Colorado

Hey Guys!

Wow time has really flown by since we started this blog and we can’t believe it’s already October! Summer has come to an end and the new fall season is on it’s way, we have lots of new content coming your way so keep yourself posted 🙂  Something new that we have been getting ready to share with you guys is our road trip to Colorado back in August. Scott had been planning this trip all summer because it’s become sort of a tradition that him and his friend Adam  drive to Colorado for Adam’s birthday. I was not planning on going due to my work schedule so I was preparing for the weeks ahead without Scott. I dropped Scott off at Adam’s house in LA and said my last goodbyes. But about 3 hours after they had left and I was back at home, I was notified that my whole week of scheduled meetings was going to be held remotely, I was shocked by the news and immediately called Scott to let him know. He couldn’t believe it either and we decided that I would jump on a plane and meet up with him and our friends the next day. So while I got started packing in LA, Scott, Adam, and Adam’s girlfriend Makenna were still making their way halfway across the country. Its a trip that Scott has made multiple times over the last few years and it takes you through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and finally into Colorado. Its an amazing drive and if you ever get a chance to drive across the country, we would highly recommend it! After spending about 14 hours on the road driving through multiple thunder storms that Scott claims were “super rad” to see from the safety of the car, him and his friends arrived in Grand Junction. The majority of our trip would be spent in the Grand Junction area (which is located on the western border of Colorado) where our friend Adam grew up and family still lives. The next morning Scott and his friends woke up and prepared to pick me up at the airport in Denver. If you know anything about Colorado, you know that it’s about a 4 hour drive from Grand Junction to Denver, so after driving 14 hours straight from LA to Grand Junction, Scott and his friends got back in the car to drive 4 hours both ways to pick me up from the Denver airport 😀 (To make things even better, my flight was delayed 3 HOURS!) When I finally arrived in Colorado I was greeted by a car full of zombies LOL We made the 4 hour trip back to Grand Junction and immediately went to bed.

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The next morning, we slept in until about 12pm, and once we were all up and ready to go, Adam took us to a hiking spot he was really familiar with it. We arrived at Bangs Canyon (just outside the Colorado National Monument which is just south of Grand Junction) to start our first adventure for the day. As we were hiking, Adam was telling us about the main place we were hiking too which is a hike called “Lemon Squeezer”, we were all curious and excited to see what it was going to be like (he had warned us that certain parts in the hike you would have to maneuver your body to fit in between the rocks..but it didn’t scare us). After about 25 minutes of walking through a beautiful valley, we arrived at a rock “doorway”, which was basically just a hole in the wall, which was where we would start climbing up the interior of the rock wall bringing us up onto the mountain to view the valley that we had just walked through. The climb itself was super dark and lead you into some very tight spaces, and we were joking that it was like the James Franco film, 27 Hours. One of our friends had a hard time, feeling claustrophobic and decided to wait in a area that had opened up with light where she would wait for us until we finished the full hike. Another thing we didn’t really factor in that much was that we wouldn’t really be able to capture these amazing tight spaces because of the darkness. We got some photos while in the cave, but most of them don’t due it any justice in portraying what it was really like. Once we reached the very end of the climb, there was a point where you had to crawl up a wall then lift yourself over a ledge to get through to the lookout on top of the mountain, I had tried a few attempts and decided I wouldn’t be able to go further (I knew if I had got up and over there would be no WAY I could come back down LOL). Scott and Adam were able to make it so they explored the top for a little while, while I waited in the cave below. Once we all got back to our friend that had been waiting for us, we made our way back down the cave to the entrance and finally back onto the valley floor. It was such a fun experience and I felt like I had tried something I’ve never done before, and if an opportunity comes along for another cave hike I would totally do it! 🙂 By this time, we still had a few hours to kill before the sun went down so we got back in the car and drove to the Colorado National Monument to get a pass to explore inside. The National Monument is like a somewhat scaled down version of a national park, where they have lookouts and viewpoints and hikes for people to explore. Adam had been there countless times, and mentioned a spot called “Devils Kitchen” that had great views and was pretty close to the entrance to the park. We drove through the park for just a few minutes and were mesmerized by the dark red mountains that surrounded us, it was like nothing I had ever seen, it reminded me of the grand canyon even though I’ve never been there in person. We got to the Devils Kitchen drop off and got out of the car to check it out. It was a short walk until we arrived at a layered rock stairway that lead us up to some even bigger rocks that protruded from the ground, creating a large open area where we could walk around. which are called. We hung out there and took pictures for about an hour, and as the sun was going down everything looked even more amazing. It was a private area with no other people there so we took some time to relax and admire the atmosphere around us. It had been a long day of hiking and our bodies and feet were starting to feel it, we headed back to the car and made our way bak to Adams. We ended the night with some fun drinking games then went to bed 😛

