Anna J. – The Pack http://thepack.unm.edu Student Stories at The University of New Mexico Mon, 11 Nov 2019 20:55:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 71725995 APS Division of Plasma Physics http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/aps-division-of-plasma-physics/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/aps-division-of-plasma-physics/#respond Mon, 11 Nov 2019 20:55:15 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16724 The University of New Mexico has offered me more opportunities than I would have ever expected. In New Mexico, there is the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and two Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC), Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory with AFRL and Sandia no more than 15 minutes away from […]

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The University of New Mexico has offered me more opportunities than I would have ever expected. In New Mexico, there is the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and two Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC), Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory with AFRL and Sandia no more than 15 minutes away from campus. With these labs so close to UNM, lots of research faculty have collaborations with the scientists on Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) which comes in handy when applying for internships. 

Using my UNM resources, I was lucky enough to receive a summer internship with AFRL. At the end of the summer, my research group offered me a conference opportunity to present a poster of my research at this year’s APS Division of Plasma Physics Meeting. And I really lucked out because this event was taking place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

A few weeks ago, I boarded a plane to Florida. With a physics exam Monday and a class on Saturday, my time at the conference was shorter than I would have liked. I flew all day Tuesday and Friday but was able to enjoy the conference Wednesday and present on Thursday.

I had a few difficulties when I got there. I am under 21 and could not check in to the hotel my reservations were for. I had to have my primary investigator (PI) walk 40 minutes to help me out. After, I grabbed dinner with her, her husband, and another intern. I walked back to my hotel and got ready for my first day at conference.

The conference material was way over my head. I thought it would be similar to SWE conference I went to last year, but I was not. I sat for the 8:00 am keynote speaker on Wednesday. His presentation was “Physics and Application of Photonic Plasma” where he drew connections between fundamental optics and plasma concepts to show how you could use plasma to understand signals. It was also a good thing I sat with my PI through the whole thing because I had so many questions by the end of it.

The rest of the day was spent in various ballrooms where different sessions of talks took place. Here, I totally did not understand a lot, but I was able to recognize certain topics which was exciting at times. Thursday, I listened to another keynote speaker who received the James Clerk Maxwell Prize. I am sure his research was awesome, but I was lost by slide two. The presentation, “Who needs turbulence? A tour of turbulence effects and outstanding questions in space plasma,” had everything from equations to simulations. After the talk, a pulsed power microwaves scientist asked me if I got any of it. I said no and he expressed he had no idea what that was about either.

I would like to clarify, though, the keynote was not a bad talk; it was a great one if you study turbulence and space plasmas. The speaker had tons of questions at the end with great discussion with the scientists that also studied that field. This was the biggest lesson for me. Even though plasma physics sounds like such a niche area, there are even more niche subtopics under the plasma physics umbrella.

After I realized that for the rest of career in plasma physics probably won’t ever intersect with other topics like space plasma, I was able to enjoy the conference more and take the pressure off of trying to get something from every talk. When I presented my poster, I saw this even more with some decorated scientists not fully understanding the results I found, mainly because that is not their area of expertise.

Me during the Poster Presenation

Some highlights of the trip aside from the conference: my hotel had a private beach and I had all my meals paid for. I think I was still able to squeeze a little vacation out of this work trip. It was awesome to have another poster presentation under my belt and to be exposed to more physics that I will ever see in my undergraduate education. I had a great time and it made the internship a little bit more awesome to get to see what I can expect if I am to pursue plasma physics in the future.

I hope you are able to do something out of your comfort zone or so above your head just for the experience!

Anna

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Fall Break in Santa Cruz http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/fall-break-in-santa-cruz/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/fall-break-in-santa-cruz/#respond Mon, 14 Oct 2019 15:26:50 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16625 Last fall break, I stayed on campus. I went to the International Balloon Fiesta and took a trip to Santa Fe. This fall break, I hopped on a plane to San Jose, California. In both cases, it is undeniable a four-day weekend is the best thing ever and is very much needed. Fall break comes […]

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Last fall break, I stayed on campus. I went to the International Balloon Fiesta and took a trip to Santa Fe. This fall break, I hopped on a plane to San Jose, California. In both cases, it is undeniable a four-day weekend is the best thing ever and is very much needed. Fall break comes when homesickness really kicks in and the second round of exams really kicks your butt. Ever since I moved to ABQ, I contracted the travel bug like never before. For me, a four-day weekend screams a trip to the beach where I could visit my friend doing the UNM National Student Exchange to UC Santa Cruz.

I left mid-day Thursday. The flight was about two hours and, thankfully, nonstop. I flew into Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. San Jose is the third largest city in California and about 35 minutes without traffic to Santa Cruz. After I was picked up, I was in awe of all the trees and greenery I was driving through. Tall redwoods towered over as I enjoyed the not-too-hot, not-too-cold 75-degree weather of California.

My motel was about a 20-minute walk to the beach. The closer you got to the ocean, the higher the hotel prices skyrocket out of the poor-college-student-could-afford-these-rates zone. When I got there, I set my stuff down and practically B-lined straight to the bay. There was a nice walking path next to a barely there river to the boardwalk. While I felt safe walking on it in the daylight, I definitely took an Uber back to the motel that night.

There is somewhat a housing deficit in Santa Cruz, and some streets felt a little like walking down Central Ave. here. Walking into a Patagonia store, I even saw someone getting arrested. Aside from that, the town is totally a beach town. The closer I got to the sandy shores, the more surfers, paddle boarders, and sandcastle enthusiasts I saw. I hung out near the boardwalk on Thursday and Friday enjoying fishy meals and ice cream cones on the wharf.

