Day 7 & 8 // Spartans, Vegas, a Boat & a Summary

Click Here for my previous post on Days 5 & 6, which will also have links to previous posts. 

Ahh… The last post in my husband’s and my awesome road trip adventures.

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to Las Vegas where I mentioned in my last post my SIL (Bub’s twin sister) and her boyfriend were doing the Spartan Super race. We arrived in good time but they had already started. With the crowds and the fact that you had to pay to get in…

Well, we knew we had a few hours to spare so we headed to the local casino since the race was a few miles south of the actual city. We stayed there a little bit to cool off (we forgot what hot dry air felt like) and maybe play a few slot machines where we both came out a head by like $10 ($13, me!).

We went back to the venue where you could actually watch the final obstacle without going past the lines or anything. It was an interesting obstacle to watch… The racers have to basically do a Tarzan by holding onto a rope as they swing over water. Sounds simple enough. But after watching for two hours we decided that about 90% of the people did it wrong because to get the rope to you, there is a string attached so you could pull it in.

However, that string stays attached and as each person swings across, the rope and string combo typically went between their legs… making it interesting (and mostly painful) when they attempted to jump off only to find that a rope and string yanked on their crotch… and if you didn’t get it in the crotch, you typically fell from the rope straight into the water. Most people fell in the water but the few that made it across with the rope between their legs got a quick wake up call. Then the very few that put it to the side successfully made it across, but then might get a leg cramp as well.

It was all amusing.

Some men walked away head held high but some also limped. Heh. A lot of people also got leg cramps.

We finally saw our team come through, though! They both landed in the water, with the strings to the side. Haha.

Regardless, they finished proud! 9 miles and 27 obstacles later!

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and then getting ready for a nice dinner with our aunt and uncle, who we stayed with since they live in Las Vegas.

Then the four of us crazy party animals walked the strip of Vegas for maybe an hour, watched the Bellagio water show, then went home to bed. We all drank lots of water. haha.

Hubs has a thing with taking pictures of fire hydrants now.

The next day our uncle took us to Lake Mead for a day on his boat. He’s so proud of his boat. It’s adorable.

We all grew up going to these awesome desert lakes and rivers in the summer time. It brought back a lot of special memories for all of us.

Fun fact : My sister and bub’s middle sister were best friends in elementary school and as such, she went on a river trip or two with their family. Ha.

Coming back, we were all nicely burned, but cooled off by the river. It was a great way to end our trip.

We left soon after getting back but the drive home was a great welcome back to California, as we hit horrible traffic just from everyone leaving Vegas to get back home on a Sunday evening. When it should take 3 1/2 hours, it took nearly 5. Welcome home! Haha.

That concluded our trip, though.

We arrived home around 11:30 pm after 2,355 miles.

Our trip went as follows :

Home –> Mammoth Mountain –> Death Valley National Park –> Zion National Park –> Bryce Canyon National Park –> Capitol Reef National Park –> Arches National Park –> Moab –> Canyonlands National Park –> Monument Valley –> Zion National Park –> Las Vegas –> Home

Overall, we drove through 4 states, 6 national parks (don’t forget Death Valley!), 18 different highways, ate out only 4 times the whole week, did multiple hiking trails, drove on random off roads with the possibilities of falling off sheer cliffs more than once, got sun burned, hiked a wicked yet angelic (haha) trail, had lots of PB&J and turkey sandwiches, hit sleet, got rained on, got sand blasted, and talked to people from all over the country and even the world.

It was a great trip.

If you had to ask what places or parks we might go back to, I’m positive we would go back Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches. Those three offered the most in regards to our wants and needs, from off road adventures to a variety of hiking trails. They were also the prettiest, with large canyons, structures, and monuments. Just breathtaking really. Moab is also another place on our to-do list as we really want to explore that area so much more.

If you plan to go to any of these places, most of the parks, if not all, have reserve only campsites so call or check their websites for availability. These are good options for families or for anyone who wants a “proper” campsite with a fire pit and running water 🙂 Bub and I don’t mind roughing it out a little bit, so the BLM option worked out for us. Also be aware of the weather. In my experience of traveling through Utah at different times, rain and inclement weather can happen at any time. It can be sunny one minute and then the next, monsoon weather. Which is typical of any desert really. But it just adds to the beauty; if you’re prepared of course 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this series on the Mighty Five. I enjoyed writing about it, but of course I certainly enjoyed experiencing even more. I hope you have the chance to do the same, whether it’s the Mighty Five or some other exciting adventure.

To finish off, here are a few of my favorite John Muir quotes, a man who knew the value of nature and life.

The mountains are calling, and I must go…

Of all the paths you take, make sure a few of them are dirt.

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.


The Mighty Five : Day 4 // Off-Roading & Monuments

Click Here and Here for Days 1&2, and Day 3 in case you missed them 🙂

Wednesday morning of our trip, we woke up to blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It was chilly (really chilly) and a bit windy (really windy). We decided to make our way to Canyonlands National Park by way of an off-road trail that a ranger told us about the day before.

