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Software Engineering, University of Waterloo

Axon Grand Canyon Trip 2017

I recently returned from the best trip of my life! I spent 5 days at the Grand Canyon National Park for a company-paid vacation.

Axon group picture

Every year, Axon pays for 4 trips to the Grand Canyon, with about 29 people in each trip. While interning at Axon this summer, I was fortunate to be offered an opportunity to attend the trip. I was initially hesitant to go because it was a large time commitment, and I had to wrap up my projects. After speaking with my manager, he was very supportive of me going.

Day 1

On the first day, my carpool group drove from Scottsdale to the Grand Canyon National Park. Along the way, we enjoyed some breakfast at IHOP, and listened to my downloaded Spotify songs, which apparently consisted of 95% Eminem songs. We met up with other coworkers, and gazed at the marvelous views. Our tour guides from Hatch River Expeditions drove us to the Cliff Dwellers Lodge, where we enjoyed a great team dinner.

Day 1 also marked the beginning of 5 days without cellular access. Being entirely disconnected was a remarkable feeling for me, as I’ve never spent more than a few hours without internet.

Raft day 1

Day 2

We began our 80 mile rafting journey on the Colorado River. To summarize my first time rafting, it was quite cold and wet. Several hours later, we made it to camping site. It was also my first time camping overnight, so I learned how to set up a tent, which we actually never used.

Before the trip, The one thing I was most scared about was food. I was honestly expecting to eat food like PBJ sandwiches and jerky for the entire trip. It turned out that food was one of the many highlights of the trip. The guys from Hatch cooked amazing meals and desserts for us throughout the 3 nights of camping.

As the night came, I lied on my sleeping cot and gazed at the sky full of stars. It was one of the most peaceful and relaxing nights I’ve had in years. Another notable memory was how the bright shining moon woke me up.

Raft day 1

Day 3

Like the day before, we rafted down the Colorado River, did a couple of side-hikes, and checked out a cave. It was really interesting hearing the stories from one of the Hatch guys, who has spent over 30 years in the Grand Canyon. We continued bonding as a team and enjoyed great food. My favorite part about day 3 was the warm gusts of air that came after getting wet from the rapids.

Day 4

Day 4 consisted of intense white water rapids. Check out a video recorded from an Axon Body camera below. During some of the larger rapids, I genuinely felt like I was about to fall off the raft, though it was insanely fun!

Full video here (with singing and commentary).

Rafting

Day 5

On the last day, we woke up bright and early at 4:30AM. Looking back, waking up that early was a great idea, as the temperature wasn’t too hot during the morning. We began our hike up the Bright Angel Trail shortly before 7AM. After the first checkpoint at Indian Gardens, I decided to venture on my own. Although it felt like there were infinite switchbacks, I eventually made it to the top by 10AM. My motivation for the last 1.5 miles was to treat myself to some delicious mint chocolate ice cream! After my other coworkers made it to the top, we said our farewells, and drove back to Scottsdale.

Grand Canyon Pic

Overall, the trip was filled with memories and highlights I’ll never forget.

Shoutouts

  • Hatch River Expeditions for providing an amazing experience.
  • Axon for giving me the opportunity to go on the trip.
  • All my wonderful coworkers and the countless memories we shared.
  • My carpool group for dealing with my questionable jokes and music playlist.

Photo and video credits: Ray, Rhodri