Travelogue: Arizona: Camelback Mtn & Grand Canyon (April 2016)

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Solotrips are fun in that you get to do whatever you want whenever you want. Naptime anytime. The only downside is not having a consistent photographer to take pictures of you. I loveeeeeeed Arizona and will definitely have to go back. There’s so much to do and eat.

For this trip, I booked 2 Airbnbs. One was in Paradise Valley and the other in Downtown Phoenix (for the next post). I took an Uber from the airport (prices are really cheap there). There are specific pick-up areas called “prearranged vehicles” that are basically designated just for Ubers.

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Paradise Valley is a really nice neighborhood, and I chose it because I wanted to hike up Camelback Mountain as soon as I landed. My Airbnb place was right near the Echo Canyon trailhead.

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This is where I stayed for 2 nights!

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It was only 10AM and the parking lot was full already. Good thing I only had to walk from my Airbnb.

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It was 90 degrees and sunny. Bring lots of water!!! The Echo Canyon Trail is very steep with lots of scrambling. It was a lot of fun and I met people from all over the country along the way.

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There were stairs and then there were railings to hold onto…

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Some wildlife.

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This was not an easy hike, especially in 90 degree weather. But I loved it.

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At the summit, you can see the city of Phoenix.

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It took about an hour & a half to get up there (stopped to take pictures) and faster to go down. Be careful, as it can be very steep.

The next day, I took a Viator tour to Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

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(The view from my Airbnb at sunrise)

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Walked through some residential areas to go to the meeting place. The tour guide/driver, Robert, picked me up right on time at 6:40AM. The company that Viator used was Detours of Arizona. I didn’t want to drive 3 hours to the Grand Canyon and only had a day to spare, so this was a great way of seeing it (next time, I’ll go back to hike & camp).

Sedona first.

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Robert gave us time to wander and showed us cool places to take photos. And then gift shops, of course.

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This was half of my gigantic sandwich that was included in lunch. So tasty.

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When in Arizona…

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Next, we drove to the Grand Canyon.

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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We went along the South Rim and stopped at different spots to take pictures.

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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Definitely coming back to the Canyon. It sure is grand.

I loved living next to a mountain. On my last night, my Airbnb hosts gave me a homemade blueberry protein shake. They were both ultra-athletes and told me about the running routes nearby, so I took their advice the next morning.

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The neighborhood was really something. Although it was hot, it wasn’t humid. “Paradise Valley” was aptly named. I felt like I was in Hawaii again.

Downtown Phoenix coming up next! To be continued…

The Orchid Show: Chandeliers At The New York Botanical Garden

It was a perfect day at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY. It was supposed to be below 60 degrees, but I didn’t need my coat because it was sunny. Most of the exhibitions are indoors anyway. The theme of the annual Orchid Show this year (February 28–April 19) is Chandeliers.

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Note: Definitely buy your tickets ahead of time online and print them at home. The All-Garden pass for adults on weekdays is $20. AAA has a 20% discount and Mastercard users get 10% discount. For 2 of us, the total came out to be about $30. They do have a parking lot, and it’s normally $12 (again, if you use your Mastercard, it’s $10!).

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We went to their cafe for a light lunch.

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For $10, you can get half a sandwich + half salad/soup. They also serve pizza and coffee.

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We took the tram tour, which lasted about half an hour and is included in the All-Garden Pass. There are 9 stops along the way and you can hop on/off at any of them.

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A bunch of parents with kids hopped off at this stop to play around in dirt.

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We saw some Magnolias that started to bloom.

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The tram took us around for a leisurely tour — most flowers were still not in bloom yet, but it was nice to see what they have to offer in the late Spring/Summer.

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The Shop had so many things I wanted to purchase. I ended up with a cactus plant for $13.50. Other than plants, they also sell pens, journals, books, perfumes and candles, terrarium kits, and much more.

Take your mom out for a lovely day at the New York Botanical Garden!

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY