A Travellerspoint blog

Las Vegas

sunny 29 °C
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And so we reached Las Vegas, the final stop on my tour and whole trip. In our group, Anne and I were both finishing in Las Vegas while the rest of the group continued, to finish back in San Francisco. Las Vegas has a good reputation for partying with Suntrek tours (and in general I guess!) and it definately lived up to expectation!

Steve our tourguide had a surprise organised for us when we arrived in Vegas, which turned out to be a night out with a limo tour of the city! The first stop was the Fremont Casino which has a covered street, with the world's biggest TV screen on the roof. We then drove past all the casinos on the strip (the main street, not a strip club!). We then finished off at the Bellagio to see the famous fountains. It was a fantastic evening and finished off with meeting up with Kate and Jen from my first USA tour.


The next day some of us went to The Gun Store in Las Vegas, where you can just walk in and try out pistols, rifles and shotguns! So I had a go at shooting an AR-15! Only in America...! After some target shooting we went for an all-you-can-eat buffet at the Flamingo Casino and ate so much food! Then we went up the Stratosphere, which is the large tower in Las Vegas where there is the world's highest theme park - three rides on the top of the tower. The rides were good and the view was amazing...


That evening we had food at the Hard Rock Cafe. The following day we checked out the casinos and later that day Anke also arrived in Las Vegas :) Below are photos of the inside of the Palazzo and the Venetian, where they have an indoor canal! The third photo is of the Bellagio and its fountains.


Kate and Jen had a hire car, so we drove to see the Hoover Dam, just outside Las Vegas. As well as seeing the dam we saw the bridge they've built over the canyon, just downstream from the dam. It was almost as amazing as the dam itself and was built to take the traffic that currently goes over the dam. At the moment traffic jams can be over two hours due to security checkpoints. We also heard that the water level in Lake Mead, behind the dam, is dropping quickly enough that it could be empty in around 20 years time.


That evening was the final night of my trip and we had another night out, this time a reunion of some of my first tour group in USA. Anke, Kate and Jen were there and we also met up with our tourguide Nick, who was travelling through Vegas with another group. It was a fantastic night with lots of drinking and lots of fun!


So after some very emotional goodbyes the following morning it was time for me to make my way to the airport and fly to LA and then London. It has truly been the trip of a lifetime and I've enjoyed every minute and all 43,000 miles! I have met so many great people and had a go at some amazing activities. And of course I have been lucky enough to have seen some outstanding places. Hopefully it will not be long until my next trip...

Posted by BensWorld 13:36 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Bryce Canyon & Zion National Park

sunny 21 °C
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Our non-stop tour continued with visits to Dead Horse Point and Capitol Reef National Park, shown below. At Dead Horse Point we saw a huge film crew, probably about 200 people but unfortunately we could not find out what film it was, or if anyone famous was there.


The next stop was Bryce Canyon National Park, which was amazing. I know I've been saying that a lot recently, but there are lots of stunning places in USA! We stopped off here in the afternoon, when we had the chance to walk down into the canyon, and again the following morning to see sunrise. The stacks of rock are known as Hoodoos, and like most things in the USA, are huge! The last two photos below were taken whilst walking in the canyon.


The following day we visited the final National Park on our trip - Zion National Park. Although it was only a brief stop, we managed one of the most exciting hikes in the park, climbing right up one of the mountains to Angel's Landing. The trail is not for the faint hearted, its not very wide and with sheer drops on both sides (as you can see on the second photo below). It was well worth the climb, although the day we visited turned out to be a bank holiday in the USA, so the trail was packed with people!


Posted by BensWorld 08:29 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Arches National Park

sunny 22 °C
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Over two days we had several hikes through the amazing scenery of Arches National Park. There are over 2000 sandstone arches in the park, which is in Utah in the midwest. Below is an area called Park Avenue and the most famous arch, Delicate Arch. You can see how big it is by the size of our group standing underneath!


We stayed in Moab, which is big for extreme sports and while there I went whitewater rafting in the Colorado river. Although the river was not as extreme as those I heard about in Australia and New Zealand, the surroundings more than made up for it. And the best bit was an all you can eat buffet at a nice hotel as part of the rafting trip! Then we did another hike taking in three of the largest arches, in an area called Devil's Garden. The first picture below shows Devil's Garden from the distance and then the second, up close.


Posted by BensWorld 07:06 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Monument Valley

sunny 23 °C
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Monument Valley was one of the places I was most looking forward to in USA and it did not disappoint! Like Antelope Canyon, the area is owned by the Native American people and not the National Parks Service. This made it all the more special because it has not been over-developed for tourism. We had a tourguide from the Navajo native people who took us on a jeep tour through the desert and amazing rock formations.


We also stayed the night in the desert and slept in a traditional Hogan - a large mudhut made of wood. We ate traditional Navajo tacos and then watched the sunset around the campfire, all in among the amazing scenery and miles from anyone else! It was a full moon that night , so we went on a night walk through the desert - with no light pollution the stars were amazing! The last two photos below were taken just by the moonlight in the desert.


We woke up just before 4am to see the sunrise - it was out of this world! The morning shadows were amazing. The rocks below were called The Totem Pole and were right next to our Hogan, where we slept (in the last picture).


Posted by BensWorld 06:52 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon

sunny 21 °C
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Camping at the Grand Canyon was unbelievably cold (about 4C at night) after the warm temperatures in California a few days earlier. This is because of the very high altitude at the Grand Canyon. It was also very windy while I was there which meant that unfortunately all the helicopter flights were cancelled. However, while camping at the Grand Canyon we met up with several other Suntrek groups including Anke's and Thomas's from my first group.

We left the Grand Canyon and after a short drive we stopped at a viewpoint overlooking Horseshoe Bend. This was an amazing deep canyon that is virtually unseen on the approach because it is carved out of the otherwise flat desert.


Next I went on a 4x4 trip to Antelope Canyon, which is one of the many spots owned and run by Native Americans. A really inspiring place that floods regularly, sometimes right to the top of the Canyon when there has been heavy rain.


Posted by BensWorld 09:30 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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