Fall Break

Week 13

For those of you who read my last post you would know that I was on the beginnings of a great road trip. This post will tell the adventures that were experienced as well as my first thanksgiving experience.

On Monday, we decided to remain in Zion National Park, Utah so we could do a ‘proper’ hike. After much debate, we took on the hidden canyon. What a great decision! The ascent was steep and windy, before we reached what appeared to be a cliff. To reach the hidden canyon, we had to walk along a narrow ledge, grasping onto chains so we didn’t fall into the abyss. Not a hike for those with vertigo! It was certainly worth the effort upon reaching the hidden canyon. The canyon itself was narrow at approximately 5 meters wide in places. We were dwarfed by the side walls which were often 100 meters high. Blanketed by sand the canyon floor made for a very unusual environment. It felt like we could have been in a Lord of the Rings shoot. After a while, we reached the ‘end’ of the canyon walk as a 10 foot rock face blocked the path. We weren’t ready for it to end though so we clambered over it (Some onlookers ensured us it was possible). Once we got over this, we scrambled our way a least another mile up the canyon, climbing over rocks and making stepping-stones over ponds. For lunch, we clambered up to a rocky outcrop to gain stunning views of the canyon. For me this was one of the most exhilarating hikes I have been on and the team work involved in over coming the challenges were extremely rewarding. We returned at about 4pm and set off for the Grand Canyon. The drive was beautiful as we weaved through canyons and rolling hills. After stopping in Page, Arizona for some provisions, we eventually reached our motel in the Grand Canyon at 11pm.

Tuesday was a long long day… We rose early to catch sunrise over the Grand Canyon. What a sight! The pictures do not do it justice. After catching a bit of breakfast we set out on a hike into the Grand canyon itself. This was definitely worth it as the rim was quite crowded and by descending you get a different view of the area. It was a strange sensation to descend prior to ascending! Even on this steep descent, there were a fair number of people, but this soon faded away dramatically after about 30 minutes hiking. We made it to a point called Skeleton Point where we gained a view of the Colorado river. From here, you really appreciate the scale of the place. I hope the photos can do it justice. We resurfaced at the rim at about 2.30pm before heading off for the 594 mile drive to San Deigo. There was a small fuel scare enroute but luckily we just made it to a gas station. The rest of the journey was largely uneventful. A big hats of to Woosin who did the majority of the driving on the trip. A superhuman effort, especially on this day. Another day and another new state – California

We didn’t arrive until 1am, so we had a well deserved lie in. There was a really nice laid back feel to san Diego, probably aided by the fact we spent all day at the beach. At the first beach (La Jolla) there were sea lions bathing on the rocks, beautifully supplement ed by pelicans. What a sight! For me it was weird to see the sea again. I’m not a great fan of the sea really, but I’ve been near t all my life, so I guess it’s kind of a comfort blanket for me. At the second beach, the more famous Mission Beach, we went swimming as the waves crashed down. It was absolutely freezing but it was so worth it. The rest of the afternoon melted away, finally cumulating in a superb sunset. To end the trip, we decided to succumb to our cravings and go to a fish restaurant. We found a great restaurant which was also a fish market and had really tasty fish and possibly the best mussels I have ever had. On return to the motel, the lads relaxed in the hot tub (yes a motel with a hot tub), before ending it all with a small party. A magical end to a magical trip.

Saori had to leave at 4.30am to catch a flight and I left at 2pm to fly back to Denver. The remaining three drove the car back to Las Vegas and had an all-nighter there…. So I returned to Denver at 5pm on thanksgiving day, but sadly I had to return Boulder all alone. My initial plans was to spend thanksgiving dinner with my host family, but this fell through at the last-minute as my accommodation for the night didn’t materialise. What a tragic night. No shops were open, so all I had was rice and peas. Well I guess it was an experience that makes you stronger, and I can now appreciate how important it is to spend such occasions with family and friends.

However, the next day i did spend some quality time with my host family. Both Chris’s and Jodi’s parents were staying at theirs so I got the chance to meet them. Really lovely people. We went to see Skyfall in the cinema (great film and strange to hear British accents) and then we went out for

Coloradan mountain pie (basically a pizza sandwich) before heading back to play games at theirs. Really nice to be in a real home with a real family atmosphere.

The rest of the weekend I basically just caught up with work and boring stuff like that. Back to reality!

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