That’s what I always say at least.

10 Days.

6 National Parks.

9 Nights camping underneath the stars.

2,200 Miles.

1 Final Destination: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, AZ.

My Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) journey started three years ago when I heard about the program from a fellow student. I’ve had this program in mind for nearly three years and I now have the privilege to be part of it as a Cultural Resource Intern at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, AZ.

I began the application process in the Winter of 2016 with much anticipation. After hearing about my acceptance into the program in the Spring of 2017, I immediately started planning. I’m a planner, it’s what I do. I knew right away I wanted to make a roadtrip out my travels from where I currently live in Missoula, Montana, to Coolidge, Arizona.

So, that’s what I did. I planned my route, serviced the Escape vehicle (what I call my Ford Escape), studied the atlas, planned the hikes, and I was on my way. My roadtrip took me through some of the most beautiful and diverse country in the United States I have seen yet. On the way south I visited Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capital Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park. I also visited countless National Forests, where I utilized free camping, and many National Monuments.

I finished up in the National Monument of Casa Grande Ruins where I will be spending my summer as a Latino Heritage Intern working in the park’s Resources Division. Although the roadtrip has ended the journey I started three years ago, when I heard about LHIP, is just beginning. I can’t begin to express how excited I am about this opportunity, for the people I will meet, for what I will learn from my site, and for what I will see along the way.

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