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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Talent & Spirit Shines in the Canyons – U.S. Explorer

Dear U.S. Explorer Families,

We’ve been having so much fun, sorry we haven’t written in a while.  Here are some of the past week’s highlights: Lagoon Water and Amusement Park was amazing! We had fun in the lazy river and on the water slides!  We also rode some thrilling roller coasters.  The mountains in the background were so beautiful that Jill said “it was like having a backdrop so pretty it didn’t seem real.”  Brandon, Karen, David A. and Robert even dared to try a free-falling ride similar to the King Swing and got it on video!

The next morning we packed up and left Park City, to head to the Canyons starting with Bryce Canyon which was so beautiful. The forces of nature have surely carved out some real treasures here in the southwest.

On route we had a surprise Westcoast Connection friendly competition start up.  We came up with chants and team names; The Banana Republic, Purplexia, Young Money, and Red Devils and raced to put up our tents!  We had a delicious taco fiesta which Charlie said was his “favorite meal yet.”  The next morning when we came out of our team tents, we were dressed in our team color ready to win spirit points.  We decorated our section of the bus as we drove to the Grand Canyon where we went on a scenic hike.  It was so beautiful and we could not believe how big it was compared to pictures we had seen.  Afterward we went to the Coral Sand Dunes.  The sand was so fine and soft!  We climbed to the top of an enormous dune, making it up there with encouragement from one another.  Then we played on top and, of course, there was only way to make it down for some of us – ROLL! Getting sand all over us was so worth the fun ride!

Back at the campground, we participated in our own “amazing race” called an Apache Relay – a multi-event relay race including a neck pass, tarp flip, and an eating contest.  The Purple team won the Apache Relay and David E. commented, “we worked together to win; we’re going all the way!”  Then we got to feed our Trip Leaders in a rousing, competitive game of Iron Chef Desserts!  We chose our ingredients, made a plan, and executed a dish for our certified dessert eaters to judge.  After deliberating on presentation, creativity, and taste, the Red Devils came out on top with their delectable chocolate tower.  Alex said, “Of course we won, our dessert was awesome!”

Following Iron Chef, we got to show off our talents and have some lighthearted fun performing.  Each team did a superb job writing creative lyrics, original dance moves, and humorous skits that it was extremely hard for our Trip Leaders to choose a winner in each category.  Jen and Alexa both shined for their teams, leading dances; Sydney Z. helped her team write original song lyrics and Zach C. showed off his smooth dance moves.  Finally, the judges announced the Red Devils won.  Second place was Purplexia, followed by Banana Republic and Young Money.  Although there had to be a winner, all of our Trip Members did an excellent job working together and having fun!

The next morning, we were on our way to fabulous Las Vegas and the energy in the group as we saw the famous Las Vegas Strip Boulevard was insurmountable.  We were all so excited to be in one of the most alive, happening places on the planet! The moment we got there we took off to the pool and to explore the beautiful Monte Carlo hotel.  Then we ate dinner at Buca di Beppo, a family style Italian Restaurant that everyone enjoyed!  Bridget said it for all of us: “this food is delicious!”  That evening we rode the Big Shot at the Stratosphere; a ride that starts 112 stories off the ground, soaring high above the Vegas lights to expose the most picturesque view of the city.  Even though Jared G. was intimidated by the height of the ride, he said “this is something I have to do” and ended up loving every second of it.

Later we ventured over to the Venetian Hotel which Jacob L. and Grant both said “looks exactly like Venice” and enjoyed gelato and walking around because the energy was so high in Vegas, we didn’t want to sleep, knowing that tomorrow would be more amazing than today.

The next day we went for dinner at New York, New York hotel.  Immediately, it was as if we had traveled back to our starting point and were back in The Big Apple.  Though we didn’t quite go to the east coast, it sure felt like it as we walked around and enjoyed replicas of brownstones, skyscrapers, and city streets.  Our next stop was Gameworks, a huge arcade for children of all ages.  Jordan F. and Brandon tried their hand at Guitar Hero while Emma, Hailey, Jill and Jen played Dance Dance Revolution until their laughter brought them to tears.

The next morning, as we were preparing to leave for our next destination, Grant said, “why can’t we just stay here forever? It’s so much fun!”  Fortunately, we have a jam-packed itinerary ahead of us that we couldn’t be more excited about – California, sun, sand, surfing, swimming, dancing, Disney, exploring, and so much more!  Can’t wait to tell you all about it!  Until then, we miss and love you all!


U.S. Explorer

 The Westcoast Blogger