Exploring Arizona With my Brother
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Exploring Arizona With my Brother

I got the chance to explore the Grand Canyon State with my brother after finals week last May.

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Exploring Arizona With my Brother

Whenever school lets out and summer begins, students across the country rejoice. Some rejoice because there are no more late night papers to write and stress-inducing finals to take. Some rejoice because they can sit back and do absolutely nothing for a solid 3 months. I personally relate to the first reason, but I also rejoice because summer is a time when I can travel to new places. This past May, I did just that. I took a venture out to the great state of Arizona.

The trip began a little over a week after I moved back home from campus. I unpacked my clothes from my suitcases, threw them in the laundry, and packed once again for a brand-new adventure. My trip began with an early afternoon flight that started at the Detroit Metro Airport which then led to 11 exciting hours of flying with various connections in Atlanta and Denver before I reached my final destination: Tuscon, Arizona. I arrived in the Grand Canyon State just a little after 1am EST. In a jet-lagged and worn-out state I checked into my hotel and collapsed, ready for some much-needed rest.

The next morning, I met my brother, Nathan, outside my hotel. Nathan goes to college at the University of Arizona, and he had just moved out of his room on campus. We quickly loaded up his car with both his and my stuff and then we hit the road. We had a few days for him to explore Arizona before we were to meet our parents in Las Vegas. The first thing we did was visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It was so fascinating and beautiful; the desert is quite alive with wildlife and different plants. The Museum even had an exhibit that was specifically for hummingbirds where visitors can walk through the exhibit and see numerous hummingbirds fly over your heads. After the museum, Nathan then took me to Saguaro National Park. Fun fact: Saguaro cacti are only found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. When we were visiting, nearly all the cacti in the desert were blooming, which was really spectacular to see. I honestly did not know that cacti had such beautiful blooms; they came in almost every color, from pink to yellow. Also, saguaro cacti are a lot taller than I expected, they can grow up to 40-60 feet tall!

After exploring all of the nature surrounding Tuscon, my brother gave me a fantastic tour of the University of Arizona's campus. He showed me all the fantastic landmarks on campus such as Old Main, Bear Down Gym, Arizona Stadium, and the UA Mall. The UA Mall was especially special because it serves as a memorial for the USS Arizona, which is one of the battleships that was involved in the events of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The bell for the USS Arizona is also located on campus. I loved the campus tour because I got to compare it to Morgantown. Tuscon is definitely much flatter that WVU, because Tuscon is located in a very large valley. It is also much more spread out than Morgantown simply because it is easier to build new buildings when they are not located on the side of a mountain. It is just a simply gorgeous campus, the buildings are all a beautiful red color, and the views of the surroundings mountains are great. (Not as good as WVU though).

After spending those few days in Tuscon, Nathan and I started our journey towards Las Vegas. We made a stop in Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is a well-known tourist destination in Arizona. It is known for its stunning red rock formations. (The picture in this article was taken at Sedona) After Sedona, we made our way to Grand Canyon National Park. This was my second time at the Grand Canyon, but it was still just as breath-taking as the first time I visited. For those who have never seen the amazing geographical wonder that is the Grand Canyon, pictures do not do it justice. You will never know how large it actually is until you are standing on the canyon rim, looking down to see if you can glimpse of the mighty Colorado River at the very bottom.

Now, for those who have not been to the desert before, it is hot and dry… except when it storms. Storms are relatively rare, they happen mostly during monsoon season. When a monsoon hits, it utterly pours for a while, which results in small rivers in the streets and pools of water in low areas of the ground. While we were at the Canyon, we saw a large storm growing on the horizon. Nathan and I did not think much of it, we did not expect it to hit until after we were done with the canyon for the day. Oh how wrong we were! Right after we were done taking a short hike along the rim, that's when the storm hit. The winds suddenly started whistling and the rain began to descend upon us. We thought that was it, until it started to hail. Small, rice sized hail chunks began to pelt us. Both Nathan and I ran for cover, as we were not prepared for hail that day. My decision to wear shorts and a t-shirt was a bad one. (My legs had little red marks on them from the impact of the hail) Thankfully I packed a rain coat that morning, so it offered some protection. Nathan was much more prepared with pants and a large jacket that he could stick our backpack under to keep it dry. I huddled by a small wall, while Nathan bravely stood against the rain in the open. After the storm subsided, we made a mutual decision that we were done with the Grand Canyon and we were going to continue our journey. The rest of our time in Arizona was spent on the road, with some small stops for pretty rock formations and other cool views.

All of this happened months ago, but for me, it still feels like I was just there. It was such a cool and exciting experience, I wish I can visit back sooner.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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