Updated: Feb 27, 2019
After my Sophomore year of High School, I decided to go on a 40-day tour of the west coast with one of my best friends. We first flew to Denver, Colorado then Rapid City, South Dakota then Cody, Wyoming. We spent those first six nights in tents and sleeping bags paired up with people we just met. It was a great experience, where I actually made seven life-long friends. We saw Mt. Rushmore, which is surprisingly way smaller than you think it would be. We also went white water rafting and did a whole bunch of camping activities, like smores. Oh, and we also had to assemble our own tents… Next was Yellowstone, Wyoming, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were in the park for hours, got to see amazing wildlife and of course, Jackson Hole. After that, we made our bus ride up to Banff, Canada where we spent three nights. We saw a beautiful part of Banff, Lake Louise. We took canoes out on the lake. The water is so clear, it looks almost turquoise. And it was surrounded by mountains covered in snow. One of the most beautiful tourist attractions I’ve ever seen. When our time in Banff was over, we stopped at Jasper Athabasca Glacier on the way to Whistler. We took a school bus to the top of this huge glacier, we were able to walk on it and even drink the fresh running water going through it! In Whistler, we spent time mountain biking along exquisite valley trails. On our way back to the US we stopped in Vancouver where we walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. We also made a stop at the Greenville Island marketplace for lunch. There were fresh food stands, colorful market stands and multiple street entertainers. Our first destination back in the US was in Seattle, Washington. I got to see the original Starbucks and the Pike Place Fish Market. I had an amazing lunch, a classic clam chowder. At night we got to see the Space Needle that has a remarkable view of all of Seattle. We got onto a flight for Park City, Utah. Where we spent a day at Utah Olympic Park, doing things like going down the extreme summer tube track and a crazy rope course. Our next stop was our final camping night, in Zion, Utah. We hiked along Bryce Canyon, which was actually the inspiration for Disneyland’s Thunder Mountain! After our few days in the Zion and Bryce Canyon, we upgraded to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. What an incredible view, I’ve never seen anything like it. That next morning we woke up and went straight back on the Red Rocks in Sedona, Arizona for the ‘Pink Jeep Tours.’ A reckless, but extremely fun ride up and down the Broken Arrow trail. After being done with most of our crazy adventures, we stopped in Las Vegas, Nevada for a chill few days of swimming, shopping, and of course, more shopping. Then we were finally were heading to California, the part I was most excited for. Our first stop in California was San Diego. We had awesome surfing lessons by Billabong, I wish I still had the guts to back out there and go surfing again! And we also spent a day at the San Diego Zoo, but I am extremely against zoos. So, I won’t get into that part… Then we headed to Los Angeles where we stayed in UCLA dorms, which was an incredible experience. The campus is beautiful. I actually got to spend the day with one of my best friends from LA, who signed me out of my teen tour. We explored Abbot Kinney, a super trendy part of town. The next few days in LA we were on third street promenade, Hollywood walk of fame and a quick night trip to Disneyland. The next four days consisted of our cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, and Catalina Island. Those next few days were so hard for me; I was sea-sick every day. I only had a good time when we got to get off the boat for our stops. Our stop in Catalina Island was amazing, such a small, colorful and adventurous island. We spent the whole day snorkeling with fish. After we FINALLY got off the ship, it was time to head to Lake Tahoe Resort. We had a whole beach day on Lake Tahoe, swimming, tanning and tubing in the crystal clear water. Time went by way too fast. Our last three nights were spent in San Francisco, California going on the Golden Gate bridge, going on cable cars, taking a tour of Alcatraz and our last night at Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. Our final night together, we stayed up until our flights left the next morning reliving our fabulous memories. I mean when will I ever get to go to nine different states and three countries in one trip? I will forever have these memories, and I will forever have the best friends that I made.