Deep in the Heart of Texas

by Andrea Wackerle

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By: Grant Scobbie

On October 19th, 2019 the SOAR Gappers left on their 2nd Expedition to Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. That night we slept in the Garden Of the Gods because the Mentors didn’t want to drive all night long. We spent October 20th rocked climbing on one of the rocks and went on a beautiful hike around the Garden of the Gods. 

On October 21 we drove for most of the day and that night we went to an authentic Texas BBQ restaurant and oh my gosh!! It was so delicious!! On October 22, we stopped for a few hours at a lake, we fished, threw a football, and took a nap in the sun. Afterward, we drove to our campsite, to get our tents out and setup. The next day we left to go camping in the backcountry, in 4 days we hiked a total of 26 miles!! We were all so astonished that we hiked a marathon. Some Gappers were in pain, but don’t you worry, our amazing mentors aided all the wounded hikers and their wounds are healing. One day we hiked into our campsite and had to set up our camp early because a storm was rolling in, we had to finish dinner early to get into our sleeping bags to feel warm and be dry. No one flew away but some people got wet, for the next few days it was wet and muddy, we had to wake up early to hike all day to reach our next site. Every mile marker was an inspiration for all of us to keep on pushing through. 

After we came back into civilization we went to the Voodoo Doughnut restaurant and oh my gosh! I’ve never seen doughnuts like that before!! It was a nice treat after facing all the elements. That day we spent most of the day in Austin, Texas where there were lots of restaurants, shops and a parade going on!! It was a lot of fun spending time in Austin, after that we went swimming at a natural spring, no one was expecting it to be cold, thankfully all the Gappers got in it, and felt the cold refreshing water. 

On October 27th we did a food buy at Trader Joe’s and everyone loves that place more than Walmart. Shortly after that, we went to Inner Space Cavern; it’s a bunch of natural caves underneath a highway and the town, that place was so gorgeous we were so focused on the history behind it. After a few hours of walking through the caverns, we went laser tagging. We played on a 3 story map, and all of us went on the field with guns blazing, and getting our focus on! On October 28 we drove all day to our next campsite, that day we also did laundry and everyone had a ton of dirty clothes. 

On October 29th we drove to New Mexico to go hiking in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The entrance trail is a mile long, and it descends 75 stores. Almost as tall as the Empire State Building. When we got down there, we walked through so many big rooms that we felt tiny, one-room we went in had restrooms and a cafe in the rocks. None of the Gappers knew it was down there. None of us can decide what it looks like because it’s so extraordinary and gorgeous. We all came up, now knowing something extraordinary was down there. 

On October 30th we decided to go straight to Denver, Colorado because the weather was too cold for us to go swimming at Blue Holes in New Mexico. We had to turn around and go to Santa Fe because the road conditions were dangerous for us to drive on. We stopped at Meow Wolf which is a museum full of mystery, puzzles, illustration, and illusions. You had to walk through rooms to figure out the mysterious story and 3D neon decorations popped out everyone as we walked through each room. Thankfully the roads cleared and we headed to Denver, Colorado! 

On October 31 we toured around the University of Denver, went to Trader Joe’s again and around 6:00 pm we went to Elitch Garden. There were rollercoaster rides and haunted mansions! I had such an amazing view of the city just before getting flipped, turned and a whole bunch of wind going into my face while riding the roller coaster. Everyone loved everything about it especially Annika and Charlie. Annika doesn’t like clowns and there were clowns in both the haunted houses, I’m sure Annika had a mini heart attack because she couldn’t stop screaming and getting scared, I had the opportunity to scare her about 5 times while we were in there and it was hilarious!!! In the other haunted house, Charlie definitely got the most scared. There was so many jump scares that Charlie actually fell one time!!! Don’t worry he is alright! When we got to camp, we set up our tents and laid out our sleeping pads and bags and fell quickly asleep. 

About the author 

Grant Scobbie typed this blog. He is 18 years old and likes to play his drums and be involved in photography. He has been in SOAR camps for years. Grant lives in Minnesota and is proud of the cold!!