Explore U.S. - Part 02: The Grand Tetons + Arches + Zion + Bryce Canyon


HOLY BUCKETS, GUYS. I think I have even more photos to dump today than I did 2 weeks ago?? YEP. *nervous laughter* Life has been totally exciting lately even though I’M MISSING OUT ON ALL THE BLOG THINGS. *wrings hands and wails* but it’s okay I’ll be okay. Ahem. OVERVIEW TIME.


The Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Bright, bright, bright. Hot, hot, hot. Beautiful. The mountains are confident, remote, untamed. I remember the town of Jackson being smaller when we came here fifteen years ago. There are antler arches guiding tourists to a park. There are boys in sunglasses sitting on the edge of a fountain. There are art galleries and hanging baskets and tourists.

Out in the mountains, early in the morning, it’s quiet. We kayak on Jenny Lake – something my dad always dreamed of doing. The sun hikes up the sky and resumes melting the snow on the mountain tops and the snow turns into water and trickles down and gurgles down and rushes down into the lake. We stop to take pictures in a field and a dude and his son come by on bikes and the father points at our truck with the kayaks and the bicycles strapped on and says to the boy, “Look at all the fun they have packed in there!”

I turn nineteen years old (OMG!!) I get the most beautiful messages and birthday songs from you all (OMG AGAIN) and weep a little and go to a beautiful health food store (my dream birthday activity btw) and later we go to a cafĂ© for dinner and eat the most incredible vegan chocolate cake known to mankind. We walk around downtown and look in the windows of shops that have already closed for the night and there’s a family walking in front of us and a young teenage boy holding his little sister’s hand. Me and Katie stay up late watching Mr. Selfridge (which is amazing btw) on my iPad and we laugh and rewind things that wouldn’t be funny at any other sane hour of the day and eventually go to sleep.



Arches National Park, Utah: HOT. Did I say that The Grand Teton’s were hot? They weren’t. Arches is out in what looks a lot like the middle of nowhere. Desert, rocks, sand, maybe the wayward horse. It’s 105 degrees one day – the day we decide to go hiking. I melt, in every sense of the word. But there are awesome rock formations and deserts and mountains. It’s like another planet – the moon, maybe, but red. 400 degree difference between light and shadow (at least it feels like that.)

The pavement is hot, the air is hot, the pool is even hot. My sister and I flip-flop down there to swim. But we don’t actually swim – we just kind of float around and talk about dragons and books and cake (aka it is the highlight of the trip.) The sun sets over our heads and the canyons blush and the mosquitos start to come out.

We take night drives, when it cools down. Switchback up the fault and over the ridge – wow, beautiful. The clouds blow in, painting everything periwinkle. There’s wind, too – wind that feels like the ocean. North, south, whipping through the open windows. I let my hair down even though I know I’ll have to scream all the tangles out later. I lean against the window and breathe in the warm, cooling desert. There are jackrabbits, I think. Out in the brush. And there’s a blurry sunset motorcade trailing us down the switchbacks. 


Zion National Park, Utah: wow. Who ever thought that mountains could be this giant, this steep, this beautiful? There are more people can I thought there would be. We take a shuttle bus through the park and a group of teenagers sits behind us for the first part of the ride – they laugh and take pictures with their phones. I illegally stick my hand out the bus window because I like sticking my hand out the window almost as much as your average dog like sticking its head out the window.

There are skylights in the bus and I say to my mom, “Wouldn’t it be funny if it started pouring rain right now?” And she says, “Shh. No, it wouldn’t.” And I bite on my laughter and enjoy the scenery. And then a few minutes later, it starts pouring rain. The bus driver jokes about driving into the river and the people standing up in the bus shut the skylights and I shut the window next to me but it’s too hot so I open it up again. We see waterfalls and trees and more cliffs. I hear a little boy behind me say that he wants a dragon. I whisper, “Me too, bro.” 