On Saturday, I made the hour or so drive to Monterey with both cheese and setting of the TV show Little Big Lies in my mind. The first stop was the aquarium. While I was able to get a student discount, the adventure was expensive starting with the $15 parking fee. I was, however, totally worth it. I got there just in time to see the Open Sea Exhibit get fed. I learned both what a tuna and mahi mahi looks like not on my plate in a restaurant. I also got to see a scuba diver hand feed leopard sharks in the Kelp Forest and trainers feed five sea otters which are some of the most adorable animals I have ever seen.

Venturing out into the city after the aquarium led me to an amazing sushi restaurant and cute walking path down the bay. Once I left Monterey, I stopped at the UCSC campus. The school was basically right in the middle of a forest. The buildings were pretty far from each other and the campus had so many hills to climb. UCSC students have a less sketchy bus system that takes them around campus and into the city. On the way back, I stopped at an Italian restaurant before really preparing for early flight back to ABQ Sunday morning.

I hope you all had an adventurous fall break and are refreshed to tackle the rest of the semester!

Anna

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Albuquerque Grecian Festival 2019 http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/albuquerque-grecian-festival-2019/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/albuquerque-grecian-festival-2019/#respond Sun, 06 Oct 2019 21:49:57 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16593 This last weekend was the Albuquerque Grecian Festival. I went the first day around 8:00 pm. It was only about 10 minutes away from campus in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The annual festival was full of authentic Greek food and amazing dancers. I had never heard of this celebration before, so I was […]

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This last weekend was the Albuquerque Grecian Festival. I went the first day around 8:00 pm. It was only about 10 minutes away from campus in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The annual festival was full of authentic Greek food and amazing dancers. I had never heard of this celebration before, so I was so excited to check it out.

The whole event was October 4th through the 6th basically all day. There was a $5.00 entrance fee but by the time I left it was totally worth it. The whole even operated on FestBux where one FestBux was one dollar. This was really good for people like me who never keep cash on them. There were little kiosks where you could pay cash or card for FestBux and still enjoy all of the food or shop in the marketplace.

I went into the marketplace (Agora) first. There were all sorts of artwork or food for sale. I saw everything from noodles to coin skirts that could be purchased. After I took a look around to scout out the food and festivities. I finally caved and got 10 FestBux to buy some food. For me, it was relatively cheap. The ladies at the kiosk were telling most couples that $30 would be the best to really enjoy the food and drinks.

I headed to the food tent for a gyro. The last time I had a gyro was at UNM last spring for the international food day, so I was super excited to have one again. There were other foods like Kóta Riganáti (oregano chicken) or Psitó Arní (roast lamb on the spit). The whole food area smelled amazing and if I was less of a broke college student, I would have gotten so much more.

There were other areas such as the Tavern and Coffee House that had drinks and pastries. I headed to the Coffee House at the very end to get $2 baklavá. This was also my first time ever having baklavá and it totally melted in my mouth. It was so good!

After I got the gyro, I headed into the main tent for Horós ke Musikí, or dance and music. When I walked in, many people were on the dance floor enjoying the music and dancing. I even saw the Dean of the School of Engineering dancing about.

Around 8:45 pm, many dancers dressed in colorful costumes flooded the stage. They performed at least ten traditional dances.

There was money thrown up in the air or specifically thrown on a loved one.

Towards the end of the set, dollar bills were stuck on foreheads to see if they’d stick from all the sweat. There was clapping and cheering from the audience. The performance was honestly the best part of the whole night.

The festival had a number of other events throughout the day as well. This included cooking lessons. Here, visitors could learn how to make a number of appetizers or dishes like the oregano chicken. There was also a raffle.

There were several tours of the Greek Orthodox Church. When I first got there, I took a peak and the church was beautiful. There were two men singing Byzantine Music and all around the walls were small boards filled with the history of the religion and church.

The St. George community also donated some of the money from the festival to S.A.F.E House, Storehouse, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of New Mexico as a part of their philanthropy. I had no idea this whole event was happening until my friends invited me on Friday night. But, after attending this year, I will totally be coming next year as well!

I hope you all found something fun to do this weekend!

Anna

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Playing the Grade Game after the First Set of Exams http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/playing-the-grade-game-after-the-first-set-of-exams/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/playing-the-grade-game-after-the-first-set-of-exams/#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 18:45:36 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16583 The last few weeks, at least for me and my peers, have been the first round of exams. And I don’t mean one or two. I mean four to five in the last two weeks. As my professor said, “it’s our finals week practice.” But it is extremely stressful to have back to back exams. […]

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The last few weeks, at least for me and my peers, have been the first round of exams. And I don’t mean one or two. I mean four to five in the last two weeks. As my professor said, “it’s our finals week practice.” But it is extremely stressful to have back to back exams. I argue, however, the worst part of all of these exams is coping with the grade.

I honestly had it easy with three exams in one week compared to my friends who had multiple exams on the same day. My new tactic I tried out for this round of exams was to remain calm. I studied as much as I could and made sure to space it all out since I had a healthy amount of time between each of them.

In the past, I have noticed that I study better alone. I always end up venting about what I don’t know or goof off in group study sessions. So far, studying alone has really improved my scores (but not my social life), and because of that, I tried it again for my three exams. Changing up my study habits was a gamble, but it made me feel equally confident before all three exams. The studying isn’t the hard part in my book as long as you have found you groove. The hard part is 1) keeping motivation after 2) not beating yourself up if the score was really bad.

I had one good score, one great score, and one terrible score and am currently going through the beating yourself up stage of the exam grief process. Of course, the first reaction for a great score is to celebrate, but I can almost argue that, for me, the celebration does not last as long or hit as hard as feeling so awful when you scored so bad.

