Hiking “The Wave”

When I returned to work and my boss asked me how the hike was, the first word out of my mouth was “extraordinary.” He was like, “Wow, extraordinary!?” That is the best way that I could sum up this experience with one word. It was the most amazing trip of my life because I had never seen such a terrain that was so historical and unique in every way. It was like stepping into a different age.

Heading toward the entrance to The Wave.
It had rained a couple days before, so there was quite a bit of standing water like this little pond.

I do admit that I was a little worried about doing this hike in the middle of August, but thankfully we were blessed with great temperatures. It only got up to about 91°, which is much cooler than it was when I went to Zion in June. When we started out at about 6 AM, the temperature was in the 50s. When we made it to the Wave there was a nice, cool breeze blowing and it wasn’t very hot.

Walking into The Wave.
This pond of water at the Wave’s entrance made for a cool reflection shot.
This feature had some amazing textures.
The Wave.

Beyond the wave, we explored Second Wave and the Boneyard, rounding out the loop with the dinosaur tracks, which were really cool and made me feel like I had gone back into the Jurassic Age. I opted not to go up to Top Rock, which I really wanted to see, but I decided that I just wasn’t up to that type of climbing and didn’t want to tire myself out. I just wanted to experience that beautiful place, live in the moment and enjoy just being there. I was in a constant state of awe the whole time.

Strange looking rocks in the “Boneyard.”
A #4-shaped rock in the Boneyard.

I had the pleasure of hiking with a professional photographer, Amy, from Action Photo Tours, who was very experienced with the terrain and knew all of the other sites outside of the Wave that I wanted to see. I also was able to learn photography skills and how to use the more advanced settings on my camera. Before this trip, I had purchased a new ultra wide zoom lens just for the landscape aspect of the trip and I was so excited to use it. I’m very pleased with the photos that I took.

Dinosaur tracks.
More dinosaur tracks.

Walking in the Wave itself was quite a trippy experience. It’s hard to describe the feeling that I had while being inside the Wave. It looks one way in the pictures and you think that the pictures online are all extraordinary, but there is nothing like actually being there and seeing it up close and in person.

A towering spire.
The features of The Wave may look soft and delicate, but they are actually quite sturdy and rugged.

I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude with each moment that passed and I just wanted to hold onto it and never let it go. I couldn’t help but remember what was going on in my life a year ago when I had my back issues and then the surgery and I just couldn’t stop giving thanks for the experience and for being able to walk this path and have this be a part of my life‘s journey. I’m just so grateful. I hope you enjoy these pictures and I also hope that you also get a chance to experience this wonderful place for yourself. It’s not easy to get a permit, but it is so worth the process.

Walking inside The Wave.
Photo by Amy O., Action Photo Tours.

Camelbak

All Aboard the Subway!

This hike was quite a doozy and at first I said I would never do it again. Now that some time has passed and my body and mind have had some recovery time, I would say I may do it again at some point. Just not anytime soon. That was one of the reasons I took so many pictures. I was of the mindset that I might not want to pass that way again. But we’ll see.

Starting our adventure.
It was a steep rocky path down to the creek.
It’s a tough hike, but the scenery is worth it.

I hiked with my friends Jodi and Neenah. Jodi charged ahead and left me and Neenah in the dust. Neenah could have charged ahead with her but I was glad that she stayed and hiked with me. I was grateful for the company. It was hot so we took our time and soaked in the creek a couple of times along the way to cool off. The water was great! We also observed quite a bit of healthy looking trout in the creek. Too bad I didn’t have a net. I felt like I could have scooped them right out!

Neenah cooling off in the water.
Trout swimming in the water.
Me cooling off in the waterfall.

When Jodi went to collect the permits for the hike, the ranger told her that it was bouldering the whole way and the hike was rated as “hard” on All Trails. I thought that was interesting because I didn’t remember the hike being super difficult with that much bouldering. However, my last time out there was nine years ago and I’m sure the area has endured its share of landslides and flash floods that have redesigned the terrain over time.

The closer we got to the Subway, the more the water flowed creating cascades like this.
Another cascade.
Neenah walking in the creek past some boulders.

