I'm back with another little catch up for all you guys waiting to read!! I will get fully caught up eventually!!
Monday 21st July (start of my TrekAmerica trip)
I got up and ready and managed to spend $50 on a taxi to get to the meeting place for the start of my TrekAmerica experience (I hate LA!!)! I met a few from the group then Seamus, our tour leader showed up and we got started! We got through all the paperwork quite quickly and then the introductions began! In our group we had a Brazilian, Anna, 3 Danish, Stephan, Annie, Jasper, 3 Germans Maja Alexandra Annika, 2 Swedish Josephine, Jonas, 1 English Claire, 1 Irish, Darran and 1 Korean Heu Jeung. So a very international group! Our fisrt stop brought us to Hollywood where we checked out the Walk of Fame and got pictures of LA and the Hollywood sign. Then we drove for a good while before reaching the Colorado River, our first camping experience of the trip! I shared a tent with Claire and we put it up without any major problems! We had dinner then gathered round the campfire for stories and smores! Then an early night coz we were all pooped!!
Tuesday 22nd July
It was an early start today to make sure we got our tents packed up and we hit the road on time... in fact it was so early that the sun was still sleeping wen we got up! It was a 5 hour drive to the Grand Canyon National Park, and along the way we stopped on Route 66 at a very quaint little place with pranksters around every corner (think squirting "mustard" at you, it was really just yellow string... you get the idea lol) and Walmart to pick up provisions and brown paper bags! Once we got to the Grand Canyon we were instructed to put the paper bags over our heads and Seamus guided all of us to the rim of the Canyon then we were told to take off our bags! I nearly fell over, the views were spectacular! And I'm telling you all now, the pictures just dont do it justice! It was breathtaking! Once we drank it all in we headed to camp and got everything sorted out. Then I went for a little helicopter ride around the Canyon!! It was unbelievable! To see it standing there is one thing but to fly over it is completely different! I'm glad I did it, one of the best experiences I've had!! The canyon is definitely American - big bold and beautiful!! Once we came back to Earth we went to watch the sun set over the canyon. The colours were so intense! Crazy beautiful!! We then just mucked about the camp and planned our free day in the Canyon!
Wednesday 23rd July
Claire, Maja and I decided to be lazy and didnt do the hike into the canyon. Instead we went to a Condor talk then just walked around the rim of the canyon. We got extremely lucky and actually saw not one, but 2 Californian Condors!! They're huge ugly birds!! But it was awesome seeing some of them in the wild!! After that excitement we looked around the gift shops and then posed for pictures, yep more pictures of the Canyon! Just to prove I was really there! We then headed back to camp where we got packed up and hit the road for Las Vegas Baby!! I was the DJ for the ride and I was told I did a pretty good job! Go me! A new profession?? Anyway, we rolled into Vegas (with Elvis, Viva Las Vegas blaring) and Seamus took us for a tour of the strip before we got to our hotel, the Alexis Park. A...MAZE...ING!!! The room was a suite for 2, and it had a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom!! After a 1 room tent barely big enough for 2 people and their bags it was heaven!! Once we got over the shock of the room and I had finished txting people about it (did I mention we had 2 TVs? We had 2 TVs) we all went out for a group dinner to an Italian which was delicious, then Seamus's surprise took place! We got a party bus and toured around Vegas in it, dancing about and drinking!! I seriously thot I wud've been sick but we were too busy having waaay too much fun that I forgot all about motion sickness! We were meant to go to the Bellagio to watch the Fountain Show but there was an incident there which meant that the whole strip around the Bellagio was closed down so we just ended up going to the Flamingo and partied the night away!