I am a good student and the amount of failing test grades I have had and still end up with an A in a class is crazy. But in the moment that I see an F in UNM Learn, I really don’t care about the big picture. Maybe you don’t care as much about the test score or are a super great test taker (which I congratulate and wish I could do the same), but I think almost everyone is a little sad, feels a little dumb, or is a little ashamed of the grade. The bottom line: it gets better.

Some things I do when I get bad scores is email the professor and schedule a meeting to go over new test taking strategies for their class. In my experience, the professor responds better to this because you are already accepting the grade and not blaming them for your poor performance. Next advice: save the exam and rework it while it’s fresh in your brain so the final studying goes more smoothly.

Finally, don’t feel ashamed or discouraged about the grade. Accept it and make it your mission to do better next time (which is much easier said than done). This might be going to office hours every week just to show the professor you are trying, giving yourself more time to study, or changing up your perspective. Everyone I have talked to since coming to UNM has failed at least one exam. We always forget that teachers curve test grades, drop exams, or curve final grades. As long as you stay ahead of the mean, you’re looking at a pretty good grade overall.

I hope you are all in the clear for exams at least for a few weeks! Good luck decompressing and catching up on the little assignments I know I always procrastinate when big exams come around.

Anna

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CAELD Orientation http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/caeld-orientation/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/caeld-orientation/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 00:57:03 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16381 The first week of school I had the opportunity to be on a student panel for Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development. You can find CAELD in the Honors College which has just recently moved to the new Anderson School of Business building off of Las Lomas. However, the organization isn’t just for Honors […]

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The first week of school I had the opportunity to be on a student panel for Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development. You can find CAELD in the Honors College which has just recently moved to the new Anderson School of Business building off of Las Lomas. However, the organization isn’t just for Honors College students which is just one reason I cannot give this resource enough praise.

The whole thing is really made happen by Kiyoko Simmons. She is ultimately an advisor that 1) truly cares about anyone who makes an appointment and comes in and 2) seemingly single handedly carries out their mission. The main objective of the whole thing is to help UNM students prepare to have the best shot at graduate school admittance, professional opportunities, and highly competitive scholarships such as the Truman, Goldwater, Udall, Fulbright, and Gates Cambridge

First off, I cannot recommend reaching out to Kiyoko enough. I attribute some of my greatest opportunities to her. Even after my first meeting with her, I got a position in a research lab on campus and an interview with Sandia National Laboratories as a freshman. She even drew my attention to this job as a student blogger. The more and more I go see her, the more and more I get crazy awesome opportunities and so inspired to pursue these highly competitive scholarships.

Because of all of that, I was so honored to be a part of this panel. We met in one of the ballrooms in the SUB. The students were there before I got there. There was a keynote speaker and then a brief overview of the possible opportunities these students should have their eyes on going through undergrad. The other panelists and I got there just in time for the food. There was a Mediterranean buffet for everyone that was super good.

 Isaiah Romo, Brendon Grey, Eric Putney and Kianna Holian were the other students on the panel with me. These students are all really awesome and accomplished people. I was beyond grateful to have the chance to sit next to them in such a setting. Each one of them had tried and some had gotten the scholarships above. I was the youngest on the panel and hadn’t even been old or experienced enough to try for the scholarships (so I was even more blown away I was asked).

From Left to Right: Isaiah, Brendon, Anna, Eric, and Kianna

It was also a little funny to be such a newbie still since many of the students who came to the orientation were incoming freshmen. I didn’t and still don’t completely know how much my advice helped but I had a pretty good line of attendees after the event to ask me questions. It’s sort of cool to see some of them in the halls in the dorms since I still live on campus.

We all had advice for the students ranging from staying organized, studying hard, and taking advantage of opportunities right at your doorstep while still taking time for yourself. One thing I know we all completely agreed on though, was how important it was to our successes to have reached out and built up a relationship with Kiyoko. At this point, I know she not only wants the best for my professional career but also cares about me as a person which is so cool to have in an advisor.

If you are a UNM student, I highly recommend making an appointment in Lobo Achieve as soon as possible to meet with her and see what amazing opportunity she can send your way.

Anna

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Friday Night Live http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/friday-night-live/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/friday-night-live/#respond Sun, 08 Sep 2019 16:48:52 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16353 The Friday before classes start in the fall, Student Activities Center and Student Union Building puts on Friday Night Live. This is like the first kick off for Welcome Back Days and I went to help Society of Women Engineers (SWE). SWE is a student organization I have been with for a little over a […]

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The Friday before classes start in the fall, Student Activities Center and Student Union Building puts on Friday Night Live. This is like the first kick off for Welcome Back Days and I went to help Society of Women Engineers (SWE). SWE is a student organization I have been with for a little over a year. Friday Night Live is a great event for student orgs like SWE to recruit. Lots of fraternities and sororities as well as academic clubs such as AiChE and HESO show up and give new students and returning students some quick details about their organization.

Friday Night Live also has activities like laser tag, photo booth and special deals at the craft studio and Louie’s’ Lounge. This year there were virtual reality experiences, Henna tattoos, karaoke, sports teams, and a dance floor. There is a variety of free food every half hour throughout the night and it is a really great opportunity to see friends you haven’t seen all summer. There were about 2500 students that came during the event and it was completely free.

My freshman year I went and tried it all out. I made Shrinky Dinks at the craft studio and lost badly at a game of laser tag. I still have my photo strip from that night! This time around, I was a lot more stationary. I wasn’t planning on going to the event because I was supposed to have a late flight back from Nebraska that day. My flight got cancelled and I ended up on the first flight out at 6:00 am.

