A Travellerspoint blog

September 2014

Utah & Arizona

With Denver now in the rear view mirror, we committed ourselves for the long haul to Utah. Our first stop was Arches National Park; a region famous for its natural arched rock formations commonly featured in movies and internet clips

http://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

The surroundings were baron, quite rocky but most certainly beautiful. As sunset was nearing, we set off on a hike up to the Delicate Arch. Having ignored the “Keep Hydrated” signs; we climbed with no water.
Unfit and sporting some extra kg’s, we slowly struggled up the ascent making it just in time for the sun to set. We’ll be sure to bring water next time we hike.

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At the peak, Adrian managed to drop his microphone cover from his backpack, which then plummeted to the bottom of a gorge. In doing this, a German traveller sprung to his feet and tried to save the cover before it hit the ground. Grateful for such gesture, it stemmed a conversation with him and a Canadian friend who we later joined for dinner and camped alongside for the night. You just never know when you can come across new friends when travelling 

Saying goodbye to our new friends, we set off early the next day to visit Monument Valley.

http://www.navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalley.htm

Adrian ‘John Wayne’ Eppel really wanted to check this region out after watching countless Western films throughout the years. Thankful of such a decision, we were able to check out these huge rock formations, capture some travel footage and fool around in the desert dunes.

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Our next stop is Glen Canyon, another desert region that is known for the Colorado River and Lake Powell running through the middle of it.
Unable to get a nearby town as a reference to enter into the navigator, we set off on what we thought was the correct part of Glen Canyon. Having travelled an hour into our journey, we came across this long winding road that weaved up the side of a cliff. The breathtaking views made up for the often nauseous feeling we would get driving up the road.

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All revved up after the hill climb, we continued the 2 hour drive to Glen Canyon, only to find a series of abandoned campsites and a big storm taking place. Hungry and in need of sleep, we set up our tent beside a covered visitor centre and cooked ourselves an ethnic pasta dish before retiring for the night.

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Morning revealed that we were in the wrong part of Glen Canyon and that we needed to back track 2 hours to the correct location. Fun fun! 
This back track meant that we would once again travel down the scenic, cliff face route. A trusty stop at the mid-point meant that we could let off some fireworks and shoot the BB gun at unsuspecting road workers below. Fair to say the road workers were not too impressed when we drove past. We liked to think it was the fact that they were working on a cliff that made them feel that way.

Several stops and five or six packets of Jerky later, we fast tracked our journey to the beautiful Zion National Park. The National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches. All formed over millions of years by the North Fork of the Virgin River.
We began by hiking to the Emerald Pools were we headed off the beaten track to a nice vantage point, where Adrian took a time-lapse of the region as the sun was setting.

http://www.utah.com/nationalparks/zion.htm

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With darkness fast approaching, we headed back to the car, got some Americanalized Thai food and returned back to our campsite.
To our surprise, we quickly observed the importance of using tent pegs. Our trusty pop up tent got it's world turned upside down in our absence.

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We started Day 2 in the right direction, making our way to 'Angels Landing', a difficult rated hike that gives the hiker a magnificent view over Zion National Park.
It was fair to say that we were a little ambitious and brave taking this hike, a constant incline along winding cliff and elephant spine ridges really tested out our liking for heights! After a good 2.5 hour hike, we reached the summit and took in the views.
Well worth the climb, near heart attacks and spine tingling moments.

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Bryce Canyon was our next destination. We arrived shortly before sunset at Ruby's Inn, the most accommodating campsite we have stayed at so far. After setting up in a great location we made our way to the massive amphitheatre for yet another one of Adrian's timelapses. After a good set of music (Bryce is an Amphitheatre after all) we headed back to camp for a sleepless cold night.

http://www.utah.com/nationalparks/bryce.htm

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Annoyed that our tent was not double layered, we left Bryce the next day very early for our final National Park destination. The mecca, that is the Grand Canyon. But first we had a couple of stops. We journeyed back towards Lake Powell to a rare sight that is not well known in tourism, we are basing this on the fact that is was free entry. Horse Shoe Bend is a beautiful outlook that overlooks the mighty Colorado River as it cuts it's way around one of the numerous Canyons in the area. It also demonstrates the true power of nature and a persistent little river that has been cutting it's way through these rocks for millions of years.

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As we returned to the Car, we noticed the temperature had reached triple digits (in fahrenheit), so we decided a swim was in order before we made our way to the Grand Canyon. Stopping at a nearby inlet, the contrast of blue/green against the red rocks was certainly the weirdest place we had ever swam in. However it truly was an Oasis in the desert, pardon the pun.

