Beautiful Yosemite

Yosemite is one of America’s best kept secrets. It is a beautiful national park – unspoilt and not commercialised. There are many hikes people can do – easy and hard. After our Half Dome marathon, we had a recovery day, seeing Yosemite’s many faces without much exertion. We were in a minibus. Anyone can drive … Continue reading / view photos Beautiful Yosemite

Hiking to Half Dome

One of the famous peaks in Yosemite is Half Dome. The name will be obvious when you see a photo of it. The hike to the top requires using cables. To avoid a traffic jam, any one hiking to the top requires a permit. The handing out of permits is a lottery: there is no … Continue reading / view photos Hiking to Half Dome

Viva Las Vegas!

I’ve always wanted to see Vegas. I was probably more excited than going to the national parks, which are infinitely more beautiful. Vegas, however, is unique. It brings together some of the world’s great architecture in reduced form. You’ll see the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Rialto Bridge and many more structures. … Continue reading / view photos Viva Las Vegas!

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is an incredible piece of engineering. My memory of it will always be the heat. It must have been 35-40c as I walked around. I wondered whether heat stroke and/or dehydration would overcome me before looking at the Dam from all sides. The are two tours that take you inside the Dam. … Continue reading / view photos Hoover Dam

Zion National Park – Angels Landing

Angels Landing is a 450m rock formation. Several people have died trying to get to the top. At its worst, there are steep drops either side of you as you ascend or descend its spine. There are now chains to help you go up. Before getting to that stage you ascend 21 switchbacks, which have … Continue reading / view photos Zion National Park – Angels Landing

Zion National Park – trails

I hadn’t heard of Zion National Park before this trip. It’s a beautiful park, with lots of trails for different abilities. There is an extensive (free) bus service to take you to the starting point of trails. We were unable to hike Antelope Canyon or the Narrows (too much river flow) but tomorrow we’ll be … Continue reading / view photos Zion National Park – trails

Grand Canyon – Horseshoe Bend

The drive to the north side of the Grand Canyon saw the land become more desert like. On the way there we popped into the Desert View Watchtower. Completed in 1932, it’s designed to resemble an ancient North American watchtower. The ruinous, decayed look is by design and not because it’s old! Entrance is free … Continue reading / view photos Grand Canyon – Horseshoe Bend

Grand Canyon – Horseshoe Mesa hike

Unlike normal hilly hikes, this one goes down into the Grand Canyon first then you return the same way. This may seem not to make a difference. However, walking down can be strenuous, especially when the path is steep. This meant that ascending was more difficult than if you’d climbed first and descended second. You … Continue reading / view photos Grand Canyon – Horseshoe Mesa hike

Grand Canyon – first view

Our first sighting of the Grand Canyon was in the south near Grandview Point . Your breath is taken away the second you see it. There’s nothing like it. The scale is incredible. It’s understandable why the place is popular with Americans. The best views and hikes for the Grand Canyon seem to be in … Continue reading / view photos Grand Canyon – first view

Getting to San Francisco

We had for me an unprecedented long wait in the plane before taking off at Heathrow. A 10cm pin used in the cargo doors was defective. It took three hours to find a spare pin, install it and do the paperwork. When we did take off, I realised I had forgotten how long a 10.5 … Continue reading / view photos Getting to San Francisco