A Travellerspoint blog

Eating dinner on the edge of a cliff

National Park number 4 - day 17

sunny -18 °C
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Last night was by far our coldest night. Not only were we sleeping on, and around snow, but the temperature dipped below -15 degrees Celsius, probably about -18. We had gone well below the comfort factor of our sleeping bags, and into the survival factor. We had many layers of clothes on, and managed to make it through the night relatively comfortable. Luckily we were staying at this campsite for two nights, so we didn't have to pack up the tents! We have experience many cold mornings. We generally have cereal and milk for breakfast. On cold mornings this becomes quite painful. The milk freezes, and your hands become extremely cold. This morning was particularly cold, and we didn't really fancy suffering through breakfast. We went to the one place in the park that served breakfast, Valhalla Pizza, and got a breakfast burrito and a hot drink. It was much nicer than frozen milk and freezing hands!! We then went to the visitors centre to decide what we would do for the day. We decided on a walk that would gives us an appreciation for the park. We did the Navaho trail down into the canyon, and then the Peekaboo loop around the canyon, then the Navaho back out again.
It was a great walk, and definitely gave us a great perspective of the park. The walk probably took us about 3 hours all up, with plenty of stops for photos. The park itself is completely different to anywhere else we had been. The rock is a orange limestone, that has eroded to form a canyon with many pillars of different shapes and sizes. The park in winter looks amazing, with snow on the tops of the pillars, and really made the orange colour more dominant.
The ranger at the visitors centre recommended going to Paria view at sunset. The road to this point is closed, meaning it is much less crowded. We decided we would buy some take away pizzas from Valhalla Pizzas, then walk down to this point and watch the sunset while enjoying dinner. It was only about a 20 minute walk to the view point, and we were the only ones there. We set up dinner, and the camera, however the sky soon clouded over, and there was no sunset. Despite the lack of sunset, it was great to enjoy a nice dinner with such as amazing view.
It was a really nice day exploring this very special and unique place!

Posted by vansantjordan 19:12 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter sunset walk utah holiday usa roadtrip nationalpark brycenationalpark dinneronacliff Comments (1)

Scariest day of my life at Zion National Park

The day I almost died - day 16

sunny 2 °C
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Today we would be exploring Zion National Park. We woke up at our normal time of 6am. It was another cold night, dropping to about -10 degrees Celsius. We drove back into the park and had a little look around. It is an amazing place. It is not as huge as Yosemite, or as grand as the Grand Canyon, but the mix of the two parks is present. The rock is similar to the Grand Canyon, and the spontaneity and magnitude is similar to Yosemite. We decided that we wanted to try and climb Angels Landing. It is only a short walk, however it is extremely steep and sketchy! The first part of the walk was reasonably easy, with wide tracks and nice switchbacks, however the last half-mile is extremely different. The track heads straight up a very narrow pathway, with over 400m sheer drops either side.
To make things even sketchier, the snow from a few days ago had melted and froze into ice, making the track extremely slippery. Most of the track has chains you can hold onto, however, the parts that do not are extremely dangerous. This walk would be by far the scariest thing I have every done in my life. We, however, were definitely not the worst walkers on the track. There were some people on the track who were so underprepared it was scary. Even though there have been 7 deaths on the walk in the last 12 years, with the quality of walkers that attempt this hike, I would have expected this number to be much higher. We did not quite make it to the top, as we got to a point that we thought was not safe enough. This point still gave us an amazing view of the park and surrounding mountains.
As we managed to start the walk fairly early, the track wasn’t too busy. However, as we were descending the track, the volume of people was increasing significantly, and the quality of walkers was decreasing further. We were extremely glad that we managed to get up early, as the walk would have been even more dangerous with the larger volume of inexperienced traffic! On our way back to the car park, there was one section of the ‘easy switchbacks’ that was extremely icy. An older lady was coming up the section we were coming down, and slipped and hit her nose on a rock. It was quite nasty, and she was bleeding quite a lot. Thomas quickly sprung into action, putting his first aid into practice. She ended up being fine, and we walked her, and her husband back down to the car park. It just shows how easy it is to make a simple mistake that can ruin your day. This wasn’t even on the sketchy bit, and she definitely wasn’t the worst prepared. We drove around the park for a little bit, looking at the main attractions.
It is definitely an amazing place that you could spend weeks exploring. We decided that we would head to Bryce National Park, so that we could have a full day there the following day. We stopped at a shop to buy some stuff for dinner, however the quality of the food, along with the price was ridiculously poor. We opted for Subway instead. It was dark by the time we entered the park, so we didn’t get to see any of it. We camped at the North campground, inside the park. This was the only one that is open during the winter. All the sites were covered in snow, so before setting up camp, we had to dig away a spot for our tents. This was hard work and challenging in the dark. Another challenge was getting the tent pegs into the frozen ground. We managed to get some in, and improvised with others, using skis buried in the snow, and freezing pegs to the ground. We were all extremely tired after a long day so we went straight to bed!

