Spring Break in Arizona

I spent this last spring break in Arizona, on a woods trip. Woods is the official outdoors club at my school. We travelled in 5 vans of 6. CD-swap was planned where different people on the trip were assigned to each other to make CDs for each other. I was assigned to make a CD for Kiaran, but things did not go exactly as planned. The idea was we would then spend the trip trying to figure out which of the 29 other people on the trip had made our CDs. I inadvertently told Kiaran I had made his.

It was 30 hour journey each way. It was a lot of fun. We stopped at thrift shops along the way, and I picked up a lot of books. I read a total of 4 books on that trip. My best book finds were:

  1. Bourne, by Jeff Vandemeer. I found a signed copy in a thrift shop for $1.50!
  2. Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch.
  3. Fledgling, by Octavia Butler.
  4. A Long Way Gone- Memoirs of a Child Soldier by Ishmael Beah. This was a great thrift shop find as well!

I have not read A Long Way Gone yet, but I am excited to start on it when I get back to school.

Our first destination was Tonto national forest. This was our campsite:

Our campsite in Tonto national forest

Hiking up a mountain into the snow

I spent the first night in my sleeping bag on a tarp looking at the stars. I had not realized how much living in an urban area like Wooster took away from me. Everyone was very romantic that night- the stars cast their spell on all of us. Those who knew the names of the constellations pointed them out, and those of us who did not, listened.

Footnote: I remembered stars I grew up knowing as the 3 sisters. Wherever I have seen these stars, they have reminded me of home.

We went on day hikes, and we saw ruins that the native american people of the area had inhabited. Here are some pictures of this:

Our next stop was in Sedona. Sedona was breathtaking. The red rocks, and the eternal stone landforms, it was such a beautiful city and area. The city stuck out like a sore thumb, and looking at some of the houses nestled in the hillsides was upsetting. Emma first observed this, and over the course of the trip, the houses invading the natural landscape as they did came to bother me too.

Interestingly, I kept thinking how much I would like to own a house there one day too. What does that say about human behavior? There were many adventures in Sedona. Rendezvous into crystal shops and Native American art and curio shops. That last thing bothered me- to think that all that remained of the people who had lived in that region were the little trinket shops, and perhaps reservations hidden away from the public eye and the tourist paths.

Next, we went to The Grand Canyon. This was for me, and many of my fellow Woodsians, a spiritual experience. Many pictures follow. These pictures cannot even attempt to do what I saw justice, but this is the most I can say in the 10 minutes I have to write this.

Camping in the Grand Canyon National Park was amazing. I got the order of things wrong, because we camped at the Grand Canyon, and then in Sedona. Still, the Grand Canyon was incredible. The sunsets I saw there. The sheer scale of the big gaping hole in the earth. It was aking to witnessing an act of God.

The Grand Canyon

The trip back was an even bigger adventure. I got initiated into Woods on the last night, and I was given my Woods name: Radiant River Reader. Everyone who is supposed to know what that was about and what happened that night already knows it. If you want to know more, ask me or any Woodsian.

On the trip back to Wooster we met with some really bad weather. I was copilot through some of it and Maddy steered our ship well to good weather. We drove through a really bad storm, and there was flooding in Oklahoma and 2 tornado warnings in a space of an hour. Understand, it is difficult to summarize 2 weeks of not showering and sleeping in the wilderness into a 10 minute blog post, but the WOODS trip to Arizona in 2019 changed my life. I am at NSBE as I write this, but I cannot wait to get back to school and see some of the friends I made on that trip again. I also am excited to see Sarah. NSBE has been an awesome experience.