For not planning on being in Albuquerque almost all of Friday, I got a lot done. I ran errands, interviewed for a second job, and tried my best at promoting SWE on Instagram at Friday Night Live. I didn’t stay for the whole event, but for the parts I did, I had a blast. SWE had an Instagram prop and I had a game plan to revamp our social media. SWE brought candy and fun giveaway items. We tried for as many Instagram followers and story posts as possible. It was a lot of fun talking to so many people. I asked about majors and first day of school jitters.

By the end of the night, we hit 500 followers and had 400 views on our profile. 600+ people viewed our last post and I felt like my role as social media manager was a success!

It was fun working the event this time too. I got to help set up and see a bunch of my friends from other student organizations that I haven’t seen all summer. I am a little sad I didn’t get to do all of the fun activities or grab some of the free food. But, by the time it was 10:00 pm, I was exhausted and felt the side effects from my early flight. I headed back to my dorm and made myself a cup of tea. It was the perfect way to wind down for the night.

The next morning, I posted a cool picture from the event to keep engagement up and started to look forward to class crawl and the movie on the field Sunday before the first day of class.

Hopefully, the dive back into classes weren’t too crazy and the start of Welcome Back Days put you all on the right foot to start classes!

Anna

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Nationals and Old West Balloon Fest 2019 http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/nationals-and-old-west-balloon-fest-2019/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/nationals-and-old-west-balloon-fest-2019/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 21:59:17 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16355 When I went to Nebraska a few weeks ago, something really awesome was happening: The Old West Balloon Fest which was basically a mini Balloon Fiesta. I went to visit some family in Nebraska and was there for five days. The best part of seeing family aside from catching up is home cooked meals and […]

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When I went to Nebraska a few weeks ago, something really awesome was happening: The Old West Balloon Fest which was basically a mini Balloon Fiesta. I went to visit some family in Nebraska and was there for five days. The best part of seeing family aside from catching up is home cooked meals and I will tell you I definitely did not starve while I was there.

The trip was really relaxed. The first part of the week was perfect for doing all of the housekeeping things that needed to be completed during business hours since I couldn’t do over the summer because I worked business hours. So, I made last minute dentists and doctors’ appointments, called banks and figured out my budget for the fall. I also got the time to explore some of the Adobe Apps we have as UNM Students.

We have access to so many Adobe products. All you need to do is log on to Adobe with only your UNM email and you will be prompted to sign in. This year I manage the social media for the Society of Women Engineers, so I got to explore photoshop when editing some of the posts. I also have been working on some CAD software designs for the student org and vector graphics to use awesome tools such as 3D printers and laser engravers.

The majority of the week I just hung out but Thursday night we headed to the nearby community college to see the glow-up from the hot air balloons apart of the Old West Balloon Fest. This was just one stop in the national competition. The whole event went from about 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and there were a lot of people watching the balloons light up. This was super cool! There weren’t nearly the same number of balloons than the International Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque around October, but I really enjoyed it. I only got to see the balloons take off when I went last October. Going to this, I got to experience the glow too and it made me a little less sad about being out of town for this year’s balloon fiesta.

I was also surprised the glow happened too. Earlier that afternoon, there was this super big hailstorm. The hail was almost the size of a baseball and for a little over 10 minutes, the hail came down so hard. We went out right after and so many cars had hail sized imprints or cracked windshields and mirrors. Buildings and sheds had broken windows too. Driving after the storm afterwards, we could see broken tree branches scattered on the roads. There was another hailstorm around 2am Friday morning that, thank goodness, didn’t delay my 6:00 am flight back to Albuquerque.

I hope you all have been settling into the swing of things with school starting back up! Fingers crossed that last bit of summer will keep you going!

Anna

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The Three Sisters http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/the-three-sisters/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/the-three-sisters/#respond Mon, 26 Aug 2019 20:42:04 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16292 Right before the semester started, some friends and I took advantage of our free time to enjoy some time outside. We headed to the Petroglyphs National Monument. This monument protects the largest petroglyphs space in North America. Here, you could see petroglyphs created up to 700 years ago. The monument has four hiking areas. Three […]

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Right before the semester started, some friends and I took advantage of our free time to enjoy some time outside. We headed to the Petroglyphs National Monument. This monument protects the largest petroglyphs space in North America. Here, you could see petroglyphs created up to 700 years ago. The monument has four hiking areas. Three are three canyons (Rinconada, Boca Negra, and Piedras Marcadas) and the volcanoes. My friends and I decided to see the volcanoes.

We left pretty early in the day to beat the heat on our hike. It was super nice because the volcanoes’ parking lot was no more than 45 minutes away from campus. The second-best part was that parking and entrance to this part of the national monument was free. There are three volcanoes and they are often referred to as the Three Sisters. These volcanoes are actually volcanic cones created by fissure eruption. Fissure eruption looks like a curtain of fire since during this type of eruption, magma rises through thin cracks in the Earth’s crust.

In this specific spot. The crack is over 5 miles long and created three craters, JA Volcano, Black Volcano, and Vulcan Volcano, that were all active at the same time at some point in the past. The volcanoes are about the middle of the Rio Grande Rift, a thin part of the Earth’s crust due to the creation of the Sandia mountains. These volcanoes hold a sacred meaning to the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande Valley. The petroglyphs and volcanoes were believed to provide a direct connection between them and their ancestors.

The trail is one big loop connecting all the volcanoes with smaller loops branching out and around the specific volcano. We ended up doing all three. The weather was perfect. There was a little bit of wind and super sunny, but not too hot. The paths were made of gravel and the trails did not seem too difficult. There was a tone of volcanic ash and cinders, lichen, splatter, and caliche. We saw a few people there as well, but we were all pretty spread out.

The prettiest spot was probably the Albuquerque Overlook. At this spot, we saw almost all of Albuquerque with the Sandia Mountains in the background. There were informational signs that explained the Rio Grande Rift and if you went a little further to the second volcano, Black Volcano, the extra height makes it perfect for taking pictures.

