Month: May 2014

Three-day California adventure- Six Flags and Burbank

My girlfriend Stacey and I took a trip to California on Tuesday to visit my family, go to Six Flags and see our friend Rob.

On Wednesday, Stacey I spent the morning and afternoon at Six Flags Magic Mountain. We were the 129th car to arrive to park(according to the man that scanned our parking pass at the entrance.)

We managed to get on a handful of rides including Scream, Colossus, Batman, Ninja, Viper, and Roaring Rapids. This season, they even reversed the direction of Batman and Colossus to make them go backwards!  Both rides were tenfold more fun because you’re blind to upcoming curves and loops on the ride.

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After enough coasters, we left the park and headed to Burbank to see our close friend Rob who recently moved out to California to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. We visited his apartment then ate at Islands, the restaurant where he works, the same one that my girlfriend works at in Phoenix.

In the middle of our meal, our server came up to us and said,

“The man sitting over there[at a bar stool nearby] asked me to hand these to you after he left.”

Then he handed us these.

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rob scerbo, joe previte, stacey fawthorp, islands, burbank

He had been looking at us while we were eating but none of us thought much of it till now. It was the coolest thing ever! Rob told us there are tons of artists and actors out here trying to make it big so it was kind of normal to him.

Afterwards, he and his girlfriend showed us Nickelodeon Studios and Disney Studios, which were both located less than 5 minutes from his apartment. If you look closely, you can see the Mickey Mouse ears on the fence that surround Disney. Rob said it’s inspiring for him to be so close to these places because it makes his dream feel more attainable.


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Yesterday, we spent the day at the beach then headed home in the afternoon. All in all, it was a wonderful trip 🙂 If you ever get the chance, visit Six Flags! It’s less expensive than the other parks and well-worth the fun.

Always start early when hiking Humphrey’s Peak in Flagstaff, Arizona

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Always start a hike earlier in the day rather than later. That’s the lesson my friend Jordan and I learned on after our four-hour trek on Monday afternoon in Flagstaff.

Last week, Jordan invited me to hike Humphreys’s Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona, with an elevation of 12, 633 feet. He had already hiked it in March with a few of our friends from NAU(Northern Arizona University). However, during that time, there was still lots of snow on the mountain so they only made it to the first saddle. This time, he wanted to make it to the top.

We left around 10am on Monday and zoomed to Flagstaff. It only took us about two hours and thirty minutes to arrive in the city. We stopped to buy a few snacks for the hike and then headed to Arizona Snowbowl, the ski resort where Humphrey’s trail begins.

We started the hike around 12:45-1pm thinking we had just enough time to make it to the summit. Unfortunately, we should have started earlier.

On our way up, we encountered other hikers who warned us of the strong winds at the top. We decided to keep going anyway. It took about 2.5 hours to make to the first saddle.

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We stopped and ate a few snacks and received a small taste of the strong winds awaiting us. They sent chills down our bodies as we stood on the first saddle. It was as if a giant was standing above the mountain and blowing a breath of icy air towards us. It wasn’t strong enough to knock us down but strong enough to convince us that today was not the day. We were told the winds would only pick up as time passed by and that it may be better to come back another day and start earlier.

We stayed a bit longer and indulged in the beautiful views of Flagstaff before turning back down the trail.

Overall, it was a wonderful day and a great adventure. One day, we’ll start earlier and actually make it to the top!

If you ever have the chance, I definitely recommend exploring Mt. Humphrey! It’s a pleasant trail 🙂

Running with thirst busters to Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Arizona

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[Photo credit: Charles Miles on Flickr]

“What the… Did you see that, honey? Those two boys were running with large fountain drinks in their hands? They looked like high schoolers. I wonder why they’re in such a hurry that they have to run with their sodas! That’s so strange. Guess kids are different these days than when we were kids, huh honey?”

“Yes, honey, times are different now. Everyone’s always on the run nowadays.”

That’s the type of conversation that most likely occurred on Tuesday afternoon while my friend Andrew and I were running to Sabino Canyon.

On Monday, Andrew asked if I wanted to run a trail or two in Sabino Canyon this week since it was finals week and we had lots of free time. I replied with enthusiasm,

“Yeah! I miss running in the mountains! But neither of us have a car and I don’t have a bike?”

“That’s okay. I heard the bus runs close by so we could take it and then jog to the base.”

“Okay! I’ll figure it out and let you know.” I said, trying my best to hide my initial skepticism with this whole bus idea.

I figured out the bus routes and we headed out on our adventure Tuesday afternoon around 4.

After waiting for about 20 minutes at the bus stop near Del Taco on a street called Broadway, we hopped on and our journey began. We took the bus as close to Sabino Canyon as we could and managed to put ourselves approximately six miles from our destination.

We ran the six miles at slow pace- probably 10 min/mile pace and enjoyed the run there.

About a mile from the canyon, our mouths were as dry as the desert dust we decided to take a pit stop at the Circle K(local convenience store) and hydrate ourselves with Gatorade. Obviously we grabbed the largest drink size, which happened to be 44oz, filled up our cups, paid the 84 cents and jumped back on the road to finish our victory mile.

Even though we had these large 44oz styrofoam cups filled with green and orange Gatorade, we awkwardly ran with them and battled out the pain in our quads to finish the last 1609 meters.

Then we saw it. We saw this:

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[Photo courtesy of Google Image Search]

“YES! We finally made it!” I yelled out feeling triumphant. Then we took a short break before disappearing onto the beautiful dirt trails of Sabino Canyon.

