cast adrift
Grand somehow seems like an understatement. Can you really assign an adjective to what we experienced? This is one of those times where the English language just seems insufficient for my needs. Same goes for my camera. The whole time we hiked around the Grand Canyon, I kept hoping that the pictures I snapped could in some way capture the raw beauty that was before my eyes, but I know when I look back on them later, every single one will fall short. 

We all were a little worried (as were our parents) about the weather and road conditions, but we must be significantly blessed because the skies cleared and the roads melted so we were able to effortlessly make our way up to the canyon. Although the ice in the canyon prevented us from hiking too far down, we were still able to venture a short ways down the Bright Angel Trail and then along the South Rim trail. We found ourselves frequently stopping every few minutes just to stand in awe of the view before us. How can you not worship when something so indescribably beautiful is before your eyes? God is the ultimate artist. 

After walking a trail telling us all about the ages of the different rock layers, we rushed quickly to our car so we could drive to Mojave Point where we were able to watch the sunset over the canyon. To our right we could see the colors of the canyon change in the receding light while a slight turn to the left left our view of the sinking sun obscured. It was so windy that we were chilled to the bone petty quickly, but sometimes you can overcome the cold in these moments. 

Leaving the canyon and driving back down to civilization was sobering. We just didn’t want to leave. Understandable I guess… BUT, thanks to the overwhelming kindness of Megan’s mom via a gift card, we decided to drown our sadness of leaving the Grand Canyon by gorging ourselves on Chilis. I have never felt so full. I’m fairly certain all of our stomach’s had shrunk on our diet of clementines, PB&Js and turkey sandwiches. Grand Canyon, grand food, grand friends. Great day.

Grand somehow seems like an understatement. Can you really assign an adjective to what we experienced? This is one of those times where the English language just seems insufficient for my needs. Same goes for my camera. The whole time we hiked around the Grand Canyon, I kept hoping that the pictures I snapped could in some way capture the raw beauty that was before my eyes, but I know when I look back on them later, every single one will fall short.

We all were a little worried (as were our parents) about the weather and road conditions, but we must be significantly blessed because the skies cleared and the roads melted so we were able to effortlessly make our way up to the canyon. Although the ice in the canyon prevented us from hiking too far down, we were still able to venture a short ways down the Bright Angel Trail and then along the South Rim trail. We found ourselves frequently stopping every few minutes just to stand in awe of the view before us. How can you not worship when something so indescribably beautiful is before your eyes? God is the ultimate artist.

After walking a trail telling us all about the ages of the different rock layers, we rushed quickly to our car so we could drive to Mojave Point where we were able to watch the sunset over the canyon. To our right we could see the colors of the canyon change in the receding light while a slight turn to the left left our view of the sinking sun obscured. It was so windy that we were chilled to the bone petty quickly, but sometimes you can overcome the cold in these moments.

Leaving the canyon and driving back down to civilization was sobering. We just didn’t want to leave. Understandable I guess… BUT, thanks to the overwhelming kindness of Megan’s mom via a gift card, we decided to drown our sadness of leaving the Grand Canyon by gorging ourselves on Chilis. I have never felt so full. I’m fairly certain all of our stomach’s had shrunk on our diet of clementines, PB&Js and turkey sandwiches. Grand Canyon, grand food, grand friends. Great day.

Yep. We are WAY behind on our posts. We’ve been having toooo much fun to take a moment for some updates.

Saturday, after waking up in Vegas like good ole Katy Perry, we jumped in the car, said goodbye to the much-less-ridiculous-looking-in-the-day-time city of Las Vegas and continued along I-15 towards Cali. We (naturally) pulled over on the side of the interstate to take pictures in front of the “Welcome to California” sign before making a sharp left turn into the desert. You know those pictures you see where you look into the distance and see for miles and miles? Well thats what the Mojave National Desert is like. We stopped at the Kelso depot around long time and ended up talking to some of the nicest people and ate some of the most delicious chili and blackberry pie my taste buds have ever experienced. If you ever find yourself hungry in the CA desert, this place is a must-stop.

