Our past few days have been filled with lakes and wet canyons that helped us beat the heat. Our first campsite at Jordanelle State Park near Park City introduced us to the famous Utah summers. After a quick demonstration on how to set up our campsite we all decided to go for a refreshing dip in the lake. Once there it didn’t take long for Cooper to spot a floating dock and encouraged the group to swim out to it. At that moment with the 8 of us lying in the sun, talking and laughing, the group formed.
The following day after a drive through the arid Utah countryside we arrived in Moab. After setting up our tents at Up the Creek campground we drove to Arches National Park for the afternoon. While visiting the visitor center Tori saw a picture of the Garden of Eden rock formation and wanted to plan a stop there. After watching a short educational film we drove to Garden of Eden and explored, getting up close and personal with the rock formations. After our little hike we went to the Devil’s Garden picnic area to make dinner. Aaron’s cook crew made us a delicious chili dinner. With our bellies full and the daylight waning we made for Delicate Arch to begin our sunset hike. Adding a race against the setting sun to the steep uphill climb, we found ourselves up against a strenuous challenge. Fully expecting this combination to be a bit daunting for the group, we were more than pleasantly surprised that the students stuck together the whole way up, leaving no one behind, choosing to press forward rather than miss the sunset. David himself hung tough with the most avid outdoorsmen and athletes of the group. Watching the sun set over the landscape made for a great end to our first full day together.
We started the next day bright and early with our canyoneering guides picking us up at our campsite at 7:30. To start the day we learned how to rappel and hiked to Funnel Arch which not many people know exists.
After eating a filling lunch we spent the remainder of the afternoon splashing through wet canyons with our guides. During that time, and in the morning as well, we discovered that, although she has no experience, Grace is a natural climber. As a group we enjoyed using our newly learned skills to scramble across rocks, wade through water, and rappel down canyon walls. During our final descent of the day Bess led the charge down. She was kind enough to discover for the rest of the group that the rappel lead directly into a refreshing pool of water.
After waving goodbye to our guides we quickly took advantage of the showers available at our campsite. As we meal-planed for our next adventures the group got excited about our next stop. Telluride, Colorado here we come!