I inhaled the smell of mesquite and paloverde trees and let nature fill me with fresh air. Stones scattered on the surface of the trail made contact with my feet as we trailed along the paths. I love this feeling. The only thing I heard was the pounding of our feet as we zoomed in around around bushes, over beds of rocks and through arches of trees.

We ran for about 30 minutes before heading back to the entrance of the recreation area where Andrew’s parents met us to pick us up. I felt thankful we had chosen this time and day to run because his parents had just arrived to Tucson to move him out and were conveniently in the area. We headed back to the university and that concluded our adventure.

If you’re ever in Tucson, Arizona, I highly recommend checking out Sabino Canyon! It’s a beautiful area and there are multiple paths to choose from for hiking, running or biking 🙂 Feel free to share any thoughts or comments below!

Learning to Tango in Tucson

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[Photo Courtesy of Google Images]

Leading with your chest, you decide where to take your partner. Imagine you’re standing on an ice rink but without skates. You lead your partner across the ice by taking steps followed sliding your feet while keeping your chests at the same distance as you move. Your partner follows your every move and you glide to the beat as one.

Last night, I learned how to tango. The basics, to be specific and it was my first time every.

From what I’ve learned in my classes, Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina before the 19th century. Depressed men wrote tango songs about their misery, melancholy, loss of dreams, loneliness, love for their mothers and other related topics. The dance itself is a ton of fun and today, exists all around the world.

I had witnessed tango live in Argentina many times and in one of my classes at my university but this was the first I was actually learning it.

I went with a few friends from U of A to a place called Maker House, which is, “a new collaborative artisan, maker, education, tech, and gathering space that opened in the Downtown Tucson Arts District Tech Corridor in the fall of 2013.” It’s super cool! The advisor for the Honors College Ambassadors invited us because he was guest leading the tango lesson and it was free! I brought mate and it was almost like we were back in Buenos Aires. 

I wanted to share this experience because I enjoyed learning to tango and thought you would too! It’s a prominent aspect of Argentine culture and anyone can learn it! Here’s a video teaching the basics, the same basics we learned last night!

Have you ever tangoed before? If not, are there any dances you have learned and would recommend? 🙂

Volunteering, zip-lining, rafting, hiking, snorkeling and surfing with highschoolers in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands this summer

wilderness ventures[Photo from Wilderness Ventures website]

Two trips in Ecuador, high schoolers, volunteering at an animal rescue center, zip-lining in the Pastaza Valley, rafting down the Rio Jatunyaco river and hiking, snorkeling, and surfing on the Galapagos Islands. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world! All of this is and more is going to be my summer and I still cannot believe it.

I decided to write this post to share the information about what I’ll be doing this summer because maybe it’s something you’d be interested in doing too!

“How are you even going to be doing all of this?”

With a wonderful organization called Wilderness Ventures! Founded in 1973, Wilderness Ventures combines “[their] love for teaching young adults with [their] passion for the American wilderness and adventure.” Since then, it “has grown slowly and steadily and by 2013 over 22,000 people had participated in programs conducted in over 20 national parks and 17 federally designated wilderness areas as well as in over 20 countries around the globe.”

“But wait a second, how’d you even hear about this?”

I heard about Wilderness Ventures by accident. I remember last summer scrolling through my news feed when I came across a picture of a high school friend, a year older than me, mentioning he was going to meet up with friends in Europe. Curiosity drew me in further so I went to his profile to see what he was up to. Then, the next thing I saw was a tagged picture of him with a group of teenagers.

“Huh, I wonder what that was for. Wait a second, it says they were in Spain? Why would Cole be in Spain with a group of teenagers?”

By chance, his sister was hanging out with my brother at my house and I asked her about it. She said some organization paid him to take people camping in Spain and Peru. “WOW! Paid? To Travel? Where do I sign up?” was my initial reaction.

Soon after, I messaged him, found out the name of the organization and then found myself here, reading about the application. I went back to the application in December, filled out and turned it in by the January deadline.

“Do you have to speak Spanish to go…? What are the requirements? What was the application like?”

The only requirement is that you’re 20 years of age. The application was long and consisted of a resume, personal statement, 3 reference letters, driving record information, and a few photos. After turning it in, I later had an interview in February by phone which lasted about 20-30 minutes where I was asked questions about my application(typical interview questions).

Then, about a week later, they hired me! I didn’t find out about where I would be going until this week and I couldn’t be more excited with my trip assignments!

“When do you leave and will you be gone all summer?”

I leave June 7th to go to Salt Lake City, Utah to get certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR at the University of Utah. The class is free thanks to Wilderness Ventures. Then, on June 10th, I have to head back to the airport and then I’ll be heading to Jackson, Wyoming, the headquarters of Wilderness Ventures. Afterwards, we begin training with all the leaders, new and returning, which last 10 days. Then, we’re sent to our trip destinations! I’ll be leading the same two-week Ecuador Galapagos Service trip twice.  Afterwards, I’ll return to Jackson to do reflection workshops and then head back to Salt Lake City on August 1st.

“What do you have to pay for?”

The only things I have to pay for are transportation to and from Utah, and housing and food for the first three nights I’m in Utah because I’m taking the Wilderness First Aid class. Everything else including food, lodging, activities and transportation are paid by the organization. On top of that, they pay first-year leaders between $1,400-1,900.

“Where can I find out more information?”

Here is a link to more about leading for Wilderness Ventures and also this link to their employment opportunities website.