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It started to get late so in true Camen & Eppel fashion we made a few stops after dark to light some more fireworks before we reached our campsite near the Grand Canyon National Park. We choose the North Rim as we were told it was just as good as the south, minus the tourists. We set up camp, to our surprise the temperature had dropped substantially, well below the limit our sleeping bags could handle. So we decided to triple clothe ourselves and put a big tarp over our tent in the hope we'd be warmer overnight. It didn't work. We were up again very early the next day after another sleepless night and made our way into one of the world's natural wonders.

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http://www.utah.com/nationalparks/grandcanyon.htm

The Grand Canyon, it can seen from space, it is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. This vast open space is incredible. Valleys as far as the eye can see, canyons that could fit cities bigger then Manhattan. There is a reason it is part of the magnificent seven. As our final destination in our 'National Parks' tour of the US we leave the Grand Canyon with our thoughts pondering. How these persistent little rivers are able to move through and erode such monsters of monuments over such a long period of time. It is just another example of how powerful mother nature can be and how small man truly is in the grand scheme of things. A nice cozy bed and lot's of gambling awaits us in beautiful Las Vegas.

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Posted by camenbrothers 22:19 Archived in USA Tagged arizona utah moab lake_powell delicate_arch monument_valley page arches_national_park glen_canyon Comments (0)

Colorado

Unlike every other day, today was different. Today the traveling tripod was reunited and the second stage of our American Road Trip begins. Full of stupid jokes and misbehaving, we headed to a trusty campground in Chief Hosa, Colorado and set up for the night.

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Excited to show Adrian our new toys, we took out the Ball Bearing Rifle for some target practice in the near by National Forest. After a while of shooting beer cans, the park ranger gave us a friendly talking to and asked us to leave. Apparently there is a no arms policy in this specific park.

To celebrate our new arrival, we headed to Golden, a near by town and made good use of the microbrewery happy hours. After washing down a traditional burger with some more beer, we headed back for some sleep. In true welcoming fashion, Adrian had a little too much to drink and proceeding to fertilise the campground with his recently consumed meal! Welcome to America Adrian ☺

We awoke hung-over and partially ready to tackle our next mission, Red Rocks. In a little town called Morrison lies an Amphitheatre surrounded by large pieces of layered red rock giving it the suggestive name. Red Rocks is geologically formed, open-air Amphitheatre that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. With Mother Nature as the architect, it provides acoustic perfection for any performance. So many modern day artists hold it as their favourite venue to play at. During the day it coverts into a fitness arena, hundreds of locals exercise there amongst the various obstacles. We were amazed at how many different workouts could occur in the one venue.

http://redrocksonline.com/

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When guilt finally got the better of us for not exercising, we headed to Estes Park, which is the eastern entrance of the Rocky Mountains National Park (RMNP)
http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm

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Just minutes after entering the National Park we came across a large pack of Elk grazing in a field. Here stood a large masculine “Bull” over looking his harem of Elk that are coming into mating season. As good as it sounds, it is not always paradise for this bull. Leading up to mating season he will loose almost 30% of his body weight rounding up his girls and fighting off other bulls trying to cut his lunch. This weight loss might not see him through the cold winters up there. David Attenborough, eat your heart out! ☺

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Nestled within the RMNP we found a great campground with a stunning mountainous backdrop.

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To make best use of the fire pit provided we all headed up into the forest to collect some of the dead wood lying around. Our neighbour took a disliking to this and came over and told us about the “No collecting wood rule”.
Thankful and abiding, we stopped collecting wood and started a fire with what wood we collected on our first run. The weather took a turn for the worse and the heavens opened. Our trusty fire was doused so we got into the tent for an early night.

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Cold and sore from an interrupted sleep, we woke up to serious condensation in our tent, soaked belongings and Park Rangers wanting to chat. Apparently our good neighbour reported us in for collecting wood.
To repay the nice gesture we placed all our left over wood on his fire pit awaiting his return.

As timber fugitives, we headed towards Grand Lake, located on the western edge of the National Park. We encountered yet another flock of Elk, which Adrian had a Mexican stand off with the bull in his pursuit for the perfect shot.
Adrian: 1 Bull: 0

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Up at 12,000 ft we also got to see some wild mountain goats. Our wildlife highlight was the rare sighting of a brown bear that was chilling out on a tree stump beside the road. An old local stood with us and mentioned that he had never seen a bear here for the past 40 years. We guess luck was on our side; otherwise he has probably been wearing the wrong glasses!