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: I’d forgotten how awesome this place is. It’s bigger and a little more touristy than it was fifteen years ago, but the canyon is still the same, still stunningly beautiful. A cathedral, a kingdom, a gem. Soft colors, whitewashed, sun-bleached, evergreens. It’s clear in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon. We take hikes and pictures down in the canyon. Out of every hundred people we walk by, I hear ten speaking English. We ride to different viewpoints. I hear a little girl telling her older brother that he’s “pretty not-skilled” with taking pictures.

I want to photograph the stars, so me and my dad hike down into the canyon after dark and everything is quiet. It’s cloudy and we don’t get any good pictures, but there’s something magical about being down there when everyone is gone. When there are wild animals coming out and all you have is some cameras and a flashlight.
 
My dad takes me for a bike ride the next day. It starts to rain, but I say that I don’t want to turn back. Then it starts to rain harder. Then it starts to hail. (And let me tell ya: HAIL HURTS WHEN YOU ARE BIKING INTO IT.) I scream and laugh and yell, “WHAT DO I DO??” and there are just naked pine trees for shelter and a few prong-horned antelope hanging out in the forest. They don’t like random cyclists who scream and run into the forest to hide under the trees. They prance away and give us weird looks. I’m a drenched rat when we walk into the visitor’s center to buy some expensive commemorative t-shirts out of absolute necessity.

We hike in Red Canyon (which is absolutely gorgeous and way more secluded than Bryce.) There is hot sun and lots of loose rocks and distant ponies whinnying and beauty everywhere you turn. We trudge up to Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon to actually take pictures of the stars and holy buckets they are beautiful. All you can see is black around you, and with your flashlight on, the edge of the canyon where it sheer drops. I feel all professional and cool with my telephoto lens, but it’s my wide angle that ends up taking the best photos.

On the fourth of July, we walk downtown to see the fireworks display. There’s a rodeo just ending and across the street a dormitory and kids playing an intense game of basketball – screaming and laughing. Sparklers go up. I wear my pajama pants and Forever 21 hoodie and Nikes and feel like a very obvious teenager. A thousand different languages explode around us with the fireworks, everyone enthralled for a few minutes by the same thing. It’s genuine. Beautiful. Happy Birthday, America.


Da tour of da national parks: is over. WOOOOT. It was stunning and beautiful and fun while it lasted, but I think we are all kind of #DONE with hiking. *nervous laughter* The Super Pod event where we are going to screen our film isn’t far away!! YIKES. But before we head off to Washington, we are going to visit family in Oregon. <3 GOTTA LOVE DAS EVERGREENS AND CAFFIENE (and of course falling asleep on extended family member’s couches. #nothinglikeit)


How I’ve managed to not go crazy:
- I haven’t.
- That’s all part of the adventure!
- I don’t really need to be sane whilst traveling anyway.


I MISS MY BLOGGER PEEPS. </3 Wi-Fi and free time is sooo scarce, therefore my heart aches a little every time Bloglovin sends me a notification saying that one of you published a new and awesome post. I’ve been trying to keep up a little bit, but DATA IS EXPENSIVE. HAHA. *more nervous laughter*


What I do when I’m sitting on the couch during 10 hour driving days:

- Listen to music (lol Twenty One Pilots duh who am I kidding – but ALSO ALSO EPIC TRAILER MUSIC BECAUSE EPIC TRAILER MUSIC IS LIFE.)

- Read books (just finished All The Light We Cannot See and OWCH MY HEART it needs a little help :’’’’’) ALSO I have a question: I kind of REALLY WANT to read Fairest but I don’t know if I should get the ebook or the physical?? AND IF I GET THE PHYSICAL SHOULD I GET HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK??? #thebigquestions)

- SLEEP (because sleep)

- Shriek and flail (in good and bad ways) over alL THESE NEW BOOK IDEAS THAT KEEP TORMENTING ME. Like can I just ask a question: WHAT MADE ALL THESE IDEAS THINK MY BRAIN WAS UP FOR GRABS?? And even bigger question behind the question: CAN IDEAS THINK? (omg now I sound like Werner *cries a little* *a lot*)


Mostly missing: Pinterest (IF IT’S OKAY TO SAY PINTEREST BEFORE HOME.) No Wi-Fi also means no getting distracted with social media, which can be beautiful but can also be WAHHH. NOT WELCOME. Somebody get me waffles to bandage my sad feelings.