The hike was nine miles and it took us about nine hours to complete it. We didn’t start until almost 10:30am but we should have started much earlier. Several people we met on their way out of the canyon said they had started around 5:00am, which was smart to beat the heat. We just didn’t want to get up that early.

The path goes right up the cascades, a welcome treat on a sweltering day.
Almost to our destination.
Another beautiful waterfall.

One thing I learned is that I should have either packed 4 liters of water instead of 3, or brought a filter to get water from the creek. Although, I’m not sure that even filtering water would have been a good idea with the high levels of Cyanobacteria in the water. Maybe North Creek is okay and it’s just the Virgin River that the warning is for, but we weren’t sure.

The entrance to the Subway.
The sound of running water was so relaxing.
There were lots of natural pools to soak in.

We were keeping an eye on the sky during the hike as some clouds started to build downstream later in the afternoon. I was also keeping an eye on possible escape routes in the event of a flash flood. There was no rain in the forecast, but storms can develop anytime in the summer, particularly in the afternoon. Thankfully, no storm materialized out of those clouds, but the cloud cover did provide some much needed relief from the brutal sun and heat for a while. By the time we left the Subway, the clouds had dispersed and the sun emerged with a vengeance.

Inside the Subway.
Looking back toward the entrance to the Subway.
Leaving the Subway, Neenah leading the charge.
The Subway.

All in all, it was a great day and we felt so accomplished afterwards. The Subway is a spectacular adventure.

Teva

Taylor Creek and Kolob Canyons

After finishing up our Kanarra Creek hike, we headed over to Kolob Canyons to do a second hike. It was fairly short at a mere five miles round trip, but it felt so much longer due to the heat. It was a little cooler up there but the temps were probably still in the 90’s. There was a creek, but it had very little water and it was nothing to take a dip in and cool off.

Wood log steps at the beginning of the hike.
A trickle of water in the creek.

I told my friends Neenah and Jodi to go ahead because I didn’t know if I wanted to go all the way. I didn’t research this hike much as it was one of Jodi’s suggestions, so I wasn’t sure if the Double Arches were a worthy payoff at the end. I trekked on figuring I’d just turn around when I met up with the ladies heading back from the arches.

Entering the Zion Wilderness, although not part of Zion National Park.
Neenah walking ahead.

The hike didn’t get that interesting for me until I arrived at the first cabin. I actually would have missed it had I not seen a guy coming from that direction as the cabin is situated slightly off-trail right at a turn. Had the guy not been there I would have just been focused on the trail sign that indicated turning right to follow the path.

Larson Cabin.

There was another cabin a little further up the trail. Both were cool to see and pretty interesting due to their construction and the fact that they were just out there in the middle of this canyon with nothing else around.

The further into the canyon we ventured, the more water we observed in the creek.
The Arch.
Cathedral.

I eventually made it to the arches where I met back up with Jodi and Neenah. It was absolutely worth it to keep going because the Double Arches were pretty spectacular. I’d love to go back and do this hike at a cooler time or when there is lots of water flowing in the creek. We crossed the creek at least 20 times during the hike, so with flowing water it would have been a lot of fun.

Women's pants banners for Fall 2022

Hiking Kanarra Falls

In June, my friends and I hiked Kanarra Falls near Zion National Park in Utah and it couldn’t have been a more perfect day. It was hot but the water was cold. This is now a permitted hike, which I am grateful for because it limits crowds on the trail. When I first did this hike nine years ago, no permit was needed, but that apparently led to the area becoming overcrowded and trashed since the hike became more popular.

Ready for a great hike!
Walking into the canyon.

One thing I remembered from doing this hike years ago is that the water was feet-numbing cold. This time, I came prepared with a pair of neoprene socks that I purchased from REI the night before I left for my trip. They really came in handy. When we checked in at the ranger’s station at the start of the hike, I asked him how cold was the water and he said 49°. When we got further into the canyon and my feet felt that water, I stopped to put on those socks and they made a huge difference.

Walls of fire.
The infamous rickety ladder.

This canyon was even more beautiful than I remembered it. It was also a treat to introduce friends to it that had never experienced it. Everyone enjoyed it. Afterwards, we went to the Snackery just up the road and enjoyed snow cones and root beer floats. Then it was on to our second hike of the day in Kolob Canyon.