The entire hike was only 2.5 miles. It ended up being perfect. It wasn’t too long to where it got overly hot, but we were still able to enjoy the sun. The entire area had a big emphasis on staying on the path, since straying might have your run into an edge of a cliff or rocky fallout.

The whole outing was perfect before starting the new semester. It helped us all calm down from all of the moving and overwhelming aspects of seeing so many brand-new people all at once. I hope you all were able to get outside and enjoy some sun before school becomes too challenging once again!

Anna

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Serve ABQ: The Last Service Project for the Season http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/serve-abq-the-last-service-project-for-the-season/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/serve-abq-the-last-service-project-for-the-season/#respond Tue, 20 Aug 2019 19:25:58 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16288 A few weekends ago was the last service project with Serve ABQ for the season. The first event was in early Spring and with school starting just around the corner, it was time for a pause. Serve ABQ started with some UNM students getting together and picking up trash for about an hour on a […]

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A few weekends ago was the last service project with Serve ABQ for the season. The first event was in early Spring and with school starting just around the corner, it was time for a pause. Serve ABQ started with some UNM students getting together and picking up trash for about an hour on a Saturday. For the last one for a little bit, we headed to Rio Bravo Riverside Picnic Area.

I have gone to this site twice but there has been a few more throughout the summer that was here. My favorite part of the picnic area is how pretty it is. There are a number of walking and biking trails here that has a good amount of tree cover. It’s so pretty sometimes I forget there really is a highway right next to it. There is also a significant amount of trash as well. The parking lot and under the highway were both spots with a lot of trash. In the past few times, the group has concentrated the pick-up closer to the river. Something really awesome when I pulled up was noticing how clean those areas were. This really showed how much progress we made as a group and how even coming out only three or four times has really helped to keep the area clean.

One of the scariest things to pick up are probably needles. Throughout the season, several needles have been found. Serve ABQ always has a sharps container and we use pretty thick gloves when we pick up the trash. Especially after a concentrated spot of needles or broken glass has been picked up, it really does feel like we are making the area safer to even just walk around.

Increasing safety in the ABQ community is one of the goals for Serve ABQ. The group really focuses on sending the good energy from young professionals taking a little time out of their weekends into the community. Ultimately, we could be doing anything from food drives or community outreach. The actual means to show ABQ that their residents and even visitors from other states is fairly arbitrary. The main point is to 1) actually go out there and do something actively benefiting the community rather than just talking about it and 2) change the feeling in ABQ starting with just a few people giving back to the city.

I really love to participate in this not only because I think the mission is awesome, but I meet so many new and cool people. Throughout the summer, there were a few collaborations with the Air Force Research Laboratory summer scholars where these STEM interns came to clean up ABQ from so many States. One clean-up we had people from as far as New York and Massachusetts. I even talked to one of the participants who wanted to start something just like Serve ABQ in their own campus community (which was beyond cool).

Another really amazing thing to see happen throughout the summer was people not even associated with UNM come. We had some families who just saw our service projects online on Facebook show up with bags in hand to start making ABQ even more pretty. At some of these projects, I met UNM alumni and students that I might not have ever crossed paths with unless they came to these events. Even parents of the participants came sometimes and every time I met someone new, I always learned something novel about them or what they do.

Image from the Last Clean-Up

I really loved doing this and I hope the next season of projects start back up soon. If you ever need an excuse to get regrounded or just enjoy some outside, I highly recommend just going on a walk along the Rio Grande and bring a garbage bag to just pick a little trash up along the way!

Anna

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Move In Time: Fall Semester Starting http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/move-in-time-fall-semester-starting/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/move-in-time-fall-semester-starting/#respond Mon, 12 Aug 2019 16:21:02 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16285 Fall semester begins right around the corner as we embark on the weeklong move in process. Since I was a summer resident who opted for interim housing, I could move in on Thursday but had a pretty quick turnaround. A lot of the SRC apartment buildings had to get moved out of and cleaned fast […]

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Fall semester begins right around the corner as we embark on the weeklong move in process. Since I was a summer resident who opted for interim housing, I could move in on Thursday but had a pretty quick turnaround. A lot of the SRC apartment buildings had to get moved out of and cleaned fast so new residents could move in for the next semester. Saturday through Monday is early move in. This was the move in time period I did last year. I was in the very last NSO group and flew into Albuquerque on a Sunday and headed to orientation the next day. For early move in, there is a fee and an application to fill out beforehand.

The bulk of the residents will move in Tuesday through Friday. This is a fun but also stressful time. On one hand, you get to set up your new rooms however you want. The nice part of college is that you can’t take everything so the childhood stuff you keep as mementos can stay at your parents’ house and won’t ruin your college vibe. The downside is dragging all of your stuff across campus or up and down stairs. With carts and some elevators in certain housing buildings, this could be super easy or you’re going to need a good rest after the whole ordeal is over.

Some highlights from last year was getting my Lobo ID and checking out LaPo (the dining hall) for the first time. It’s cool to see all of the dorms decorated with the RAs’ theme and not being quite sure what to expect. This year has been less exciting. After getting all of my stuff in the new room with help from a lot of friends, I took a trip to Target to get the last bit of storage or lighting that will make the room perfect. So far, this is my fifth move within the campus (and boy, I’m ready to stay in one place for a good while). I will tell you that some aspects get easier and some you just can’t get around.

I think that from the various moves I have gotten way better at 1) actually packing into boxes and bags and 2) packing like things with like. Packing beforehand, even though it sort of sucks living out of boxes for a few days, helps lessen the stress for me and the move go faster. Second piece of advice for moving, bring your friends and have something on wheels. If you’re moving in the heat of the day like the last move, I had, you’ll want to get all of the stuff in first and then you can go wild in the putting away and decorating.