Thursday 24th July
Claire and I woke up pretty late today, probably down to all the partying lol. But it didnt really matter as today was a lazy day for looking around all the casinos. Our first stop was MGM which was huge!! So big it even had its own lion enclosure! We walked through onto the walkway that took us to Excalibur where we had a monster lunch! An All You Can Eat buffet for $14... I definitely made the most of it! 4 main courses and 2 desserts later I was fit to burst! It was then that I discovered the magic of hot water and lemon!! After that feed we rolled ourselves back onto the strip and walked around loadsa shops (including an M&M's World and Coca Cola Shop). Then we walked up the strip past the Harley Davidson cafe and through the Planet Hollywood casino. Caesar's Palace was next, where we proceeded to get well and truely lost... I mean lost in a casino... come on!! Once we found our way out we went to Paris and Venice, and the Mirage which was cool! Then on to Treasure Island where we saw a bit of the Pirate show then it was back down to the Bellagio where I gambled $5 and won... 54 cents!!! Then we went to watch the Fountain Shows which were amazing! After that we made our way back down to the bottom end of the strip to go see Mamma Mia... in the cinema! It was a good movie and we had fun! Then it was just back to the hotel... an early start in the morning!
Friday 25th July
Yep, pretty hard to get outta bed this morning and as a result Claire and I were the last one's out!! It was a really long day in the bus but we eventually reached Yosemite NP and boy was the bus trip worth it! We went for a walk among Giant Sequoia Trees and we saw a real live black bear!!! We were pretty close and I managed to get a few pics!We pulled over a couple times to get pictures of the spectacular views, and I've also become quite skilled at taking pictures from moving vehicles!! We got to camp and got it all set up then Annie, Stephan, Maja and I got to making dinner for the group... Spag Bol with garlic bread and chocolate bananas for dessert!! It was amazing! Once everyone was finished we got the campsites bear-proofed - all the food and utensils were stacked outside our tent, with just a tarp covering it all... great! I had pictures of bears coming into our tent and everything! Even Claire was quite worried about it! Then all of a sudden I heard noises outside the tent, and sniffing, and growling.... It was Maja messing about coz she knew we were worried about the bears!! Love her to bits, she's hilarious!!
Saturday 26th July
Another early start this morning... this time it was for hiking!! Most of our group wanted to do the Half Dome Hike which was 17 miles round trip... I obviously didn't wanna do that one! So Claire and I opted for a hike to Vernal Falls then we would see how we felt! It was a very strenuous hike for me as it was all uphill, and the second part was steps, hundreds of steps!! It took us a while but we eventually reached the top of the falls, 1000ft higher than when we started, and the views were amazing! Very impressive! We stopped to have lunch here and then we decided to go on up to Nevada Falls! The hike wasn't as torturous for me as the last one, maybe coz I had my second wind, I dunno but it was really tough and the heat of the day was starting to close in on us! But after a while we did make it up to the top and the views were even more stunning than those at Vernal Falls! It was amazing! So we rested and dipped our feet into the very cold water! It was soo refreshing after having them in my boots all day!! Then we made our way back down which was almost (not quite, but almost) as hard as coming up coz it was a gravel path so it was quite slippery wen it got steep! But we made it back down and met up with the others, received high-5's off everyone and then got tucked into pizza! Ok so it took me the same amount of time to do an 8 mile hike as some people who did the 17 mile hike, but I'm proud of myself that I was able to do it anyway! On our way back to camp we got a little lost and came across this guy with a car in the middle of nowhere... it looked really dogdy and we thot he had maybe killed someone and had just finished burying them!! That kept us awake the rest of the way back to camp!
Sunday 27th July (End of TrekAmerica trip *sniff sniff*)
We all woke up tired and sore this morning, but it wasn't a long bus journey before we made it to our lunch stop where we got out and stretched and Seamus chucked himself into the icy cold river! His face was hilarious and I wish I had of had my camera ready to take a picture! Then it was another relatively short drive to San Francisco baby!! We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge lookout point and got off the bus... OH MY GOD it was freezing!!! There was me, like al ot of others, in shorts and a vest top!! After 38 degrees in Yosemite we get 18 in San Fran!!! Plus the fog was so bad we couldn't see the bridge so we just headed into downtown where we all went our seperate ways for about an hour coz we were all meeting up for a final group dinner! Turns out it was in an Irish bar so Darran and I felt right at home!! We gave Seamus our present, a signed group photo and a huge tip, then it really was the big goodbyes, which was sad coz our group was good! Oh well, its all part of the travelling!