Posted by vansantjordan 16:18 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter views walk utah holiday usa amazing bluebird angelslanding zionnationalpark brycenationalpark scariestdayever Comments (0)

Climbing back out of the canyon

5000ft climb in 4 hours - day 15

sunny 8 °C
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We got up at 6am this morning to try and maximise our day. It was a much warmer night tonight than last night, still below 0 though. We packed up our tents and had breakfast. We were walking by about 7:30am, well before the majority of people had ventured out of their tents. We had been told that the walk out of the canyon was about a 6-8 hour hike. We were setting a pretty mean pace, but not supper fast. We managed to get out of the canyon in just less than 4 hours!! We were pretty wrecked by the end of it, but we were pretty proud of ourselves. We took the Bright Angel track out of the canyon. The walk out was not as steep as the way in, but longer. The views also weren’t as good, but it was still a really nice walk.
It was such a great experience to be able to walk in and sleep in the canyon. We then headed out of the park and to a Burger King on the way. We well a truly deserved a nice greasy lunch after that effort, plus we all wanted some Wi-Fi to reconnect with the world. We had about a 3.5-hour drive ahead of us to Zion National Park. We made a stop along the way at horseshoe bend. This is one of the most photographed rivers in the USA. There were so many people there. It was nice, but definitely not the most spectacular thing I have seen in the USA in the last few days.
We then continued onto Zion National Park. We got there in the dark, so there wasn’t a whole lot to see when we got there. We had planned to spend the night in the campsite in the National Park, however, when we got there it was completely full. We were very surprised by this as everywhere else we had been, the campsites had been pretty quiet, as it is the low season. There were not too many affordable campsites around the park. We managed to find a little campsite that is on public land. It isn’t a designated campground, however anyone is allowed to camp there for free. It was getting quite late by now, and we still had to cook dinner. By the time we had cooked dinner, and set up tents it was after 9pm. Straight after dinner we went to bed. It was a very long day, but also a very rewarding day!!

Posted by vansantjordan 15:07 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter arizona holiday usa camping grandcanyon roadtrip campinginthecanyon coloradoriver brightangeltrail zionnationalpark horseshoebend Comments (0)

Walking into the canyon

5000 ft descent - day 14

sunny -15 °C
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Last night was by far the coldest night we had experienced; not only on this trip, but definitely in my life!! It probably got down to about -15 degrees Celsius. The tents were frozen inside and out. We all made it through the night relatively warm, however, getting out of bed was definitely a challenge. We got up at a reasonable time, as we had to catch an 8am bus to the start of the walk. The walk took us down a lot of switchbacks, deep into the canyon and down into the Colorado River that runs through the canyon. We took the South Kaibab trail into the canyon. It was a really nice walk. The beginning of the walk was snow covered and quite icy. There were great views of the canyon towards the top of the hike, and as we got deeper into the canyon, we began to see the amazing Colorado River weaving through the canyon.
All up we descended just under 5000ft and it took us 3 hours. We found a campsite right on a little river that flowed into the Colorado River.
The campsite ended up being pretty full that night, with about 90 people down there. The facilities down there were amazing, for how remote it is. There is power, running water and flushing toilets. We then chilled out for a little bit. We played a few games of card and headed down to the beach for some Frisbee.
It was really nice to be setting up our tents in the light, and to be able to relax in the afternoon. We had wraps for dinner, and called into bed for an early night, as the next day was going to be a big day.

