Sophomore Journey: From Prada to Nada At Zion National Park
Sam A. Class of 2019
BEEP BEEP BEEP goes my alarm, lurching me out of my slumber. I reluctantly get out of bed and throw my suitcase in the car, and begin the long drive to the airport. I can’t believe the sun hasn’t even risen yet! Fast forward 45 minutes, and I’m at the airport- with the 5 other members of my class who got there on time.
4:20 AM, Marin County
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! goes my alarm, lurching me out of my slumber. I reluctantly get out of bed and throw my suitcase in the car, and begin the long drive to the airport. I can’t believe the sun hasn’t even risen yet! Fast-forward 45 minutes, and I’m at the airport with the 5 other members of my class who got there on time. We’re like zombies; walking around the airport in a dazed half-slumber, murmuring inarticulate greetings to one another. Praise God for Sara Moss, who rallied the troops with (somewhat) freshly-made donuts, readying us for the long journey ahead.
“…and we’re off!” I say as the plane leaves the tarmac. The city of Oakland quickly escapes our vision-- trees, houses, and landscapes shrinking in seconds. Thankfully, we got to Vegas safe and sound... in mostly one piece. We weren’t going to waste any time, so we headed directly to the Strip, our first stop: the Paris hotel. It was a seamless blend ofartificial and real-- the contrast was startling, but invigorating.
After perusing the hotel, we were given blissful free time for two hours on the Strip. We were buffeted by the winds, laughed with our friends, and of course, we ate everything in sight. Walking everywhere quickly became tiring, so we were (somewhat) grateful to be called back by our fearless leaders to meet at a rendezvous in the Paris Hotel. Thus commenced the longest bus ride the class of 2019 has been on together, excluding last year’s trip to Los Angeles. We slept, we talked, we amused ourselves in any way possible for three long hours. And of course, we all ate. A lot. Fast forward to Springdale, Utah, where our bus made its way along the canyon-dotted wilderness. Albeit tired out of our minds, we were so excited to finally be in Zion National Park!
After being (quite literally) blown off our feet by the wind, we grabbed some dinner, and cleaned our plates. By then it was already 9:45 Utah time. There wasn’t a single person who wasn’t yawning at that point- but no, we were not getting the rest of the night to sleep. We were going on a night hike! As much as we moaned and groaned at first, it was truly a magical experience. Seeing spots of snow and grand cliffs looming up above us gave us perspective, and a real sense of purpose, as we navigated the walkway (without flashlights). We each took a bit of a solo hike, which gave us time to reflect on the past day- with all of its goods and bads.
The hike was not just a physical experience, but also a bonding one. Our class naturally gravitated towards one another- and it didn’t matter who was who- we all somehow realized that we were all in this together, at least for one night. We’re all much closer because of the night hike, and our first day as a whole- I, for sure, am going to get some serious Z’s tonight, after the first incredible, fun, and packed day of our 10th grade journey.
JCHS is grateful for generous operational, programmatic, and financial support from:
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.