The Wild (South) West + Playlist

11:12 AM

Let me preface by saying I don’t love road trips. I love the idea of them, but when it comes down to it, I hate driving and sitting for long periods of time.

My lease in LA was up so my mom flew out to help me pack and then road tripped with me home. I wasn’t very excited at first and my mom kept asking me where I wanted to go. I just kept telling her that I just wanted to get home. She mentioned the Grand Canyon and I agreed to stop there.

We headed out of my lovely frat house (hey, the rent was cheap) at 6 am after a bit of a delay after I found a mouse in my room. I tried to stay awake but sleep took over and I was knocked out for a solid three hours as my mom drove. It only takes six and a half hours to get to the Grand Canyon from Los Angeles, which if you think about it, really isn’t bad. After I woke up and had some McDonald’s coffee, we switched off and jammed to our road trips classics, The Beach Boys, ABBA, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles. After driving on a two-lane road for three hours, we finally arrived to our destination: the Grand Canyon. I believe it costs $40 to enter, but if you have a national park pass it’s free (the pass is worth it: it’s $80 for the year and if you go to a lot of national parks it saves money). It was so crowded. I couldn’t find parking for the life of me. After we finally found a parking spot and my mom became a badass after standing in the spot so no one could take it, we began the short trek to the rim.

Woah. Even at noon when the sun washed away most of the shadows, it still looked epic. We fought crowds for artsy pictures and explored the rim. We drove to different areas and found fun cliffs to stand on and met lots of tourists from around the world.

It was really hot and busy so we decided to head back to our motel for a quick break before we went back in the park at sunset. You need to go in at sunset or sunrise because it’s spectacular. The canyon completely transformed once there were pink skies. It was breathtaking. We starting heading down and exploring once again, chasing the sunset and watching the colors of the canyon transform as the sun went down. I finally understood why so many people came to visit this landmark: there’s nothing quite like it.

The next morning we woke up again at 6 am to get to Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona, which was two and half hours away. You need to book a tour because otherwise you just have to hope that you’re lucky and get in. Tours cost $40 a person but you can’t go in without a tour guide. There’s also an $8 fee to enter the park.  It’s pricey but it’s worth it because I’ve never seen anything like Antelope Canyon. It’s a slot canyon on Navajo land and a hidden gem. Water and erosion have shaped the canyon, creating beautiful curves and tunnels. Everywhere you look there’s something beautiful to photograph and admire. I can’t even explain its beauty in words. But make sure to bring a nice camera (I only had my iPhone and it worked OK but I wish I brought my SLR) and shoes you can climb around in (I just wore Nike’s). It was hot when I went so you’ll also need water and a hat. I don’t recommend going in August because they have 1,200 people visit a day and it’s overly crowded, so try to go in fall or winter. You need to book tickets in advance, but sometimes they have to close the canyon down if there’s any rain because there are flash floods.

After we explored the Canyon we headed to Horseshoe Bend, which you’ve probably seen on Instagram. We went at noon so the lighting was horrible – if you want great pictures go during golden hour. We didn’t have time to wait for that so we kept going, but even when everything was washed out, it was spectacular.

Our last stop was Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. If you’ve ever seen a Utah license plate, the arch on it is called the Delicate Arch from Arches National Park. My mom and I arrived later in the day but didn’t have time to do the three-hour round trip hike to the Delicate Arch (it’s worth it, so I’ve heard) so we drove around finding different arches and rock formations. It felt like a real-life Cars Land. It wasn’t my favorite stop on our road trip but it was right on the way.

Summer, to me, is all about road trips. Even if you think your town is boring you can always drive for a few hours and explore the next town over. Better yet, go explore a national park – it is the centennial after all!

Want some rocking road trip tunes? Here's my spotify playlist of some of the songs my mom and I jammed out to. Like what you hear? Make sure to follow me on Spotify! 

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Current Book List

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  • This Modern Love
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  • Looking for Alaska
  • One Day
  • Me Before You


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