Exploring Arizona

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Exploring Arizona

Life is a pretty crazy adventure!

For the last three months I have been planning a hiking trip in Norway. I was desperate to get back on the road and get some new content for the blog and Norway has been on my list for years. I'd found flights, tents, equipment, everything. Then three weeks before I was planning to head out I was told of the possibility of going to Miami in three weeks for a wedding. I would be working for the first three days but then I would be free to explore a little. So, Norway got pushed to the side for later and me and my brother came up with an idea...

We checked a map of the United States and Arizona was only a 4 hour flight away. So when we booked the flight to Miami we booked the flight home from Arizona. Planning to make a plan when we got there. As we do. It was such an unexpected trip to somewhere we have only dreamed about for years and it still feels like a dream! Here's how it went...

We drove from the airport to Denny's to have the biggest breakfast we had ever seen. Then drove 3 hours to our first hotel that we had just booked in Denny's (the first one we saw with a pool). We decided to have a relaxed evening on the first night after busy days in Miami and just spent the rest of the evening swimming and eating s'mores for the first time. P.s They're as good as everyone says. We woke up the next morning in time for breakfast at the hotel and then packed everything up and jumped back in the car to start the adventure...

First Stop: The Grand Canyon

Speechless. It honestly feels like you are just looking at a green screen! You can't quite get your head around how huge the canyon is. I don't think the photos quite do it justice because I couldn't quite fit it all in one photo!  

I think this photo (below) gives you the most perspective. The whole place just makes you feel tiny! This shot was on the way down into the canyon after we had decided to go for a 'hike' in the middle of the day despite all of the warnings from guides because of the heat. It was worth it!

I turned around after taking the photo above to see this little guy desperately trying to break into my bag and steal the nuts that we were eating. We were standing there laughing and taking photos until it actually managed to pull the bag open and start to climb inside! 

With arms held high...

About 3 hours later we made it to Cedar Ridge which was about half way down the trail. The sun was still quite high in the sky and it wasn't getting any cooler. We knew it would be twice as hard to climb back up than it was to come down so we decided this was the end of the path for today! 

Next Stop: Antelope Canyon

What dreams are made of...

Well, my dreams at least! Antelope Canyon has been on my list of places to visit for as long as I can remember. And now it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. After the epic scale of the Grand Canyon the day before we now stared up in awe at the incredible colours, curves and beauty of this place. Again, I did my best to capture it in photos, but it is nothing like standing looking up at this natural wonder.

As you walk through the canyon the walls just get more intricate and stunning...

I don't think I let go of the shutter on my camera once! It's such a uniquely beautiful place. The walls are so delicate and smooth with these amazing waves that follow you along the path through the canyon...

I just couldn't believe the turn of events over the past few weeks. From planning a trip to Europe to flying to the United States and making some of my biggest dreams true...

I just knew I couldn't miss the opportunity to do one more thing to make this day totally perfect...

So, me and my brother stopped at the next corner and started talking quietly to each other 'planning the next photo'. I think my girlfriend (Johana) is used to it by now so she did as we said and walked forward into an opening in the canyon just in front of us. We told her to stay there and look up so that we can take a photo of just her...

I couldn't believe how nervous I was. I was so cool up to that point. I had managed to keep this whole thing a secret for the past 3 weeks after I found out that we would be going to America together. I don't think it had quite sunk in that this was really happening, this spontaneously, in the middle of Antelope Canyon. But, there I was, hands shaking, struggling to get a ring out of my camera bag where it had been hiding and almost dropping it twice before I managed to get hold of it! I honestly thought I might faint on the way over to her. But, I made it. I walked up to her side and started to kneel down. Before anything else I just said, "I'm so nervous!" And she replied, "me too!" I opened up the box to reveal the diamond ring that had travelled from South Africa, which I had been designing for the last 3 weeks and that was handmade 2 weeks before we flew to America and...

"Will you marry me...?"