Our real destination, as Abbie described earlier, was Joshua Tree National Park. Although the weather was less than ideal, this park was so unique and so much fun to explore. We found ourselves surrounded by huge granite rock formations that looked like God simply forgot to put up his rock collection and left them lying on the ground for us to play with. There were arches, caverns, narrow pathways and crevices just begging us to climb on. We did, no worries.

The tree from which this park is named after was the other primary focus our attention and camera lenses.”Not a tree, nor a cactus,” these trees were named by the Mormons (we thought we had escaped their influences in Utah… we thought wrong) because they resembled Joseph beckoning God’s people into the promised land. I personally think they look like they popped off the pages of a Dr. Suess book, but I guess the Mormons got there first. Abbie was OBSESSED with the Joshua Trees… maybe I should steal her one to plant in Indiana, except I think that’d be illegal.

After the sun set over the giant rock playgrounds, we headed west for the last time towards LA! We were fortunate to have one of Abbie’s best friends from high school, Maggie, to stay with. Shout out to her for taking us to the Griffith Observatory (on accident! Hurray for GPS!) so we could see basically all of LA from above and catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.

In our short time in LA we also were able to let Lisa and Megan touch the Pacific Ocean for the first time (so cold!) , walk down Rodeo Drive (so expensive!) and meet up with Lisa’s old campus minister from UT, Pastor Kermit the frog, as Abbie liked to call him. This man was wonderful, not only to Island her family over the years, but also to us, four venturing friends (and Mags) who were rapidly running out of food, were starving for some touristy locations to visit in LA (Santa Monica pier, so great) and were gracious for some undeserved hospitality. I think we ALL would have stayed in LA longer had the Grand Canyon not been calling to us from the East.

Grand Canyon here we go…

VIVA LAS VEGAS!

So our arrival in Vegas much anticipated and slightly unbelievable. All of us kept saying “I can’t believe were in Vegas.” The lights were crazy as we pulled into the city. We were driving a gorgeous scenic route through desert mountains and then when we crested a hill, lights just exploded up all around. You could see the city lit up about 30 miles outside the city. Pulling in I saw the city for all its lot: the clothes, the people, the shows, celion doin (yes she is a goddess of the city). It was amazing.

After an interesting ordeal with the arrangement of the car and moving Lisa’s bike into the back seat of the car, we checked into Harrah’s casino for only 40 bucks! What up! We checked in and looked around for what we could do in this sin city. Being the cheap people that we are, we searched for free shows and such. We hit some up but a lot were closed for Christmas. But that didn’t stop us. We explored this city like Christopher Columbus. For the sin city that it is there sure were tons of nice people offering directions and invites to crazy parties with Brittany Spears. Sorry man in Gucci suit were allergic.

Through the night we found out our good friend Joe Montgomery was in town as well. We ventured to his hotel and enjoyed some time with him. Lisa really enjoyed Caesar’s place so decided to try our luck with gambling, but only on the penny slots haha. 10 bucks later we were 19 cents richer. Not really winning it big, but Lisa and I thought we were celebrities enough to wear the hotel robes to bed like kings and queen.

Megan and Sarah felt like they stepped into a real-life version of Ocean’s Eleven as they watched the fountains at the Bellagio. Of course, they wished they had just pulled off the heist of the century like George, Brad and Matt had, but life goes on. Throughout the night we saw Venice (Lisa really wanted to ride on that gondola), Paris, Rome, New York, Greece, and Planet Hollywood. Who knew the whole world and beyond was in Vegas? At the end of a whirlwind night, we went to sleep listening to the sounds of the volcano that erupted outside of our hotel approx every 15 minutes. No big deal.

