Sunday, March 25, 2012

Well they say the Grand Canyon is something to see

Hello everyone!

I’m sorry for not updating sooner about my Grand Canyon Trust adventures. We only get access to internet once a week and last week was pretty crazy, as you can imagine.

We’ve done some awesome stuff here so far, and we’ve actually finished the first and second sections, or hitches, of our project. When we got here, the first thing we did was start on our orientation hitch. Our sponsors taught us so much about the area, including the history, environment and wildlife. The area is so amazingly beautiful and our more permanent housing is nestled in a valley among cliffs and canyons and plateaus. We are living in tents but we have access to this incredibly cozy little ranch house with a great kitchen and even a dining room table!

We’ve also completed our first work hitch: pronghorn fence restoration in the House Rock Valley. The pronghorn is a small antelope that also happens to be the fastest land animal in North America. They roam the valley, but have a hard time moving around due to the barbed wire cattle fences for the free-range cattle that ranchers keep all over. Because of this, they have limited access to water and encounter challenges when trying to escape from predators. So, we spent our work hitch removing the bottom layer of barbed wire fencing and replacing it with smooth wire, which we raised to 18 inches (studies show the pronghorn move much more freely when the wire is at this height) so that the pronghorn can move comfortably under the fences without being injured. We finished about a 1.5 mile stretch of fence, so that’s pretty awesome!

As for our next adventure, we have off until Wednesday, when we are splitting up to complete two separate tamarisk removal projects. My group will be backpacking 10 miles into the Paria Canyon, a slot canyon that is supposed to be incredible. We will stay there for about 7 days before we hike out. Needless to say, we’re all so excited about this (though the days off are nice).

After the Paria Canyon hitch, we have a few days off for spring break, when my team will be heading to Flagstaff (and some people to other places from there) for some rest, relaxation, and hopefully a lot of fun and exploration! Then we’ve got a hitch of road closures with camping on the Paria Plateau, and another with some rock moving, followed by some little things before we ship back to Denver and then who knows where. It’s amazing how quickly the project is going already (and the 10 months, to be honest). But, I’ve submitted my Team Leader application and I’m hoping for an interview some time in April and (hopefully) an acceptance some time in May.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing things like hiking a slot canyon on my 23rd birthday (Wednesday, by the way). I don’t hate it. I’ll probably update when we’re out in flagstaff, so check back around the beginning of April. Until then, stay adventurous


Friday, March 9, 2012

America, Bikes, Canyons, Denver

Ok, so America is a bit of a stretch, but we do get things done for America anyway...

I don’t want to write too much here and have it all get lost in the shuffle, but I thought I’d post a quick update while I can (since I won’t have internet very often on my next project). I’m getting SO pumped for this round. We leave on Monday for spike (Grand Canyon Trust!!!) and get to Marble Canyon, AZ (30 minutes from our housing) on Tuesday afternoon sometime. We’ve gotten some pretty good info about the project since we’ve been back in Denver. The team will be in cabins for the first few weeks, working a changing schedule that’s 7-8 days on and then 3-4 days off. Starting at the end of March (right before my birthday) we’ll begin our backpacking section of the project. Once a week we will be trying to get to town (which is 1 hour 15 minutes away and is in Utah!) to do laundry, get food, and have some cell and internet access. I’m apprehensive about so much…the team, the project, the conditions…but I’m also extremely excited for this incredible adventure. I’ll try to take lots and lots of photos and post them here when I can!

Second big thing I wanted to do was tell everyone about my friend Andrew Lassiter. He rocks. Legit. And starting in May he is biking 4,300 miles, from Charleston to Santa Cruz, to spread the word about affordable housing and build homes along the way. His group of 27 riders is one of 8 “Bike and Build” groups participating. He’s an amazing guy and this is a great cause, so I want to ask everyone that can to HELP HIM OUT! Every dollar donated funds a mile of his trip, which is so amazing. To donate, visit his blog at and click the donate button at the top. To learn more about Bike and Build, the other teams, and his bike route, check out

Please please support Andrew, he’s the greatest! That’s all from me, look for an update next time I get cell service!