The nice thing about the trail is that it’s relatively easy to find and it also follows the Colorado River for quite a ways so you have gorgeous views a lot of the time. And if you’re not following the river, you’re right along side huge red cliffs and gorgeous structures.

To find the road in Moab you follow the 191N onto the 279 which becomes Potash Road which then becomes Shafer Trail, which eventually ends up in the national park itself.

On the beginning of the drive you see signs for petroglyphs and even dinosaur tracks. We decided to check out the dinosaur tracks. All two of’em.

Hubs was kid of skeptical. I myself am not too sure what to think of them. Haha.

Back to the pretty drive though!

Mobbing Moab! That was my husband’s chant all morning. He loved it (the phrase and mobbing). Our Tacoma is 4×4 but you don’t necessarily need one for this road, unless the weather is wet and the road a bit slick, then I would recommend a 4×4. Moab itself is known for it’s off road trails and Jeeping. There are tons of places to rent such vehicles in town.

This is one my favorite National Park pictures because it’s on a trail that not many can go on and it’s the adventure of getting there that makes it more special.

This part of the trail is where it got sketchy as you start your ascent up the cliffs and into the canyon more. You literally drive back and forth on switch backs that have sheer drop offs. I’m not one to get nervous when we off road because I fully trust my husbands capabilities of driving as well as the truck. But this trail towards the end was a bit of an adrenaline rush.

This was making our way into the canyon more and heading on up the mountains.

You can see the trail we came on!

The trail continues to follow the side of the mountain. When the roads were made, they weren’t made into the mountain like most roads, but rather with the mountain so it follows the natural curves and outlines of it.

It was a very exciting drive to say the least. It took us maybe an hour and a half to complete about 30 miles? I think… Ha. It was around there.

Once inside the park, you’re on top of mesas and plateaus that allow you a view of the canyons, which gives the park it’s name. We didn’t linger too long, however. Just long enough to make sandwiches and decide to head out when we realized there was a forecast of snow for the night. No thank you!

We found another off road trail that got us out of the park and back on the main highway.

From there we headed south from the 191S to the 163S that led us into Monument Valley. Leaving Canyonlands meant we did all 5 parks in just 4 days. But really, we were able to focus on the parks we really wanted to (Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands). It was a bit rushed, but that also left us with a few days to spare where we could play around some more.

Back on the road we go, headed back to Zion we decided, via Monument Valley and northern Arizona.

Before we got there we stopped and saw Mexican Hat, an interesting rock balance in the middle of the desert.

Getting to Monument Valley! We didn’t linger here, but just drove through and only stopped once for a few pictures.

We continued onto the 163S which hits the 160W and then finally the 98W where we ended up in Page, AZ. Page is known for Lake Powell by the way.

Our goal was to go back to Zion that night but it was getting late and the chances of getting a camping spot in Zion were really low. We couldn’t find camping in Page or even on BLM land since there was a creepy van parked where we might have camped but decided we wanted to live.

So we parked in a hotel parking lot and made “camp” there instead. Everything got thrown into the cab while we made our beds as usual in the back! Only problem the whole night was getting hit by sprinklers.

To be continued 🙂

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 1 & 2 // Zion Bound

2,355 miles later… My husband and I are home.

We are tired, we are sunburned (thanks Lake Mead!), our clothes smell of sweat and smoke, our truck is full of red dust, but we are happy. We’re also very grateful and so appreciative that we were able to take this time away together to really explore some amazing places.

For the entire trip, I’ll be doing a few posts so I can focus a bit more on each park, as it one had it’s own unique character about it and deserves it’s own place here on my ol’ blog.

So to start off, let’s see where the journey began and how we got to Utah 🙂

In my last post, I mentioned that we would be in Mammoth Wednesday-Sunday, leaving Sunday morning to begin our journey! We headed south on the 395, then cut across the 136 to the 190 to drive through Death Valley National Park.

We mostly drove through it and only stopped to use the rest room and get a few pictures of the views. The weather was a bit warm there — 98* when we were about 130 feet below sea level. We didn’t have time to visit the lowest point, but I’m glad we were able to drive through and see some beautiful California desert.

Once we drove through the park, we headed onto the 127 then hit the I-95 which took us to Las Vegas where we then got onto the I-15N which took us all the way to Utah. Turning off in St. George UT, we got onto the UT-9 and headed on in to Zion Nat’l Park after nearly total 8 hours of driving. Phew. It was a trip.

The one nap I took. Haha.

We got in a around dusk and because of that, we were very lucky to find a camping spot. We shared a group site with a couple from Washington and 7 college students from BYU-Idaho. We all sat around the fire pit and discussed movies, places we’ve traveled and had a good time just visiting.

The next morning was the morning we were most excited about.

We woke up early, had breakfast, packed up the truck, then took a shuttle to the trail head for Angel’s Landing , one of the most infamous hikes in not only Zion National Park, but the national park system itself. Here’s a link about Angel’s Landing.

We started just after 0900 and began the our hike up the steep, nicely paved trail.

That, my friends, is Angel’s Landing. You gain 1488 feet in elevation, so it’s pretty steep with a lot of switch backs along the way, up to Scout’s Lookout, which is the point where you can turn around or continue onto Angel’s Landing or the West Rim Trail.