Now waking up in Vegas was sorta like the Katy Perry song. Woke up at 8 to sunshine, packed the car and headed out. Our original plans were to head to sequoia national park, but looking at weather and times we thought changing our plans would be better. So thanks to my professor Judy brookiser we went to a young national park called Joshua tree in southern cali!

More on those too NPs later…

Abbie

Apologies for the delay, but I drove all day yesterday and had little time for an update.

Let’s start from where we left off. 

Zion National Park was absolutely wonderful. Since we are going to at least 4 parks on our way back to TN, we decided to save some money and purchase the year long park pass. It’s under Abbie’s name and we are gonna pass it around the rest of the year if we go on any National Park adventures. As Abs likes to say, he parks are “the best idea the US ever had” and we must take advantage. 

At Zion we took a trail leading to the Emerald Pools, which turned out to be closed due to hazardous weather conditions (theme of the trip? unfortunately, yes) BUT the hike was excellent. I really wish we could have stayed a little longer there and hiked some other trails, but Vegas was beckoning us to the west and we had to get our butts to Sin City…
Great moments of the day:

- Approximately an hour outside of Salt Lake City: “Great guys, we’ve already lost the map…” (Lisa)

- Right at the beginning of our hike, we ran across three people and I casually asked,”Do y’all want me to take a picture of all y’all?” which evidently gave away that we weren’t from the neighborhood.  They were from Alaska and thought that having more than one “y’all” in a sentence was memorizing, hence their dropped jaws and amazed expressions. Guess our Kentucky license plate isn’t the only thing revealing our land of origin, y’all!

- Lisa and Abbie broke the law (a federal offense!) and snuck under the TRAIL CLOSED sign to get a picture under the waterfall

- We have decided that our car is divided into the Northern (front seat) and Southern (back seat) Hemispheres. We are currently in a tense civil war because the North has the expensive real estate with prime views and forces the overcrowded South to make them sandwiches while they freeze because the heat is used up by the North. The South is always angry and has already begun to chuck bombs (hats, mittens, various accessory items that crowd the back seat) at the privileged North. It is on.

Apologies for the delay, but I drove all day yesterday and had little time for an update.

Let’s start from where we left off.

Zion National Park was absolutely wonderful. Since we are going to at least 4 parks on our way back to TN, we decided to save some money and purchase the year long park pass. It’s under Abbie’s name and we are gonna pass it around the rest of the year if we go on any National Park adventures. As Abs likes to say, he parks are “the best idea the US ever had” and we must take advantage.

At Zion we took a trail leading to the Emerald Pools, which turned out to be closed due to hazardous weather conditions (theme of the trip? unfortunately, yes) BUT the hike was excellent. I really wish we could have stayed a little longer there and hiked some other trails, but Vegas was beckoning us to the west and we had to get our butts to Sin City…

Great moments of the day:

- Approximately an hour outside of Salt Lake City: “Great guys, we’ve already lost the map…” (Lisa)

- Right at the beginning of our hike, we ran across three people and I casually asked,”Do y’all want me to take a picture of all y’all?” which evidently gave away that we weren’t from the neighborhood. They were from Alaska and thought that having more than one “y’all” in a sentence was memorizing, hence their dropped jaws and amazed expressions. Guess our Kentucky license plate isn’t the only thing revealing our land of origin, y’all!

- Lisa and Abbie broke the law (a federal offense!) and snuck under the TRAIL CLOSED sign to get a picture under the waterfall

- We have decided that our car is divided into the Northern (front seat) and Southern (back seat) Hemispheres. We are currently in a tense civil war because the North has the expensive real estate with prime views and forces the overcrowded South to make them sandwiches while they freeze because the heat is used up by the North. The South is always angry and has already begun to chuck bombs (hats, mittens, various accessory items that crowd the back seat) at the privileged North. It is on.

