• Ngoc X Doan

We Hiked One of the Most Dangerous Trails in The World

Updated: May 21, 2020

We are on week number 6! We are 2,600 miles away from home. If we drive home at the moment, it would take us about 39 hours non-stop to get back to Boston, MA. Our families back at home miss us and some want us to go home. Should we head back? CORVID-19 is about to explode in Boston. Friends and family, please stay safe. We are doing our best to protect ourselves from getting the disease by going to remote areas. If we do get infected, we'll have to isolate ourselves in our tiny home for 2 weeks...

Week six features tiny home experience at the Grand Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. We took most of week off to explore these parks. It would had been difficult to work without having access to the internet.

Map of Week 6

Week 6 - Most Memorable Landscapes

1. The Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon was on the top of our list of places to visit. We are glad that we finally made it to see the most famous strata, rock layers. Nature is pretty incredible. And, I have never felt so small.

We booked 3 nights. We stayed at the only campground that is open in the winter. It was our first time staying at a campsite!

The pros: beautiful views, minimal driving, easy biking opportunity

The cons: no internet, no running hot water, no wifi, cost

Bike rides at the Grand Canyon

We biked along the rim trails for a couple of miles. The views were incredible. We saw a lot of wild animals.

Mark's goal: getting a haircut at the Grand Canyon

Mark washed his hair outside with our new biodegradable shampoo.

I gave him his second haircut of the trip on our last morning! I accidentally gave him a bald spot. I blamed the cold weather. Plus, we needed to check out by 11 AM. He really wanted a haircut at the Grand Canyon.

Meals at the Grand Canyon

We cooked at campsite. Our first meal, we reheated food that Thuan & Thoa packed for us. The food was so good. For dinner, we made pasta in the dark. We needed a headlamp because was pitch black outside. After cooking, Mark got pasta sauce all over his only jacket. On the next day, we reheated our pasta and ate it at a viewing area. We got the idea from previous visitors who were sipping beer.

You will probably notice our pasta doesn't look so great in the picture, but it tasted amazing. Gourmet pasta and Rao's ragu sauce were delicious. For second dinner, I made fried rice with leftovers from Thoa's Vietnamese food. We used water from the camp's bathroom to wash our dishes. The water was freezing cold. I had a hard time cleaning dishes with cold water...All I saw was white grease. My hands were red. Was it worth it? YES!

Also, we left our dishes outside to dry while we were taking a nap. We arrived late at night. We also had to skip dinner because we did not have time to eat. We realized ravens ate our dried pasta when I started to prep for dinner! They even took the bag with it. Yikes, I am so sorry for littering the park. Mark did not think that ravens would eat dried pasta. The park warned us to not leave food outside...

Mark likes to climb rocks. That's him on that ledge. He said he had to mantle (use both hands to push down in order to pull himself up) to get back to the top...I guess, we're not telling his parents about this.

We managed to get a few shots with my DSLR camera toward the end!

2. Horseshoe Bend

We had planned to wake up early. We wanted to arrive at 6:30 AM to avoid the crowd, but we slept in. We arrived around 8:00 AM instead. There were about 30-50 people at the site when we arrived. We paid $10 to park. Recently, the arrival landscape and shade structures were designed and implemented. It's no longer free to visit. However, it is better for the environment because visitors slowly destroyed the natural habitat in the past.

And, Mark went off to climb the highest point at Horseshoe Bend.

We also made a short trip to see the Glen Canyon Dam! Cindy, our friend, recommended it and it's free to visit!

Mark climbed another rock. We're never showing this to his parents.

3. Antelope Canyon

We booked our tour with the Navajo Group. We saw the Upper Antelope Canyon for the 11 AM time slot. The cost was $80/person. The tour lasted about 1 hour inside the Canyon. We booked it about 5 days ahead.

It was the most expensive and only tour we did during this trip so far. The canyon was definitely more beautiful than I imagined. The Navajo name it Tsé bighánílíní, which means 'the place where water runs through rocks'.

We were lucky to be in a group of 14. Other groups only had 8 or 10 people. Nonetheless, our tour guide was great! Everyone was taking pictures non-stop. I recommend only take pictures at the beginning and the end of the tour. You will get better lighting when more of the canyon was exposed. Tripods are not allowed. The best camera to use is your eyes. Enjoy the moment.

Also, it is important to watch out for sand while looking up. A lot of sand fell on me while I was taking photos of the heart shape shot. My camera was covered in sand. In a sheer moment of panic, I opened my camera lens by accident. I have not changed my lens since. I am hoping I don't need to send it in for a repair. Also, remember to bring cash if you want to tip your tour guide. Most of them wear masks to protect themselves from the sand.

First half images: DSLR camera vs Second Half: phone camera!

I left the Antelope Canyon with sand as souvenir in my hair. And, we won't be able to shower for another 2 days...

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

We thought we left Boston to escape the cold winter, but we saw a lot of snow when we arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park. The highest point at Bryce Canyon is at 9,000 feet or 2,700 meters above sea level. We thought we got the coronavirus, because we confused its symptoms with altitude sickness' symptoms. For precautionary measures, we rested. We made sure we had enough sleep and avoided strenuous activities.

I secretly wanted to see snow at Bryce Canyon. It was beautifully freezing. We only saw ravens and chipmunks. We would have loved to see Mountain Lions...

Meals at Bryce Canyon

We had Indian food for our first meal at Bryce Canyon. I know, it sounds out of place. We reheated our leftovers from the previous night. For lunch, we cooked sausages from Whole Foods. Mark couldn't find good buns to go with our sausages. Instead, we used rice papers and we wrapped sausages with mixed greens. My mom would be proud to hear that I stocked rice papers for the trip.

We ran out of supplies to cook for second dinner. We did not want to eat yogurt again for dinner. We decided to eat at a restaurant. We did not take any pictures, but we filled our bellies with buffet food. It was nice not having to cook and clean dishes using tiny sinks.

Some moments around Bryce Canyon.

I charged my laptop and camera batteries in the bathroom at Bryce during our downtime. I painted my nails while waiting. It was a good thing that the bathroom did not smell bad. I wonder what other visitors thought of me when they saw me in the bathroom. Sorry peeps. It was nice and warm inside the bathroom.

5. Zion National Park

We had about 10 hours to spend at Zion National Park. And what did we do? We decided to hike Angels Landing, one of the most dangerous trails in the world. We planned to wake up before sunrise and drive to Zion. Once again, we were not able to wake up early. But one day, we will.

When we arrived at the Zion east gate, a park ranger measured our trailer's width. A park ranger said, "You have a skinny trailer!" We were lucky that our tiny home met the width standard of 92 inches to go through Zion tunnel. Did you know that there is a tunnel at Zion? We did not. If our trailer were slightly wider, we would have had to pay $15 fee to go through the tunnel.

Wow! Zion surprised me in many ways that I cannot explain in words. The drive through the colorful and textured mountains was simply beautiful. I did not use my DSLR camera at Zion. Sorry friends and families, no pretty