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Day 11 – Salt Lake City & Zion National Park – By Jordy Frankel

“In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in the streets or villages.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello everyone. My name is Jordy, and I’m 16 years old. I jumped at the opportunity to write today because of 2 of my favorite things: writing and nature.

This morning, we woke up at 7 am in Salt Lake City. I was already stressing out because AP Exam scores were beginning to be released today. However, there were more important things to look forward to: today I had the chance to reconnect with the natural world.

Unlike most teenagers of this era, I am not entirely in favor of technology. Sure, I have a smartphone, but I prefer being in nature and writing letters with paper and pen. (Pardon the tangent, but I promise, it is relevant.)

We then got on the bus for a scenic 5 hour drive into Utah. Since scenic routes are some of my favorite things, I plugged in my headphones, jammed out to some Bright Eyes, and watched out the window as the mountains rolled by.

Two hours into the ride, Billy decided to show us the movie “Food Inc.” I won’t get into the gory details, but let’s just say I will never buy food from a large corporation again. Mind you, this film was shown to us right before lunch (many of the girls decided to “go veg” for the meal). After our lunch stop at Denny’s, we continued down the road to where I would soon find bliss.

When we reached Zion, we got on a tram to take us to a trail head for the Narrows. Once we arrived, I knew I was in the right place
Before we journeyed down the path that led to the Narrows, we stopped by the Virgin River, where Gabe led a discussion about water conservation. Then, our “hike” began. A third of the way down the trail, we stopped along the side of the trail where Tommy talked to us about writers from the transcendentalist era, which is why I found the Emerson quote quite fitting for this post.

After our talk, we continued towards the Virgin River. I was so ecstatic to explore, I felt like I hadn’t been in my element in ages. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning about activism and what the debates of the country are, but there’s something about being in the wilderness that gives me a sense of belonging and comfort.

When the little trail ended, we were given the opportunity to frolic in the river. Finally, I could explore. One of my dear friends on this trip, Sami, also has a passion for nature. She and I saw all of the large rocks on the river bed as an opportunity for adventure. So the tow of us climbed the rocks as trees brushed beside us. There’s no other way to describe this experience except for wondorous. Being surrounded by my best friends with the sounds and sights of nature enveloping me…the feeling was perfection. It felt good to be in the woods again. It felt good to be home.\

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