Six international students from Ukraine, Germany, the UK, New Zealand, South Korea, and Pakistan decided to go on an absolutely wonderful adventure. It was a spontaneous decision and it took us 20 minutes to determine our itinerary, which included six National Parks: Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Arches. It was an extremely intense four day trip, with a check-in everyday at 9 pm, if not later, and a wake-up time at 8 am at the latest. Nevertheless, every single minute of this journey was worth the effort. For me personally, my two absolute favorite places were the Grand Canyon and the Antelope Canyon.
Once we arrived at the Grand Canyon Village, I could breathe the spirit of wild nature in the air. But, once I reached the first viewpoint, I could neither inhale nor exhale anymore because the view was absolutely breathtaking. It is something that any language cannot describe as words simply cannot communicate the extreme feelings of that moment. I was contemplating the result of millions of years of Mother Nature’s work. It seems that there is no beginning of this Canyon, neither is there the end. It is so deep that one can barely see what is going on near the bottom of it. Even the Colorado River, which is splitting the Grand Canyon apart, seems to be so tiny and exquisite from the top of the cliff. As long as you can see the horizon, your sight is captured by the magnificence of the longstanding rocks. The beauty of this natural masterpiece is augmented by animals inhabiting the National Park. Deer were literally walking all over the place and I could get as close as a few meters from them. Once you sit on the edge of the cliff thinking about eternity, your thought is interrupted by a bird soaring high in the sky and singing an absolutely capturing song. This echo spreads all over the canyon.
The next on our stop was the Antelope Canyon. This canyon is an altogether different experience from the previous one as it is located on the land of a Native American tribe called the Navajo. Admission to this natural creation can be granted only through a guided tour by one of the representatives of the tribe. However, it is such an outstanding opportunity to get in touch with a Native American and to inquire about their history, traditions, and life in general. We were extremely lucky with our tour guide as this man was very kind to us. He told us about the origin of the name of this canyon as in the past there were lots of antelopes migrating through the territory of Navajo’s land. Yet, extensive hunting led to a dramatic downfall in the population of these animals and now the only thing reminding of it is the name of this National Park. The Antelope Canyon is a place of unexplainable beauty. Rainwater, wind, and sun have been shaping it for ages and it is impossible for the human imagination to comprehend how such magnificence could be created. Beams of light fall down from the openings at the top which creates a feeling of a fairy tale around you. Once you catch the sun gleam you dissolve in the atmosphere of something more powerful and influential called Mother Nature. The most favorite part is taking pictures as the Antelope Canyon is known for its photographic attractiveness. We were really fortunate as our tour guide was taking pictures of us in the most eye-catching places, manually adjusting the phones for the best possible shots. When looking at the photos in my gallery I still cannot believe that it was me who saw this masterpiece with my own eyes!
I cannot believe we have done it! It was not easy, sometimes it was even exhausting, but so emotional and unforgettable! Such journeys always remain in the heart.
Written by Oleksandr Kukharuk, 2018-2019 Global UGRAD student from Ukraine at The University of Utah