Next week: TWO of my MOST FABULOUS FRENS EVER are guest posting on the blog!!!1 *screams to infinity and beyond* I won’t spoil anything for you, but just KEEP YO EYES PEELED BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO BE AWESOME. <3


This post: IS REALLY LONG HAHA WOW. But after two long weeks of literally NO ME (omg how have y’all survived even??) I figured you might need a nice big dose of my awesomeness. *cool shades emoji because I’ve been overusing that one lately*




LET’S TALK, Y’ALL. Tell me about your lives! What have you been up to lately? What books have you read? What music have you obsessed over? What emojis have you been using too much?? TELL TELL TELL. Also have you visited any of these national parks? Would you ASDFGHJKL to???

Big hugs and waffles for everyone!!

love,
abbiee

29 comments

  1. DUDE that first picture of your parents is so adorable. <3

    I am forever jealous of this entire trip because I haven't been to a single national park and these look majestical.

    The way you describe each place makes me so happy :)))

    ur welcome 4 the birthday song btw

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    1. AREN'T THEY JUST ADORABLE?? I LOVE THEM TO PIECES <3 <3 <3 omg dude you have no idea how much I wanted to KIDNAP YOU AND TAKE YOU WITH US. Because let's face it that would have been epic omg. LOVE YOU SO MUCH BRO

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  2. *dies from awesome overload* Abbie!!! GIRL! THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. Because a) you are an amazing photographer <3<3 b) your writing just makes me want to go on an adventure, because you don't just describe the big things, you describe the little things in a way that makes them a feast for the mind. Keep writing! Also, let me know when you when you publish a novel because I think that would be really amazing. <3

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    1. OH MY GOODNESS LIZ YOU'RE GONNA MAKE ME CRY WITH YOUR SWEET WORDS. :'''''') thank you sosososo much!! sdfghjkl and how you mentioned the way I write these posts and mention all the little things like GAH THANK YOU FOR NOTICING THAT IT MAKES ME RLY HAPPY OK <3 LOVE U

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  3. I LOVE THE PICTURES OHMYWORD. *screaming* I hate long drives, but I'm 100% sure I could endure it for the sake of this beauty. Woah. It's gorgeous.

    I TOTALLY RECOMMEND FAIREST. It's one of my favorite books! I would say to get a hardcover, physical copy. I personally prefer a physical copy of a book because it smells good (yas, I'm a book nerd. lol no shame here) and because it's so much more fun to turn pages and carry it around and put on a shelf...and I get hardcover because I will probably rip it otherwise with excessive reading. :p TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF IT TOO!! *screams* I think you'll like it. It's a fabulous book. :)

    I have not been to any of those national parks, sadly. :'( BUT I WANT TO NOW THANK YOU ABBIE. XD I would probably take thousands (or billions) of pictures too. :p You are a fabulous photographer btw!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST. *cries from the beauty of it all* *flailing*

    *hugs* ~Megan <333

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    1. LONG DRIVES ARE LITERALLY THE WORST. *wipes tongue* but whatever i lived!! haha. FAIREST WAS SOOOOO GOOD. I read it in like one day xD and I ended up getting the paperback because I'm broke *cries/laughs* OMG YOUR KIND WORDS <3 THANK YOU SO MUCH I'M SO ASDFGHJK HAPPY YOU LIKE THE PHOTOS AND EVERYTHING YOU'RE AWESOME OK *HUGS*

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  4. "a young teenage boy holding his little sister’s hand." < Definitely my favorite part. :) Your writing style is the bomb, btw. I love how you described everything, and writing it in present tense just made it even better. The whole trip sounds absolutely beautiful and wonderful and thrilling. And I don't even like traveling or hiking or being away from home that much! But I would have enjoyed this I think, and I know you enjoy those things, so this trip must have been INDESCRIBABLE for you! :D Yay! And your pictures are also the bomb.

