Senior x 3 Pictures

Since this is my third and final year of grad school it’s kind of like being a senior all over again for the third time. After I left Flagstaff I was back in Colorado for a few days and had a chance to spend a couple of days in Boulder with Donny and Tabitha. I hadn’t seen them since December and since everyone else in GJ was busy with school and work it gave me some extra time to spend in Boulder. Last year they had done some awesome pictures for me, and my mom had suggested that I see if they would do more this year. Of course they’re fantastic and they did. We went out in the morning when it was actually pretty nice out, a little bit cloudy so it wasn’t crazy hot. First we went to this cool bike park that was great for pictures.Clara-1

I'm a winner!

I’m a winner!

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Then made our way downtown for a few more. Since there were a bunch of people down on Pearl Street, probably because it was CU’s move in week, I almost felt like a had an audience, only slightly awkward.Clara-19 I seriously felt like I was getting my senior pictures taken, I just wanted to hold up a sign saying “I’m 23!” It obviously wasn’t too awkward for me though because I ended up changing my clothes right in the middle of Pearl Street, no big deal.Clara-22

I love this shirt

I love this shirt

Clara-27To finish up we went down to a park with a creek for the last few pictures.

One of my favorites

One of my favorites

Hard to choose my #1 but I think this is it

Hard to choose my #1 but I think this is it

Was not a pose, but still looks good

Was not a pose, but still looks good

As always Donny took great pictures and Tabitha always knows how to direct perfectly to make me look good, they’re definitely a great photography pair.Clara-37

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Lake Powell

One of my best friends goes with her family and friends to Lake Powell every year and has tried to get me to go along for the past couple of years but I’ve always been too busy with school to make it out. This year since I was in Flagstaff though which is only a few hours away from Lake Powell so I could finally go! I had never been before and I love being on the water and out in the sun, plus I got to spend the weekend with some great people, so I was super excited. Lake Powell is pretty huge and is actually in Arizona and Utah. Obviously the AZ side near Page would have been closer to me but I was meeting everyone at Hall’s Crossing in Utah. It was about a 5 hour drive to the lake except I hit a construction zone where only one of two lanes was open. I ended up sitting on the road for about 40 minutes. Fortunately it was a nice day so I rolled my windows down and read a book while I waited. I finally was on my way again and eventually got to where I turned on to UT 261. This road literally drives up the side of a cliff on a dirt/gravel road. It made me laugh that this was actually considered a road, only in Utah…IMAG2435

Since I had gotten stuck in construction and gotten there late I managed to miss helping load everything on to the house boat, I got there just in time to relax for the rest of the night. On Friday morning we took the boat out to scout out a place for the houseboast. IMAG2444We found a place and hung out on the beach while the others went back to get the house boat. The rest of the group (altogether about 20 people) got there in the afternoon. We went out tubing for a while with about 10 people on the boat, turns out that can slow you down a bit. So we went out again a little later with 6 of us and this time is was much easier to throw people off the tube. I definitely flew a ways in the air before coming back down in the water a couple of times, I swear tubing is the most painful thing you can do on the water sometimes. We had dinner with everyone and then I was totally worn out already for the night. A bunch of us were sleeping up on the top of the house boat and it was beautiful under the stars. The bad part was that on Friday night there was crazy lightning and wind but fortunately it didn’t rain. It did start to rain the next morning though which sent everyone down into the houseboat. Basically I spent most of the morning going through a cycle of eat, nap, repeat and it was glorious. It did totally clear up in the afternoon though so we went back out on the water for more tubing. I was still worn out from the day before so I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into staying on the tube. Pretty much everytime we hit a bump I just let go, tubing seems so simple but it’s so tough on your body and I wasn’t up to taking the beating. I spent the rest of the day hanging out on the houseboat and working on my tan and more napping and eating.

Also working on not getting burned

Also working on not getting burned

On Sunday some of us were up a little early and since the water was totally calm with almost no wind and there were only a few boats out we decided it was perfect to go out wakeboarding. I’ve only tried wakeboarding once last summer and it had taken a few tries to get up so I was pretty sure my face was going to be hitting the water this time too. This time though I got up out of the water on my first try 2/3 times, the other time I got it on my second try. My first time up they told me to try going out of the wake, crossing the wake can be a little tricky, so I shook my head because I didn’t want to do it. So instead the person driving the boat forced me out of the wake, which I guess was alright cause then I was less worried about doing it on my own. I still ended each time by falling in the water but I had fun playing around and testing out my wakeboarding skills. It’s a lot like snowboarding so I really like it. The rest of the day was spent hanging out on the back of the house boat watching some of the others wake board and tube on the other two boats. We also took the boats back to check out some of the canyon areas which was so pretty. IMAG2448I had to take off Sunday afternoon to get back to Flagstaff to finish my last four days of my internship. For my first time at Lake Powell I had a great time and it was so much fun. It was an amazing way to spend my last weekend before heading out of Flagstaff to make my way back home. That’s a place I would definitely like to spend more time.

