# 28 – Grand, Grand Canyon

Week # 28 of my challenge takes us all the way to Arizona… to a massive hole in the ground known as the Grand Canyon! And this one also crosses off another bucket list item for me – seeing the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

We spent 2 nights in the Grand Canyon National Park and during that time I took over 100 photos of the Canyon… but I’ve tried to pick out some of the best ones for you. It’s been tough! It doesn’t help that I’m only now starting to feel normal after the holiday, but I’m not quite back into my routine. Hopefully that’ll happen in the next few days and until then I’ll keep trying to catch up on blog posts, running and a normal exercise routine too.

So, the Grand Canyon.

Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe it! When we first arrived, we took a bit of a walk around the rim to take a few photos and take in the beauty of the Canyon. The next day we enjoyed a helicopter flight over the Canyon and that night we chilled out at a sunset picnic on the rim.

Here are a few of my many, many photos taken… enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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# 27 – TATTOO

The second week that I was away was week # 27 on my 52 new things challenge… and this week saw something very exciting happen!

I got a tattoo!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been wanting one for years (bucket list item โˆš) but have always been unsure of what to get and a big fat ninny when thinking about the needle(s). So I have been putting it off for years!

But once we had booked and paid for our trip, my sister suggested that we look at getting a tattoo while on holiday – a really special souvenir that we’ll have for the rest of our lives ๐Ÿ™‚ And so we did!

We did a little bit of research and found that Venice Beach was possibly a good place to get them done, so while in Los Angeles, we spent a day out at Santa Monica and Venice Beach and after walking into pretty much every tattoo parlour (shop?) in Venice Beach, we found a place that we both liked and we got them done.

Here are the photos ๐Ÿ™‚

In the chair... very nervous!

In the chair… very nervous!

The finished product :)

The finished product ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Adventure in Nepal

Wow, what an adventure this was – if you’re ever looking for an adventure holiday, I highly recommend heading out to The Last Resort in Nepal, and doing as many of the activities that they have on offer as you can!

We got a group of 8 friends together, and the adventure started immediately upon check-in for our flight… it was delayed by 2 hours (at 3 in the morning – not fun!) After spending over an hour siting around at McDonalds playing hat-draw to decide who was sleeping in which tent (hilarious outcomes!) we eventually made our way to the boarding gate and got on the plane, followed almost immediately by everyone falling asleep ๐Ÿ™‚

4-ish hours later and we were near Kathmandu… but were told that we cannot land due to bad weather and so we have to circle for 40 minutes. 40 minutes later and the Captain announced again that the weather is still too bad to land so we can either circle for another 40 minutes or fly to another airport. He chose to fly to another airport which was yet another 35-ish minutes flight… and in INDIA!

ย  ย  ย 

On arrival in India, we were able to land but at this point were told absolutely nothing about what was going on. We didn’t know if we were getting off the plane, how long we were expected to be there, and worst of all we weren’t even offered any water! One of my friends asked for a bottle and was told that we have to share it among us. We were not impressed. Eventually after siting in the plane for possibly 30 minutes, not being told what was happening, we started kicking up a major fuss and eventually the flight attendants were given the OK to offer all passengers one complimentary drink, as well as have the food items on sale.

Approximately one hour later (nearly 2 hours after being diverted from Kathmandu) we finally took off again and headed back to Nepal. On arrival there we were able to land, but now had to hope that our transfer would possibly still be waiting at the airport since we were now about 8 hours late and had had no way of contacting them to tell them what was happening.

Once we made it through customs, got our bags and headed outside, we found a very helpful tour guide who happily called our transfer and advised us that they would be there in approximately 1 hour. Sit and wait. When they arrived (back), they told us that they had waited for 4 hours for us and then had given up. We now had a +- 3 hourย bus ride to enjoy… which we made the most of by buying a case of beer and getting stuck into it immediately ๐Ÿ™‚

Thankfully our first day had no scheduled activities so on arrival at The Last Resort we unpacked, met up at the commune area, had a few more drinks and headed to bed early.

Day 2 – Canyon Swing

The Last Resort boasts the world’s highest canyon swing – 160 m!

After a delicious, hearty breakfast we all had a briefing on safety, what you’re allowed to take onto the bridge with you (nothing!), and getting weighed in so that they ensure they have the right ropes for you to jump off of a bridge ๐Ÿ˜‰ From there everyone heads out onto the bridge to wait their turn to jump. Pretty much all of the bungee-jumpers that headed up there were super impressive – just walking up to the platform, open arms up, countdown and JUMP! 3 seconds of free-falling and BAM! The ropes kick in ๐Ÿ™‚

None of our group did the bungee – we all opted for the swing rather – a massive 7 seconds of free-falling!!! Heading out to the bridge I had no fear (I’m a bit of an adventure junkie). I kept saying to myself “Big jump, don’t pee your pants” because I had this awful thought in my head that although I’m not scared now, it’ll end up being 1000 times worse than I imagined and I’ll pee my pants XD

Well, my mantra worked. By the time I had my go, there were not many jumpers left on the bridge and when it came to my turn I actually JUMPED off the bridge! I was sooo happy with myself. And, I didn’t pee my pants! But it was super scary when you’re falling and falling and falling and all of a sudden your mind freaks out and realises that you’re falling and you stop breathing for half a second and then… then the rope catches you and you swing back and forth in this beautiful canyon, surrounded by mountains, greenery and a lovely stream of water below ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

The rest of the day was spent chilling, playing cards, drinking games, and enjoying nature.