    My parents went to Yellowstone last September, and the pictures were amazing. I have not not been to any national parks though.

    I started reading this book called, "Do More Better." It's about productivity. Heheh, the other night, I was reading it at 12:30am. XD Btw, I think you should get a physical Fairest, and I guess paperback, because it's cheaper than hardcover.

    And I can totally understand missing Pinterest. I probably would still miss home more than Pinterest, but I do very much like Pinterest.

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    1. GAHH THANK YOU SO MUCH MAGGIE <3 I'm so glad you like all the descriptions and how I wrote it in present tense. :) OMG YES INDESCRIBABLE IS DEFINITELY THE WAY TO DESCRIBE IT LOL. It's been soooo amazing and definitely worth the stress of everything. hehe *deep breaths*

      Ooh that books sounds super interesting!! And yessss I got the hardcover of Fairest specifically for that reason. #brokeartistproblems XD Thank you so much for reading, Maggie!! <3

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  5. Oh my goodness, Arches and Bryce look SO gorgeous! That red rock is beautiful.
    As usual, your photography is stunning. <3 It looks like you had a lot of fun!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. ASDFGHJKL YES YES EVERYTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL RIGHT <3 and omg thank you Ellie!! That means so much to me. :)

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  6. Road-tripping across the country is 1000000000 times cooler than reading blog posts and scrolling through social media at home. You're not missing out; you're LIVING. Relish it (and know I'm immensely jealous...).

    Also, your photos are stunning. I feel like I say that a lot, but that's because it's true. :)

    Serena
    poetree {blog} | editing services

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    1. GAHHH THANK YOU FOR THOSE WORDS, SERENA. <3 you rock, just sayin ;) And eeeep I definitely did relish it and my heart is so full atm. *dances around happily* EEEP THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU'RE SO KIND WOW

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  7. EEK I LOVE SUPER LONG ABBIE POSTS!!!

    WHOA your photos are gorgeous!! I've never been to that part of the country, but it looks absolutely stunning. Also all of your stories had me laughing SO HARD AHH.

    All The Light <3 I already want to reread it. But I don't feel like crying so nah.

    <3<3<3 Love this post

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    1. GRACE ANNE YOU MAKE MY HEART HAPPY <3 thank you so much, girl!! eeeep I'm so happy you like the stories xD and I KNO RIGHT LIKE I RLY WANT TO REREAD IT CHRONOLOGICALLY (like in the order of the dates and how they happen instead of scattered through the book?? BC THAT BOTHERED ME KIND OF) but what you said I don't really feel like crying rn XDDD

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  8. RT WHAT SERENA SAID. You are LIVING life bro. That's 10000x times better than pinterest <3 (i think.)
    BUT OMG I CANNOT RIGHT NOW. I really cannot. I think I say that a lot, but I really mean it. I can't right now. (now that I think about it what does that actually mean even. BUT I STILL CAN'T.)
    *BREATHESSS* Okay. First observation I made is that I WILL ONE DAY INVEST IN A WIDE ANGLE LENS. Your pictures are fantastically amazing. LIKE DUDE HOW DO YOU DO ITTTTT. like that fireworks picture is AWESOME. and awesome doesn't begin to describe it.
    Also I'm crying over here bc road tripping across the country & visiting national parks & hiking till you're done sounds beautiful and this little wanderlust heart of mine would like that a lot. idk why I love traveling so much, but I do and your pictures ARE MAKING ME HAPPY. SO THANK YOU <3
    AND YES I WOULD AKFJAKLJAKFJA TO VISIT NATIONAL PARKS OMG YES I WOULD. Guess this girl will just have to learn a little contentment in her God. ♥

