We woke up on the final day of our trek, clambered into the van and made our way to LA.
Our time in LA was short but sweet. In true LA fashion, we got stuck in quite a bit of traffic on the way into the city, leaving us with just enough time to see the sites and sounds of Hollywood before heading to our hotel.
It was soon apparent that GMTV's old celebrity segments with the Hollywood sign green screen background had given me unreal expectations of the Hollywood sign. Can you spot it?
We spent quite a bit of time meandering down the Walk of Fame, looking out for our favourite celebrities along the way. I of course found Walt's star and it was a bit emotional seeing Robin Williams' star, as he had died earlier that week.
After a quick stop off at the Chinese Theatre it was time to say our goodbyes. Half of us headed back to the hotel, munched on Five Guys and reminisced about the week we'd just experienced.
Safe to say I couldn't have asked for a better group. I've met some really amazing people, some of which I hope I'll see lots more of in the future.
If anyone is thinking of travelling America, I'd 100% recommend doing it with Trek America.
I'm already looking at which trek I'm going to embark on next...
Once again we had an early start and a three hour journey to the Grand Canyon. Although in true Bethan style, I slept for most of it.
On route we stopped at a massive Walmart in Arizona, which was an experience in itself just people watching as we sat in McDonald's. Imagine if you saw someone head to toe in camouflage wander into Tesco and browse some guns, before grabbing a Big Mac meal! It's crazy how cultures are different. Whilst we were there, we were mysteriously told to each pick up a bandana, as we'd be needing them later on.
Full of McDonald's and intrigued as to what the bandana's were needed for, we jumped back into the van for the last few hours to the Grand Canyon and Red Feather Lodge.
We had a bit of downtime when we arrived at the hotel, so we dumped our stuff in the rooms, quickly changed and had a dip in the pool. After watching the guys messing about and a quick relax in the hot tub, we were told to get in the van and put on our bandana. Getting some funny looks from other tourists around us, Fran led us to the corner of the canyon, ready for the big reveal.
After watching the sun set, we were back in the van and taking the short ride back to the hotel, with a brief intermission for mini bus rave. We fended for ourselves for food that night, grabbing a few snacks from the Texaco and were lucky enough to see some huge deer, just casually using the zebra crossing.
The next morning our alarms went off at 4.30am and by 5 we were in the van on the way to watch the sun rise. I'm as far from a morning person as you can get, but even I felt watching the sun rise was 100% worth the early start.
Once the sun was fully risen, the group split up to take part in their various activities. Some of the group had booked to do the helicopter ride, so they made their way to the heliport, whilst the rest of us began our hikes.
By 7am I was wide awake and hiking my way around the canyon, with a brief picture stop at the amazingly named 'Ooh Ahh Point'. It's not very often you can say you've watched the sun rise and hiked the Grand Canyon by 8.30am.
We all reassembled at the van, comparing notes of our Grand Canyon experiences, all very jealous of those who had got to see it from above. All caught up with what we had missed out on, we were ready to leave the Grand Canyon and make our way to the penultimate stop on our tour, Laughlin.
To break up the 3 hour journey, we had a quick stop at Seligman on Route 66. I was particularly excited by this stop as it incorporated two of my biggest loves in life, milkshakes and Disney, as Seligman and the owners of the Snow Cap Diner were an inspiration for the Pixar film Cars.
Be prepared for fun and games when ordering at the Snow Cap and don't forget to add your piece of history to the wall.
After stretching our legs, we departed for the last stretch of the journey to Laughlin.
My photos from this day come to an abrupt end here. That evening we simply sunbathed on the hotel's beach, had a dip in the Colorado river and had a drink together as a group, each recalling our favourite part of the trip. Exhausted, we fell asleep mid conversation in our hotel room, whilst a few stronger trekkers ended the night on more drinks and a trip to the hotel casino.
Arriving in Las Vegas came as a welcome relief following our longest van appreciation day through what seemed like endless desert. Naturally, we arrived in Vegas to the tune of Kanye West, excited to see what the legendary location would hold for us.
We were all amazed at how lovely our room was at Bally's considering we were meant to be on a budget lodging tour. We had a view of New York, New York from our window and were right opposite Caesar's and the Bellagio. Couldn't have asked for better!
Fran surprised us with a party bus that evening, pairing up with another Trek group. There's nothing more surreal that dancing on a bullet proof party bus with a view of the Las Vegas strip out the window. This is one of those points of the Trek where you can't quite believe all the things you've done in such a short amount of time.
The party bus stopped for photo opportunities at the Vegas sign and the chance to explore Freemont Street. Upon arriving back at the hotel, the majority of people headed to the rooftop pool party which we had discounted tickets for. Although as Ewen was under 21, the four of us decided to explore the strip instead.
I discovered alcoholic mango slushies are one of my favourite drinks of all time and as you can see, George and I won big on the slot machines.
The next day was a free day in Vegas. Lindsay, Ewen, George and I made the most of not having to set an alarm, then went out for brunch of cream cheese bagels with salmon.
We decided to spend our day exploring the hotels and heading up the Stratosphere, definitely not knowing what I'd let myself in for. We purchased our tickets and headed right to the top for X-Scream and Big Shot. It's safe to say I've never been so scared in my entire life. I'm all for rollercoasters, but this was just crazy.
I finally managed to stop shaking, descended the tower and safely made it to solid ground, a site I've never been so pleased to see.
We had a quick detour to the famous wedding chapels. However I was unable to find a willing suitor, so left without a ring on my finger.
It was getting towards dinner time, so we made our way back down the strip to find somewhere to eat. We opted for Sugar Factory in Paris, where George and I shared a cocktail which tasted just like Twister ice creams, complete with lollies and a candy bracelet! Lindsay was also very happy with her gummy worm cocktail.
I decided to go with an American classic I was yet to try and opted for the chicken and waffles. I didn't know what to expect, but as with most American food it tasted great and I cleared my plate with ease.
As planned following dinner, we got changed, reassembled as a group and spent the rest of the night watching the Bellagio fountain show and exploring the casinos one last time before we left for the Grand Canyon in the morning.
Yosemite was the destination on Trek I was most looking forward to. I'd seen hundreds of photos of it before and couldn't quite believe it could look as amazing in real life.
Luckily I didn't have much time to wait, as after leaving San Francisco and enjoying several hours of van appreciation, we arrived at Yosemite and took in the sites of the giant sequoias. Crawling through and climbing over the fallen giants.
Very hungry and very dusty, we hungrily devoured pizzas between us. I don't think I'll ever eat pizza with a view this amazing ever again.
We arrived at Yosemite Bug in darkness, unpacked the van, chose our bunks and before long were getting to know each other with the help of a few drinks. We tucked up the most important member of our group and before long were fast asleep ourselves.
The next morning began with me having a nice nap in the van, to be woken up to yet another amazing view. We donned our trainers and began our hike around Yosemite, making some friends along the way. Learning just when you think Yosemite can't get any better, it proves you wrong.
I was sad to say goodbye to Yosemite the next morning, however the excitement of seeing Las Vegas made the goodbye a little easier.