Posted by vansantjordan 14:57 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter arizona holiday usa camping grandcanyon roadtrip frisbee southkaibabtrail campinginthecanyon coloradoriver Comments (0)

Seeing the canyon for the first time

Driving to the Grand Canyon - day 13

sunny 0 °C
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Today was mostly set aside as a travel day to get from Moab to the Grand Canyon. We got up at our usual time of 6am. It was about a 6-hour drive to the canyon, and we were taking a slight detour through Monument Valley. The drive was pretty boring for the most part. It was just flat dessert with no mountain ranges or anything. The roads were also very straight. However, when we got to Monument Valley it was completely different. There were some huge red rock pillars coming out of nowhere. The road was still very straight, but added another feature to the scenery. It definitely added a bit of excitement to the long drive.
We then continued our drive into Arizona and onto the Grand Canyon.
We came in along the edge of the canyon, so there were plenty of opportunities to view the canyon. It really is spectacular, and HUGE!! There had been a huge storm a few days earlier that had covered a lot of the top of the canyon with snow. It just added another amazing aspect to the view and surroundings.
We really wanted to do an over night hike into the canyon the next day, however to do this we needed to get a backcountry pass. They only release a certain number a passes each day, and these are often snapped up almost as soon as they are released. We were very lucky that a few people had cancelled multi day trips due to a storm that had come in a few days earlier. We then went to the general store to buy supplies for the next few days. We really liked the store as it was the only place in the park with free Wi-Fi, and we had no phone reception!! We found a campsite and set up tents, before heading to the main viewing spot to catch the sunset. We were a little late, however still managed to get the tail end of it. The campsite for the night was in the park, and was covered in a thick cover of snow.
It was really pretty, but made for a very cold night. It was lucky that the toilets had a hand dryer we could use to warm ourselves up! It was really nice to finally see the canyon, and we were all really excited to have the opportunity to camp the night in the canyon the next day.

Posted by vansantjordan 14:00 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter arizona holiday usa camping grandcanyon roadtrip monumentvalley Comments (0)

A Christmas delight

Even though it didn't really feel like Christmas - day 12

storm -1 °C
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Last night it rained, snowed, hailed, lightning and thunder and blew a gale. It was also very cold. We woke up at 6am, and it was snowing quite nicely. It was like waking up in all the Christmas movies, and looking out your window to see it snowing. We were going to have a white Christmas!! We were all quit cold standing outside, so we quickly packed up our camp into the warm car. We decided to drive straight into Arches National Park and have breakfast there. As we kept driving it was a mixture between snow and rain, and the wind was getting stronger. We arrived at the car park of the first walk we were planning on doing, and it was snowing very heavily, and blowing a gale. It was like a blizzard outside. We had breakfast hoping it would clear up outside, but it just seemed to be getting worse. We decided to keep driving and have a look at the rest of the National park.
There were lots of very short walk, so we decided to brave the weather and do some of the short walks first.
The first one we did was to tunnel
and pine tree arch
and then onto landscape arch.
By the time we got to pine tree arch the weather had mostly past. It looked really nice now with he dusting of snow on top of the red rocks. It was almost like a coating of icing sugar over anything. What was even nicer was the fact that there was next to no one doing the walks. We had the views to ourselves, and could take some awesome photos. We then drove down to skyline arch. This was only a 300m walk, but as pretty spectacular. It was one of the biggest arches, and also one of the nicest looking ones.
Once again, there was no one there! We found a cool little climb up on of the rocks near by.
It was quite snowing and slippery in places, but was really fun. We then drove down to the start of sand dune arch, which was once again only a 300m walk.
It was probable the least spectacular of all the aches, but the position of it, inside a canyon type place, was really cool. We then had lunch before starting the walk we had planned to do at the beginning of the day. This walk, delicate arch, is rated as the best walk in the park. It is only about a 2-hour return, but the views at the end are pretty spectacular.
It is in a really random spot, and it quite large, the views around it are really amazing. It is obviously the most popular walk in the park, as there were a lot of people doing the walk today. Today was very quiet, so I can’t imagine what it must be like on a busy day!! It was definitely all of our favorite arches, and we were glad we left it till the end. We drove past a few other features on the way out of the park.
It is a really amazing and unique spot. We drove back the same campsite as last night. We finally got to see what it looks like in the light. It is quite spectacular.
We set up camp an cooked a chicken and corn soup for dinner. Perfect for a cold night.