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The next morning, we woke up and waited till everyone was ready to head out for another day of outdoor activities, the day was suppose to be a little hotter so Adam chose a place we could all go swimming. Adam explained that Dominguez Canyon had a river that ran through it where we could take a dip and also check out a waterfall nearby, it sounded good to us so we hit the road. After driving for about 30 minutes, we arrived at the trailhead, which was a parking lot where right next to a set of train tracks that ran through the canyon. We got out of the car, and walked along the tracks until we got to a bridge where we crossed the river that runs through the canyon. We then continued down the river bank until we got to an area where Adam felt comfortable with. He was surprised by how fast the water was moving, and the level was much higher than he had expected because of the past years rainfall. So we didn’t go all the way in, but just enough to refresh ourselves. We still wanted to check out the waterfall Adam had mentioned, so we walked a little further until we got to an area where a few stone steps led to a pool of water and a wide, thick waterfall plummeting down from above, it was just what we needed. We all took a dip into the pool and laughed at the mucky floor that squished between our toes. After messing around for a little while, our friend Makenna mentioned how she really wanted to check out the local farmers market back near Adams house, so we all dried off and walked back to the car. On our way back, a train had passed through and had parked on the tracks so it made for a harder experience crossing the train tracks, we had to jump through a connecting car to make it back to the parking lot, but it made it all the more fun. We headed to the Farmers Market on main street in Grand Junction and were surprised with how many people and how large it was. Lots of food vendors, jewelry makers, and boutiques filled the streets. We stopped for dinner while walking back from the market and enjoyed some fresh sushi. On our way back to Adams house we talked about things we wanted to do the next day and Adam insisted on us visiting the “haunted” forest also known as the Uncompaghre National Forest. He told us soon scary stories of his personal experiences in the forest which made us kinda spooked but we agreed we would check it out. We went to bed that night excited for the next days adventure.

We woke up and gathered our things for the day’s adventures. We made a stop at Adams grandparents house to use his grandfathers truck because the roads leading up the the forest were rugged and needed a “beastly” car to make it (not the Chrysler Sebring we had been driving all week). Right before we left Adams grandparents house, his grandmother had said “Be careful, there are bears up there!” I was shocked and didn’t realize there would be black bears roaming the mountains where we were going. I got a little nervous, but knew I couldn’t let it scare me and to just proceed with caution. It had been a few years since Adam had been up to the Uncompaghre Forest, so we had a few set backs trying to find the correct road to go down, but we eventually made it. As were driving up, we noticed the trees began to change drastically. There were thousands of aspen trees that occupied the forest, and as we got closer to the “haunted” area we could see a lot of the trees getting more deformed and odd looking. It was really cool to see but didn’t freak us out too bad. We parked the truck in the middle of the forest and went down the road searching for some kind of paranormal activity, while being conscious of the bears. We hiked around the forest for a good 45 minutes and finally got out of the dense trees and into a clearing with a huge meadow. Ahead of us, there was a small hill where a pool of water had formed, and we debated going further or heading back to the car, we decided on going back to the car and driving through the rest of the forest. We made our way back to the car with no ghost sightings or anything weird happening to us, we were kinda disappointed but we thought once we were in the car and ventured a little farther we might see something. We got to the car and drove up to the meadow where we had stopped walking, we slowed down to look around the big clearing and as we were driving slowly someone from the car shouted “omg there is a bear right over there!” Of course we all thought it was a joke but after looking down across the meadow there was in fact a BEAR! It was the most exciting and scary moment at the same time. We watched the bear for a few minutes and crept a little closer to get a better view, when the bear noticed the car it got scared and ran away up the road where we were heading…so we kept going keeping our eyes open for the bear. We continued to follow the bear from the car for about another 10 minutes before it ran deep into the forest. We couldn’t believe we actually saw a bear, it made us all pumped for exploring the area a little more so we continued down the road for another 20 minutes. We took some photos and videos until we felt like we had got enough footage and headed back down the mountain back to Adams. Nothing scary had happened but seeing a bear was way cooler than a spooky spirit..or was the bear just a ghost?? Lol no it was a real bear guys! As we were driving back down the mountain a giant rain storm had taken over the sky, it kept raining till late that night, the day had been a little eerie so it was a perfect ending to our paranormal day.

