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National Parks

A Day at the Petrified Forest National Park

Our trip to the Petrified Forest National Park in the northeastern corner of Arizona started off like any other day off while living in the Grand Canyon. It was in the middle of June and it was a cool 120*F. I remember that fine detail only because I thought that it could not get any hotter the day before (and I was wrong). We hopped in Adam’s 1998 black on black leather interior Oldsmobile Intrigue, with an air conditioner that was busted, for the nearly 300 mile trip to the Petrified Forest National Park.

We arrived at the Petrified Forest National Park around 1:30 in the afternoon, close to the hottest part of the day, and spent much of the day trying to avoid the heat (funny, considering it might have been hotter in our car than outside of it). After entering the National Park and paying the $10 entrance fee, we arrived to the sight of this…:
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How to Survive a Hike to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

I recently wrote about our disastrous hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where we ended up sleeping in the rest house. Word of advice: do not be like us. Be prepared. Know what you are getting into and do not assume that you are too smart because chances are, you are not, like us. This is not your typical list with telling you to bring your first aid kits, trail maps, and such because, really that would be a given. These are things that we NEEDED, but forgot to bring when preparing for our hike. Below are our tips for hiking in the Grand Canyon!

Puffin Watching on Machias Seal Island

One of my favorite experiences while living in Acadia National Park in Maine was when we went off and left the island to go to see the puffins at Machias Seal Island. Prior to working in Acadia NP, I had no idea what they were and then suddenly I’m working at a gift shop where there were we were surrounded by puffin merchandise. I was immediately a fan and probably should have started a fan club. I mean how can you not be? Have you not SEEN these adorable clown-like birds?

Sleeping in a Restroom at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Because I believe that every good hiking story should be based around hugging the porcelain throne…
Six years ago when we moved to the Grand Canyon and a little bit before we went on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, we decided it would be “fun” to go hiking in the Grand Canyon and camp under the stars. Note: fun is a word I am using loosely and you will eventually know why. 
We rented a tent, sleeping mats, trekking poles, and hiking boots from our job (hello, free!) and raided the store for necessities. Protein/energy bars, check. Jerky, check. Goldfish, check. We borrowed Camelback backpacks from some of our coworkers. All we had left to do was wait until dawn to catch the bus to the trail-head. We thought we were prepared for hiking in the Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon trails, but like many other things, were we wrong.  Continue reading

Moving to Acadia National Park

So, last week was my Flashback Friday post about moving to the Grand Canyon. This week’s Flashback Friday is about moving to Acadia. Coincidence? I think not. We always moved to our summer jobs practically the same time each year. And around this time my friends, we also packed up our crap and made our way up north to Maine!

Unlike our move to the Grand Canyon, there was no cross country trip needed (no ghost towns on the “scenic” route), no one-billion stops for gas or the bathroom, and certainly no hotels were needed. Roughly 10 hours of driving and we were there. 

For some reason I don’t remember much of this trip. It could be because of my habit to sleep during long car rides, but who is to say? We left Pencil-vain-eye-aye (as Adam’s mother LOVES to pronounce it) in shorts and tank tops, sweating profusely, dying from the sun blinding us and ended up in Acadia freezing, humid, and gloomy. What did we get ourselves into?!

The first 24 hours we were there we did quite a bit of hiking. We started off with the 5 mile Jordan Pond Trail. This was practically in the backyard of our dorm:
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