Posted by vansantjordan 12:43 Archived in USA Tagged storm utah holiday usa sunshine moab whitechristmas archesnationalpark Comments (0)

A day of driving

Christmas Eve - day 11

sunny 10 °C
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Today is the first day of our much-anticipated round trip to Arches National Park, Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Canyonlands National Park and Steamboat Ski field. Today we would be driving down to a town called Moab, which is just outside Arches National Park. We had a nice slow morning. Thomas cooked us a nice fancy breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado and mushrooms all on a toasted brioche bun!! It was very tasty!! We then cleaned up all our stuff and packed the car, ready to head off. It as about a 4.5-hour drive to Moab. On the way we drove past Vail ski resort. It is by far the biggest ski resort I have every seen. It is also very fancy and expensive, so I doubt I will ever ski there!! ☺
We then drove through some huge canyons!! The roads through them were really amazing.
Almost as soon as we left the mountains we were in the desert. It was quite amazing to see the terrain change s quickly!
As we approached Moab, the terrain changed again, and these huge red rock mountains started appearing.
It was about 4:30pm by the time we arrived in Moab. We went and bought supplies for the next two days, as tomorrow is Christmas day, the shops will be closed. We then drove out to our campsite, the big bend campsite. It is a state run site with basic facilities, but is in a fantastic spot right on the river, below the cliffs. It was a real pity that it was just after 6pm when we arrived here, and thus was already dark. We set up our tents and cooked some spag bol for dinner. We were going to get up pretty early in the morning, so we had a fairly early night.

Posted by vansantjordan 12:38 Archived in USA Tagged colorado utah holiday usa roadtrip moab Comments (0)

A few of Thomas' pic's

day 1-11

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Yosemite National Park. You can really see how wet it was in these pictures, but also how mystical and beautiful it is!!
The famous Half Dome on the right hand side - this was the best view we got of it
San Francisco - The old style buildings on the very steep hills just look so nice
The Golden Gate Bridge
The view from the boat to Alcatraz, looking back towards the city
The prison cells - three levels
The view from the island towards the city
And now towards the Golden Gate Bridge and National Park
Lombard Street
A very, very tall building, and the Hobart Building
Me riding the famous Cable Car
..... in the football stadium.... :) - The lines to ride the real one were far too long!!
The reservoir near Wesley's place in Fort Collins
One of the runs through the trees at Winter Park
Our favourite run from day 10
One of the many drops we did, with very soft landings!!
A late night spa, amongst the snow - it was about -3 degrees

Posted by vansantjordan 19:30 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter skiing colorado sanfrancisco holiday usa yosemite goldengatebridge fortcollins coppermountain freshsnow whitechristmas Comments (0)

