American Southwest Travel Stories

The Grand Canyon
Welcome to the American Southwest Travel Stories. Within these pages, you can read selected stories and musings about our waterfall-themed adventures in the Southwest. Hopefully, you'll find these storiess entertaining and educational. Perhaps you might get a good laugh at our expense, or you might find some nuggets that you can apply to your own travels.

Thumb through the travel stories below. They are arranged chronologically with the most recent escapade at the top. Enjoy :)

Mom at the second ladder on Kanarraville Creek (29-March 2018 to 6-April 2018)
Three Generations
: For myself, this late start kind of exacerbated a day that wasn't going that right for me as I was fighting a toothache that started last night and wouldn't go away this morning. So I couldn't really cut my food with my front teeth (one of the four lower teeth that had been loosened decades ago from a basketball injury may finally be having its nerves dying and possibly necessitating another root canal). I was also bothered by my left knee since the Wire Pass dud hike as it seemed like scar tissue was building up and prevent that leg from bending all the way back (so doing a quad stretch was difficult). With a frozen left shoulder and now limited range of motion on my left knee, that wasn't good news as I knew the long drive wasn't helping in terms of keeping my knees loose. Then, by the time we left, my stomach was feeling really bloated. After two straight days of doing a morning ice cream binge so it wouldn't go to waste, I think the poor diet finally caught up to me and I was already bent over with discomfort as we left Page and made the long drive...

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View over Layton towards the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island from Adams Canyon Trail (25-May 2017 to 29-May 2017)
Elevate Us
: By about 2:20pm, we only made it to Jean, which was the next town on the way to State Line. And it wouldn't be until about 3:20pm when we finally made it to Primm. By this time, lots of people were driving along the shoulders to try to get an edge on other people frustratingly sitting still in traffic. Pretty much the only positive that came out of this was that I was able to get good sports talk about the NBA Finals from the Las Vegas-based sports stations. Tahia was also taking her afternoon siesta at this time so at least the boredom from the traffic wasn't going to affect her as much (I hoped). The traffic was pretty much stop and inch from Las Vegas all the way to State Line. I guess the main reason why was because the I-15 went from three lanes to two lanes. I guess in California, their lack of infrastructure spending really showed. Well, at least the traffic went from stop and inch to sluggish. And by 4:45pm, we finaly made it to Baker as both Tahia and Julie needed to make a restroom break...

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Hanging Lake in Colorado (13-April 2017 to 23-April 2017)
Corner Places
: As I was speeding along the NP-101 on the way out, I was suddenly tailed by someone in a truck. I thought that it wanted to pass me or something, but I didn't see a place to pull over and let him pass so I doubled down and went a little faster even though I was already gunning it some 20mph past the 35mph limit. But then after another minute or two, I noticed that this truck had blinking lights turned on in my rear-view mirror. It was at that moment that I quickly realized that I had just been caught speeding. I guess this truck was an unmarked vehicle because it had nothing on its paint job that indicated it was police. So I had to pull over when it was safely possible, and we eventually found a somewhat grassy shoulder along the narrow road...

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View towards the Rockies and downtown Denver from the Sky Terrace at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (22-March 2017 to 24-March 2017)
United We Pay
: Speaking of getting back to LAX from Denver, Julie and Tahia were successfully able to check in to their flight, but I wasn't. Apparently, my reservation was not in the system anymore. And so I had to call customer service to see what was going on. Once I got connected with an agent, I was told that my reservation was cancelled because I was a "no show" for my earlier flight from LAX to Denver on Wednesday, which clearly wasn't true. I don't know why they cancelled the original booking (though I suspected that the original United agents really wanted to make an example of me for some reason), but now they charged another $250 to re-issue my ticket for something I never cancelled myself. So the grand total for these erroneous change fees was now about $638 and change...

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The iconic Red Rock Crossing in Sedona (12-March 2009 to 15-March 2009)
: This small extended weekend trip to Sedona was something Julie and I had always wanted to do ever since our Grand Circle trip back in 2001. We simply didn't have enough time to fit Sedona in back then. But now, it's almost eight years later since being in this part of Northern Arizona. Unfortunately, this trip seemed like it wasn't meant to be because there was predicted bad weather (funny how the forecast gets worse after you make the booking last week) and Julie wasn't feeling well... [read more]

