you’ve been following along on my road trip, you’ll know that we spent the night in Mexican Hat, which is 24 miles from Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Much to my relief, an October 14th sunrise in Monument Valley happens at a kind hour: 7:28 a.m. We set our alarm for 5:45 a.m. the following morning, allowing us plenty of time for the drive. Why so early? Well, the information I found online was a bit confusing. Mostly it boiled down to this: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center  Peak Season (5/1 – 9/30) 6 a.m. – 8 p.m., 7 days/week Off Season (10/1 -4/30) 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7 days/week  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Scenic Drive Peak Season (5/1 – 9/30) 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. Off Season (Oct – Apr) 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. So, with sunrise occurring half an hour before everything opens, how were …

Hiking Treasure Loop Trail in Lost Dutchman State Park (PHOTOS)

Greg and I were in Scottsdale and Mesa (Arizona) earlier this month and I couldn’t leave town without squeezing in some hiking at Lost Dutchman State Park. Why? The Superstition Mountains; I mean…they’re iconic to the Mesa-area. Treasure Loop Trail: 2.3 miles (3.8 km) Rating: Easy Elevation gain: 500-ft + then – 500-ft Location: Lost Dutchman State Park Trail notes: A well-maintained trail that winds through the low scrub of Tonto National Forest. This hike is not demanding for those who are physically fit. If you’re after a workout, opt for Siphon Draw Trail which involves some scrambling. “Standing in a parking lot at the ominously named Lost Dutchman State Park, I’m far from winter’s reach. But will Arizona’s heat will dry my running nose? I stuff a litre of water into my backpack and think what a cruel irony it is to suffer a cold in the desert.” Continue reading about our hike here: http://www.explore-mag.com/Go-Here-Hiking-Below-the-Superstition-Mountains-in-Lost-Dutchman-State-Park-PHOTOS  Otherwise, enjoy the photos! Have you hiked beneath the mighty Superstition Mountains? Let me know: comment below!  

Where Can I Buy a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in Vancouver, BC?

I’ve done it! I’ve finally found a fiddle leaf fig tree in Vancouver. After drooling about them on Instagram, Greg and I now have our very own. Take a look: Isn’t she a beaut? We happen to be Survivor fans and this season there’s a contestant named Figgy, so naturally we’ve nicknamed her as much. We bought our tree at Maple Leaf Garden Centre in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver. The last few times I’ve stopped in they’ve had one or two on hand. This visit, they had one fiddle leaf fig tree (which we bought) and one fiddle leaf fig bush. If you don’t live on the North Shore, it might be worth giving them a call in advance. Address: 1343 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver Telephone: 604-985-1784 Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sunday and Holidays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. According to their website, there is a Maple Leaf Garden Centre in West Vancouver too. I’d wager a bet that they also carry fiddle leaf fig trees. Address: 2558 Haywood Avenue, West …

We Are the Crazy Canadians Who Honeymooned in Bolivia

Text originally published in Canadian Traveller magazine, Fall 2016 Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky Few places provide such an unworldly sense of advneture as Bolivia. From the mesmerizing way the earth meets the sky at Salar de Uyuni, to the star-splattered desert night skies that will simply play with your mind – to say a trip to Bolivia is ‘epic’ could perhaps be something of an understatement.   Bolivia has few qualities of a destination that attracts honeymooners. It’s landlocked, mountainous, high altitude, and in February it happens to be pretty damn wet. But no one can convince me to go elsewhere. Tucked deep in the South American continent, few travellers arrive in Bolivia by chance. I’m reminded of this each time I’m queried, “What brings you to Bolivia” not by locals, but from other travellers. It’s as if we are all ‘in’ on the secret but want to know who – or what – gave it away. My husband and I have come to Bolivia to lose ourselves in Salar de Uyuni’s …

Gypset Home Must-Have: A Kilim Rug

  Hooray for the weekend! Well…secretly I’m excited beyond belief for the upcoming week. I’ve got two packages being delivered to the house and later in the week I’m heading (back) to Arizona. But right now I want to talk about my inbound kilim rug, because a) she’s a total beauty; b) it’s super gypset; and c) I’ve been craving a rug for our ‘dining’ space in the apartment for three years now. So without further adieu, here she is: What can I say? It was love at first sight. Bold design and pops of pink. It’s such a statement piece. Backing up, you might be thinking, what’s a kilim rug? Simply put, it’s a rug without piles. Look at the carpet in your home. Notice that it’s comprised of short strands? Those are piles. Kilim rugs are characterized by a flat weave, which is also how their patterns are formed. ‘Kilim’ is a Turkish word and most kilim rugs are produced in Turkey (Anatolia and Thrace), North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, …

