We were loath to leave Nong Khiaw (see Parts I and II) and wondered whether Muang Ngoi, just an hour upstream on the Nam Ou, could hold as much appeal. It did, and perhaps even a tad more. Like Nong Khiaw, its riverside location and mountain scenery are stunning, but Muang Ngoi is smaller and even more basic and laid back. Mike and I agree that our favourite day of our travels through Cambodia and Laos was in Muang Ngoi: relaxing, hiking, caving, kayaking, and shopping for weavings (well, that last one was more up my alley).
If you only do one activity while visiting Nong Khiaw (other than lying in a hammock admiring the view) it should be hiking to Phadeng Peak viewpoint. I heard lots of excuses for not doing it: it’s too hot, cold, difficult, steep, early, late…Mike used a combination of these to talk himself out of the hike. I remember the regretful look on his face when he scrolled through my photos. He hadn’t expected the views to be that stunning (nor had I). Don’t miss out on this activity when you’re in Nong Khiaw. It’s well worth the roughly one hour uphill grunt, and the effort needed is not nearly as bad as many reviewers make it out to be. Continue reading
It was a fitting end to our last day in southern Utah: a little adventure, some drama, and a whole lot of natural beauty at Yant Flat, in Dixie National Forest near the town of Leeds. During our trip, I had become obsessed with the Dr.Zeuss-like playgrounds of swirling, colourful Navajo sandstone found in these parts. Meghan from Another Walk in the Park recommended Yant Flat (she has three great posts about the place). Yant Flat may not have quite the grandeur of South Coyote Buttes or White Pocket, but it does not require a permit, it’s easier to access, and is totally awesome. Continue reading
We’re just back from Cambodia and Laos but my photos (and I) are still an unorganized mess, so I’m going to do a couple of posts to finish off my southern Utah series. I’m usually not a fan of car sightseeing, preferring to walk/ride, but Kolob Terrace Road, in Zion National Park, is a real gem. It starts in the town of Virgin, not far from Zion’s main visitor center, and is only 21 miles to Lava Point, one of the highest spots in the park. Kolob Terrace Road makes a great half-day excursion with plenty of short scenic hikes and viewpoints to give your legs a stretch.The majority of Zion visitors overlook this section of the park, so it’s gloriously peaceful. Continue reading
I’m a little obsessed about making sure I get enough exercise. Sometimes I “miss-out” on beautiful trails because I dismiss them as too easy. After our wonderful hike to Observation Point in Zion National Park, Mike and I hopped onto the park shuttle bus to take us back to our car at the visitor center. It was such a gorgeous day we decided to get off a couple of stops early, at Canyon Junction, and walk the rest of the way along the Pa’rus Trail. Great decision! The late day lighting was stunning and it was the perfect, peaceful, cool-down walk. We enjoyed it so much we did it twice more during our stay at Zion. Continue reading
I knew it would be a tough sell convincing Mike to do Zion National Park’s signature Angels Landing hike. Heights are not his friend. One look at a photo of the razor-edge ridge with huge drop-offs on both sides was enough to make his hair stand on end. We opted instead for Observation Point, a spectacular hike through diverse terrain with killer views of Zion Canyon. The best part: we got to look down on Angel’s Landing from our perch way above. Observation Point is not without its own share of long drop-offs (only on one side though, and the trail is decently wide). I was proud of Mike for staying calm and focussed. It was another great day in Utah, exploring Zion National Park. Continue reading
When hiking in Vancouver’s North Shore mountains, I’m used to starting on steep uphills and being surrounded by thick forest. I’m not complaining, but once in awhile it’s nice to do a hike that is completely different from what’s in my backyard—I found it on the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. This 8 mile ( 12.9 km) trail starts at the canyon rim and descends into a wondrous, wide-open landscape of hoodoos, sinking ships, tower bridges, and Chinese walls. Continue reading