Last day skiing for a while

Fresh snow - day 11

snow -3 °C
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This morning we woke up to the good news that 4 inches (10cm) had fallen at Winter Park overnight!!
We wanted to get there as soon as possible as we knew it was going to be busy!! We got there at about 8:40am (lifts open at 9am) and the car park was almost full and people were already lining up for the first lift. It was still snowing when we got there, albeit not very hard. By the time we had got ready and got to the lift it was just after 9am, and there was a massive line for the lift. They had advertised on Facebook the night before that they would be opening new terrain today, so we were very keen to get to that. However, when we got to the top of the mountain, it was not open yet, and we were told it would probably be a few hours. We then decided to try the same run we were doing Yesterday, however the fresh snow had just covered some of the visible hazards from the day before that we knew to avoid. This meant we didn't feel as confident on the run. We then headed over to the same lift as the first day. There was barely anyone here and the snow was relatively untouched. We had some excellent runs down here. We ventured into the trees where we found a few runs of some nice, untouched snow. We then decided to have a look and see if the new terrain had opened yet. Sure enough, it had opened, and there was a massive line for the lift again! The new terrain was quite limited, and there were a lot of people who wanted to have a go on it. This meant that some parts were very busy, and the snow was getting quite chopped up. We managed to work our way out of the crowds and find a bit of a run in some nice snow. The run was very long, and the wait for the lift was quite long. This meant we only could really do 2 runs on the new terrain. It was another very different day to the last few, and lots of fun. Even though there was no new snow before yesterday, yesterday was more of a powder day than today.
On our way back to our unit, we went and had a look at a few thrift stores in the little towns. They were a little underwhelming, however there were a few funny little things in them. We then just spent the even not doing much and resting our tired bodies. Tomorrow we are heading off on our road trip to the Grand Canyon. This means we won't be skiing for about a week or so. Tomorrow we are driving down to a town called Moab in Utah. It is right next to Arches National Park. This is also where we will be spending Christmas Day. I probably won't have Wifi for a few days, so I hope you all have a great Christmas!! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 18:44 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa coppermountain freshsnow whitechristmas Comments (0)

Powder day on a bluebird!!

What more could you want?? - day 10

sunny -2 °C
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We got to have a nice sleep in this morning as we are staying just 30 minutes from the ski field. We had a pretty slow morning, not leaving till just after 9am. It had snowed very lightly the night before, however the conditions throughout the day remained dry. We didn’t have very high anticipations for the day, as there was very little new snow, however we were defiantly pleasantly surprised. We started off the day on the same run that we finished the day on previously, pretty much just a steep groomed run that we could go fast on and get in some nice turns. On our way down, we saw a ski patrol guy taking down the rope that blocked skiers from entering an area off the main run. This meant they were opening up new terrain that hadn’t really been touched all season; FRESH TRACKS!! The run we took wasn’t too bad. The snow was pretty powdery, and the run was steep, however it had been pretty well skied, even though it had only been open for maybe half an hour. We decided to go up a different chair lift and drop into the new run and a different point. This was a very smart move, as no one else was really doing this. The run was even steeper, there were heaps of nice drops off rocks and logs and things, and the snow was pretty much untouched.
The run we did was down the trees in the middle of the picture above
This would have to be one of my favorite runs I have ever done in my life. We were able to ski this run all day, without anyone else really finding it. This meant we had fresh tracks almost all day!! It was an excellent day on the mountain, and we all agreed that it was definitely up there as one of the best days we’ve ever had on the mountain. We then went back to our little studio apartment and relaxed for the rest of the evening. We are all very tired after a few long days, so it is very nice to know we don’t have to get up too early. I cooked us some pizza for dinner, which was quite tasty. Tonight and tomorrow morning it is expected to snow, possibly quite heavily. They are predicting up to 20cm of fresh snow, which would make for some more excellent skiing. We aren’t overly optimistic that there will be 20cm, but defiantly some fresh snow!! Another great day in the USA!! More photo’s and possibly videos once Thomas decides to give them to me, but for now, these will have to do!!

Posted by vansantjordan 19:16 Archived in USA Tagged winter skiing colorado holiday usa winterpark powderday freshsnow Comments (0)

Skiing at Winter Park

Day 9

semi-overcast -2 °C
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Once again it was a 5:30am wake up to get to the ski fields by 9am. Today we were heading up to Winter Park. We had hired a place not far from the ski field for a few nights so that we don't have to commute so far. We were then heading off on a road trip for about 10 days after that. This meant that we would be away from Wesley's house for about two weeks. So we packed the car, and drove a bit over 2 hours to Winter Park. It was a bit cloudier today, and also a little cooler.
Winter Park feels much bigger than Copper mountain. I think this is because the resort is so spaced out. There is so much terrain, and all so different. We managed to find a nice run out of the way from most of the crowds. It was a nice steep run, with some deep pockets of fresh snow. We had another great day, and it even began to snow a little at the end of the day. We then went a checked in to our little studio apartment in a condo complex type thing. It was a really nice cabin style place, with plenty of room for the three of us. We shopped for the next few days, and made a nice pesto pasta for dinner. We are planning on skiing the next few days until Christmas Eve, and the forecast is looking like we could get a nice dump of fresh snow tomorrow and Friday! Exciting times ahead!! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 19:36 Archived in USA Tagged winter skiing colorado holiday usa winterpark Comments (0)