5 Trails You Definitely Need to Hike in Zion National Park

Spending one short day in Zion National Park was an absolute tease; I’m already keen to return. I dream of spending a whole week camped out in the canyon, waking each day to wade the Virgin River, scramble precarious ridges and catch golden sunsets. Here are four trails I’m raring to hike and one I’ve already completed. Happy trails x 1. The Narrows – Bottom Up Length: As far as you want to go; up to 8 km (5 miles) one-way. This is an out-and-back trail. How hard is it? Easy – as long as you don’t roll an ankle and don’t mind cold water. Elevation gained/lost: Negligible, mostly flat. How long will it take? Up to 4.5 hours one way. Again, it depends how far you go. Where is the Bottom Up trailhead? Stop 9 – Temple of Sinawava. Follow the paved Riverside Walk one mile to the end. If you are taking the Zion Canyon Shuttle, you should budget 30-60 minutes from park entrance to the trailhead. Equipment: Wear footwear you’re okay fully submerging underwater …

Roadtrippin’ America: Day III Cowboys & Canyons

Wednesday, October 13 This day ended 283 miles away from where it started. In ‘Canadian’, that’s 458 kilometres. Not the longest stretch of driving I had done lately, but somehow this 12-hour haul felt like a year and a day. The last few hours of the drive led us through some of the most rural terrain I had ever travelled. We pressed on through an empty desert, nary a porch light, star or moon to interrupt the inky horizon. The gas tank needle met the quarter tank mark and slowly crept toward empty. There were no towns between us and our destination; an observation that I tried to push to my mind’s periphery. And what would be there when we arrived? Surely, there would be a gas station. Finally…we pulled into a blip on the map called Mexican Hat and checked into what I would nominate as the least remarkable motel in America. Despite the fatigue of driving lonely highways in the dark, I’d struggle to fall asleep, because tomorrow was a day I was very …

Roadtrippin’ America: Day II Zion National Park

Hailing from British Columbia, I’ll admit, I thought I lived in the most beautiful place in the world. That was before I visited southern Utah. Tuesday, October 11 Waking up in Mesquite, Jason and I packed up the truck, crossed into the northwestern tip of Arizona and then pushed onward into Utah. Immediately the land became cragged and dramatic. Grey skies overhead threatened rain but by mid-morning the dullness of the day had burned off. We grabbed coffee in St. George and then followed I-15 north until exiting at Hurricane. From here we drove east along the Virgin River toward Springdale. On the advice of my contact at Visit Utah, Jason and I had settled on hiking The Narrows. The trail isn’t so much a trail, but a shallow river that leads hikers through an increasingly narrow gorge. The Narrows and Angel’s Landing are counted among Zion National Park’s most popular day hikes. In Springdale, we popped into the visitor centre where I picked up an inexpensive but adequate pair of water shoes and a collapsible walking …

Roadtrippin’ America: Day I Desert Drive

Into the Desert Monday, October 10 Following the wrap of Desert Trip festival (October 7-9), Jason and I packed up the truck and left Indio. But not before we fetched the items he had buried in the desert. I know what you’re thinking, but it was just the camping equipment festival organizers didn’t permit on the grounds. Our heading? Simply due north. We first wound around the sun-baked park limits of Joshua Tree National Park, whose trees stood stunted and gnarled. We sailed along lonely byways as 35 degree temperatures radiated from the ashphalt. Winding, weaving, the truck crested a pass to reveal an arrow-straight stretch of highway that pierced the horizon as far as we could see. As we skirted Sheephole Valley Wilderness I was consumed by the emptiness of the terrain, trained on a singular thought: how this might be a miserable place to be stranded. A Desert’s a Desert’s a Desert…Isn’t It? From here we pushed on through Mojave National Preserve, and Jason and I couldn’t help remarking on the diversity of desert landscapes. Pop culture had …