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The next day we woke up earlier than usual because this was the day when we headed up to the Grand Mesa! Because that weekend was Adam’s birthday, he reserved his families condo for a week, so we could stay up in the mountains for half of the trip. Because I was only spending one week with everyone, I only got to hangout in the condo for 2 days but it was still a blast. Scott had been to the condo the year before, but this was my first time visiting. It was only a 40 minute drive from Adam’s family’s house in Grand Junction up the to the condo so getting there wasn’t bad at all. The condo itself is located on a mountain called the Grand Mesa, which is the largest flat top mountain in the world. It’s just to the east of Junction and its forests and lakes provide an amazing contrast to the hot, dry desert where we had spent the past week  Once we had arrived, we got our things settled and were eager to look around the area, we drove up to an area called Old Powderhorn and explored a creek not too far from the road. We took some pictures and got some drone footage before making our way back, to make some dinner and spend the remainder of the night hanging in the condo.

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The next day was Adam’s birthday and my last day to explore the Mesa, so we all went out for brunch at the nearby lodge. After eating, we drove a little ways to find an area to take some pictures, and we found a pretty big lake and decided it would be a good area to check out. We spent the afternoon hanging out and checking out the forest, Scott got more drone footage and we all took plenty of pictures. It was a nice, relaxing day spent out in the outdoors before heading back to work LA. We were all pretty tired from being out all day so we headed back to the condo for our last night all together.

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The morning of my departure was another 4 hour drive to Denver, my flight was at 1:30pm so we left the Mesa around 9am. I had such a great time exploring Colorado and the fact that I wasn’t planning on being there at all and then in a turn in events I had the opportunity to go was amazing. Im so glad I went and got to experience all these new adventures with my friends 🙂 Since I didn’t get to hang around for the next week in Colorado, Scott will be talking about his experiences during the last week for the rest of this post-Thanks guys!   

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After we dropped Courtney and Makenna off at the airport, we waited about 30 minutes until our other friend Jonathan’s plane landed and picked him up. Jonathan had planned on visiting for the second week of the road trip, and conveniently found a flight that came in the same time that Courtney and Makenna’s left. We wasted no time getting back on the road, because in case we haven’t mentioned it already, it’s a 4 hour drive each way from Grand Junction to Denver and this was now the second time we had made the trip in about 5 days. By the time we made our way back to the condo where we were staying on the Grand Mesa, it was about 9pm and we were all exhausted from the drive.

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The next morning, we woke up and decided it was a good day to go fishing and hang out by one of the many lakes on the mountain. We drove for about 30 minutes to a town called Cedaredge so Jonathan and Adam could get fishing licenses (I didn’t fish), and then we made our way back up into the forest. One of the great things about the Grand Mesa, especially in August because it’s the slow season, is that its very easy to find secluded spots where there are no other humans around for miles. One of my favorite places we went to was a spot just like this. Once we had the fishing licenses and gear, we parked on the side of the road near a thick forest and just walked straight into it. There was no trail to follow, and we walked for about half a mile over fallen logs and thick underbrush, until the forest opened up to the lake that we were looking for. In a past trip to the Mesa, Adam and I had discovered this lake which was of decent size, but completely hidden from the main road that cuts through the forest, which means that there is usually nobody ever there. After walking through the forest for a while, Jonathan, Adam, and I set our stuff up near the water and enjoyed the solitude of the isolated lake. Jonathan and Adam attempted to fish for an hour or two with no success, while I just relaxed and took pictures and videos. As the day got later and the temperature started to drop, we decided we should pack up and head back to the condo. To find the car, we had to carry our stuff back through the forest with no trail to follow for about half a mile, which took us a little bit longer this time because Jonathan stepped on a tree branch that went through his shoe and cut his foot. Finally, we made it back to the car with all of our stuff and Jonathan’s blood filled shoe and then drove back to the condo and called it a night.