First day skiing at Copper Mountain

Blue bird day - day 8

sunny -1 °C
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We were up at 5:30am this morning in order to drive 2.5 hours up to Copper Mountain for our first day skiing. It was a really nice day. Clear and blue sky's for most of the day. The storm that had prevented us from getting into Denver a few days ago, and left some great snow all over the mountain, and a few pockets of deep powder. The views down the valleys and round the other mountains were spectacular. The mountains are really high, sitting at 13,000 feet at the summit.
We spent most of the day skiing, finishing up at about 3:30pm. We then drove back to Fort Collins. It took a bit over 3 hours as there was a lot of traffic and a few car crashes. We had to get the car packed and ready for the next day, when we leave for our two week round trip round the country side! All in all another great day, and great to be back up on the mountain.

Posted by vansantjordan 20:27 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa coppermountain Comments (0)

First day in cold Colorado!!

Day 7

sunny -3 °C
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After a very late night last night, we had earned a sleep in this morning. It was about 10am before we ventured out of bed! We had breakfast then went for a walk around Wesley's uni. It is so big!! We played a bit of frisbee on the snow covered sports grounds, before heading back to his place for lunch and chilled for a bit. Wes then took us for a drive up to a reservoir up in the hills. It was just coming on dusk so the light from the sunset made it look even more spectacular. It had great views over the town of Fort Collins and out towards the flat east!
We had a look around a big outdoor store in the town before heading back to his house for dinner. I tuned up my brand new ski's, in anticipation for skiing the next day. An early night tonight as we had to getup early the next morning.

Posted by vansantjordan 17:20 Archived in USA Tagged winter colorado holiday usa fortcollins Comments (1)

Making the most of our 'extra day'

San Francisco to Denver - day 6

sunny 12 °C
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As we had been up early every day so far, we decided to sleep in and have a slow morning. It was almost 11am before we ventured out of our room!! Thomas had food a cool little cafe that we could walk to this morning. It was only a short walk away, and somewhere we hadn't explored yet. It was a quite tiny little cafe with seating out on the footpath. I had a a brioche toast with mascarpone, apples, blood orange and pecans. It was really really nice, and the coffee was by far the best we've had in the USA thus far!! We then walked across to Powell street, and up to Market street which took us down the the wharf area. It was another area we had explored; it was really spectacular, and very different to the other areas of the city.
The buildings were much bigger and much more spectacular here. The hotels were also much more expensive!! We had seen a Ripley's Believe it or Not store yesterday, so we decided to venture round to Fishermans Wharf to check it out. When we got there, we found out that you had to pay to look around; stuff that!! We found an ice cream place in one of the wharf buildings. It was amazing ice cream. Thomas rates it as some of the best he has had, which says a lot!! When then walked round to AT&T stadium, which is a big base ball stadium. We thought we'd just have a look at it from the outside, but turns out that on Sundays, they open it up to the public to have a look around. It was a pretty cool stadium. I think i would probably enjoy this as much as watching an actual base ball game!! We then walked back up to the same festival as last night for an early dinner. I had the same Hungarian flat bread as last night, however a different flavour. This one was even better!! Back to the hotel we went and picked up our two ski bags and two suitcases and lugged them a nine minute walk down to the train station, then caught the train to the airport. The check in process for Southwest flight 1255 was painless and we were there with plenty of time to spare. We boarded and left on time. The flight went great. We had three seats for the two of us, and the service was great. We got a snack and a few drinks. Excellent product, especially for the low price that we paid!!
We arrived on time at 12:45am local time. It was still over an hour dive to Fort Collins where Wesley lives, so it was 3am before we got to bed. It was a really nice day in San Francisco, great to finally get to Denver, and great to see Wesley!

