The first week of June, Russ and Brady packed up and headed to Southern Utah with Brady's Teacher's quorum. Here's how it went down in Brady's own words:
Well, on Wednesday our teachers' quorum headed down on our way to the San Raphael swell. We stopped at Denny's on the way, and after some pancakes and juice we got back on the road. We got there midday, and after spending some time exploring the surrounding area, we found the perfect campsite, nestled in between giant rock formations on either side. They were definitely a lot of fun to climb around, and we definitely spent a lot of our "down time" climbing around on them.
On Thursday, we woke up, grabbed some pop tarts, and headed for Goblin Valley. The landscape of rock formations was a playground beckoning to us, and we wasted no time starting to climb around. We all hung out on top of the goblins, and just had a lot of fun exploring caves, and scurrying around on the rocks. When we felt like we'd had enough, we left to start our hike through the canyons.
In Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons we had a lot of fun squeezing through crevasses and really taking in the rocky beauty all around us. I definitely had a lot of fun playing follow the leader on the hike, jumping off of rocks and across gaps and just being silly.
On Friday, everyone woke up energized for the day ahead. We started off by going to a little waterfall just off the side of the road. We jumped in and started to swim, the cool water an antidote to the intense heat. There were so many things to try--swimming against the waterfall, throwing kelp at each other, and even riding through a natural water flume thing! Some highlights: two of the teachers getting in a fight, Ryan losing his swimsuit in the waterfall, and some crazy European tourists taking off their clothes! It was a lot of fun.
We stopped for lunch at a local burger joint, and on the way back to camp we even stopped at the set of a Disney movie that was being filmed. After resting at camp, we left for our night hike through Ding and Dang canyons. It took a while to get into them, but when in the canyons, we just had an amazing time. There were narrows to squeeze through, and little fissures to shimmy across, and big rock formations to climb up! Plus, when out of the canyons, the starry sky was beautiful. I could see the milky way! I think we all had fun together trying to make it through, and even though we got back to camp around 2:00 AM, it was definitely an adventure.
After all the planning, packing, and work required to make this a reality, I know I definitely had a lot of fun on the trip. I don't think I'm ever going to forget the hikes, the beautiful landscapes, or the spiritual firesides we had each night. I definitely grew a lot closer to my quorum, and I just hope that we can do something like this again. It was really great. Thanks to my leaders, who made it all possible, and to my mom for making that killer video. And definitely thanks to my dad, for coming, being cool with me climbing around on everything (even when it made him nervous), and for just spending time and having fun with me!