Trek West #1: Hot Days Ahead

Shalom from Las Vegas! 
The temperature reached 103° yesterday and the neon signs were cracklin’. The city surely never sleeps but last night we slept well after spending the day shopping and exploring around the Strip, visiting and touring the Hoover Dam, and seeing an electric performance by the Blue Man Group.
We arrived Monday afternoon after a challenging but incredible hike up Angels Landing in Zion National Park. After the hike, we drove to Las Vegas, stopping at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and then had a chance to explore M&M World and a few other shops. 
The last two days have been filled with many opportunities for group bonding, overcoming fears and tough challenges, and countless laughs. Here are the teens to share some of their highlights over the last couple of days: 
We left the ranch early Monday morning and made our way to Zion National Park to hike Angels Landing. We all had heard about the difficulty of the hike the night before from our tour guide Ben, so some of us were a little nervous, but when the time came to start we were ready! The first part was deceivingly easy and it progressively got more difficult as we continued up the mountain. As our group got higher up in the mountain the view only got more breathtaking and beautiful! We were able to see the mountains and river below from a whole new perspective. The 2.5 mile hike completely uphill made us tired (and felt like more than 2.5 miles), but the endless support from our peers and strangers who were also climbing up helped us continue on! In the end, we made it to the top of the first landing and celebrated together! Another group then ventured on to complete the dangerous trek of climbing to the second landing. We then completed the slightly easier task of climbing down. Hiking Angels Landing was very rewarding as it pushed us as a group to hike farther than we ever thought we could! ~Sophie S. 
Vegas is insane!!!! Yesterday, we split into groups and walked around the city. We saw so much and just had a great time being with our friends. We also ate some of the best food I have ever had. I loved this day of the trip because we got to take in such a breathtaking city while having so much fun. The hotels and sites were just way to cool to even describe. ~Jeremy G. 
My group and I went to Bobby’s Burger Palace for lunch and ate very well there. Then, we went to the New York-New York Hotel and Casino for shopping and photos. Afterward, we went to the Hershey store that I liked way better than the M&M store, which was very overrated. ~Meir R.
After walking the beautiful Vegas strip, we traveled to the Luxor Hotel & Casino, a cool pyramid-shaped building, and experienced an unusual and unique performance by the Blue Man Group. During this performance, the blue men did not blink or speak once. They played the drums on many different objects including pipes and many more. They somehow managed to keep a straight face throughout the entire show and threw out large pieces of tissue paper to the crowd. Throughout the performance, there were various light shows and funny scenes such as when the blue men ate captain crunch and made a beat out of it. They invited guests to help assist in their performance and had a back-up band to help play music. At the end of the show, it was evident people very much enjoyed the show or were freaked out by the experience. There were two opportunities after the show where we could go and meet the blue men themselves. Overall it was an unforgettable experience. ~Miles L.
Monday and Tuesday were action-packed! Between hiking, shopping, eating, and taking in the incredible contrast of nearly untouched nature in Zion and a city in a desert in Vegas, the teens (and chaperones) defied the odds of Vegas and were in their hotel rooms by 10pm to get some much-needed rest before the Trek to Los Angeles. City of Angels, here we come!
All the best, Ari, Deb, Melissa, and Ilan 

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