Posted by vansantjordan 19:24 Archived in USA Tagged travel holiday usa denver southwest sanfracisco Comments (0)

Exploring San Francisco

Not to plan AGAIN - Day 5

sunny 11 °C
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This morning we had to get up early to check out of our hotel, and head to pier 33 to buy tickets for Alcatraz island. As we had left it to the last minute, all the online tickets had sold out, however they keep some to sell during the day. We managed to score tickets on the first ferry out at 8:45am. This gave us enough time to quickly go to a cafe and get some breakfast before heading off. It was another amazing day as far as weather goes. It was sunny, crisp and not breadth of wind! The ferry out to the island took about 10 minutes and gave nice views of the bridge and looking back at the city, but nothing compared to the views from the island.
Once on the island we are given a brief induction and explanation of how things work. We then go and watch a short film about the history of the island. This gives us a great look into the past a present happenings of the island. We then walk up to the prison and begin our audio tour of the prison. This is through a iPod type device and tells you where to walk, and what everything is. It also tells you stories and facts about the prison and it's history.
It is a great tour, that is easy to follow and fun to listen to. The rangers are also stationed at certain places telling more in-depth stories about escapees from the island, both failed and successful attempts. Once we had finished this part of the tour we wondered around the island to take in the views it offered of the city and bridge, just phenomenal.

We then caught the ferry back to pier 33 at about midday. It was a great trip, and defiantly something i would recommend to anyone coming to San Francisco, however it was quite expensive. We then went for a walk along the wharf to pier 39, the biggest one in San Francisco. It was pretty amazing, kind of set up like a full time carnival.
We stopped at a sea food restaurant and got the famous clam chowder and some fries for lunch. It was quite nice, didn't really taste like sea food, and quite salty. We then continued walking along the wharf towards Fishermans Wharf and Hyde street.
Hyde street is the famous street you see in all the pictures of the tram going down the steep street. We planned on catching the tram up the street, however the line was massive, so we decided to walk instead. The views from this were once again amazing, and the buildings and streets were so cool.
We stopped of at Lombart street, which is the windiest street in the world.
We then continued back to our hotel, stopping at a coffee shop quickly for what looked like a nice coffee. The coffee wasn't bad, but what happened next WAS bad, and frustrating, and made me want to scream!!! There was free wifi at the cafe, so i checked my facebook, snapchat and instagram, and also decided to download all my emails on my phone. While doing this i noticed an email had come in from Southwest Airlines saying we had a flight change. We were flying with them that afternoon to Denver, however we were also flying with them in 4 weeks time to New York. I just assumed it was a change for that flight. However, when I opened it, it said our flight to Denver tonight was CANCELLED!!! I could not believe it. I thought we had used up all our bad luck by now, but obviously not. It told me to go onto their website to select a new flight, however the soonest flight i could pick was at 9:20pm the next night. I thought it must have been a mistake so i called them up. Sure enough, that was the soonest flight they could offer me. As the cancellation was due to weather in Denver, the airline would not cover any additional charges. It is lucky that we have travel insurance so our extra nights accommodation is paid for. Very frustrated at the turn of events, we went back to our hotel and rebooked our same room. We were extremely tired so we just chilled out in our room for a bit till dinner. We were looking for a little Mexican place for dinner, however, when we walked past it looked extremely seedy, so we kept walking. Lucky we did keep walking because we found an awesome winter festival that was running. There was a street closed with a heap of food vans right outside Union Square. We both had a mango lassi, and a traditional Hungarian flat bread. They were both delicious! We had a look in the gigantic apple store and around Union Square, before heading in for the night. We will now have an extra day in San Francisco, one less day skiing, and a very late night tomorrow night!!

Posted by vansantjordan 17:39 Archived in USA Tagged sanfrancisco holiday usa amazing alcatraz goldengatebridge cancellation lombartstreet hydestreet Comments (2)

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