This trip overall had been an inspiring volunteer opportunity. Though braving parking lot duty at a very well known national park may seem difficult for most people, we on this trip are doing fantastic at all our duties! Today was, what we called, our free day. It all started off with our entire group meeting up in a conference room to speak to the man second in charge, right under the superintendent, of Grand Canyon National Park.Brian Drapeaux is the deputy superintendent of the Grand Canyon. He brought together all of this week’s college volunteers from not only Texas Tech, but two other universities as well. He answered many of our questions, along with giving us a very inspirational speech of how we are helping the park and how we are having a bigger impact than we think. He also told us about how we need to realize each of our own values. He said:
“I want to help people realize their value and embrace it.”
He continued to tell us many other interesting stories to get us thinking about the park as a whole along with teaching us a bit about his native heritage.
After the meeting, we were taken to one of the Grand Canyon’s iconic historic landmarks called Kolb Studio. We took a tour of the studio and the home underneath. Phil Payne, our tour guide, took us back into the world of Elmsworth and Emory, the brothers who made Kolb Studio their home in the early 1900’s. Phil made this tour extra special since he told us that after working at the park for six years, our tour was his last tour since he and his wife are going back on the road to travel.
After the tour, mentally traveling back into the modern day, we went back to our residence in the park to grab a quick lunch and snacks for our adventurous endeavor. We were going to hike into the canyon!
To get into the canyon we parked and took a bus out to the South Kaibab Trail. As we got to the trail head, many of us looked down, nervous about our idea to hike, but we started off in bravery. The hike itself was difficult, but worth it. The sights were gorgeous. It gave us a different perspective than before. We were so tiny compared to the grandiose rock walls towering above.
After the hike, we were all mostly exhausted, but we made a point to go watch the sunset near Desert View.
As we got there and watched the sunset, we were all in a calming state. The yellows and oranges reflected on the sandstone walls of the cliffs, and they shimmered in the glowing light. The canyon itself darkened in a deepening melody of shades of purples and blues. As the sun disappeared on the horizon, we headed back to our residence to end what was a fantastic and inspiring day.