Hiking Club Ventures To World Wonder

By Brianna Metzler

On Saturday, March 17, Pueblo’s Hiking Club, consisting of 13 students, five chaperones and advisor Mr. Ernesto Somoza met at Pueblo at 3:30 a.m. in order to get on the road at 4:30 a.m.—sharp—in order to make it to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, they stopped at Sunset Point for breakfast and to readjust to the drastic weather change, putting on additional clothing, jackets, beanies and gloves.

There was nearly a 40-degree difference from Tucson weather to Northern Arizona temperatures.

The Hiking Club spent four days touring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather continued to get colder—from approximately 40 degrees down to 27 degrees, for a high. The trip quickly turned from a normal camping trip to a “snow” camping trip.

During the club’s first night, around 2 a.m., snow began falling—and students awoke to four inches in the morning. The club was prepared for this event, and camping resumed with some adjustment to the weather.

The overnight lows dipped to 11 degrees, which students prepared for—using multiple sleeping bags, cold-weather grade blankets, snow gloves and beanies.

Senior Thai Kromrei said that this was the first time in his life that he actually saw snow falling.

“I’ve seen snow before—but it was always after I woke up in the morning,” Kromrei said. “This experience was as awesome as the hike itself. I am glad that I brought a thick Mexican blanket to keep warm.”

Sponsor Somoza said, “The students were amazing on this trip! They adjusted to the weather without any complaints. I did give students an opportunity to vote if they wanted to stay or return to Tucson, and all students wanted to stay in order to hike into the Grand Canyon on Monday, March 19.”

Students, chaperones and Somoza completed the hike to Indian Garden (South Rim)—specifically on the Bright Angel Trail. This 13-mile round trip hike took 10 hours—and the group endured an elevation change of 3,500 feet.

“I want to congratulate all of the students who completed this hike. Not only did they complete the hike as individuals, they helped each other throughout the entire hike,” Somoza said. “Some students were struggling towards the end, but as a team, they encouraged and helped each other make it up.”

Senior Iram Arce, a “guest” on this trip due to a Hiking Club member not being able to go at the last minute, said, “After spending weeks in Alaska a few years back, I suppose that 11 degrees didn’t bother me too much. I was grateful for the experience of seeing Northern Arizona and experiencing a part of Arizona that I don’t get to very often. Thanks, Mr. Somoza, for this opportunity!”

The Hiking Club members were welcomed to Tucson and 80-degree temperatures on Tuesday, March 20.

President senior Annette Durazo said, “I loved this trip—it was truly an out of this world experience—but it was also nice to return to sunshine and warm temperatures in Tucson. This was my first time to the Grand Canyon, and I’m certainly planning to return some day. I’m proud of my hiking team peers that they united during this trip—truly, we seemed like one family looking out for one another.”

The Hiking Club is planning one last outing this school year—to Sedona, Ariz., on May 12.

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