If you are moving in from off campus, like most, utilize the pedway. It makes it so much easier than trying to find parking on this crazy campus. Especially with the university touching up the pain for parking spots and traffic lines, parking is even more limited. Plus, the parking and transportation department are all driving around and checking parking passes to make sure all the rules are being followed with the increased students and families on the campus. It’s always better to park a little farther away in the right spot than getting a ticket the first week you are here. Use it as an opportunity to either reacquaint yourself or get familiar with the campus.

Hopefully, move in goes smoothly for everyone and starts getting you all excited for the new school year!

Good luck,

Anna

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ABQ Summerfest http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/abq-summerfest/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/abq-summerfest/#respond Wed, 31 Jul 2019 23:04:10 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16272 Last weekend, the City of Albuquerque celebrated Summerfest, a five-day event located all around the city. It started on Wednesday and went through Sunday where there were concerts, street vendors and tons of people out and about enjoying the entertainment. Each event went from about 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I had no idea this […]

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Last weekend, the City of Albuquerque celebrated Summerfest, a five-day event located all around the city. It started on Wednesday and went through Sunday where there were concerts, street vendors and tons of people out and about enjoying the entertainment. Each event went from about 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I had no idea this was happening until Saturday night when a friend of mine texted me to basically look outside towards Central. That particular Saturday I was in bed by 8:00 pm because I was worn out from studying the whole day. After a little coaxing, I got out of pjs and walked toward the action. Normally, Central was notorious for being fairly dangerous and the general rule of thumb was to not walk alone in the dark. But as soon as I saw the big stage, it was honestly the safest I have ever felt there.

The Summerfest I went to was the Route 66 one (since Central is a part of the original and now historic Route 66). There was a free concert and tons of street shows, vendors, and a kid concert. Magic Giant was the headliner for this night. They are an indie-rock group from LA that recently played at Coachella. I had never heard of them before, but after listening to a few of their songs right before I left, I would definitely check them out again. The best part of this group was that they had a violinist. They had such a cool vibe and fulfilled my concert craving, at least for a little while. I didn’t realize how many different bands and musicians came. There were four stages total. The main stage had three other bands before Magic Giant and the kid’s stage had nine acts. I’m really sad I didn’t find the NM Jazz Festival stage that had four groups. The last stage was the Route 66 stage and had four bands play. After finding out just the sheer amount of music I missed, I really wished I had gotten there sooner.

When I got there, I started to just walk down the road to find my friends. It was so busy and there were so many fun things to look at. There was a ton of restaurants open and food trucks around and almost all of the street vendors were local. I looked at some really beautiful jewelry and pottery. There were also a lot of the stores open off of Central for anyone to go in and check it out. One of the bigger crowd attractions was the Old Route 66 Car Show. There were also smaller attractions such as sidewalk chalk art or pop-up restaurants. There were rock climbing walls set up in the middle of the road and some street performers. I got to see some b-boys from a local dance studio perform. They each did a small solo where they did really awesome tricks, spins and stalls. At the very end, one guy flipped over three people.

It was so wild to think all of this was happening right outside my door. It was really nice to be on campus and just be able to walk over, but there were a number of free parking spots and shuttles too. Going out, especially towards the end of the whole thing was sort of nice. I probably spent an hour and a half there which was the perfect time for a study break. It was super busy, but the whole event was kid friendly and pretty safe. I headed back to the dorms right before it ended and got to do something fun on my Saturday night after all.

I hope you all got to go out and either see this Summerfest event or any others!

Anna

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Summer Semester Ending: Procrastination at its Finest http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/summer-semester-ending-procrastination-at-its-finest/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/summer-semester-ending-procrastination-at-its-finest/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2019 21:21:06 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16261 The summer semester ends on the 27th of July. I have realized just how much I have enjoyed my summer because of the long list of assignments I have a week to do them. Of course, you could be the person to just not procrastinate but I can tell you since college started, I have […]

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The summer semester ends on the 27th of July. I have realized just how much I have enjoyed my summer because of the long list of assignments I have a week to do them. Of course, you could be the person to just not procrastinate but I can tell you since college started, I have gotten to practice this skill so much. I think that this is a combination of work and school but also these classes are just so short that it goes way faster than we’re all used to. (You know, just some common reasons to blame my procrastination on more.) To add, some classes really demand that personal responsibility by setting the due date for everything on the last day of the semester and saying, “Good luck, I hope you have good time management!” But regardless of how much stress is added from trying to accomplish everything in seven days, I still went and had some fun.

This week was a lot of wake up at 6:00 am, go to work from nine to six, and stay up to study until 11:00 pm. A bunch of my co-workers were planning to go to the Isotopes game on Wednesday night for 50 cent hot dogs. So, Wednesday I did take a break and went to watch ABQ Isotopes vs the Fresno Grizzlies. Per usual, I showed up late, but I think the rest of the city had the same idea to get in the last few games of the season (that or the 50 cent hot dogs). These were the longest lines I have seen at the ticket booth outside the stadium. So, I have a new rule of thumb: consider showing up actually on time.

I mainly decided to go because (1) I didn’t have to cook dinner and (2) my friends shop at Smith’s so much they had a ton of free tickets. I ended up only paying $5.50 for the whole outing. Once we got in, we went to set up our stuff in the lawn and went straight into the hot dog line. We timed the wait and it was 20 minutes on the dot. While we waited, we watched the Isotopes keep scoring and scoring and watch people get tons and tons of hot dogs (there was a six dog per person limit, so tons equals six). I ended up getting three and a water which was the real money drain.

