The day has finally arrived. Nine Phoenix 6th-8th graders are ready to embark on their Travel Study Trip to Glen Canyon, Arizona. Anticipation is in the air. For some, this is their first trip. Others are experienced Phoenix travelers like James, whose 8th grade trip to Glen Canyon was canceled so now he joins us as a skilled assistant. We all have expectations and wishes for our trip.


Alfie imagines “The glossy sunset shining at me as if it wants to suck me into it. I just rest now, in silence, peace.  Glen Canyon holds innumerable adventures, but for now, it is tranquil.


Levi sees Glen Canyon as “a magical mesa of river, rock, flora, and fauna at the surface, caves, ancient drawings and rock below. I look out the window at the view with promises of adventures to come.”


In Paul’s imagination, he feels “a wind blowing over my face. I look over a shadowy cliff and see water flowing faster than ever. It feels like I fell asleep and woke up in a dream. I realize where I am; the place I studied. The land I dreamt of is finally here and so am I.


Fiona remembers her trips to the Everglades and St. John as she imagines this year’s trip. “Lighthearted laughter echoes off the canyon’s amber walls.  What once was warmth from golden hues parting from the sun against my cheeks turns to a warm response from a strongly woven community. Through wetlands and turquoise waters, to now rocky canyons and rivers, my people never let me fall from their ever-growing cradle.


Mira has “been so nervous since we boarded the plane and I’m nervous now because the day ahead is essentially a mystery to me, but I think about that first-step feeling into the canyon that I’m looking forward to.  One more look out the window fuels me with confidence.  I know I’m up for this challenge.


Audrey is thinking about the day ahead. “The idea of trudging up the steep foundation of the canyon makes my heart race with anticipation, but at the same moment, I’m anxious and worried for the adventure I will face. This land is not what it was, once a home for thousands of Native Americans with families and peaceful lives. After ghastly wars and conflicts, it is a place to remember, honor, and celebrate. I hope to keep that in mind when on the trail. I am ready.


Sattva anticipates a special connection. “I want to be set free from technology, hoping that I can learn and discover more about Glen Canyon, not just Glen Canyon, but myself. Exploring the wonders of the world as a Native American myself will help me understand my own roots.  I might not be Navajo, Apache, or any other indigenous tribe, but the native peoples believe that no matter who you are, you are connected to everything.


Gavin is “simultaneously exceedingly excited and nervous. I don’t know much about the trip so the only things I’m anticipating good or bad are living with other people in a place I don’t know, and an all-day school experience with little or no free time. That’s what it seems at least, though the views and experiences are going to be amazing. I haven’t had an experience like that in my life.”


Arlo imagines himself “in the ancient canyon, rushing water filling away the bedded cliffs. Despite the sufficient research regarding the history of the mesa, I am certain I will carry on learning about the area; like the Colorado River forever changing the canyon that is my mind.”


After a long evening traveling from Boston to Phoenix and then to our hotel, we were happy to succumb to sleep, anticipating our journey to Page, AZ the next day when our study trip would actually begin.