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The next day, we slept in a little bit and spent some time just relaxing in the condo before heading out to explore for the day. We had our sights set on a an area of the Mesa that I had never explored yet called Land’s End. This section of the mountain breaks off from the main road that allows you to drive over the top of the Mesa from North to South. The road turns off from the highway and allowed us to head west towards the part of the mountain that overlooks Grand Junction below. A good portion of the road is unpaved and lead us to a much more open section of the Mesa that allows you to really get a grasp on the flat topped nature of the mountain. Unlike most areas we had explored, where the thick forests of Aspen and Pine trees disguise the real shape of the mountain, this area provides an uninterrupted view of the flat rock, continuing towards the horizon until it seems to suddenly drop straight down towards the desert almost 10,000 feet below. At the end of the road is a lookout point, aptly named “Land’s End”, where we were able to stand at the edge of the cliff and truly admire the grandeur of the view. Sprawling across the desert land below, we could see Grand Junction in its entirety, including the iconic Mt. Garfield which sat dwarfed by the mountain we were standing on. In the distance, we could see mountain ranges rising up from the horizon that another tourist told us were actually all the way in Utah. To contrast the absolutely massive view in front of us, little chipmunks were running all around the viewing area, jumping from rock to rock looking for sunflower seeds that tourists were handing out. A woman who had plenty of extra seeds gave us each a handful, and we watched as they ate the seeds out of our hands in front of one of the most insane, dramatic views that I have ever seen seen. Looking back, this was probably one of my favorite places we went during the whole trip, and I would recommend visiting the Mesa just to experience this area. After leaving the viewpoint, we started driving back down the road we came and decided to stop at a lake, called Carson Lake, just down a road that broke off from the one we were on. When we walked up to the lake, there were about four or five fisherman that slowly left one by one once we got there, leaving us the lake to enjoy just to ourselves. Adam set up camp and attempted to fish again, while Jonathan and I decided that we wanted hike around the area a little bit and see what we could find. We found a trail and walked for about 30 minutes without the presence of anything besides the dense forest around us. We thought for a moment that we heard a moose and decided it was a good time to turn back. When we got back to Adam, he still had had no luck with the fish, but wasn’t really complaining because just sitting in silence at a lake like that for an extended period of time is about as good as it gets. After that, we decided to call it a day and head back to the condo. We waited for the sun to go down, and then planned to head back out to get some pictures of the stars since there was no moon out that night. Being that the Mesa is about 10-11,000 feet up and there isn’t much civilization around, it’s an amazing place to look at the stars. We spent about an hour on the side of the road taking pictures of the sky in complete darkness before heading back home for the night.

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The next day, which was the 10th day of the trip, we decided to head back down toward the Grand Junction area to explore the Colorado National Monument that lies just outside the city. Early in the trip when Courtney was still there, we had spent some time in the National Monument in an area called Devil’s Kitchen, but didn’t really get to see the whole thing. I had no idea what to expect from this place and I was completely blown away once we spent a whole day driving through the park. Almost immediately after we paid the entry fee to get in, the road took us straight up into the steep red canyons of the monument and before we knew it we were looking over the edge of some of the most amazing canyons I’ve ever seen. The road through the park takes you up and around the edge of multiple rock valleys that cut deep into the mountain. We stopped at multiple viewpoints along the road and walked along the edges of the canyons posing for pictures and just taking in the views in front of us. Along with the deep canyons, there are some crazy rock formations that rise up from the valley floor providing even more things that make this place one of a kind. Having no prior knowledge of this place before going, I was completely amazed with it afterwards, and in my opinion, its one of the best kept secrets in the whole National Park/National Monument system. Not only is it amazing to look at, but there were no crowds, and every place we stopped it was easy for us to find a spot to ourselves where there were no people around, and because of that I would honestly say that this place competes with Zion, Arches, and some of the other National Parks that are similar to it, but much more popular. After spending a good chunk of the day in the park, we stopped for some Taco Bell in Grand Junction and then headed back up to the condo for one of our last nights on the Mesa.

Over the next few day, we didn’t do very much exploring and opted to spend some time just relaxing in the condo and then at Adam’s house for the last day. On the final day of the trip, we were all ready to head back to Los Angeles and make the 11-12 drive home. But before we left, we had one last thing to do and that was the Solar Eclipse. Luckily, our last day in Colorado happened to fall on the day of the Solar Eclipse, and being that we were in Grand Junction, we were in an area that would experience about a 90% eclipse as opposed to around 50% back in LA. We spent about an hour or two attempting to photograph the event which I used my infrared filter to do because I didn’t want to damage my camera, and then we were on the road back to Los Angeles.

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Overall, the trip had been one for the books and a perfect addition to our tradition of driving to Colorado during Adam’s birthday in August. Western Colorado is one of my favorite places in the Western United States and I would highly recommend spending some time there if you ever get the chance. While it doesn’t get the same publicity or attention that Denver or the Rocky Mountains do, it is seriously unlike any other place on Earth. With that being said, I hope you enjoyed hearing about mine and Courtney’s trip and we hope that you will check out all of our photos from the trip below. Stay tuned for the full travel video from our trip coming next week and thanks again for reading!

