CAMPING IN MONUMENT VALLEY


Monument Valley is the place of old westerns and once in a lifetime adventures.  We took the non-tourist route and camped overnight on private land with a Navajo guide.  Duffy from Monument Valley Safari picked us up from the visitor's centre and navigated rocky terrain to the Hunts Mesa, our home for the evening.  We set up our tent, then while Duffy cooked our dinner on a cedar wood fire, we sat and took in the sounds, smells and view of our surroundings.

Never in my life have I seen so many shooting stars (or eaten such delicious baked beans)!  With the tiny bats and giant moths, night time is a whole new level of adventure, especially when nature calls (literally).  Earlier talk of snakes, scorpions and coyotes makes it a little bit terrifying when you have to navigate your way to a bush far enough away from the campsite, so you can imagine the perils of needing to do a number two in the wilderness...

Duffy hollers at the crack of dawn the next day, making sure you're awake to take a short drive to watch the sunrise over the valley (whilst eating Clif Bars).  After stopping and having a stare off with a herd of wild horses, we packed up camp and were returned to the visitor's centre in the afternoon, tired, dirty, but very happy.










WHAT I WORE WEDNESDAY // 2


In the car park I swapped long pants for shorts to go with my summer tee, a bargain discovered while walking to Andy's work one afternoon.  I came across a sneaky sale up some stairs on Smith Street and found it in a $10 bin.  Cheap indeed!  My trusty Nike's competed the look.

Shoes - Nike // T-shirt - Cheap Monday // Shorts - American Apparel

GRAND CANYON


After a morning spent "experiencing the impact" at the Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, AZ, we made our way in the ridiculously changing weather to the Grand Canyon.  When we first arrived I was miffed that there was so much cloud cover obscuring the view, but it lifted while we were there to reveal the canyon in all its glory.  People doing crazy things to get a good photo gave me heart palpitations, there's a girl taking a selfie in the pic below and I witnessed a guy nearly kick his tripod over the side whilst setting up a shot.

Back in 2005, Andy and I couldn't find a place to pull over in time to witness a spectacular sunset, so on this trip we left in plenty of time and found a secluded rock to sit on and watch the magic happen.  Alas, 9 years later, the sun is in a different spot and it set behind us.



WHAT I WORE WEDNESDAY // 1

Hiking through Joshua Tree Park is hot stuff, I wore a singlet I bought at the markets in Thailand.  I'm not a smoker, but it's Johnny Depp looking, well, smokin'!!  I accessorized with the sunnies and backpack I won in the VAMFF Windows by Design instagram comp, and a hat from a souvenir shop in Palm Springs.

Shorts - American Apparel // Bag - Leonard Street // Sunglasses - Alpha 60

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Sometimes it's the food joints you stop at out of necessity that can be the best discoveries, like Joshua Tree Saloon, our last chance for lunch before heading into the national park.  I had worked up quite the appetite stalking a desert iguana for a close up, so the mahi mahi fish tacos and an ice cold coke really hit the spot.

Joshua Tree Park has a special feel to it when you're hiking amongst the Mojave yucca and Joshua trees, making it one of my trip highlights.  We were very cautious when climbing amongst the boulders as they're the perfect place for snakes to sun themselves, fortunately our creature encounters for the day only included lizards, squirrels and a shifty looking donkey.

I nodded off during the long drive from Skull Rock to Lake Havasu, but at an intersection in the middle of nowhere, Andy woke me up and we got out of the car to look back at the setting sun.  While there was still light in the sky, I made a wish upon the huge shooting star that I saw.

PALM SPRINGS

First stop, Palm Springs!  Excited to drive around one of the world's largest and best preserved concentrations of modernist architecture to take photos, I purchased a map of modern Palm Springs from the visitor centre.  After getting lost in the maze of streets and then feeling like a criminal whilst trying to hold my camera above the fence of Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate, we gave up and headed to the outlet stores (here).

As the sun was going down we took a twilight ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.  Rotating up 8,516 feet left me weak at the knees, but the view from the top is well worth it.  Pack a jumper though (we didn't), as there's quite the temperature drop up in those mountains.







DESERT HILLS OUTLET SHOPPING


With 180 outlet stores Desert Hills Premium Outlets was a little overwhelming for day two, but I didn't let that, or an already over-packed suitcase, stop me from making a few exciting purchases.

What I bought:
1. Coach HPC flight bag (USD$79.99) // 2. Alexander McQueen bracelet (USD$119.00)
3. Nike relay print crop running tights (USD$44.99) // 4. Marc By Marc Jacobs Camo iphone 4 case (USD$3.00)