By: Amalia Marin, Travel Consultant
I’ve visited many places internationally, but haven’t explored much of the United States, so I was really looking forward to this trip! I’ve also never been on a group tour so I was ready to try a different type of travel experience to the Cayonlands with Trafalgar.
Our journey began in downtown Denver. After check-in and before meeting our tour group, we chose to walk to a bar nearby, The Greedy Hamster. After a drink and some delicious appetizers, we left and walked around the Civic Center Park where a lot of people were enjoying a food truck festival. Once we tired ourselves from the heat, we went back to the hotel to relax before the Welcome Reception. That evening, we met the rest of our group and our awesome travel director who has been working as a guide for 25+ years.
On day 2 we got up bright and early for our long drive to Moab. On our way there, we stopped by the ski resort town of Vail. It was a beautiful and chilly morning. The town was very picturesque and makes you feel like you are walking through a quaint European village.
Once we arrived in Moab, we decided to take the jet-boat cruise and dinner optional excursion. A boat cruise of the Colorado River is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful views created by the rock formations in the area. From the river, you can grasp how large-scale the rocks are and you can also see the varying colors created by the shadows at sunset. Our boat driver took us to a spot where you can see Indian writing on the stones. The natives carved out the varnish on the rocks to create pictures. On the drive back to the port we were also able to see two rock climbers in action.
Although the drives throughout our trip were long, the amazing scenery made each drive truly enjoyable. The rock formations were all unique in shape, size, and color. The majority had a reddish color due to the iron content but others were tinted with cobalt blue, and some were yellowish in hue.
We drove through old gold mines, tunnels, little towns, and empty spaces. I loved our visit to the Canyonlands National Park. It was early and warm and the skies were clear. The rocks there were huge. Even though you can see that a particular formation is made of a single rock, the odd shapes gave the appearance that some giant person or god took multiple rocks and stacked them precariously on top of each other.
We also visited Arches National Park. There, we had some time to hike about. It was enough time to walk up to Landscape Arch, the longest of the many natural rock arches in the park. This was a very easy walk but the park has many trails with varying levels of difficulty. I saw some hikers taking a primitive trail that definitely looked challenging as the path could be seen taking a vertical incline in the distance.
At Mesa Verde National Park we had a change of scenery. Mesa Verde is Spanish for “green table” and the people who lived there constructed villages in the sides of cliffs. The remnants of these homes can still be seen today.
Monument Valley was one of my favorite places. The location of our lodge was great because the views in the area are really beautiful. Sunset and sunrise are amazing and can be easily seen from the balcony of your room. In the evening you get to take a ride in an open air vehicle. It’s a bumpy and dusty ride but it’s fun too.
We made a few brief stops for photos and shopping. The natives had little shops set up where they were selling jewelry, gifts, and other items. We were then driven to the outdoor spot where our steak dinner awaited. Sharing a meal with the other travelers in this picnic-style setting with the Monument Valley rocks as our backdrop was a really unique experience. We also had the chance to learn more about the natives in the settlement. One of the members gave us a bit of history, told stories, and even sang.
At Grand Canyon National Park we were able to enjoy the unbelievable views and appreciate the magnitude of the canyon. It really is something that cannot be fully described but is best experienced in person. After our stay in the Grand Canyon, we drove through Route 66 and made our way to our last destination, Vegas.
We all said our goodbyes getting off the bus and everyone went their separate ways. I enjoyed 2 nights in Vegas before flying home. We had a really great time on the Canyonlands With Trafalgar tour. It was well organized, had interesting highlights and unique experiences. We hope to travel with Trafalgar again soon!
By: Amalia Marin
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