Sunday, November 20, 2016

Road Trip Cabins

Better late than never, right? :) 

These cabins are seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you travel down dirt roads for miles to reach them and cell service is definitely non existent Staying in locations like this was what our vacation was all about ; rustic, adventurous, the unknown, pure peace and quiet, seclusion and not to mention affordable. Finding these cabins was what helped lay the route for our trip. 

The first cabin we stayed at was on night 5. Trout Creek Guard Station is located in the The Ashley National Forest in Utah. This picturesque cabin was my favorite. Inside it was equipped with a propane fridge,  propane stove, running water and a wood fired stove. It also had plates, utensils and cookware tucked into a hutch. It had lights, light switches and a solar panel outside, but somehow we couldn't get them to work. Trout Creek also has a table and chairs perfect for dining and a futon that we chose to sleep on vs the bunk beds. What was most notable about this cabin, and why it was my favorite, were the sprawling fields located in front and to the side of the cabin. We sat outside at golden hour watching many deer and elk come into the pasture to play, eat and relax. We repeated this with morning coffee and breakfast on the porch. It never got old. We took some time in the morning to explore the area and beautiful surroundings.

On day 6 we arrived at our cabin in Wyoming. Deer Creek Cabin is located about 20 miles from Jackson Hole. The cabin was in a more traveled area, but you still drive down a dirt road for 15 miles to reach it. In addition to a fridge and stove, we had propane lights, shiny white floors that smelled of cleaner, a hot water shower and indoor plumbing. Dishes and cook wear too. Deer Creek gets the most points for amenities!  While there wasn't much to see from the cabin porch, a short drive lead us to a secluded lake with stunning views. A favorite about this area was the US Forest service has horses that roam free, they even have their own guard dog!

And our last cabin adventure. On day 9 we arrived at Clear Creek Guard Station, in Idaho. The drive in was stunning with sprawling green hills and mountains in the distance, made especially memorable by two bald eagles soaring nearby. Upon arrival at Clear Creek, it is picturesque with its bright pine and cute little A Frame. But really, I would say it's more along the lines of a hunting shack. Fold down pieces of plywood make for sleeping shelves, but we opted for the quaint loft space with our sleeping pads. It does have a wood stove inside, as well as some rubbish, but that's about it. The outdoor fire pit and night time stars were the highlight of this cabin. 

 Each of these cabins can be reserved on Booking process is easy and straightforward. Deer Creek Cabin did require a permit which we requested be mailed to us and we were able to fax back. Calling the ranger district prior to going to double check the lock codes and ask any questions is always a good idea. I purchased maps for each of the areas that helped lead us to the destinations as well as help pinpoint cool destinations along the way and nearby. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Arches National Park

We stayed at Arches National Park on day/night two. We were hoping to camp for two nights but booking 5 months in advance was no where near early enough. I was lucky to get us a site for one night and it was literally the only site left. I would highly recommend this campground, so plan ahead and book early! There is so much to see and do in Arches, but dare I say once I saw 5 arches I felt like I saw them all. I had quite the list of things on my "to do list" while there...and I think we got to two of them. Camping at Devils Garden Campground was a total highlight and so was our hike we did on day three; Devils Garden trail out to Double O arch, passing Landscape Arch and seeing Black Arch in the distance. If we did have more time one thing I think we really would have enjoyed would be driving some of the dirt roads out to the lesser traveled parts. Finding any alone time in Arches when just off the main stretch is nearly impossible to come by!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Engagement in Moab, UT

It's hard to believe that just about a month ago Alex and I were getting on a plane for our 10 day road trip out west and hard to believe that we've now been ENGAGED for one month! Alex took me completely by surprise when he got down on one knee on day one of vacation and asked me to marry him. More on that later. 

We landed in Salt Lake City just before midnight on July 24th. After a helish ordeal with getting our rental car (luckily that was the worst part of the trip so we got that over with early!) we made our way to our hotel 30 min away in Lehi, UT. We decided to make this our first stop 1. because it would cut a little time out of our drive to Moab the next day and 2. there was a hot spring near by that we wanted to check out. 

After getting to our hotel at 2 am, what felt like 4 am to us, we were surprisingly able to get up early enough and go check out to Saratoga Hot Spring. I had learned about this spot from The Outbound. This was my first time in a hot spring so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Initial thoughts were; it's a man made hole in the ground and the ground was visibly silty and muddy. I was apprehensive at first about getting in, but the ground really wasn't that bad and the temperature was perfect to relax in. There were some logs floating which made for good seats. 

Later we hit the road for our three hour drive to Moab. One of my favorite things about this trip is while we had long days of driving, the scenery was always so amazing and constantly changing. We arrived in Moab at 3:00pm, just enough time to get to a gear store to pick up some necessities (bear spray for later in the week, propane for the jet boil and some new sandals for Alex since he forgot a pair) and do some grocery shopping. We checked into our adorable Airbnb (highly recommend if traveling to Moab) then got right back out into town to pick up our mountain bikes I had previously rented from Chile Pepper Bike Shop. They rent from 5pm until 1pm the next day for their one day rentals since it gets so hot in Moab mid day! They were super helpful and efficient with getting our bikes fitted, getting a rack on our car (which they also rent) pointing us in the right direction to beginner trails and sending us on our way. We decided to take a drive up to Dead Horse Point State Park. It's 40 minutes from Moab center, but we figured we wouldn't have another chance to get up that way.

Only about 1/2 mile into the ride we came to Great Pyramid Overlook. Alex had brought his camera and tripod so he began to set it up to take some great photos.

At this moment pictured above, I still had no idea what was about to happen. Once Alex moved the camera to a different location and was taking a really long time setting it up, my mind began to wonder. Alex hit the auto timer and ran over, I had my arm outstretched for him to stand next to me. He had a different pose in mind...

Even though my mind had begin to think "is he about to propose" nothing could have prepared me for the rush of emotions and the immediate tears that followed. Tears of pure happiness of course. All I could seem to say was "are you serious, really?!" and eventually realized I didn't even say YES, which I finally did. 


We stayed at the overlook for a while longer enjoying  this amazing moment with each-other. Eventually we got back on our bikes, rode to the car, grabbed some beers and rode up the road to another lookout and watched sunset.

Day 1 of vacation down and 9 more to go - only now with my Fiance by my side! Moab certainly holds a special place in my heart. It was all that I imagined, and then some. No doubt, we'll be back some day.