GoPro view!

This is an infamous hike because the last 1/2 mile you’re climbing on sheer cliffs that have 1000+ feet drop offs. One wrong move and you could, well, fall. Way, way down…



Getting to Scout’s Lookout was extremely difficult, not gonna lie. I wanted to take multiple breaks but my husband kept pushing me to keep going and I’m glad he did. I didn’t want to quit, but to stop would have taken us a longer time and I’m pretty proud of the time we made for the whole trip.

At the top of the peak, you have some awesome views of the canyon.


Hanging out. It was kind of trippy to look straight down from here.

We pretty much ran down the trail on our way back because the trail is so steep, your body just wants to naturally run.

We finished up the hike, cooled our feet off in the river, then decided to head on out to our next park! But we made it back to the trail head in pretty good time! It total, it took us just under 3 hours to do the hike, start to finish. They say it takes an average of 4-5 hours for most people to do it. So I’d say we did pretty good.

It was difficult to leave so soon but we had to make it to our next park in good time.

On the way out, we took our typical tourist photo of course 🙂

From Zion, we continued on the UT-9E to the 89N to the 12E then the 63S where we ended up in Bryce Canyon National Park! Bryce is known for their red rocks (found throughout most of southern Utah, really) and their crazy formations called hoodoos. They’re rock structures that look likes kids put there after playing with Play-Doh.

Now we’ve been here before and it was actually pretty dang cold. There was snow on the ground. And we were in shorts and tank tops. We decided to only drive through and take some quick pictures before our GoPro died. Our feet were also cold.

I know there aren’t many (few, really) pictures of Bryce, but for us, we had already been there a few years ago and it’s the kind of park that you drive through and look at. Not much to do, really. Especially when it’s cold and windy.

From Bryce, we got back onto the 63, heading north, and drove through the 12E. Along the way we went up and down various landscapes from open fields, dry desert, to snowy mountains. A few hours later we drove through Capitol Reef Nat’l Park.


It was getting to be late afternoon and they only had one camp ground in the park, which is based on reservations. We found out from the camp host though that in Utah, you can pretty much camp anywhere on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land as long as it’s so many 100+ feet off a main road and you can also have a fire if there’s a pit. So that’s what we did! It was actually a lot prettier than camping inside the actual park. The only downside is no running water and bathrooms. It’s just you and nature.


We were able to witness an amazing sunset there, too.

It was a cool and very windy evening. Our fire wasn’t actually able to catch properly because of the wind. We decided to call it a night and went to bed pretty early.

In summary for this post, we left Mammoth Sunday morning and arrived in Zion early evening byway of Death Valley and Las Vegas. From Zion, we drove to Bryce through the eastern exit and from there drove to Capitol Reef.

To be continued 🙂

xo, Briana

p.s. In case you’re wondering, we did most of our research through the National Park website and also where they have lists of things to do, itineraries, etc. We planned our trip based on a 5-day itinerary although we tweaked it a little here and there of course. But more on that later 🙂

This is not a sponsored post.

Time For Adventures

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve last blogged. My last few posts have been more on life rather than beauty and that’s okay with me because this blog is supposed to consist of all things life, not just beauty.

I’ve been wanting to write and while I have a few ideas, I didn’t make myself write them because I’ve been focusing on a few more important things going on right now and am also trying to be more in the moment. My husband’s fire season starts next month and with that, he could go away at any time and be gone for weeks. So with that coming up, he and I have been wanting to do a big trip before his season starts. I’m also going to Hawaii next month for my cousin’s wedding, of which I am a bridesmaid. Unfortunately, my hubby can’t come because it’s the exact same time his season starts.

One thing that I love about my hubby is that he likes me to be involved in whatever he does. If I weren’t with him, I may never have gone rock climbing, hiked as much as I have in Yosemite, been to Alaska, explored various national parks, or fell in love with camping as much as I have. While I may not be as adventurous as he is, I’m thankful that he wants me right next to him on every adventure he goes on.


While I love my blog and what is has become in my life, right now I’m focusing on my personal life and am simply going to enjoy it without the guilt of “oh, I didn’t write a post today or this week…”.

I hope you understand. I promise to show pictures of our adventures, but for now, I can’t wait for it to begin.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Mammoth Lakes for his family’s annual trip and then on Sunday he and I are heading to Utah to explore the 5 main national parks. We’ll be traveling all week then will head back to Las Vegas to cheer his sister and her boyfriend for their Spartan race then come home Sunday. We’ll be camping out in our truck, which is fully prepped for traveling and sleeping in. He’s made it super cozy with the camper shell. I’ll have to show y’all sometime. It’s our own little camper.

Until next time Yosemite...

Until next time Yosemite…

Walking along the river.

Walking along the river.

National Parks are the best.

National Parks are the best.

Here are some links to previous posts that include our traveling adventures!

CA Roadtrip Part 1

CA Roadtrip Part 2

Alaska Favorites

More Alaska

Fishing in Alaska

Yosemite Post Featured on Freshly Pressed!

Camping in Joshua Tree

In the mean time…

xo, Briana