“It won’t be that bad,” my dad argued. “It will only be for a
couple months. And we get to go to different kinds of national parks, not
just the desert. Trust me, we’ll have fun, just the two of us!” He
“Whatever, Dad,” I stormed off to my room with a huff.
This is the worst news ever! I have to spend a whole summer with my
dad! No friends, no fun, no electronics, nothing. Just some wilderness
and my dad.
My dad had this fascination with western national parks, and he wanted to
take a tour of them.
Why couldn’t he ask Mom to go with him? Or anyone else instead of me?
I thought angrily. Why is he taking away my summer?
But Dad was determined to take this trip, so the next week we sped out of
town on Highway 35. The farther we got from home, the emptier everything
looked. All of the buildings disappeared, and for miles and miles the only
thing to entertain me was brown fields. It was flat and boring everywhere I
“Our first stop is the Painted Desert!” Dad exclaimed a while later. “We’re
going to spend a night in the desert! Isn’t that cool?”
“Sure, I guess. How long till we get there?” I pouted.
“It’s twelve hours from home.”
“Yep! Not too far, huh?”
Not too far? It’s half of a day in a car! What am I supposed to do for
I watched the fields pass me by for hours. This was the longest car ride
Finally we got to the park, and it looked the same as the entire drive
over. We were in a desert as far as I could see, and everything had red
dust on it. Stones were scattered the ground by weird looking rocky hills.
Everywhere looked the same.
“Is this it?” I grumbled.
“This is it! Isn’t it amazing? Look at all of these natural rock
sculptures! Do you see the different shades of red in the ground? The
consistency of the stones is incredible!” Dad’s eyes lit up as he took in
the sights around him.
I had to admit that the way Dad got so excited gave me a little hope for
the trip. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
We got our backpacks out of the car, along with our food and water
for the night. We put the packs on and headed into the desert.
But as we hiked my spirits sank again.
There’s literally nothing out here. This place is so terrible there
aren’t even animals here!
I thought as I noticed the emptiness around. We set up camp for the night
and then made a fire which only made the heat worse. We cooked our food and
then went to bed.
“Where are we going next?” I asked my dad, as we left the desert that
“We’re going to the Grand Canyon next. That one will be really fun! We get
to hike down into a huge canyon and sleep at the bottom of it! There’s
going to be cool animals and plants, and we’ll get to sleep out under the
stars! Doesn’t that sound like fun?”
“The animals part sounds kind of cool. And maybe sleeping out under the
stars will be nice,” I told my dad, but I still had doubts.
We got our backpacks, food, and water for the hike down, except this time
we had to carry more food and sleeping equipment since we were taking a
“To get down the canyon, we go down pathways called switchbacks. They’re
paths that wind back and forth to get down instead of just a path that goes
straight down. It’s very interesting,” Dad explained to me.
I muttered in agreement, not really caring. These “switchbacks” just made
the path to get down even longer.
While we were going down my dad suddenly grabbed me by the shoulder and
pointed. “Stop! Look! It’s a mountain ram!”
I looked at where he was pointing and saw a huge ram only ten feet away
from us with long and ferocious horns. It stood in the middle of our path,
looking straight at us.
“Uhhh, Dad? Why is it looking at us like that?” I shifted to move behind my
dad. The ram had fierce yellow eyes that seemed to be boring holes into us.
“Just don’t move and the ram will leave on its own,” Dad half-whispered.
The ram and I seemed to have a showdown. I didn’t want to move, and neither
did he. Suddenly, the ram looked away and then picked his way down the cliff. I
felt my body relax as I breathed a sigh of relief.
“I can’t believe it! We were so close to that ram! That was so cool!” I
exclaimed. “I’ve never been that close to a wild animal before! It looked
like it was going to charge at us! That was amazing!”
“See? There’s some pretty cool things down here.” Dad looked at me with a
smile. “Let’s see what else we can find!”
Dad and I continued hiking, but I found a new energy rise up in me.
What else can we find on this hike? Maybe we’ll see a bear! What if we
see a mountain lion?
But during the whole hike down we didn’t see any more animals or other
exciting things. It was just as boring as the Painted Desert.
When we got down to the bottom, though, there were green trees and plants
scattered around and even a little stream running through. We found a place
on the ground to set up our things and got ready for bed. We ate our food
then slept straight out under the stars.
The next morning, I as I turned in my sleeping bag to get more comfortable,
I saw a blurry shape about five feet away. I rubbed my eyes to get a
clearer look and saw a baby dear! The fawn was eating grass right next to
me! I woke my dad up as quietly as I could so he could see it too. We
watched the fawn eat until it was full, and then it walked away to go down to
“That’s the second time something like this has happened! This is actually
pretty cool, Dad.” I felt a little ashamed for not caring about what my dad
was so interested in. “I’m sorry for having a bad attitude about this trip.
It’s actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be! I’m glad you
decided to bring me.” I looked at my dad as he smiled back at me.
“I’m glad you’re beginning to really enjoy God’s creation; it’s amazing.
Now you know why I love national parks so much!”
On the rest of our trip we went to Yellowstone, where I saw a herd of
buffalo and a huge geyser. We went to the Sequoia forest, where I hugged
the biggest tree in the world! We also saw waterfalls, mountains, snakes,
moose, bears, and so many other interesting things. That summer started out
as the worst summer of my life, but it turned into one of the coolest
experiences I’ve ever had.