By Denise Cortes
American Latino Expedition
After counting down the weeks, and then the days – finally the time came for us to leave our daily routines and embark on our outdoor adventure to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area! All of us flew into the LAS airport early this morning and then piled in an SUV to make our way to our destination.
Sure this is a blogging assignment from a contest we won, but it’s really turned into building friendships and happy experiences. Nicole made gourmet snack bags that included her special Bacon Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Cookies, and Kathy silkscreened T-shirts featuring our faces and team name too!
Here’s a recap of our first day on our expedition:
KATHY: Let’s talk packing. Because this kind of “outdoor recreation” trip is a first for me, I had no idea what to pack. When in doubt, toss in everything! Even fabric markers! And yarn and a crochet hook. It helped pass the time during our road trip.
DENISE: I could not get over the view. It looked like the Carsland ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park—only a thousand times more beautiful and real. Then I was sad that my only frame of reference for the beauty of nature was at the “happiest place on Earth”. But this was real and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
MONIQUE: I had such a great time on the road trip! You ladies are amazing company and the scenery was stunning. I was really amused at how we hopped from Nevada to Arizona to Utah to Arizona again. So cool!
NICOLE: The drive in was so breathtaking, I was obsessed with the mountains that looked like piles of clay baked in the desert oven. I seriously felt like Wile E. Coyote! Beep Beep!
DENISE: We stopped at a gas station in Utah, and we were struck by the absolute stillness of it all. There was absolutely no noise pollution at all.
KATHY: Our rooms at the Lake Powell Marina and Resort are delectable – our view of the canyons is breathtaking. Years and years of layered sediment make for what looks like a painting! I don’t think my camera can even capture the essence, it’s so beautiful.
DENISE: Five minutes into the bright sunlight of Arizona, and I was suddenly extremely grateful for all of the cool REI and Columbia gear that is going to help me stay cool, hydrated and shielded from the sun.
MONIQUE: Every time I look out at our view, it takes my breath away too. Are we sure it’s not a painting? It’s the perfect postcard view!
NICOLE: I just like the fact that every time I look out of our window, I’m looking at canyons/mesas that were once under water. How many years have they been shaped by sand, water and wind. Nature is so amazing!
DENISE: Our room was cool and comfortable, and I love that we have our own patio that faces majestic Lake Powell. At night, I sat out on the paved walkway and saw all of the stars in the sky.
KATHY: Aside from taking in all the beauty, the highlight was our ultra swanky dinner at Rainbow Room. We started off with an array of appetizers, gobbled down hearty entrees like pecan-crusted salmon and finished off the night with strawberry shortcake and banana-chocolate tarts.
DENISE: We had the pleasure of dining with Jason Urtubey (General Manager of Lake Powell Resort) and Denise Schulz (Chief of Interpretation, Education, & Partnerships) for dinner and they were so gracious. They shared about the park and some historical background on where we will be visiting during our stay. I loved learning about Lake Powell—I think a major step in bringing more Latino families to the park is for them to have an understanding and appreciation for the land.
MONIQUE: I keep thinking about how much the gourmet foodies would love this restaurant. This definitely isn’t a campground cafeteria. Just thinking of my steak makes me drool and the service was outstanding.
NICOLE: I was a fan of the cotija cheese-crusted quesadilla, and the lovely ahi tuna with pickled watermelon. Mmmmmm, the selling point for me on the strawberry shortcake was it was smothered in a lemon curd, and the biscuit had a slightly crunchy sugar crust on top.
DENISE: I’m not a big dessert person (but pass me all the bread, please and thank you), but my strawberry shortcake with cream and lemon curd was out of this world.
KATHY: I’m excited for tomorrow, we head out on a boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, and then a hike. We were told to take time and savor the moment. I plan to not worry about blogging, taking photos…well at least for a little bit.
MONIQUE: Bring on the stunning views and I’ll just snap away on my camera. I think I’m most excited about learning the history of the land and taking a moment to appreciate its beauty. Something I don’t get to see much of in Los Angeles.
NICOLE: I plan on really taking in the beauty, hopefully with lots of quiet moments! I’m excited to learn and share some of the history I learn by passing it on to my friends and family.
DENISE: We are ready for tomorrow, for a three hour boat ride to Rainbow Bridge National Monument.