How my fascination for rock formations literally drove me to and through my next trip

It’s true. Out of all natural formations out there, rocks to me are the most incredible and awe-inspiring. It is so impressive and almost overwhelming to think about the time required for places like the Grand Canyon, Cappadocia and Zhangjiajie mountains to form.

On top of that, I absolutely adore the desert. Its rough winds, challenging temperatures, beaming sun and bare lands are just so powerful.

So, with those two thoughts it is not difficult to understand that for my next trip I was absolutely dying to explore Utah and parts of Arizona I still hadn’t seen.

How did I plan it?

With my legs twitching from the excitement of long distance treks, several hikes were in order. Many of the national parks I was interested in visiting provided such opportunities. Success!

My best friend and I decided to make a list of the top five destinations we wanted to visit on our two-week trip. These included: Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Valley of the Gods, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, Havasu Falls and Zion National Park if time allowed.

This is what our original itinerary looked like:

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-10-00-58-am

Clearly, a lot of driving…

We opted to fly Miami-Las Vegas as this was by far the cheapest option of getting to this area. We also looked at flights to Flagstaff, Phoenix and Salt Lake City but Sin City made the most sense from both a time and savings standpoint.

We spent one night in Vegas (cheap AirBnB) thinking it would be nice to explore it after dark. I was quickly reminded of how much I do not like about this city. It pretty much has everything I don’t like in one place. Magnified.

The car

Here’s where some research saved us a few hundred dollars. When getting to the airport car rental terminal, most will give you very similar quotes and since we were both under 25 at the time, they were not cheap. Slightly annoyed our attention catches the Sixt Rent a Car sign “only a few miles outside the airport” it said. “Worth a shot, we thought”. And sure enough, it was considerably cheaper. We even got a Prius which helped us heaps with fuel expenses.

The gear

As an avid hiker and camper I have pretty much all equipment needed for these types of adventures. However, wanting to save some money on checked in luggage we decided to buy all new gear cheap at Walmart. Why Walmart you ask? Well, it just so happens that they have pretty much the best return policy ever. So after our trip, we simply returned all gear. Now that’s traveling pretty cheap.

The road

After stocking up on gear and food and maybe 10 gallons of water? We start the road trip. Word of advice: download maps.me or any other GPS-based maps as the signal is extremely spotty (we were without most of the time with our T-mobile and Sprint phones).

Keep reading to learn more about my adventures in this region.

“Cool story, bro. But how much did it cost?”

Flight Miami- Las Vegas: $180

AirBnbB: $45 per person

Car rental for two weeks: $670

Gas for two-week trip: $154

Total spend per person: $615

 

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