Friday, July 16, 2010

From Sand to Snow: North-South Adventure by Student Jackie Mantione

I am Jackie Mantione (left); I am sixteen years old and from Orlando, Florida! I discovered Green Edventures from an internet search engine. This past summer I went with Tara on the North South Adventure. That is a two week program where for the first week you spend it in Baja, Mexico and the next week is spent in Seward, Alaska. The north south adventure is definitely a perfect opportunity to discover two completely different regions and get all the perks of a great week you could be missing out on. Being able to spend a week in Mexico was truly a week paradise. Activities ranged from snorkeling with sea lions to hiking on a mountain that still has remains from over one hundred years ago and is still considered a “private” site because Archaeologists are still revealing new things there. In Alaska you do a lot of activities where you have fun and help out the little populated town of Seward like hiking, animal watching, and investigating and getting rid of invasive plants.
In Mexico you arrive at the airport, and then you take about an hour and a half car ride to the city of La Paz, where you get to eat lunch, get your snorkeling gear, and load onto the boat. After that you take another hour and a half boat ride to the point called Espiritu Santu, where you stay on a little private island called Ensanada Grande. This island is perfect because you have mountains around you are literally sleeping in a tent on a beach! If you ever thought you have been to heaven on earth, you haven’t experienced anything yet. Then in the mornings you would go on an adventurous activity like snorkeling, scuba diving, or hiking a mountain. On the activities you learn so many things! It is amazing to hear about what everyone knows about their surroundings like animal behavior and flower growths. After about five days on Ensanada Grande you pack your bags and go to another beautiful escape called Cabo Pulmo. There you get to go snorkeling on a reef right on the beach! Also, you get to go to a private freshwater waterfall where you are sure to have the best time of your life! Getting to know all the workers, experiencing all the excursions, and learning the Mexican Culture is definitely something you cannot experience if you were to do a trip not with this amazing company!
In Alaska you get to travel to a cute and small little town called Seward, which has a population of about 2500. There you get to go on amazing kayak tours, hiking with the view you have to see it to believe it, help out a conservation center to do something good for a community and do something good for yourself. In Alaska everywhere you turn is a picture opportunity. Pictures can show how pretty something in Alaska is, but in my opinion, pictures don’t do Alaska any mercy. Every excursion you do gives you an amazing workout and can seem a little tiring, but everything is so worth it in the end. You will forget about every inch of soreness or tiredness you feel when you see Alaska from the top of a glacier, or see a moose eating on the side of the road minding its own business. Another amazing thing you get to experience is meeting the Kenaitze Tribe. That day is so amazing because I was just awestruck by how proud these everyday people are about what they grew up with and how they try their very hardest to keep the tradition going. The tribe treats you to a nice salmon feast with some of the best food you will ever try, even if you aren’t a fish fan! They also show you some of their native performances where everyday teens like you and me are singing inspirational songs invented hundreds of years ago.
Going from Mexico to Alaska is a definite change in culture, temperature, and may be a little tough to fit packing into a small bag but it is the experience I am so glad I went on and definitely something you don’t want to miss. The North South Adventure will provide you with learning that keeps you interested and doesn’t make you want to fall asleep. And if you’re looking for the best two weeks of your life, the answer is a simple one and is right in front of you.

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