It was nice to be outside and watch a really beautiful sunset. The stadium was the most full I have seen it (but remember this was only my third time). The weather was pretty nice; it didn’t get too crazy hot. By the seventh inning, the Isotopes were beating the Grizzlies pretty good and we left early so I could get back to the essay writing. Even though it was a longer procrastination spree, it was a good study break and I didn’t have to make dinner (clearly the most important part).

With the Summer semester just about to end the Fall Semester just about to start, I hope finals are treating everyone okay and you’re at least a little excited for the next one to start.

Good luck,

Anna

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Summer Time Swimming http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/summer-time-swimming/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/summer-time-swimming/#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:02:13 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16253 For a little bit, I thought the heat wave in ABQ would not come for a good amount of time. With all the thunder and lightning storms, June was pretty cool. And everyone told me, Spring is windy, July is hot, and after it’s monsoon season. I definitely remember monsoon season when I first came […]

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For a little bit, I thought the heat wave in ABQ would not come for a good amount of time. With all the thunder and lightning storms, June was pretty cool. And everyone told me, Spring is windy, July is hot, and after it’s monsoon season. I definitely remember monsoon season when I first came in August, but it took a few weeks before the notorious storms that dump literally cats and dogs with crazy wind and then just stop. I’m sure all of this will come soon enough, but as of right now, it’s pretty warm out there to say the least. So, a friend and I took this dry heat as an indication to go swimming.

Out first thought was Johnson gym. Johnson has been under construction since June 2018 for expansion and renovation. However, there is still a good amount of the gym open for classes to take place and recreational use. At the beginning of the summer, I tried to use the cardio and weight room on a regular schedule but in the summer, especially the interim times, Johnson has weird hours. Ultimately, I could not make it just because I did not get home in time from work. But this was the main motivation to look up times for the pool.

Johnson has three pools, one in the main gym, an Olympic size pool, and a therapy pool. There was a swim meet going on, but the website said there was no main closure and the pools would still be open. So, those were lies (if you ever go 100% call and check what their hours for recreational swimming). We got there and we hopped into the therapy pool and started to hang out. Then, a lifeguard told us how they have to close the therapy pool because of the meet; there was just not enough lifeguards. She was super nice and gave us a schedule which had super limited hours and were all closed on weekends. So, we went to plan B.

We knew Lobo Village and Casas have pools, but all our friends that live there were either busy or at work. The research for public Albuquerque pools commenced. I was surprised at how many public pools ABQ has and admission is really cheap. The City of Albuquerque owns five indoor pools, seven outdoor pools, and two splash pads. Some even have water slides too. Admission ranges from $1.50 to $3.00 for adults at these pools. To me this is the cheapest fun I had in a really long time.

We ended up going to Sunport pool, only about 10 minutes from campus. This was a 40-meter-by-22-yard pool. There were two lanes for lap swimming and the rest was for wading. When we were driving up, we were a little worried, but inside felt really safe and looked good. There were shady places to keep our stuff out of the sun but the whole pool was in the sun. The recreational swim time was from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and we stayed for a little over two hours. It wasn’t too busy, and it was cool to watch some of the planes take off from the airport so close. You could bring floaties and snacks and honestly make a whole day out of it.

Sunport Pool

At the end of the day, we found a pool and it was perfect to stay out of the heat! I would recommend checking this out if it’s too hot to function. Sunport did not have any slides but plenty of others do. Before going, check out the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation for hours and which pool you want to go to!

Hopefully you found a way to beat the heat this last week or so!

Anna Janicek

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The Fourth of July at Comb Wash Campsite http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/the-fourth-of-july-at-comb-wash-campsite/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/the-fourth-of-july-at-comb-wash-campsite/#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:00:56 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16214 For the Fourth of July, I ended up doing something totally different than what I normally do. This is the first summer I have spent in Albuquerque and not in Idaho. Back in December, a friend from high school and I took a road trip around southern Idaho and northern Utah. He now goes to […]

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For the Fourth of July, I ended up doing something totally different than what I normally do. This is the first summer I have spent in Albuquerque and not in Idaho. Back in December, a friend from high school and I took a road trip around southern Idaho and northern Utah. He now goes to the University of Utah and I thought we could start a tradition of biannual road trips. In total, Salt Lake City to Albuquerque is nine and a half hours so we decided to meet halfway at a Bureau of Land Management campsite, Comb Wash.

Honestly, the campsite was in the middle of nowhere. There was no service and there were only one or two other groups around camping at the same site. The campground in San Juan County in Utah and was about thirty to forty minutes away from the closest cities, Blanding and White Mesa. The campsite was at a beautiful spot. There was gorgeous red rock all around which was so pretty by sunset. We met in Bluff, Fort to eat lunch and look at the little gift shop. The city was small but the rock formations surrounding it were breathtaking.

Fort Bluff was about forty minutes to the campsite. The best part of the drive was going through this mountain that looked like a road was put right down the center. I got to the campsite about noon or one and by that point it was hot. We were thinking about going on a hike, but it was almost too much to even sit. So, we grabbed some snacks and caught up with each other until dinner.

There was soup for dinner, and I am not ashamed to say I totally fell asleep for the night at 6:00 pm. We were in a desert so there was no way we could do fireworks and driving for five or, so hours straight was tiring for me. The next morning the day started at around 8:00 am and we went to Bullet Mountain for a hiking trail. This was supposed to lead to a red rock formation bridge, but we didn’t quite get there. Between the heat and the bugs, we ended up heading back with only about three or four miles under our belt. The hike started with the canyon nowhere in sight but then we climbed down some rocks and started to follow a dried-up stream. We kept on the trail for a while but there was this thick part of weeds that we decided to climb up and out of the canyon to avoid. There were awesome views from up top but not another good way to get down. After lunch, traveled back down to the spot we climbed up and walked back to the car.

