“It was one of the best experiences of my life. The people were great, the places were beautiful and the activities were amazing.”
— Shannon F., Palo Alto, CA, ARCC Student
Journal: So Happy in Utah
Greetings from the spectacular red rock countryside of Utah! The group is immensely excited about starting our 5 days on the Colorado River, to cool the heat and have one of life's great adventures. Read more
We began our trip at Cherry Creek State Park with a Colorado thunderstorm so big it shut down the local freeway and yet, with a bit of hot cocoa and the company of new friends, everyone’s morale remained high. We even got a compliment from the ranger about how well we were toughing it out, and he showed us a magic trick to boot! The rain calmed down and we were able to enjoy a cool night’s sleep before starting our journey to Arches at 6AM!
Cinnamon rolls in the car, games, funny stories and blasting music helped to pass the time. It didn’t hurt that we had so many B.A.M.s (beauty appreciation moments) to share and a fantastic lunch spot along the Colorado river. Once we made it to Arches, we were immediately overwhelmed by the magnificence of this spectacular location. Cameras flashed inside the van and out. We set up our tents, had a great dinner of mac and cheese with broccoli and a salad, and made our way to one of the wonders of the desert: the Delicate Arch. We sat and saturated in the sunset colors as we snacked on a fun dessert of cookies, frosting and sprinkles, just taking it all in. Our leaders had a t-shirt ceremony, shared something rad they saw in each one of us, and we shared our favorite moment and what we looked forward to the most. For many it was new friends, and for many others, it was getting onto the river to go rafting! We then hiked back under the stars, spotting a toad, a bullfrog and sharing, bonding and laughing. Many slept out under the stars and chatted late into the night with our new friends.
“This was one of the best experiences of my life. I have never seen such beautiful sights before as I did backpacking through Bridal Veil, and I have never bonded with such great people in as short a time in my life!”
— Carlie R., ARCC Student
Journal: Fourth of July Rafting Fun!
What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than rafting down the beautiful Arkansas River through the mountains of Colorado? We had the same great rafting guides as yesterday, Skip, Doug, and Heidi, who tested us on Class III rapids in the morning to prepare us for more technical paddling in the Royal Gorge, which we rocked in the afternoon. The Royal Gorge gave us some amazing whitewater and cliffs towering 100 feet overhead. We went under the highest suspension bridge in the world! Read more
After we got back to our camp, the cook crew (Rob, Ty, and Quentin) cooked some tasty Thai peanut noodles which we enjoyed after a big day of rafting! We ate brownies for dessert before heading into Salida for Fourth of July celebrations. A great jazz band was playing as we worked on our hacky sack skills until it got too dark. We ate kettle corn while watching fireworks, making it an incredible Independence Day!
— ARCC Leader
“The wilderness provided me with the opportunity to explore and understand myself at a deeper level. ARCC has given me reason to love myself for who I am, not necessarily what I do. Anyone who does this trip will leave with amazing memories and appreciate life so much more. With the support of others, it is possible to do anything.”
— ARCC Student
Journal: Rocky Mountain High
After waking up at 7:15, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of bagels and Nutella. We packed, filled our water bottles, and broke down camp before heading out for a day of backpacking. We had a mountain pass to go over - this was one of the most challenging obstacles I have ever faced. Read more
When we reached the top of the mountain, we followed a trail for a quarter mile which brought us to our ultimate goal! We were so proud to summit a 13,100 foot mountain, and we celebrated and took pictures of the beautiful snow-capped mountains and valleys surrounding it. Although the hike was hard, it was worth it for this amazing view and the teamwork our group put forth! After hiking down into the valley, we found a beautiful campsite where we decided to call it a day and set up camp. We had a super dinner of chicken and rice, all of us hungry from our day of hiking! We also opened up our hi-low pack which was duct taped shut. Inside we found M&M’s, Twizzlers, and Pop Rocks. We all said the highpoint of the trip for us, a goal, and something nice about the person to our right. That was the best part of the evening circle, as it reminded our group how awesome everybody is! After an exhausting, but rewarding day of hiking, we all huddled in our warm sleeping bags.
— ARCC Student
“The trip was exhilarating, intelligently laid out, beautifully executed, and over all one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”
— Rob M., ARCC Student