So I've not had internet access for a while... the location of this post is labelled as 'Arches national park' but we have visited many national parks - Yosemite national park, cathedral gorge state park, Zion national park, Bryce national park and Arches national park. They have all been spectacular!
So carrying on from where i left off...
Day 8/9 - We took a long drive to Yosemite national park (still in California at this point) and camped there for 2 days. Hear we did a lot of hiking and got some great views of waterfalls (Nevada and Vernal falls). The National park is very green with massive boulders and granite walls. The first day was more of a settling in day so we did a small hike. The second day however was more strenuous... We climbed very high to the top of Nevada and then Vernal falls and then decended done Vernal falls on the mist trail where we were sprayed with water from the waterfall and river. Some of us (including me) still had the energy to do a 1 mile hike to Mirror lake, unfortunately the lake was not too high and didn't give the mirror effect with the surrounding scenary but it was nice to dip into the lake and chill out on the beach!
Day 10 - Cathedral Gorge
I feel this was more of a stop off before we got to other major national parks, but this turned out to be a pretty cool camping night. To get here we travelled along the 'Extra terrestrial highway' and stopped off in a small town called Rachel. The 'Extra terrestrial highway' is apparently ~20miles from area 51 and as you can imagine around here and in Rachel they're pretty enthusiatic about aliens. We went into a cafe in Rachel where parts of the movie 'Paul' was filmed. It was quite late when we arrived at our camp ground in Cathedral Gorge and fairly warm so we were convinced by the tour leader to sleep in the outdoors (i.e. no tent just a sleeping bag on some grass). It was actually really glad we did this, the camp ground was in the middle of nowhere so we got a great sight of the stars and saw many shooting stars.
Day 11 - Zion national Park
We took a quick hike into some caves at Cathedral gorge... on the way back to the campground we saw (what we think is) a baby rattle snake bathing on the trail. Lucky for us we didn't run into any scorpions! We then headed to zion national park, this is probably my most favourite national park so far :). The river Virgin run through Zion and our first hike involved wading up the river. I'm not a great swimmer but with the help of the tour leader I was able to do this, I liked the experience of wading through strong currents... sometime coming up to waist high.
Day 12 - Zion national park/Bryce national park
This was an early morning so that we could start our hike to Angels landing. This was an amazing hike up the top of a canyon and involved climbing (literally) up rocks and holding on the chains for support. It was scary but definately worth it for the experience, only 4 people out of the group of 13 had the guts to go to the top! We returned back to camp at 11am and set off to Bryce national park. I had heard a lot about Bryce and so had high expectations... and they were definately met. We took the navajo trail to sunset point and also took another trail to see 'Thors hammer'. The rock formations at Byrce are quite cool, the top is made of harder rock and so the bottom parts end up eroding quicker (will upload pictures at some point!). We left the national park and spontaneously went to a Rodeo(!)... definately an experience of local culture.
Day 13/14/15 - Arches National park
We arrived in Arches national park and set up camp in good time for a decent hike to 'Delicate Arch' which is the picture I have used for this blog. Here we watched the Sunset and got amazing red glows from the sandstone that the arch is made from. Here the weather has really started to pick up, must be 30+ degrees. The next day (yesterday for me) some of us got up early do some canyoneering... this was awesome, we hike up a canyon and abseiled first down a 30m edge and then a 40m cliff. The second one was the most enjoyable, firstly because the we had got used to abseiling and it wasn't too daunting and secondly because after 10m we were just free hanging (i.e. feet not on the wall of the cliff! let letting ourselves glide down to the bottom. In the evening we took a huma tour of the canyonlands, this was also really good... highlights include going down giant rocks really fast and going up them backwards! Oh, and going down rocks with only 3 wheels on the ground!
Today has been a relaxing day for me, a few small hikes in Arches to park avenue, north and south window, tarrot arch and double arch - all amazing rock formations (photos to follow!). After the hike I just chilled out, got some laundry done etc. In the evening we took another trip to Dead horse point which is considered the grand canyon of Utah... it was pretty good, and we got to see a great sunset.
The national parks have been amazing, plenty to do and see and lots of spectacular views to see. I'm enjoying the trip and am looking forward to the Monument valley tomorrow.