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    1. AHAHAHA I LOVE THAT "I THINK" BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE EITHER Y'KNOW THEY ARE BOTH GREAT THEY ARE BOTH GOOD I LOVE IT. <3 But wow goshies thank you so much!! LITERALLY YOUR COMMENTS ON THE PHOTOS IMMA CRI <33333 THANK YOU SO MUCH ACK ACK YOU'RE THE BEST WOW and omg YES you should definitely invest in a wide angle lens someday because they are sooooo worth it. *nod nod*

      DUDE YES TRAVELLING IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DO IT MORE. <3 like why couldn't i have kidnapped you and taken you with us??? ♥♥♥ THANKYOUSOMUCH AUTUMN YOU BRIGHTEN MY DAY

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  9. OMG I love those photos! The nature is so amazing and beautiful and different from what we have in my country. Just stunning!!! :)
    Oh, being without wi-fi can be hard, how could we live without it? But it's refreshing to get away from social media and to just look around and be present. :)
    Oh I'm currently obssesing over The Raven Boys because I finally decided to read it, YAY! :)

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    1. eeeep tHANK YOU SO MUCH SIMONE! <3 that means a lot to me, truly. :) and omg yessss nature is really too beautiful for words idk why i even attempt to describe it. Getting off the grid really IS so refreshing! BUT I'M SO HAPPY TO HAVE WIFI AGAIN MUAHAHAHAHA

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  10. YOU'RE PHOTOS GOT ME FLAILING AND I DON'T THINK I'LL STOP ANY TIME SOON BECAUSE HOOOOLY COW!!!!! GORGEOUSNESS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!

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    1. ASDFGHJKL;LKJHGFDFGHJKCHJ
      *TRIES TO CALM DOWN AFTER YOUR COMMENT*
      *FAILS*

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  11. Oh my word, Abbiee, oh my word. I LOVE THE WAY YOU WRITE AND THE PHOTOS YOU TAKE. Wowwowwow. Can I have your writing and photography skills, please?

    I will forever love your blog.

    -T. x

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    1. WOW GIRL YOUR COMMENTS MAKE MY HEART SO HAPPY CAN I HUG YOU FOREVER OK THNX ♥♥♥

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  12. I AM IN A HURRY BUT I JUST WANTED TO SAY
    night pictures -- my soul is wrapped up in the night sky and i about screamed and fell off my bed. absolutely in love.
    your journal tidbits - heart aches because you paint it so beautifully and all i can do is cry.
    LOVESSSS. I MISS YOU AND I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR MORE FROM YOU. yayay.
    xx cally

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    1. pSHH GIRL YOU TALK ABOUT PAINTING WITH WORDS MINE ARE DOODLES NEXT TO YOUR SISTINE CHAPEL BUT OK THANK YOU <3333333
      *hugs you a lot* SQUEEEE THANK YOU DUDE

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  13. Epic trailer music IS life! "New Life" by Thomas Bergensen (Pan trailer), "Suns and Stars" by Really Slow Motion (also Pan trailer), "Axios" by Nathan Lanier (new Tarzan trailer), and "Rise Above" by Veigar Margeirsson (A Little Chaos trailer) are all really good. I love your photos and it looks like you're having and amazing time. :)

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    1. *SCREAMS EXCITEDLY* YAYYYY A KINDRED SPIRIT EPIC TRAILER MUSIC JUNKIE!! omgomgomg Thomas Bergersen iS LIKE ONE OF MY FAVE COMPOSERS OF ALL TIME <3 also really slow motion yaaas *slow nodding* Thank you for the recommendations, dude!! :D

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  14. GIRL THESE PICS. AAAAHHHHH........ *dies*
    also, YES i've missed all your awesomeness :( :(
    every two weeks is DEF a highlight.

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  15. eek, this sounds like an epicepicepic trip!! :D and DUDE, I've been some of the EXACT places shown in the pictures.

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  16. Wow! These photos are just fantastic. Your photography never fails to impress me!! <3 <3

    Sophia xx
    A Lantern In Her Hand
    The Inkpot Girl

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Nice comments brighten my day x100000! I read and respond to every single one (and I also give my commenters free virtual waffles, so that's a plus.)