Since it was so hot already at one or so, we went into Blanding to figure out what we could do. We ended up at the Dinosaur Museum. There was a small admission fee but inside it was not only air conditioned but had some cool fossils and information of what dinosaurs could have been like. Something I thought was super cool how much dinosaur movie paraphernalia they had. They had movies running and compared how dinosaurs actually were versus the movie portrayals.

In our hunt for air-conditioned entertainment, we also checked out the Edge of the Cedars State Park Visitor’s Center. There were beautiful photographs taken throughout the many national parks in Utah on metal canvases that made the images shine. Upstairs there were lots of pottery, blankets, and tools from the pueblo ancestors living on the land. There were some ruins to see right from the visitor’s center and information around explained three pueblo tribes that settled in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. These Ancestral Puebloans were the White Mesa, Chaco, and Kayenta peoples. It was cool to read how their buildings were built different or their pottery was painted different.

After the museums, we headed to the Blanding visitor center for the Wi-Fi and indoor plumbing. We walked around inside and started watching a movie on all the national parks in Northern New Mexico, Utah, and Northern Arizona. After they closed, we made dinner in the nearby park to avoid the bugs back at our campsite. Our drive back to the campsite was right at sunset and we got some cool photos.

The next morning, we woke up earlier to beat the heat. We went to the Natural Bridges National Monument. There are three bridges that were made by a river a long time ago, Sipapu Bridge, Kachina Bridge, and Owachomo Bridge. We hiked to Sipapu and Owachomo and looked at the viewpoint of Kachina Bridge. It was the perfect temperature for Sipapu going down but coming up was hot and completely uphill. Owachomo was a super short (0.2 mi one way) and there weren’t that many people. We ended up laying on the sandstone looking up at the bridge for a good time just enjoying the area. We went back to the campsite and ate lunch then parted ways.

I hope you all had a great Fourth of July weekend and got to enjoy nature just a little bit!

Anna

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Dinosaur National Monument http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/dinosaur-national-monument/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/dinosaur-national-monument/#respond Sun, 07 Jul 2019 23:16:00 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=16181 The last weekend I took a trip to Vernal, UT to visit Dinosaur National Monument. First off, I have no idea why I thought I would not see dinosaur fossils. I will tell you right now I was sort of blown away with all that I saw. The trip was just one day of my […]

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The last weekend I took a trip to Vernal, UT to visit Dinosaur National Monument. First off, I have no idea why I thought I would not see dinosaur fossils. I will tell you right now I was sort of blown away with all that I saw. The trip was just one day of my mini vacation to Wyoming. I left early Saturday morning and enjoyed the beautiful drive down to the park. It was about a two- or three-hour drive and along the way, I stopped at a number of overlooks. The first stop was a little trail head around Sheep Creek. There was a little bridge with a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. The water was pretty high, not only at this stop but in general.

My next stop was Sheep Creek Overlook. This was a beautiful spot that looked over the Green River and the Flaming Gorge. The canyon’s walls are a deep red due to the iron in the soil giving it the name of the Flaming Gorge. I got to see more of this spot from the Red Canyon Overlook and at the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Something really cool was the sound of the cicada bug. The cicadas here sounded so different than the ones I’m used to in New Mexico. There was an almost metallic sound to them. They are normally not found in that area very often. I was told the cicadas in that part of Utah only come around every few years, although it still does not change the fact, I am not super fond of cicadas in the first place.

Inside the visitor’s center at the recreation area, there was two glass walls that were on the very edge of the canyon letting me see all the way down the canyon. There were cool displays of the wildlife and the composition of the canyon as well. After a little bit more driving, I went through Vernal, UT. There was a number of Dinosaur paraphernalia around the city (which I still did not catch on to that there would be dinosaur fossils here for some unknown reason). I entered the park and there were tons of people. I entered the park from the west most side where the Quarry was. There was a fake Stegosaurus I took a picture near the visitor center and went inside to see really cool displays.

It was just a short drive to the Quarry, and this is what really surprised me. The hall contained around 1,500 refurbished dinosaur bones still in the rock. The building was constructed around the cut out of the mountain with the face of the rock exposed as one of the walls of the building. There were two stories to look at the huge wall of bones that was (thank goodness) air conditioned. A number of signs explained how the fossils were discovered and the different types of dinosaurs found such as Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus.

Each fossil had extreme detail. You could see the individual bones making up tails or back fins as well as different joints. The bones were of all different sizes and one sign explained a possible reason to find so many dinosaurs fossilized here. They suspect there was a drought that killed the dinosaurs. Right after, there was extreme rainfall, drowning and sweeping the dinosaurs down the river immediately burying the dinosaurs providing the perfect condition for fossilization. The paleontologist that discovered all of these fossils thought it would be cool to leave the rocks in place and build something around it for visitors to come and see.

While the space was initially in place to preserve the fossils, the monument was later expanded to protect the river and surrounding areas. This is a very popular park for rafting and there are a number of hiking trails. The one I went on was a small trail to Box Canyon. I also visited Josie Bassett Morris’ cabin in the middle of the park. She had a small farm and lived off the land with no electricity, plumbing or neighbors for over 50 years.

On the way back from the monument, I stopped at the Flaming Gorge Dam. The reservoir was high but there was no water being released into the river, so the space was fairly silent. I got there just before sunset and it was a beautiful place to walk around. There was a cool rock passage you had to go through to get down to the river on foot.

This was such a beautiful trip and I got to visit somewhere that I really hadn’t heard about until recently. If you ever get the chance to go visit one of the three entrances into the national monument, I 100% recommend it. I hope you all get to enjoy the outdoors as we approach the Fourth of July weekend!

Anna

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