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All natured out, we headed into Denver for a fresh up. To our surprise we had learnt that Colorado now has legal marijuana dispensaries for Medical / Recreational use. So Luke didn’t really see a lot of the boys that day! ☺

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That night we headed to Beta Club to see Dubstep artist, Skism absolutely destroy the place. Our new Colorado friends Colin and Bo from Luke’s Freeman Festival experience joined us in a night that was one to remember. At the end of his 90-minute set we got to meet the great man and have a chat!! Great Bloke

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To finish off our Colorado experience, we met with Colin and Bo again the following day for a traditional Texas grill that completely blew our minds.
Full to the brim with Colorado experiences, we now head off to Utah.

Posted by camenbrothers 23:24 Archived in USA Tagged colorado rockies fire national_park denver bear wood bull elk red_rocks skizm Comments (0)

New York II & Colorado I – Brothers Reunited.

It came as a great delight to arrive in Colorado. The large mountain peaks and grassy fields welcomed us. It was a huge contrast to the constant corn and soybean fields of Kansas!

Fully loaded with information from the Colorado tourist centre, we headed into Denver to find some accommodation and get settled in. To our surprise, every single youth hostel we tried calling and visiting was completely booked out. The spontaneous approach had a hit wall. With our tails between our legs, we headed up the mountain to Conifer, which had a camping ground with some availability.

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As it was getting quite late, we had arrived at the campground after hours. We were greeted by a caretaker who warned us about bears in the area, and to not leave any trace of food in our campsite.
With the aid of our vehicle headlights, we set up our campsite and called it a day.

A couple of hours into our shuteye, we were rudely reminded of the high altitude surroundings. Nobody has told us how bloody cold it gets at 9000ft! Unequipped with thermal clothing we lay shivering in our +10 degree sleeping bags, which kept us warm through the European summer. After a cold, interrupted nights sleep; we awoke and darted for the car to warm ourselves up. Doing this, we interrupted a deer that was eating close by. Welcome to the beautiful Colorado! :)

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Our mission for the next day was to get ourselves accommodation indoors, preferably in Denver as we had tickets to see Feed Me perform with his renowned “Teeth” stage.
We landed some decent accommodation and headed to the Ogden Theatre. Here we saw Feed Me perform in front of packed out venue that reassembled the Palace Theatre in Melbourne. He really didn’t disappoint, putting on an amazing visual and sound display that have everybody in awe.

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For the first time on our journey, the Camen brothers split and went their own ways. Daniel heading off to New York to meet Adrian, our brother from another mother, where they would attend Electric Zoo and celebrate Adrian’s 25th Birthday.
Luke remained in Denver and had sourced a local bush doof (Freeman Music Festival) to attend whilst the other two caused havoc in NYC.

After watching numerous films, music videos and photography, New York has always been a lifelong goal for Adrian to visit.
Jet lagged and only having two days to explore New York before attending Electric Zoo, meant Adrian needed to jam pack his time.

In those two days he managed to see most of the landmarks ranging from the Wall Street, World Trade Memorial, Chelsea and its high line, Little Italy, China Town, Empire State Building, Time Square and Central Park. He was also able to secure a cheap Helicopter ride and see New York from a difference perspective.

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After the two days exploring New York, it was time for Daniel and Adrian to combine forces and enjoy Electric Zoo.

Electric Zoo, a large electronic music festival set in Randall’s Park, hosted some of the worlds best electronic dj’s.
http://www.electriczoofestival.com

It was a combination of long queues, lightly clothed women, Candy Beads, a problematic cashless system and incredible music spread over a three-day period. Although the festival was cut short on the final day due to severe weather, the boys were still able to watch 11 of their favourite artists and attend 2 underground, unofficial after parties.

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Using an I-phone app, Luke found a little local festival in Boulder to check out on his own whilst the boys were in New York. Completely out of his comfort zone, he was welcomed to a large farm property, which also acted as yoga retreat.
The property really came alive, with local Colorado residents docking their best raver attire and enjoying a three-day bush doof amongst natural surroundings. Although the festival appeared small, the organisers managed to secure Jantsen, a locally produced International Dubstep artist and also attract Dj Dara (Drum and Bass) from San Diego to perform for the hyper crowd.

Luke was fortunate enough to meet some great friends from the festival who took him under their festival wings. If those woods could talk, they’d have a thousand stories to tell from that weekend.
Magical moments really do occur out of ones comfort zone

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Having completed a jam-packed weekend of music and good times, it was time for the three musketeers to reunite at the Denver Airport to commence their third journey together in 4 years. To the Rocky Mountains we go. ☺

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Posted by camenbrothers 15:42 Tagged new_york travel colorado brothers boulder kill_the_noise electric_zoo feed_me randalls_park Comments (0)

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