Category Archives: Photography

Hiking Havasu Falls: Part 4

If you missed previous installments, you can read them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

We woke up the next morning around dawn, which was felt like 8:30 a.m. for the east coasters among us so it wasn’t so bad. Packing up all of our gear was time consuming and yet another reason to sleep in the lodge. By the time we left the camp grounds it was 7:00 a.m. It was an hour’s hike to the village with all of our gear and me stopping to take pictures. Yes, it’s a sickness.

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Now, I have to pause to tell you how brilliant I am. The Havasupai people fly people and supplies in and an out of the canyon everyday via helicopter. After I purchased a much needed and obscenely expensive diet coke, I took all of our rented gear — our sleeping bags, sleeping pads and tent — and hooked them together with some cheap climbing hooks. I handed them to the kind village man at the helicopter pad along with a $10 bill. For a mere $10, he flew our gear up in the helicopter and we picked it up at the top of the canyon. It was one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life. If you ever hike Havasu Falls and choose to camp out, I highly recommend it.

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After eating breakfast and dropping our gear off at the helicopter pad, it was already 9:00 a.m. We were off. It was a beautiful day as we made our way through the canyon floor.

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What The Boyfriend does while I take pictures…check for service.

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It didn’t occur to me until we reached the start of the grueling hike up the last 1.5 miles that there was a price to pay for our dilly-dallying. It was 1:00 p.m. and about 90 degrees with a hot and heavy sun beating down on us. I was also low on water, exhausted, and close to full-on panic mode. 1.5 miles does not seem like a lot of miles. But when it’s straight up hill, it quickly becomes an eternity. And when your brain starts saying things like: “I”m going to die here of dehydration and never get to brag about hiking the Grand Canyon,” you start to believe it.

In the end, I did not die of hydration. The Boyfriend gave me plenty of his water  and even carried my backpack for me (he’s a keeper). As we neared the top, the weather cooled thanks to the increased elevation, and when I finally collapsed on a log in the parking lot, i felt a mixture of extreme euphoria, exhaustion and pain. It was a thrilling experience, but also a grueling one. While the elevation is not that great compared to other hikes we’ve done, the heat, the lack of water, and the 17.5 miles we had hiked in order to reach that point all played a role in pushing me toward my limit.

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A map of the elevation by distance

But all the exhaustion and pain is worth it when you get to set your eyes on this awesome sight:

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One day, I’d like to return to Havasu Falls and see the beautiful blue-green waters the Havasupai people are famous for. When I do, I will be mindful of these lessons I learned.

1) Book a room at the lodge in the village months in advance.

2) Bring plenty of water – even if you think it’s too much.

3) Wear super thick hiking socks that will (hopefully) prevent blisters.

4) Bring less food.

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Hiking Havasu Falls: Part 2

If you missed part 1, check it out here.

There is a major reason people hike 10 miles to Havasu Fall: The stunning blue green water unique to the Havasupai reservation. This is what Havasu Falls normally looks like:

havasu falls

Breathtaking, right? Well, this is what the falls looked like when we got there:

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WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! That was my reaction plus or minus a few blasphemous words. I quickly learned that we were hiking in monsoon season and the massive amount of rain the night before pushed the red canyon mud into the river, turning the water a lovely red/brown color. I was disappointed, but still managed to take a bunch of pictures.

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And here’s the crazy thing. As we were hiking out the next morning, I was stunned by the color of the water. It was starting to normalize!

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A hiker standing next to me pointed out that if we stayed one more night, we’d probably get to see the stunning blue-green waters Havasu is famous for. Alas, it was not in the stars. We were off.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: HOME

I missed last week’s challenge due to traveling and being sick, so I guess it’s appropriate that this week’s challenge is “home.” But these pictures are not actually pictures of my home; they are pictures of where I would like to live when I’m rich enough to own a second home: Sedona, Arizona.

A girl can dream, right?

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

 

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LOVE

I actually have the same picture of those famous Paris locks featured on the Daily Post site for this week’s photo challenge, but this unconventional picture of myself and The Boyfriend in Bermuda is one of my favorites. Plus look how skinny I look!

Me and The Boyfriend on one of our amazing trips together.

Me and The Boyfriend on one of our amazing trips together.

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I’M SENSING A THEME

At Versailles in France, I stopped in front of a statue and begged my friends to take a photo of me imitating it. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Me at Versailles

Me at Versailles acting super classy.

It has now become something of an obsession. Here’s me walking around Washington D.C. yesterday. Statues beware! I will find you and mimic you.

Me in DC acting super classy.

Me in D.C. acting super classy. (I need to teach The Boyfriend how to use the zoom function.)

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: BEYOND

This week’s photo challenge is beyond – photos that pull the eye beyond the focal point. Not sure these fit the bill, but I’m giving it my best shot. Which one do you like best?

Croatia

Looking out on the old city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

Arizona

Mountains in southern Arizona

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: ILLUMINATION

Regular readers of this blog know that I love night photography, much to The Boyfriend’s dismay. So this week’s photo challenge was not much of a challenge. Here is London illuminated.

Big Ben and Parliament

Big Ben and Parliament

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: RESOLVED

It took me a while to figure out what picture to post for this week’s photo challenge. I had to go all the way back to a picture I took in 2005 on a trip to Yosemite National Park. This terrifying ladder marks the final climb to the top of Half Dome. To me, this picture says RESOLVED.

Half Dome

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THE CITY OF LIGHTS

There’s a reason Paris is called the City of Lights. At night the city is lit up galore. For an amateur photographer like myself, the bright lights and flashing colors are a temptation I couldn’t resist. This was unfortunate for The Boyfriend because he has to wait while I set up my travel tripod and play around with the shutter speed. So for the record, let me reiterate: The Boyfriend is amazing.

Some of my favorite night shots:

Bastille

The Bastille

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Seine at night

The Seine and the Eiffel Tower in the distance

Louve Pyramid

The Louve

Louve Pyramid

The Louve and its famous pyramid

Louve Pyramid

The Louve again. I had a blast doing these shots until my tripod broke. Sad.

The Eiffel Tower at night from Trocadero

The Eiffel Tower at night from Trocadero

A Cartier store bursting with color

A Cartier store bursting with color

Champs Elysees

Champs Elysees at night. I had to balance my tripod on a garbage can to shoot this.

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EXPERIENCING THE EIFFEL TOWER FOR THE FIRST TIME

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous buildings in the world. Even the cynic in me was impressed. Sure, we have taller buildings and structures in the U.S., but it is the tallest structure in Paris and the most visited paid monument in the world. Standing proud at 1,050 feet, the tower dominates the Paris skyline. It is all the more impressive when you consider that the Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889  as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair. In 1889, the tallest buildings in the U.S. were just over 300 feet.

  Eiffel Tower Chart

Neat chart that demonstrates just how awesome the Eiffel Tower was for its time.

We opted to walk up to the first and second level to skip the long lines for the elevator. This proved to be a smart move at the time, but less smart the next morning when I could barely move my legs. Sadly, by the time we got to the second floor the very top level was closed due to excessive winds.

I’ll spare you the 200-plus photos I took of the views since they are pretty similar to the pictures I took from the Montparnasse Tower. But here are some others.

Eiffel Tower

I love this shot of the Eiffel Tower casting its long shadow over the city.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower in the distance as we walked toward it.

Eiffel Tower

We made it!

Eiffel Tower

A different perspective…

First Floor

The slow climb up… And here, I thought I was in shape.

Me at the Eiffel Tower

Me at the top! (Well, the second level, but close enough.)

The Eiffel Tower at night

The Eiffel Tower at night in the distance

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