It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Instead of writing so much, I’ve decided to practice my camera presence and try vlog. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million! My last post, FREE camping 101, I wrote about BLM camping, which you can camp for FREE. I did this at Kern River last weekend. Here’s a snippet of my adventure I’d like to share with you. Follow me for more adventures of the week! Enjoy and be inspired 🙂
These days, even camping can get expensive, especially in California where I live, camp sites average from $15-30/ night! I really like to travel frugally, so I looked into public lands, and what I found has given me experiences that are BETTER than paid camping.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is an actual agency of the United States that has admistered more than 247.3 million acres of free and public land. Do you know how significant of an amount that is? That would be approximately 1/8 of the United States!
The mission of the BLM is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” Initially, BLM holdings were described as “land nobody wanted” because homesteaders had passed them by. But now, BLM lands are found in almost, if not ALL National parks.
You know what this means! It means that where there’s a popular place people go to PAY for camping, there are free public lands to be found. BLM lands aren’t exclusive to popular destinations, however, they can be found everywhere.
All types of BLM maps can be found here. But, being geeky, I downloaded an app, which I have found to be very useful. It’s called U.S. Public Lands and more information on the app can be found here.
Finding BLM lands are fun! Yes, there’s no structure, nobody to do the admin work for you, and it takes a tiny bit of time to find land of your liking, but that’s all part of camping! Finding a place to park and enjoy what nature has to offer- for free. Just as it was intended.
Even before she left for her 1 week trip, I missed her already. As she laid next to me the night before, I tried to simplify my mind so I can burn the moment into my memory. It’s only 1 week, but I miss my favorite person already.
Antelope Canyon is the photographer’s dream- It is the most photographed place in all of Arizona. This is a very special place, for sure, but, this is not a trip where you would want to just “wing it.” Here are some things you should know before going:
Book a tour guide
This canyon is located in the middle of an Indian reservation, and thus you must tour the area with a Navajo Tour Guide. These guides must be reserved in advanced. The upper canyon you’re looking at a $32-40 entrance fee, and the lower canyon is $20. There is a $5 parking fee, per person (NOT VEHICLE!) and it is transferable between the two canyons.
I went to the lower canyon, and from experience, it doesn’t matter which tour company you choose. They all go through the same places and cost exactly the same amount.
Upper VS Lower Canyon
The upper and lower canyons are two separate canyons and you must book to see them separately. They are run by different companies.
The lower canyon is generally less populated, is a longer tour (1 hour), cheaper, and the spaces are much tighter against the walls. There is minimal physical activity to get to this canyon.
The upper canyon is famous for its light beams. This is the most important difference. While you can experience these light beams at the lower canyon as well, it’s almost guaranteed at the upper canyon.
Either way, it is impossible to capture a bad photograph no matter what canyon you choose. Overall, I think the deciding factors is mobility (how physically active you want to be) and how much you desire to shoot light beams.
Know what time to go
The best time for tours are in the morning before noon. You can go on a normal tour, or you can take the photography tour for double the price. For the lower canyon, the photography tour is 2 hours long and only professional cameras are allowed.
Have you been to Antelope Canyon? I have only lived to tell the tale of the Lower Canyon, have you been to the Upper Canyon?
Sometimes when I travel with friends, they’re running around like headless chicken, stressing about packing and unpacking for camp. This year, my goal is to get as many friends as I can to come camping with me, so I’ve decided to create a few tips on how to make camping even easier than staying at home.
Keep it short
If you’re like me, you’re a normal person with a career that demands your attention on the weekdays. So, you’re essentially only camping for a few nights. Well, remember that! You’ll make plenty of memories even if you’re just camping for 1-2 nights.
You’re only camping for 1-2 nights, so you don’t need to bring your whole closet. As a matter of fact, even when I camp for multiple nights, I tend to recycle the same clothes. For hydration, I like to bring a refillable bottle so I’m not constantly consuming water bottles and stressing about where to dispose them. Pack simple, one-dish meals, wrapped in foil and ready to reheat. Just don’t skip the s’mores 😉
Be Ruthless about packing light
Think twice about bringing more than you need. Do you REALLY need this? Chances are, you won’t need more than the essentials. What ARE the essentials? It might be a great life lesson to learn how to live minimally. For me, I only bring one outfit for day time use, one for the night, and some PJs to sleep in.
Take advantage of “gear-less” activities
You might be tempted to take out the kayak and bring all your gear in case you want to go rock climbing. Though those may definitely be fun, remember that it is sometimes just at fun to enjoy a simple hike (some hikes aren’t so simple), explore a new place to swim, or a natural hot spring!
If you’re going with friends, sharing is caring. The fun comes with bonding when we rely on each other. Take turns planning different parts of the trip, or take turns planning every other trip!
That’s all I have for now. If you’ve got any more ideas or any funny stories about the dread of packing, leave a comment below!
I’d also love it if you would subscribe and follow me on Instagram @jesslikesit