Just as I thought things were starting to settle down up here and somewhat of a routine was setting in, High Sierra showed me that there’s no such thing.
And I love it.
That’s not to say that during the week I don’t have my class schedule and time set aside every day for homework, meals, and hopefully a bike ride around the lake. But my hunger for adventure has been fed here like never before. Each week brings with it different activities, different trips, and different visitors to the campus. On main campus, and back at home, I often try and look several weeks ahead to know what my schedule will be, and what I need to look forward to. Here at High Sierra the director and faculty do such a great job of making each week new and different that I don’t even want to know what happens the next week…that would spoil the surprise!
In the last two weekends, I’ve done more than I often, when at home, would have accomplished in two months.
Two weekends ago was Family/Friend weekend. My parents were able to fly out from Illinois and pick up my girlfriend, Kelly, from Azusa. All three of them made the five hour drive from Los Angeles to Bass Lake to come up and spend the weekend with me. Unfortunately, my sister Karen wasn’t able to make it out. She’s just started her own college journey back home in Illinois and needed to attend to important college duties like studying and classes.
Kelly and my parents only had two and a half days with me, but we made our time count. The day they arrived I showed them around campus, took them up to a Giant Sequoia Tree grove about twenty minutes up the road (how amazing is that?!), and got back just in time for a barbecue and square dancing down in the meadow by the dorms. Just about everyone’s families had made the journey, some longer than others, and to sit back and watch mom’s and dad’s, reunited with their son’s and daughter’s, dancing around in circles, smiling and laughing, was one of the happiest moments of my life.
The next day we drove fourteen miles up the road to Yosemite National Park. This being both my parents’ and Kelly’s first time to the park, I was so excited for them to see it. As you’re driving in from Bass Lake, the road winds up and up along a mountain ridge, switching back and forth, through a dense forest of towering pine trees. The drive becomes dizzying and you wonder when it will be over. As you finally begin to descend into the valley, you pass through a tunnel. At the other end of the mile-long tunnel, you are thrust out to an over-look of the valley, and what has become the most photographed vista in the entire world. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikejonesphoto/2665757260/
To see the looks and dropped jaws on Kelly’s and my parents’ faces was a true joy. We spent the rest of the day watching rock climbers on the nose of El Capitan (http://www.pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=pdef&pg=8324), hiking to the bottom Vernal Falls, and eating some of the most delicious pizza ever at Curry Village. On our final day together we went to church and spent a relaxing time down at the lake. Saying goodbye after only a few days together was really difficult, but to hear them echo my thoughts and tell me how much God has blessed me in giving me the opportunity to come to a place like this made it a little easier. And now that Kelly and my parents have an idea of where I am and what I’m experiencing, I feel like the distance between Bass Lake and Los Angeles and Illinois has shrunk just a little bit.