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Thanksgiving in the Grand



Major: Humanities – emphases
in History, Theatre, and Spanish
Hometown: Denver, CO

Year: Senior

I love the outdoors, but I am not that experienced at camping. Therefore, I was very excited to find out about Outdoor Pursuits, or OP, as it is known around campus. OP is a co-op kind of place; once you pay the fee you can rent equipment (for no additional charge) and use their rock wall.  They have all the equipment one needs for camping, kayaking, biking, and many other things. In addition, OP does trips every weekend and most of them are aimed at beginner or intermediate outdoor enthusiasts. Perfect for me!

I have done several trips with OP. I went rafting one fall and on a weekend backpacking trip another time. One trip I was particularly excited about though was the Thanksgiving Grand Canyon trip. My mom went on a Grand Canyon trip with Fort Lewis, so I had a personal connection to the trip.  Plus the Grand Canyon is awesome!

My first fall, I thought “I want to go home for Thanksgiving, I miss my family.” The second year I invited a friend home. The third, I thought, “I am running out of time! I better get on this trip.” OP opened at 10:00 on the day trip signup opened; I was there at 10:20 and the trip was already full. This last fall was my final chance, and there was no way I was going to miss it. I debated camping out the night before in order to make sure, but I settled on showing up four hours early. Yes, a little crazy I know, but this was my last shot and I was going to get on this trip! Four hours turned out to be plenty of time and I got to know some of my fellow travelers while we waited.

The group lines up on the edge of the canyon...
The group lines up on the edge of the canyon...

When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, a couple of us looked over the edge and said, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” and, “What was I thinking?” Six days in the canyon, carrying our own food, gear, and half the time, our water. It was hard! And amazing! We saw many beautiful views; too many to mention. One of my favorite was seeing the Colorado River. We even saw some rafters on the river. I was a little slower than everyone else, but that meant that I had a beautiful view (and photograph) of everyone lining up along the edge to look down at the river.

I had many moments when I doubted my ability to walk fast enough, to take one more step, to make it across this ledge, and the next, and the next. The last day we began the day with “solo walks.” We each got a few minutes head start before the next person started walking, so we were alone, but not far from each other (always within shouting distance). I loved this part of the trip because I was able to reflect on what I had done and enjoy the last few views of the canyon.

When I came out of the Grand Canyon I felt so good and relieved. Everyone helped each other through, giving encouraging words, helping each other keep going, and sharing the fact that we all hiked the Grand Canyon for 6 days and came out stronger!

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Got something to say? Join the discussion »
    Posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Ashlee
    Ashlee's avatar

    I was able to go on this trip a few years ago and it still ranks as one of the best backpacking experiences I have ever had. We had so much fun.

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