Spending three days in Seattle, four days in Zion National Park in Utah and five days in Yosemite are only a small part of a summer trip that took three friends 8,600 miles to complete.
Roommates and fraternity brothers Evan Thibodeaux, Eric Bent and Matt Stinson decided two years ago to take a trip around the U.S. one summer.
“It was something Evan and Eric came up with freshman year. It was kind of a thought in the wind,” said Matt Stinson. “Two years later it happened.”
Thibodeaux said the idea of the trip came up one day while they were watching television in their apartment.
“We started saving money over the summer and two years later we decided to do it,” said Thibodeaux.
Thibodeaux said though they originally decided to take a trip around the U.S, they realized how long it would take so they made the decision to shorten it.
“We realized the vast majority of things we wanted to see were on the West Coast,” Thibodeaux said.
Stinson said they visited multiple national parks, but his favorite was going to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to hike up one of the highest points in the U.S.
“One of my favorite spots was Mount Whitney,” Stinson said.
He said after going to Mount Whitney, the group took a trip to Badwater Basin in Death Valley.
“After being at the highest point in the United States, we went to one of the lowest points,” he said. “It got up to 117 degrees in the shade.”
Bent said he agreed that Mount Whitney was one of the best spots on the trip.
“Mount Whitney was pretty spectacular; it kind of takes the cake,” he said.
However, Stinson said his favorite place they visited was Glacier National Park in Montana on the Canadian border.
“Everything is ridiculously big. The scale is kind of too enormous to wrap your head around,” he said. “Everything is beautiful. It is kind of as different as you can get from Louisiana.”
Thibodeaux said his favorite part of the trip was going to Washington State, specifically to the North Cascade National Park. He said when they arrived to the North Cascade in June, winter conditions still existed.
“When we told them we wanted to go hiking, they looked at us like we were crazy,” he said. “We asked what is a good time to come and she said ‘August’; we were a little early.”
Thibodeaux said he learned from the trip it is possible to live outside and enjoy it.
“Before the trip I had never been camping,” he said. “I learned I absolutely love being outside.”
Thibodeaux said he also learned just how different people around the country are.
“Everywhere out West bike racks are extremely common,” he said. “People out West are a lot more active and laid back. It is interesting to see the different life styles they have.”
Stinson said he learned how big the U.S. is.
“Leaving Ruston to get to Denver, it was 22 hours,” he said. “I have only been to 25 states now, one day I will complete the other 25.”
Bent said one has a whole new appreciation for traveling when leaving to go new places.
“There is so much more out there than where you grew up,” Bent said.
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