After a breakfast of gluten-free pancakes made by Lisa’s roommate, Erin, we said our goodbyes and hit the road! Our car is packed to capacity and every nook and cranny is filled with either clothes, food or our own bodies. This trip has given me a new appreciation for leg room.

Approx 300 miles after we begun we have just turned off the interstate towards our first destination: Zion National Park.

Get ready for some spectacular pictures :)

Our trip. On a paper towel. So classy, I know…

Our trip. On a paper towel. So classy, I know…

HOOOTAH

Park City, UT. Check.

All day today we walked around/explored the beautiful town of Park City where Lisa has spent the last 4 months of her life. TOUGH LIFE. Sometimes I wonder why she is even coming back, because, let’s be honest, this is a way cooler than most of the places we live. 

Tomorrow we are packing up our bags, drying Lisa’s tears and heading south to the bright lights of Las Vegas. We might stop for a break and some awesome scenery at Zion National Park before we hit the strip! Do we know where we are staying? Nope. Are we concerned? Nope. 

Great moments of the day:

- We learned that “Love and scandals are the best sweeteners for tea and coffee” at Atticus, the coffee shop mentioned in the previous post.

- Heated benches exist that make you feel like you’ve peed in your pant.

- Evidently I twisted Abbie’s beloved chapstick too far past the point of return and broke it. Now she (secretly) hates me.

- We walked up and down Main Street and went in as many tourist-y places as possible since Lisa has waited until the last moment to buy souvenirs for family/friends.

- The proportion of males to females is absurdly high. According to Lisa’s roommates, this would be a great thing, except the only thing they think about is skiing. Not awesome.

- Davanzas. Great pizza/burgers/cheesesteak. LOTS of beer cans on the walls… and LOTS of ski bums with the goggle tan.

- We went to the nicest thrift store I have ever experienced. There were scones and beverages to eat while you browse the selection of $10 Columbia/Patagonia/NorthFace garments.

- We basically fulfilled Megan’s life-long dream going to the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. One day she, too, will have worn one of those spandex outfits in the glass cases.

- We went to Walmart. I don’t think I have to tell you how life changing that was.

- Abbie fell down the stairs at Lisa’s house and hit her bum bum, REAL HARD. Major problem since she is going to be sitting on that bum bum for the next week in the car. Whoops (but it was HILARIOUS!)

Cast adrift, Sarah

Lisa’s favorite coffee shop. To Kill A Mockingbird themed with pre-loved books and delightful roasts.

Lisa’s favorite coffee shop. To Kill A Mockingbird themed with pre-loved books and delightful roasts.

clearly we work with kids

So we have finally arrived in Park City, Utah with the lovely Lisa Elder.

but a little recap:
We had a 2 hour lay over in Denver which we proceeded to act as the camp counselors that Troy Taylor has taught us to be, make up games when board. We spent majority of the two hours using Megans neck pillow and pretend it was horse shoe and throw it around each other’s necks. Who says after 21 you can’t have fun. Don’t worry everyone looked at us like we were crazy and laughed when Sarah snorted. Then after we got board with that we basically created our own mini workout video with the airport chairs, ask for more details the two physical therapist were very into this part. 

We landed our last plane and we were separated but still got to enjoy the complimentary warm cookies from Fronteir, nom nom nom. I talked to a man on the plane about our adventures and travels. He then told me this adventure was crazy but I was thinking the whole time he was crazy for gambling on his ipad with over $8,000. PotAto POtato, you know what I mean.

We landed and Lisa picked up from terminal 3 and we then went to the Church of Latter Day Saints Christmas lights. It was gorgeous and the most detail on lights around trees i have ever seen. But it was very uncomfortable and sad that we could not enter this beautiful church that looked a lot like cindarellas castle. anyway we must venture out into the city of parks! 

Cast adrift
Abbie  

Cast adrift from my daily responsibilities and routine, I felt joy I hadn’t felt in a very long time…
Found on a wall in the Nashville Airport, quote by John Guider.