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“Mineral hot springs,” my friend Denise pitched. “…surrounded by a lush green rainforest!”

How could I not agree to that? I’m not at all an outdoor girl, I’ve never even been camping in my whole life. But mineral hot springs? I could handle that! I imagined myself with three of my favorite blogging friends, kicking back in one of the most beautiful natural spas that Mother Nature ever created.

“I’m in! Where do we sign up?” I said.

I’m talking about the recent contest offered by the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation. The call for the American Latino Expedition went out far and wide to Latino bloggers across the land. The prize? An all-expenses paid weekend at one of our country’s national parks, showered with gear and goodies from REI, Columbia Sportwear, Aramark and more.

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My friends and I, Denise from Pearmama.com, Nicole from PresleysPantry.com, and Monique from CurvesAndChaos.com, thought it would be fun to try for the chance to visit Olympic National Park in Washington. How could we not enter? Denise volunteered to fill out the application. She licked the tip of her cyber pencil and wrote a magical essay on our behalf. We watched the Twitter feed to see more and more teams had also entered to win one of the three coveted spots. I dismissed our chances. I mean, seriously, our team – that we playfully called The Latina BlogStars – consisted of a craft blogger, a fashion blogger, a mom blogger and a food blogger. Hiking boots didn’t exactly fit in to our daily routine. Still, it was exciting to ponder about stretching out of our comfort zone.

A few weeks passed and then the news hits my inbox, thanks to Denise.

“We won one of the spots! Latina BlogStars are going on the American Latino Expedition!”

“Mineral hot springs!,” I squealed. “We’re going to the outdoor spa!”

Come to find out, we’re assigned to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area! Better known as the gorgeous Lake Powell! There are no lush forests or mineral hot springs, but there is a picturesque lake, stunning mountains, geologic wonders, and I can only imagine the sunsets. The best part is that it is in my own backyard of Arizona and I’ll finally have the opportunity to see a part of my state I never had before. Can you say muy excited?

I immediately did an intensive Google search to learn as much as possible about Glen Canyon!

Gulp.

The pictures were breathtaking indeed. The water, the land, the sky. So dreamy! But then I went into Level Three panic mode. The deeper I went into the photo search, the more pictures I found of athletic people kayaking, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, riding the fancy watermobiles. I can’t even remember the last time I rode a bike, much less mountain climbed! And there is the whole chubby girl factor. *Bites nails*

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I imagined a hiking version of a Bridget Jones-meets-Ugly Betty scenario. Would I really be able to do this? I thought of my age, my size, my fears. Then I took a deep breath and announced “YES.”

That cliché is so true, everything happens for a reason. God is challenging me to shake up my life and do something I never thought I could do. I always tell people to take a risk, now I have to live up to my words. Granted, we’ve had phone meetings with the folks at the American Latino Heritage Fund, and they assured us that trip won’t be at like Survivor, it will be playful, educational and relaxing. We’ll just be decked out in backpack, sneakers, sunscreen and a hat.

I’m going to HIKE…and even KAYAK. (I’m probably going to bring my crochet too…)

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Our trip takes place at the end of this month and I’ll be blogging about our adventures along with Monique, Denise and Nicole. None of us are expert outdoor recreation types, but we have a lot of enthusiasm and are excited to learn first-hand about one of our country’s beautiful national parks! From an artist’s perspective, I think it’s good to get out of the studio and see nature’s masterpieces, live and in person. From a personal perspective, this event has motivated me to work on my health. Since we learned of the news, I’ve been exercising and eating right. I want to make the most of this trip and partake in every opportunity offered. The beauty of outdoor recreation is that you can tailor your activities to your style, there is so much to choose from. I’m ready to be daring!

Something tells me that after this trip ends, I might just make it to Olympic National Park someday soon. After all, I’ll have all the experience, knowledge and gear! Thank you so much to the American Latino Heritage Fund for offering us this chance to do something so amazing!

What is something totally out of your comfort zone that you did, that you never thought you would? Have you ever been to Glen Canyon? If so, please share! And stay tuned to more write-ups. AND – can you think of any fun camping/glamping DIY projects?

See also: our visit to REI to try on outdoor clothing!

READ OUR BLOGGING ADVENTURES HERE!

Love & light,


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