Mom barely visible in the photo as she looks up at Broken Bow Arch (15-September 2006 to 17-September 2006)
Mothers Day in September
: With simultaneously growing anticipation and doubt, mom and I took the apparent advice from the pair of hikers we talked to and scrambled down the slickrock and into the bushy depths of Calf Creek Canyon. There didn't seem to be a trail and right away something seemed off. But thinking Upper Calf Creek Falls was in a wide open cove, I thought we could scramble upstream in the bush to eventually get there. But after a few minutes of scratching skin with the hard and dense growth around the gurgling creek, we retreated back up the slick rock. I had this sinking feeling that this waterfall would elude us for yet a third time... [read more]

Wading in the Zion Narrows on the Virgin River (18-June 2003 to 21-June 2003)
Deer in the Daylight
: It was about 9am when I finally headed north on Hwy 89. I was careful not to speed as I had received two traffic tickets a month ago along this stretch of road. The drive proceeded as normal as the daylight continued and the summer heat started beating down with increasing intensity. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something running very fast towards the minivan... [read more]

Monument Valley painted red by the setting sun (23-May 2003 to 25-May 2003)
Two Tickets to my Driving Record
: Up to this point, all we had seen were things we had seen before. We went through nearly 8 hours of driving by now and I was anxious to start seeing something I hadn't seen before or something I hadn't seen in years. As we entered the township of Hatch, the speed limit was reduced to 35mph so I lazily let the car roll to the required slower speed from the 75mph we had gone, but apparently it wasn't slowing down fast enough because a state trooper was going the other way when he flashed his blinker and made a U-turn just as we passed him... [read more]

The Subway Entrance (25-April 2003 to 27-April 2003)
Tubing in the Subway
: As Julie and I made our way up the slippery wet hardened sandstone floor, we were immediately met by a series of deep pools that conspired to turn us around like so many others who went up the Subway backwards. But knowing about this obstacle in advance, I came prepared with an inflatable rafting tube and now was the time to start blowing on it so we can see what lies beyond... [read more]

The Silent City from the Peek-a-Boo Loopo (11-April 2003 to 12-April 2003)
Hoodoo Voodoo
: We knew that this was going to be a very short hike (about 0.3 miles from the trailhead each for the Mossy Cave Waterfall as well as the Mossy Cave itself). And for sure this would be our first close-encounter with the hoodoos from below instead of above. What we didn't expect was that the hoodoos made some pretty interesting formations like the one that resembled Scooby-Doo, the cartoon character dog... [read more]

The Temple of Sinawava Waterfall (15-May 2003 to 16-May 2003)
Spring Rain
: As we entered the town of Virgin, there was a big traffic jam as apparently the traffic stopped moving in town. It turned out that we happened to show up just in time for a parade that was going through the main road in Virgin. We might have missed most of the parade, but the long queue of waiting motorists didn't start moving until some state trooper vehicles (whom I guess were part of the parade) passed by while blaring the classic reggae tune of "Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?" (you know the same tune they use on the show COPS)... [read more]

Travertine dams at the base of Havasu Falls (28-November 2002 to 1-December 2002)
Thanksgiving amongst the Havasupai
: The weather forecast had said we would face bad weather today. It certainly looked that way yesterday in Laughlin when dark skies and swaying trees seemed to indicate the arrival of a big storm. But as we gazed at the double-barred plumes of Havasu Falls, we marveled at how the reflected light in the shadows of the surrounding sandstone cliffs painted the travertine rocks and cliffs a pinkish orange while we saw dark turquoise at the base of the falls... [read more]

Mesa Arch (21-June 2001 to 25-June 2001)
The Wild Wild West
: After going back the way we came, we then recovered our Trooper and decided to drive back out towards the Lower Antelope Canyon. After paying our admission fee, we then passed by a memorial providing us with a sobering reminder of how screwed we'd be if a flash flood were to occur while we were inside the slot canyon. Given the thunderstorms we had been getting for the past few days, it was definitely on our minds. Soon enough, the path descended into a crack in the rippling creek bed. And after going down several flights of stairs, we then contorted and weaved our way into the narrow depths of the Lower Antelope Canyon... [read more]

Lower Calf Creek Falls (19-June 2001 to 20-June 2001)
Thinking of Jabba the Hut
: After hiking along the deceptively strenuous sandy trail for what seemed like an eternity, we could see the falls up ahead behind the foliage. Its sound grew louder as we got closer and our pace quickened. And there it was before us - Lower Calf Creek Falls. It was still in shadow, but we were alone and had the falls to ourselves... [read more]

The waterfall in Orderville Canyon (17-June 2001 to 18-June 2001)
A Cool Adventure in the Desert
: The four of us made quicker progress than we had on the Virgin River because there seemed to be long stretches of ankle-deep or shallower water. But just as we thought we could cruise effortlessly, we were stopped in our tracks by a deep-looking pool with a little waterfall off to the side of a seemingly impassable wall behind it... [read more]

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