Visited Chichen Itza – Checked It Off My Bucket List

Kirk and LaRea in front of El Castillo

My husband and I recently took a well needed vacation to Mexico. We made an adventure of it and did a lot of activities outside of our comfort zone. As we were preparing for our vacation, I told Kirk that the one thing I really wanted to do MORE THAN ANYTHING was to go to Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. After all it’s on my bucket list! For weeks prior to our travel date I studied out everything I could about this ancient Mayan city. What is the best way for us to get to Chichen Itza from our resort? How much will it cost to get in? How did this great city get here? What happened to all of the people that lived there?

I became fascinated with the whole Mayan culture. there is a lot of history that has been recorded about the Mayans but also a lot that has been lost due to the Spanish conquest to Mexico. This website had a lot of valuable information about how to get there, where Chichen Itza is located and some historical information.

We ended up taking a tour offered by our resort. That meant no worries about getting a taxi or taking a bus. Whew! I thought I knew what I was going to see when I got to Chichen Itza, but walking through the gates I was awestruck. It was beautiful! I am always fascinated about the history of places and this place had so much ancient history I couldn’t take it all in.

The Thousand Columns – My favorite picture of the day

Here were the highlights:

  • El Castillo – the big pyramid in most photographs. At two times during the year during the equinox when the sun shines just right you can witness the snakes highlighted on the pyramid. We were just 15 days early to witness this great event. Dang it!
  • Exactness – Every building was built with a purpose and measurements were such that at certain times of the day or year “miracles” would happen. Or if you stand in the right place you can hear certain sounds. Such as when you clap at the base of El Castillo you can hear a chirping sound come from the top doors of the pyramid.
  • The Thousand Columns – It is believed that these columns once supported a roof and housed several meeting rooms, maybe classrooms. Lots of learning going on then and now. There were so many columns all evenly lined up I just wanted to walk through them. Too bad they were roped off.
  • The Great Ball Court – What? Sports played back in ancient Mexico. I was sure my sons would be so impressed. I don’t know if it was football or basketball or some sort of quidditch game. Apparently though if you lose you die.
  • The Enormity of It All – Chichen Itza was once a very large city with approximately 50,000 people. As I walked around the ruins thinking about all of those people walking in these same footsteps I just kept thinking, “Where did all the people go?”

Kirk in Front of El Castillo – He looks so tiny here

This was such a fun and educational experience! I am so excited to check it off my bucket list. I learned so much and I value the history from this ancient people. Now I am ready to head off to my next adventure. Where should I go?

The Observatory – Looking at the stars in ancient Mayan times

El Castillo

Cowboy’s Chaps in Arches National Park – Utah

thanks for the guest post from daydreamcatcher

We all have that kind of friend, you know the type that you loan $20 to then they disappear. You know the type that shows up with bleached blonde hair because of a lost bet. This kind of friend is the life of the party. This is the type of person you take on a road trip.

Perhaps, you aren’t as lucky as me to have this type of friend. My sister, Karli and I are lucky enough. So we did invite our friend Blake on our road trip. He is a 24 hour comedy act. A friend like that sure makes a road trip super exciting.

I have always wanted to backpack around Southern Utah. Canyon Lands, Arches, and Moab, you know the drill. In particular I have always wanted to see Cowboy’s Chaps. You might know it as Delicate Arch or Ladies Britches. Or perhaps you don’t recognize any of those names at all, but I am talking about the most famous arch of all time, the one that is the face of the Utah license plates. Odd as is might sound, I planned on licking that arch.

We took a little weekend road trip to Moab. We pulled directly into Arches National Park after the drive. Utah is hot in the middle of the summer. Why was I wearing pants? We pulled into the visitors center to get a little information, a little water and to change into shorts.

When I walked into the parking lot there was Blake at the wheel of my car with my sister buckled up in the back seat. “Okay,” I thought, “Let’s do this.”

Little did I know, that Blake too was looking forward to seeing Cowboy’s Chaps. In fact, he hardly cared about the rest of the arches we passed as we raced through the park. Finally, Karli said “Can we stop and take some pictures?” That was of course one of our main goals, to take some amazing photos of that wonderful place. Blake stopped the car and we took some pictures.

Karli and Blake on our Road TripKarli and Blake posing in their khaki pants

We got out and hiked the trails and climbed some rocks. We had a small picnic of PB& Js. Blake brought a special bag of cherries that he snacked on the entire time. If there are ever Cherry trees in Arches National Park, I am sure it will be because of Blake. He was spitting seeds everywhere while joking about how he would run off and live in the park for the rest of his life.

Blake's Utah Cherries

Blake’s Special Utah Cherries

I wanted to see the sun set while we were there at Cowboy’s Chaps. We planned it just right so that we would be to the arch before the sun went down. We hiked the longer hike. I thought I was in shape enough to keep up with those two, but Blake and Karli lead the way as I gasped for air behind them. It was a lovely hike. I enjoyed the fact that the trail was covered with several languages and a variety of ages. I feel that Cowboy’s Chaps is beautiful scene that all should enjoy.

Karli and I waited for our turn to take our picture. That is when I accomplished my goal. I leaned in and licked Cowboy’s Chaps. Maybe it was just me, but it tasted of sand, wind, salt, accomplishment, friendship, and a hint of cherries.

Cowboy's Chaps

TeAnna and Karli Standing under Cowboy’s Chaps

TeAnna loves to write and travel. Always looking for a new adventure she shares her stories at

Venus Transit

Tonight we saw Venus Transit across the setting sun. Venus is slowly making it’s several hours journey across the sun. These Transit’s happen in pairs. The first one was in 2004. We wont see the next pair until 2117. I was so glad that the clouds broke and we were still able to capture the show. I can’t wait until the next stellar event. This occurrence will not happen again for another 105 years.

Venus can be seen as the small dot in the right hand corner of the sun.