Our Marketing Manager, Hollie has just returned from an epic 2 week TrekAmerica trip, the Westerner 2. We catch up with her and end up extremely jealous...
The Westerner 2 tour sounds fab, what does it cover?
We start off in LA with the classic highlights including Hollywood and Venice beach before heading down the Pacific Coast to San Diego where we took in a baseball game (we watched the San Diego Padres beat the LA Dodgers! An amazing atmosphere!).
We then saw Salvation Mountain a unique art installation covering a hill in Colarado (Has to be seen to be believed) and then spent the night camping next to Lake Havasu.
Next up was the Grand Canyon, including an amazing helicopter ride over the canyon itself.
We ditched the camping for a plush hotel in Las Vegas where we enjoyed a private party bus down the main strip and tried our handing at gambling in the iconic casinos. Our hotel even had a slide through a shark tank!
After the luxury of Vegas we were back to camping and hiked a waterfall in Yosemite. We enjoyed the gay pride parade in San Francisco before a sunset sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. The next day we visited the famous Alcatraz prison.
We finished our exhaustive tour with a drive down the scenic California coast visiting Big Sur and Santa Barbara.
You travelled as part of a group, what was that like?
It was fab - there was such a diverse group of 11 people. About half were Brits, a guy from Switzerland, an Aussie, a Belgian, a South African and a lovely girl from Germany. I've already arranged a holiday to Germany to visit her! As the World Cup was on when we were trekking, we listened to the matches in the tour bus and there was some friendly inter-country rivalry... Especially when Belgium played USA!
What was the camping like?
So much fun! We stayed in 2-man tents and each tent had a name. Mine was called The American Dream which pretty much sums up the entire trip! The tents were so easy to put up and take down and after a long day of taking in the sights I never had a problem falling straight to sleep. It was usually pretty hot in the tent so we often slept with it open. Sleeping under the stars in the Grand Canyon was pretty special.
What did you do for food?
We all paid $140 into the food kitty at the beginning which covered 3 meals a day while camping - it was such great value. In the evenings we took in turns in teams of 3 to cook at the campsite for the group. My team cooked a pretty mean chilli which went down a treat after hiking up a 7 mile waterfall in Yosemite National Park!
Go on, make us jealous... What were the top 3 highlights?
Argh there are so many to choose from!
1. Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon - I didn't think anything could beat hiking down into the canyon, but the view from above in the helicopter was absolutely breathtaking. I couldn't believe the sheer size of it - at 277 miles long it's truly astounding.
2. Sunset sail cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - beautiful and unique views of the bridge.
3. Alcatraz - the world-famous former prison which only closed in 1963. The story of attempted escapes from this isolated island were fascinating!
Any top tips for anyone thinking of booking a TrekAmerica tour?
Don't even think about it, just do it! You'll meet so many great people and cram in so many sites and experiences. Even after one week I reeled off about 10 different amazing things we'd seen & done - and we were only half way through!
Some practical tips -
- take a head torch... So handy for putting up your tent in the dark and keeping your hands free. Don't worry about any other gear - TrekAmerica provide all your camping equipment.
- update that i-Pod! Our custom made 'California' Playlist was the most popular in the bus.
- take as many photos as your cameras memory card will allow! (I think I have over 500...)
Grab 10% off any TrekAmerica trip as a BUNACer - find out more by calling us on 033 3999 7516 or request a callback and we'll call you.