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Bangs Canyon-2
Courtney walks through the dry river bed of Bangs Canyon
Slot Canyon Babe
Courtney looks up through the narrow red walls of the cave we climbed through in Bangs Canyon
Babe likes these-2
Adam and Makenna sitting inside this hollowed out cave at the base of the canyon
Slot Canyon 2
A black and white shot of the narrow cave and the light that manages to squeeze in the through the cracks in the mountain
Babe likes these
Courtney, Adam, and Makenna walking through the beautiful canyon we explored on one of our first days of the trip
Devils Kitchen 2
This is the rock formation called Devil’s Kitchen, which rises up above the flat canyon floor around it
Adam Devils Kitchen
Adam sit’s on a ledge on the inside of the Devil’s Kitchen rock formation, providing some scale to just how massive these rocks are
Babe likes these-5
Courtney poses in front of the valley before her and absorbs the light of the sun setting in the distance
Devils Kitchen
One of the many massive canyons that make up Colorado National Monument
Escalante Canyon 2
Dominguez Canyon is a beautiful, secluded area where you can walk for miles along this river
Uncompaghre_
The Uncompaghre National Forest is an amazing landscape, hidden in the mountains and removed from most of civilization
Aspens_
The dense, seemingly endless forests of Aspen trees that we found all around the Uncompaghre National Forest
Trees on Trees
Another shot of the dense forests of the Uncompaghre, demonstrating the varioius shades of green found naturally in this area
Uncompaghre Bear
The Black Bear that we spotted from our car while driving across an open meadow, the first bear that either of us have ever seen in the wild
Uncompaghre Adam 2
Adam walks down the dirt road that we would eventually drive on to explore further into the forest
Uncompaghre Deer
A deer stands still, staring back at our car while I took this photo from the passenger seat
Uncompaghre Truck Babe
Courtney poses and pretends to be a serious truck model in the middle of the Uncompaghre National Forest
Adam Trail Aspens 2
Adam hikes through the thick grass and layers of Aspen trees on the Grand Mesa
Uncompaghre Trail
A narrow trail leading straight into the heart of this forest of Aspen trees
Mesa Road from Above 2
A shot from above of the road that cuts through the forest and across the Grand Mesa
Adam Tripod Sunset
Adam adjusts the settings on his camera while preparing to take timelapse of the sunset
Pictures for Babe-3
A creek sits hidden between these pine trees
Adam Trail Aspens
Adam on a trail near Old Powderhorn, a beautiful hiking area on the Grand Mesa
Babe on Bridge-2
Courtney poses on this bridge that leads through the trees to one of the many lakes that we explored on the Mesa
Waterfall through branches
Near Vail on our drive back from the Denver airport, we spotted this small waterfall flowing down the side of the mountain
Empty Lake_
The empty lake where we spent the day fishing
Butterfly closeup 2
A closeup of a butterfly in one of the many meadows that cover the Grand Mesa
Cabin in Meadow
A small, old fashioned cabin that sits near the side of the road on the way to Land’s End on the Mesa
Butterfly closeup
Another shot of a butterfly resting on these light, purple flowers that covered this meadow
Chipmunk with camera
One of the many friendly chipmunks at the Land’s End viewpoint that posed for a closeup with Adam’s camera
Chipmunk
Another shot of a chipmunk who was eating sunflower seeds out of our hands
Valley of Trees
A glimpse of the vast forests and valleys that cover the Grand Mesa and seem to go on forever
Last Few Days-3
A little blue-grey bird that sat and posed on this tree branch long enough for me to take a decent photo of him
Last Few Days
A long, dirt road cutting across an open field that sits between the dense tree lines all around it
Mesa Stars
A panorama shot of the Milky Way seen from the Mesa on a clear night with no moon
Eclipse Composition Straight
A composite photo of the Solar Eclipse that Scott put together by combing pictures he took of the event during a timelapse
National Monument-3
One of the most dramatic and iconic views of Colorado National Monument, which is an unbelievable, and breathtaking place
National Monument
Jonathan stands in front of a tunnel that cuts through the massive red walls of the National Monument’s canyons
Last Few Days-4
Adam stands in the middle of a wide shot of the canyon found at Ghost Rock rest stop along the I-70 in Eastern Utah
Last Few Days-5
Another shot of the canyon at Ghost Rock, with Adam providing some scale and depth to the enormity of this valley

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