My friends walking through the canyon.
The last waterfall where we stopped. No ladder here.
Me in front of the last waterfall.

A permit is required to hike Kanarra Falls and can be obtained at this link where you’ll find all the information that you need to do this amazing hike.

While I was on this trip and right before my friends and I did water hikes, I discovered that I left my water shoes at home. I had to go to an outfitter in Springdale and buy a pair of shoes. They didn’t have the brand that I normally wore and the ones that I liked best out of what was available were the Teva Women’s Omnium Sandals. Those sandals were so comfortable and performed so well on my adventures in and out of the water that they are now my go-to water shoes. I even took them on my recent trip to Brazil and wore them in the Amazon jungle. Check them out at the link below.

Teva

Forest Lessons, “Tarzan,” and…a Caiman?!

Our second day at the jungle lodge was pretty busy. We started the day with a hike into the jungle led by our guides Lima and Rivelino, who we later nicknamed “Tarzan” due to his extraordinary strength and agility. During the hike, our guides taught us some survival skills and showed us how to make some crafts.

After the hike, we returned to the lodge for lunch and some relaxation before taking to the waters again to explore more of the igapó and watch the sunset at the end of the day. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we took the boats out again after dinner and went out searching for alligators. We ended up with quite a surprise.

This is one of the longer videos in this series at nine minutes, but I hope you stick around until the end. With Halloween upon us, there are some elements that I find quite fitting. I had so much fun filming and editing this piece of a most extraordinary adventure. I hope you’re enjoying this series. The best is still yet to come.

“Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkeys!”

On this day of our jungle river cruise, we started with a nice, healthy breakfast and went on a canoe to explore more of the Igapó, or flooded forest. When we arrived back at our boat dock, we saw a monkey playing nearby and checking us out, so we went to have a look. Suddenly, we found ourselves surrounded by monkeys and hilarity ensued!

Swimming with Pink Dolphins

My first stop on the Amazon jungle river cruise was to meet snd swim with dolphins. But these weren’t just any dolphins, they were pink dolphins, and pretty magnificent albeit a little odd. These pink dolphins make their home in the Amazon River, so in this part of the world, it’s quite acceptable to see these beauties happily swimming in the river, eager to meet new human friends.

South America – Off to the Amazon

Well, hello. I’m back. It’s been a while, but I’m here again and will be posting more consistently because I have so much to share. I’ve been quite busy over the last year and have done quite a bit of traveling. I spent most of July in Brazil, my first ever trip to South America, and it was the adventure of a lifetime.

I realized I haven’t done anything with the more than 200 videos I recorded on that trip. I’ve posted a few short ones on other channels, but that was it. My intention of recording these videos was to put together a full documentary of the adventure, making it into a series. So here it is, the first episode, and the beginning of my adventures in the Amazon jungle, starting with a three-day jungle river cruise.

Titus Canyon Adventure

This is the longest video that I’ve ever uploaded to YouTube. The reason I uploaded this full version of the drive is because I know that there are some people out there who were like me initially, researching this drive to see what it’s really like before planning a trip.

I want to provide a very real time view of everything to expect on this drive. I want people to be prepared and know what they’re getting into. I also want to share the fun with those who may choose not to go and see this beautiful place, but would like to watch it from the comfort of their own home.

This road is 26 miles and it is a one-way drive. The road is very narrow and there are steep drop offs. One thing you can be certain of is that you will be awed and captivated by all of the scenery and the beauty in this place. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful canyons that I have ever visited. I love how the terrain changed throughout the drive and I was never bored with any of the features.

My friends and I stopped along the way to take pictures and explore some of the sites like the old mining town of Leadfield. We also saw some petroglyphs which I did not include in this video. It was just an amazing place all around and I would totally do it again. Thankfully, I did not have to drive this time. My car probably wouldn’t have made it on this road.

We had a caravan of three cars including a RAV4, a Subaru Crosstrek, and a Subaru Outback. All cars made it through with no issues and we had a fun time. I hope you enjoy this wonderful adventure.

Titus Canyon Adventure – Full Version