Wow. That just happened... I'm not sure how long it took for my hands to stop shaking but it was the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done! But it was also the most beautiful thing I have ever done at the same time. It was perfect. The ring (pictured below) means a lot to me and represents a lot about our relationship and what we stand for. It has 33 colourless diamonds that represent purity and cover the entire ring. They are set on on three bands which represent that it is not just me and Johana but God surrounding everything. The last three diamonds sit in the middle of the three bands with the largest diamond set right in the centre. It represents that God is the centre of our lives and the biggest part of our relationship. It travelled from a far away land to be there just like we had to do to be together. And finally it is the shiniest thing I have ever seen! Because...shiny!

I didn't want to just get something because of how it looked or what was popular at the time. I always dreamt of making every part of our relationship mean something more and represent something special. So, here it is...

Oh and yes, she said yes! Well, she said si, but it counts! It took me asking a few times to get her to stop saying "como a si!?" which means like, what is this!? She really had no idea! I don't how I managed to pull it off but it was a total surprise. How did I do? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page and let me know what you think!

My first time in Antelope Canyon and I got engaged! As we left the trail we saw a beam of light shining through the exit that you can see below. It topped off the best day of my life with the photo that I had visualised capturing for years. All of the photos are available in store for just £6!

...To The Horseshoe Bend

We drove straight from Antelope Canyon to the Horseshoe Bend, the next thing on our bucket list! As we walked down a small hill to where google maps said it was there was just dirt and rock as far as the eye could see. Then as you get to the bottom of the trail the river slowly comes into view and reveals one of the most beautiful views. I need to get a wider lens! No editing, the water really looks black and the rock is that bright red. There is no fence or barrier so we just sat right on the edge of the cliff looking down at the view for the rest of the morning. Not too bad for our engagement shoot!

We stayed to take a few more photos as the sun was rising and then headed back to find somewhere for lunch. Of course we ended up at Denny's again. I think we ate there 4 times in 5 days. Yep, even just after our engagement. We went back to our hotel to rest and swim before our plan to go out and catch the sunset and stars to finish the day off.

Somewhere Near the Hotel...

I think it was worth it for the photos! But, walking in the pitch black with just your iPhone light as 'things' scurry and run past you is not the most comforting thing we have ever done. 

Hoover Dam

I actually only realised that we had visited the Hoover Dam after I googled our location when I was posting the photo above on Instagram. We had walked past and taken photos of this Dam the night before and in the morning without actually realising that it was one of the most iconic places in Nevada, yeah, we also thought we were still in Arizona! So yeah, Hoover Dam everyone...

Monument Valley, Utah

You might recognise this place from the film Forrest Gump... I had to run down the road for a photo! Known for, as wikipedia puts it, towering sandstone buttes, yep. The buttes tower over the horizon in the flattest piece of desert that we had been to so far and remind you of every western movie you've ever seen. We drove to the end of the road which took us into Utah for the first few photos...

The Mexican Hat

I can't say that this was one of the most impressive sights that we visited. It was in the top 10 things to see in Utah and was just down the road from Monument Valley so, expecting a huge Mexican hat rock, we drove there before catching sunset in the valley. It's kind of like a little upside down Mexican hat. I mean, it's cool, but, it's a small upside down Mexican hat. I spent some time trying to figure out how I could make the photo a bit more interesting but that didn't go so well either...

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Monument Valley, Arizona

After the great time at the hat we drove back over the border into Arizona to watch the sunset over the other side of Monument Valley.

Whatever the things were running past us the night before probably ate whatever this was too... that is an animal bone right!?

Light is everything. As the sun was starting to go down it transformed the valley. The rocks started to turn a golden colour with really strong shadows making them stand out even more.

So thankful for the journey I have the privilege of travelling!

With arms held high, Lord I give my life!

As the sun continued setting it started painting the landscape in an amazing deep red.

It was worth the long drive and time at the small hat to see this amazing sunset. We camped out in the car for the rest of the evening watching the sun go down and cooking about 30 s'mores between the three of us. 

Always thankful...

We had 3 hours to get back to the final hotel before the check in closed and a 3 hour road trip ahead of us. So, foot down!

This sunset marked the end of our road trip and the most beautiful adventure we have done so far. Yes, I got engaged! But every part of this landscape was so awe inspiring and stunning. Every day was like a dream. 

Thanks for coming! You can now leave comments right here in the blog so I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you thought of the story! Remember all of these photos are available for just £6 in store and each photo makes a real difference and you choose how.

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