DOLA - The Hardin Northern FFA travelled 4713 miles in a total of 14 days to Texas and parts of New Mexico for their biannual summer trip.

It was a beautiful and educational trip for the students, who were able to see many fabulous national landmarks equipped with just a van and tents. There were ten people who went this year including eight students and two teachers. The students who attended where Trey Hall, Corey Butler, Blake Obenour, Taylor Brown, Mackenzie Shepherd, Brooklynn Watts, Kearston Schlatter, and Katie Gault. Chaperones were FFA advisor Anna Creswell and junior high teacher Rachael Pilkington.

The first major destination for the group was the Space Center in Houston where students viewed rockets, space travel equipment, touched a moon rock, and saw where astronauts trained. Kearston Schlatter had the privilege of sitting in the seat where the Queen of England sat when she toured the historic Mission Control room and saw where the United States guided the first moon landing in 1969.

Next in the trip was San Antonio where the Alamo is located. The group experienced the history of the Alamo and then took a boat to view the Riverwalk Area and various buildings around the city. From there, the students went to the Caverns of Sonora. These caverns are the most decorated caves in the United States with entire rooms filled with fascinating formations.

The main part of the trip was in Big Bend National Park in Texas. This park, which is bigger than the state of Rhode Island, allowed the group to experience the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains for three days. While there, the students saw tarantulas, scorpions, and even a rattlesnake. The group learned about the environment and how everything has to struggle to survive in the desert. Students hiked the mountains, canoed the Rio Grande and even swam right next to Mexico.

The last stop in Texas was at the McDonald Observatory were the students saw the fifth largest telescope in the world. The group then met with the local FFA group of Pecos and had lunch. The students camped that night at Monahans Sand Hills State Park where they sledded down the huge sand dunes.

The group then headed even further west into New Mexico. The students explored Carlsbad Caverns, which is famous for their bat program and its giant rooms where some of the largest formations in the U.S. are found. Also in New Mexico is the International UFO Museum in Roswell that holds information about the controversial Roswell incident.

The last stop on the long trip was in Missouri at the St. Louis Arch. The group travelled 630 feet in the air to see the city and the Mississippi River from the top of the Arch before continuing on their journey home.

The activities were so diverse that no one in particular was a favorite, but canoeing on the Rio Grande and sledding down the sand dunes were both very fun. The Hardin Northern FFA had a great time and an even more fun experience on the summer trip west.