Dear Global Glimpse families,

My name is Connor McGarty and today was my 17th birthday.   I am very grateful that I got to spend the day with all of the great people I met on the trip and that we got to experience the beauty of Nicaragua first hand in the Somoto Canyon.  We took a 2 hour bus ride from our hostel to the canyon.  We then proceeded to hike into the river that created the canyon.  We hiked and swam through the canyon enjoying the water and beauty of the area.  We even saw spiders the size of a human palm, bats, a turtle and some small minnows.

At two different points of our journey we got the opportunity to jump off of cliffs into the water below.  The first jump was around 10 ft and the second spot had two rocks to jump from, one being 25 ft tall and the other was nearly 30 ft tall.  This was definitely a scary experience for a lot of people, but many faced their fears and took the leap.  Everyone who jumped had a very positive and exhilarating experience.  Many of us also enjoyed the canyon by simply lying on our backs and looking at the surrounding water, the cliff walls, and blue sky and sunshine up above.  It was the perfect mix of thrill chasing and relaxing in the water.

Today was extremely fun and adventurous and it was not only a great birthday, but also a great way to start to bring this trip to an end.  It is definitely a sad thought because even though it was only 18 days, many of us have grown very close and built very real friendships.  This trip has been awesome in that sense, and also in that I now have a sense of fulfillment for this trip.  Part of reaching that fulfillment for me was to experience the countryside and the natural beauty of Nicaragua, so today was an awesome way to do that.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to experience the Somoto Canyon like we did and that I got to spend my birthday there exploring it.

After the hike we came back and had pizza!!!  It was a nice reminder of home, but it is still better back home.  The group then gave me cake, which they then smeared on my face.  I also received a very thoughtful card from the group that comforted me in the fact that I did spend my birthday away from home.  Thank you to all of my family members who wished me a happy birthday, love you guys. P1100170P1100162DSCI1318P1100160P1100205