Thursday, 12 December 2013

November living.......

First snow

On November 5 I woke up to see the first snow of the season had fallen overnight! It was a very light dusting, but still very pretty and a shadow of what was to come!!

Friendly Hike - kinda!

On November 10, I went for a hike with Janel and Katie over the hills at the back of Janel's house. It was awesome to walk and just keep walking...... no snow though as it had all melted! It was actually really nice weather - cool but sunny. I hiked the same area for my birthday at the start of the year...... it's all coming full circle!! (including my difficulty breathing! Damn high altitude!) lol

The "Two Awesome Events" day......

1. Catching Fire came out at the movies and I went to see it Friday opening night (it opened Thursday midnight) with Amber and Cady. Awesome, amazing, fantastic, wonderful..... I could keep going but if you loved the books and loved the first movie and have been to see this one then YOU KNOW!! (Can you tell I'm still excited? Seen it 3 times in a week excited!)

2. The REAL snow finally hit town..... just see the video, its kinda self explanatory (my initial reaction was twice this - I had to pause in my initial reaction so Cady could take out her phone!!)

Arriving home.....


Zion and Bryce National Parks

Katie and I planned a three day mini trip over the start of Thanksgiving break to these two National Parks in Utah. It was so much fun heading off on Sunday morning - we just chatted and chatted and chatted, stopping off along the way to swap drivers and check out some wintery views!

Crossing the border to Utah

Black Canyon rest stop

On the road again......

Once we hit the I-15 headed south we lost the snow

Driving into Springdale and Zion NP

Zion was about a 6 hour drive from Grand Junction and we made it to the gorgeous Best Western in Springdale with plenty of light left. (For those in Australia, this is very important at the moment as the sun sets by 5pm). We spent our first hour walking the nature trail out the back of the hotel and watching the sun set on the mountains behind where we were sitting. Beautiful!

Amazed at the mountain colours!

Starting on our hike - this is looking from the hotel car park!

There was a little creek that led into a little pond

Clouds on the mountain top

The colours were gorgeous - it was like we were in autumn
 (but it was the last week of November)

Loved that there was still leaves on the trees here

Had to practice my volleyball skills for staff after school pick up games!

Katie relaxing and watching the sunset

Orange gold mountains

We called this "Witch Mountain".... then I thought of "Hag Hills"

The Best Western was a great place to stay in Springdale

We had plans to get up and watch the sunrise the next morning in the park, but when we went to bed we decided to enjoy our holiday and get up when we woke up. SO wonderful! :-) Once we were organised (and had partaken of our included all you could eat hot and cold breakfast buffet, which included a made to order omelette station), we drove into the park and along the scenic drive.

Katie and I agreed to attempt the Observation Point hike, which overlooked the famous (and popular!) Angels Landing hike. It was a great decision by us as the trail was not very populated and we had great space to take some amazing photos along the way. We made it 1 1/2 hours into the 3 hours to the top and then turned around once we were behind the mountain where the trail split into two hike directions and went back to the base...... again, a great decision by us as we were watching the light and the going down was as hard on the knees as the going up was on my breathing! :-)

Check out the gorgeous views we had on this hike though.......


After we completed our 3 hour hike, we chilled out at the Lodge in the sun, relaxing on rocking chairs and watching the sun go down. It disappeared really quick - there one minute, gone the next behind the mountains that surrounded us. As we headed into town, we made plans to see Catching Fire on the big IMAX screen right on the edge of the park later that night. This was an awesome decision - it was my second time watching the movie in 3 days, but it was a completely amazing experience. So worth it!!

Than next morning we tried to plan to get up to watch the sunrise, but I think the hike had tuckered us out, as we woke up but did not move very far!! Once we had organised ourselves and had breakfast again (the best breakfast I have had anywhere in the world at a hotel), we drove through Zion National Park to Bryce - about 3 hours away. I drove through Zion so I was unable to take any pictures of the scenic route, but it was awe inspiring the entire way. Zion is by far my most favourite park in the US now!!

Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its amphitheatre of hoodoos, and that is where we headed with a few hours left in the day. There had been quite a lot of snow here, which compared to Zion's none was exciting for me! We drove into the park and stopped off at two viewpoints overlooking the amphitheatre - even climbing a 12 inch wide trail through snow to get to the higher elevation views!



The thin air is what I then blame for Katie's attempt to "make the mood" with her music at the top.........

In all it was a wonderful little mini trip away with a great friend - even the drive home through Capitol Reef Park was amazing and had some phenonmenal views from up high! ;-D


Thanksgiving here is as big as Christmas is for us in Australia. For many families, this is the holiday where they all gather together and catch up on the year or years apart. I was lucky enough to go with my friend Sara to her sister's for Thanksgiving and as well as eating turkey and all sorts of sides cooked as I'd never tasted before (such as brown sugar and marshmallow sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and rolls from a can), I had cuddles with Sara's brand new niece! She was so tiny I was even more terrified than I usually am - thankfully she is so tiny that she slept through the 5 minutes I was holding her! :-)

Thanksgiving saw us roll to the end of November. Following our week off for this holiday, it was back to school for three weeks until Christmas break. For me, this meant my last 15 days at Nisley - definitely a countdown had begun! *deep breath* Here we go...........

More to come -
"The final hurrah in Colorado"
"Saying goodbye"

Keep smiling,
Candice :-)

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