Update: It has now been 19 days since I have arrived in Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland and it is amazing.
When I first touched down in Dublin airport, in the wee hours of the morning, there was a blanket of fog that surrounded the plane so completely that it was if we had landed on some castle in the sky. I then proceeded to follow the more experienced travelers to Customs (because when in doubt follow those who are from your plane and also pretend to know exactly which way to go). After a very groggy conversation with the custom’s lady about the difference between exchange students and study abroad, I had officially made it to Ireland. Ireland, the land of all things green and mythical. I once more followed my plane-mates to the baggage claim and went to find my soon to be jefe, Collie. The fog had not yet lifted and in my almost transcendental, jet-lagged, consciousness I imagined myself a character out of one of my favorite novels. Collie arrived soon after and I went to get in the “wrong” side of the car and for the next three hours would cringe every time we would turn onto the “right” side of the road. Fun fact about Ireland: not only are the public signs in English but also in Irish (Gaelic). One of my favorite Gaelic words is the Irish word for library, leabharlann.
Most of what I do with the Donegal Adventure Centre (D.A.C.) is help lead outdoor activities like high ropes, surfing, Adventure Challenge (team building exercises), cliff jumping, etc. There was a Gaelic school that came last week that I helped with and they were only allowed to speak Gaelic. Obviously, I got the chance to learn some phrases in Gaelic: Conas tá tú (How are you), Dia dhuit (Hello), Dún do bhéal (shut your mouth). So far in Ireland I have surfed twice with a really great surf instructor, Kyle, and wiped out many more times, cliff jumped, climbed the wall using only the red (very difficult for a short person), gone to Sligo (nearby county) and spent most of my time in a bookstore debating on whether to buy the whole set of Harry Potter or not (decided no, mom :p), saw Mullaghmore where there have been records of 50 ft waves, went to the Chasing Bull for the Ireland match where they won and the fans went nuts, and met a stray dog that is my buddy and follows me to work, and played foot golf.
We arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park on Monday the 23rd an set up camp. Our group decided to split up between a Super-Adventure team and the ones who wanted to go on the Rim trail. First of all, Super-Adventure team is a great name and secondly, we were going to hike down into the canyon. You guessed it, the inexperienced traveler decided to take the Bright Angel Trail down into the canyon for a total of nine miles, turning around at the Indian Gardens. Needless to say, the Super-Adventure team did not make the 9 mile hike and instead turned around at the mile and a half switchback. We hiked 1,120 ft elevation change, 3 miles, and enjoyed every second of it.
It was beautiful and breathtaking and one of those experiences that you will never forget. The whole hike did not seem real because the Grand Canyon itself was so massive that just looking at it was like looking at a high quality photo. There was a banana yucca that our group nicknamed spikey-bottom, maybe because of the increasing temperature or just because we are weird. Also, for the beginning of the hike I was deathly afraid of falling to my death. Fun fact about me is that I am pretty afraid of heights. This being said, this hike was pretty nerve-wracking. Although, I can remember the exact moment when I got over my fear of heights while walking along the trail. There was a teenage boy that was posing for a photo on the edge of a dangerous cliff and I was actually more scared for his life than he was so I told him off. He was climbing in this area:
I simply told him the statistics for how many people die each year in the Grand Canyon.
This was the park that Brother Basil and I were in charge of so here is an obligatory photo of Bro B.
P.S. this is the Navajo Bridge by Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona.
Hello again! Our little adventure group traveled to Tucumcari, New Mexico and made it in record time. Just enough time to go visit the Mesaland Community College’s Dinosaur Museum!
At the museum we saw the Dino exhibits but also got to go into the community college’s lab and hold millions of years old bones! It was sweet! The lady had an interesting thought about human’s understanding of extinction and how we didn’t even understand the concept of extinction until Thomas Jefferson and Darwin. She thinks that the Native Americans myths were based on the Dino bones that they found and because of this thought that these monsters still existed, BAM stories. Native Americans understood what different vertebrae looked like so when they found massive bones that resembled a snake they believed that a massive snake was out in the wild. Little did they know, these creatures were long gone.
Also, there was a sauna in the hotel and needless to say we enjoyed it very much. Currently, we are on our way to Petrified Forest!
Hello, my name is Frances and I have little to no traveling experience at all. This is a strange way to begin a traveling blog but I have decided to share my experiences with the world to perhaps provide some entertainment. In all of my life, I have never traveled outside of the great United States of America. So naturally, I have decided to camp in various different National Parks, travel to Donegal Adventure Centre in Ireland, spend a night in Paris, France, and finish up the summer at a leadership conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. Tomorrow starts the beginning of my summer adventures, regardless of my obvious lack of experience of traveling and generally know-how in getting from one country to the next, I feel excited and a bit out of place.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I along with 9 others embark on a grand adventure! We are to travel to the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon NP, Arches NP, and Rocky Mountain NP. This is an adventure that is chalked full of daring sword fights and dragons or maybe just rafting the Colorado River, campfires and many hikes. Wait and see.The National Parks are some of the wonders of the world and I am stoked to have the privilege to see a few of them. I’m sure you have heard from your wise relatives or grandparents that “You do not know the U.S. until you have traveled to the National Parks” and I agree with this statement. Well… I will after I go on this trip 😀 .
So here is the start to something new. The sky is full of dreams but I don’t know how to fly. This is my life, however laughable and I hope you enjoy.
P.S. that was a reference from The Killers and High School Musical. Also, the pictures are from Google :p