I like to stay classy when I'm on a boat

I like to stay classy when I’m on a boat

Isn’t Life Grand

I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before and since I’ve been in Flagstaff for the summer, which is only 75 miles away from the south rim, I definitely had to make the trip before I went home. Since my time in Flagstaff is coming to an end I’ve been trying to make sure I see all the places that I wanted to before I leave. About a week ago on Saturday I had gone to Walnut Canyon in the morning, it’s just outside of Flagstaff and has a bunch of Native ruins that you can see in the canyon. It was really cool because the were literally on the edge of the cliffs, those people must have been amazing climbers.

Walnut Canyon, can you spot the ruins?

Walnut Canyon, can you spot the ruins?

Afterwards I made my way out to the Grand Canyon. It was a gorgeous day out so it was perfect to be outside all day. I got to the park around 3 in the afternoon and fortunately managed to find a parking spot right away. Since I was getting there pretty late in the day I didn’t want to walk down any of the trails so I had decided to just walk along the Rim trail. I started from the visitors center and when I walked out to the lookout that first view was absolutely stunning. It’s really incredible how huge the canyon is, it seems to go forever in every direction. The colors were beautiful on the canyon walls and with the sun and clouds there were great shadows playing across the canyon.IMAG2200 IMAG2204

There were a ton of people at the first lookout and along that section of the trail right near the visitors center but after I got a little ways past that there were fewer people, which is really nice. At least in my opinion it’s more enjoyable when there aren’t a million people around. I ended up walking between 8-9 miles along the Rim trail before stopping at The Abyss to watch the sunset. There were only 2 other people there so it was really nice and I thought it was a great view. It was totally relaxing.

The Abyss

The Abyss

Sunset pictures are hard on phone cameras, someday I'll graduate to a real camera

Sunset pictures are hard on phone cameras, someday I’ll graduate to a real camera

Except after the sun was down and it got much colder and the shuttle that was supposed to come every 30 minutes didn’t show up for an hour. So if you’re ever in the Grand Canyon around sunset, be prepared for the Red line shuttle to not show up! It’s best to be at a stop that runs East and Westbound because then you have twice as many opportunities to hop on a shuttle. I eventually made it back to my car though and I was totally worn out. Since it’s “dark sky” at the Grand Canyon it’s a great place to see the stars. It was totally clear out and gorgeous. I made it home but was already planning another trip back.

The next Wednesday I was off of work so I headed back to the Grand Canyon. It’s $25 per car for entrance and it’s good for one week, which seems super cheap to me so that was great. This time I left around 5:30am and was at the Grandview trailhead by 7am. My CI at FMC had told me that Grandview is one of her favorite trails because it has great views and way less people than Bright Angel or Kaibab. I only planned to go about a mile down the trail, so nothing too tough. There were a couple people at the lookout, but there was no one on the trail till I was coming back and a few people were at the top. I didn’t really think the views would be that much different just a mile into the canyon than they were at the top but it really was so amazing to actually go into the canyon even just a little ways. Grandview trail was an old mining trail and it isn’t a maintained trail like some of the others so it’s a little more rough. I thought it was great though, it feels like an actual hike, not a well made trail in a park. The trail was great with the stone and wood steps down the trail. The views were gorgeous all around. I was so happy I was able to go in the canyon just a little bit and enjoy another part of the vast expanse of the canyon. I really am hoping to be able to take a full trip into the canyon someday and actually go all the way down to the river and camp, it would be absolutely amazing.

The trail

The trail

Early AM selfie

Early AM selfie

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After my short hike on the Grandview trail I finished the last few miles on the Rim trail so I could complete the whole thing. I drove from the Graindview trail back to the visitors center (parking was so easy that early on a Wednesday morning). I walked about 2 miles to the East end of the Rim trail down to South Kaibab and walked just a little ways down that trail. I think that’s one of the shortest routes down to the river, but much steeper than Bright Angel. I got to see a couple of park rangers coming back up with some of the pack mules. I think a mule trip down the canyon would be so fun! Then I just took the Orange line shuttle the to the last stop on that side to Yaki point before heading back to catch the Blue line and then Red line back out to The Abyss where I had ended the other day. From there I walked the rest of the trail to Hermit’s Rest before taking the shuttle back to my car to head home. I was so happy to have a second day to explore a little more and it was totally worth the trip.

Mules coming up South Kaibab

Mules coming up South Kaibab

Mid afternoon selfie? I took so many pictures at so many places in the canyon I can't remember the specific places

Mid afternoon selfie? I took so many pictures at so many places in the canyon I can’t remember the specific places

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Spot the Colorado River

Spot the Colorado River

Hermit's Rest, my last stop on the RIm trail. My 2nd phone battery died right after this

Hermit’s Rest, my last stop on the RIm trail. My 2nd phone battery died right after this

  • Also if you go to the Grand Canyon PICK UP YOUR TRASH! I didn’t see a lot while I was there, but any trash at all on the trails is ridiculous.
  • There are all sorts of people there so you can try and pick up on peoples conversations if you know a foreign language, or you can just giggle at some of the outfits people wear, I saw so many girls in heels, dresses, and skirts! It’s a pretty good cultural education and definitely very interesting.
  • Be nice and don’t crowd the trail! I had so many people just about walk straight into me even though I was trying to walk to the very edge to give them space, don’t expect people to always give you space to get around them

When I was planning to go to the Grand Canyon I just kept thinking about The Guilt Trip when they go to the Grand Canyon. “ I always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. How long are we supposed to look at it?” “10 minutes? It would be disrespectful to look at it any less than that.”