Day 3 – Hiking Canyoning

Before we left for Nepal, we’d all given an indication as to what activities we’d like to take part in… one of them being a 3-ish hour hike which we scheduled for Day 3. However, sitting around after dinner the night before we started talking and ended up asking to do the canyoning as well. The activity crew told us that they suggest the canyoning in the morning and then the hike in the afternoon.

So, after another delicious hearty breakfast we headed off to the canyoning room where we got all kitted out for canyoning – abseiling down waterfalls!!!

This was SUCH fun!! We had a short hikeย (about 10 minutes)ย to the start of the canyoning and once there we were given a short briefing on safety, how to abseil and most of all – HAVE FUN. We had 8 waterfalls that we’d be going down, ranging in heights from 10 m (the first one) to 45 m (the last one). We were all very thankful for the wet suits as the water was soooooo cold. By the last 2 waterfalls, my fingersย were starting to freeze up from the cold water and I’d lose the ability to use them properly which was making abseiling rather difficult… I wasn’t able to control the ropes properly. But, the whole experience was amazing and I definitely recommend this!

At the end of the outing there was a +- 30 minute hike back to the last resort – back up the mountain that we’d just abseiled down! It was during this hike that everyone decided against doing the hike in the afternoon (I still really wanted to but they won’t take just one person) so we spent the rest of the day playing football, I went for a massage and just chilling out again for the last night at the resort.

Day 4 – White Water Rafting / leave The Last Resort

One of our group had decided to get in an early morning bungee today because the timing worked well – she’d head out at about 8:30 am, jump, hike back up the mountain (approximately 30 minutes) and then we were scheduled to leave at about 10 am for white water rafting. I decided that since I’d missed out on the opportunity of the hike the day before that I’d hike down the mountain, meet our jumping friend and hike back up.

Boy oh boy was it hard work getting down the mountain! But it was so worth it! I got to have a few very short trail runs whenever it was flat for a short while, and then got to enjoy another hike back up ๐Ÿ™‚ We counted the stairs on the way back up – an impressive 460!

This is what I walked down, and then up

This is what I walked down, and then up

After the jump we all climbed on board the bus for our 1.5 hour drive to the start of the rafting. This was possibly my favourite activity of the trip. All 8 of us were able to participate together, all of us in 1 raft. It involved a lot of teamwork ensuring that you’re all paddling at the same speed, at the same time, and listening to the guide doing what he says, when he says it to ensure that we don’t flip over (and there was one point in time where a flip was quite possible when we got stuck against a rock… but we did what we were supposed to do and got out of it without landing in the water ๐Ÿ™‚

We rafted for about 1 hour and then came to a clearing where everyone jumped out of their rafts (there was a total of 21 people rafting, plus the guides), and enjoyed a wonderful lunch ย made by the guides ๐Ÿ™‚

After lunch we all hopped back in our rafts and carried on for another 1.5 hours or so until we reached the end where we were able to change into dry, warm clothes, and hop back on the bus for another 3-ish hour journey into Kathmandu.

Day 5 + 6 – Kathmandu / sightseeing / back to Dubai

Our last 2 nights were spent at the Shangri La Boutique Hotel in Kathmandu – right smack in the centre of all the action in Thamel. ย By the time we got to the hotel on the first night it was pretty late and dark (they have plenty of load shedding in Kathmandu – South Africa, we’re not alone!) so we went out to find somewhere to eat (most places close at around 10 pm) and then off to bed.

3 of us were up SUPER early the next morning – 6 am – for our Mount Everest flight… a flight in a 21-seater plane to see The Himalayas and Mount Everest ๐Ÿ™‚ This was absolutely breathtaking!!!! Unfortunately it took us forever to get up in the air because on arrival we were delayed by about an hour due to bad weather. We eventually managed to get on a flight by finding 3 empty slots on a flight by telling the check-in staff that we needed to catch an international flight and could not be delayed. Cheeky, but it worked ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it was sooo worth it! I’ve now decided to add a few more things to my bucket list, one of them being hiking to Base Camp at some point.

The rest of the day was spent sightseeing on a walking tour of Thamel, and then shopping, foot massage, packing, and trying our best to finish off all the booze we’d bought at the airport on the way into Nepal ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thankfully our flight on the way home was on time, no hassles and we landed back in Dubai as expected, ย and all headed home to a proper shower, proper beds and a very good nights sleep!

I’ve put my photos below in a slideshow for you to enjoy… there’s about 150 of them so take your time!

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