The internship of a lifetime, with BUNAC: Part 1

Elena Hunt took part on a global internship of a lifetime after winning a two-month, round the world internship organised by working holiday specialist, BUNAC.

For her first adventure, Elena joined a TrekAmerica trip. TrekAmerica are award-winning experts in small group adventure holidays and road trips in North America. BUNAC offers their tours as add-ons to its gap year and work abroad programmes.

We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of her post, to share Elena’s journey with you guys and inspire you to follow in her footsteps.

We’ll let Elena take it from here…

With my shiny, unworn hiking boots, I joined a week-long TrekAmerica programme to see Hollywood, the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon, Vegas and Yosemite National Park. Having never hiked before in my life, I was a little bit apprehensive at the idea of joining a group of avid hikers and didn’t want to slow the group down. Instead, I found ten of the most fun people I’ve ever met and only two had hiked before.

Hiking may seem daunting to some…

The first iconic place we camped in was the Grand Canyon, and it was every bit as awe-inspiring as you’d expect. The sight of thick, red belts of rock smeared into a green-and-cream canvas is something I’ll never forget. I chose the Bright Angel Trail descent hike, as it was suitable for beginners. As I went down, I skipped and hopped over the rocks, passing all the seasoned trekkers and feeling naively proud of myself. I hit the hut, filled up my water bottle and now it was time to go back up. The heat was burning my skin but I knew I wanted to make it to the top; finally after a lot of sweat, cursing and pretending to stop for photos but really catching my breath, I made it. The strangest part was the overwhelming sense of achievement; I stood tall on a nearby rock and saw the pathway snaking deep into the crux of the canyon. Did I just enjoy hiking?!

One of Elena’s new friends looking into the Grand Canyon

The next few days included a visit to Vegas, which is essentially a giant playground in the middle of the desert, followed by Yosemite. Just to give you an idea of the scale, it took us nearly two hours to drive to our campsite after we had officially entered the park. After piling out of the van, we were all struck by where we were; it was so quiet – nothing but thick green leaves in all directions, mountains on the horizon and a warm breeze that helped us get our fire started.

The next day we did a full day’s hike and made it to the top of Nevada Falls, with a few stops to swim in the lakes on the way. Other than camping at festivals, this was pretty new to me and I ended up loving every second, even the hikes! I was adamant after finishing Trek that I would throw my boots away, as I’d never use them again, right? Well, somehow I’ve found room in the bottom of my backpack…

Elena at the top of the canyon

The entire trip was filled with wonderful days of adventure and for anyone travelling independently. It’s a great way to be thrown into the mix with a load of new people. The whole group has to pull their weight, but the rewards are plentiful when you’re sitting on the edge of the Canyon, watching the sunrise with your new group of friends.

Check back soon to see where Elena is exploring next!

This article was in partnership with BUNAC.

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