Has time been flying by for anyone else this semester?
As I write this blog, it is November 4th. The semester is two-thirds over. Where has it gone?
I suppose part of the reason has been that I have been so busy up here lately! The last three weekends have entailed a camping trip, a visit to main campus, and a weekend in San Francisco, and in between them has been a great deal of reading.
I’ll start with the camping trip. This semester I’ve been enrolled in an Outdoor Experience class in which we learn the essentials of camping and backpacking. These essentials have entailed backcountry navigation with a compass and map, basic knot-tying skills, backcountry cooking, and knowledge on outdoor gear such as sleeping bags, tents, and essential clothing among other important things. It’s been a fantastic class based on hands-on experience that has allowed me to learn a great deal more about a passion of mine I want to learn more about.
Our mid-term for the camping class involved a day and a half of field experience in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Not a bad way to take a test eh?
Thirty minutes up the road from Emerald Cove Camp, the home of High Sierra, our trip in the wilderness included a morning of rock climbing and off-trail navigation, an afternoon of rappelling off the side of a 120-foot rock, and opportunities at each meal for different groups of students to show off their newly perfected backcountry cooking skills.
The trip was one of the highlights of the semester so far and it was a blast to put what we had been learning all semester to work in the wilderness and see our progress.
The following week brought with it midterms and the excitement of heading down to main campus for Homecoming. After we worked our way through the tests and exams, all 34 of us rode down to main campus for a much-anticipated visit to friends and families.
I was especially excited because this meant I was finally able to spend a whole weekend with my girlfriend Kelly and some of my best friends. The events of the weekend included a cookout at a park, a visit to Southern California’s favorite frozen yogurt shop – 21 Choices, and a whole lot of relaxing with friends. The highlight of the weekend, though, was the amazing day Kelly and I spent in San Diego. Our day involved taking a ferry across the San Diego bay to the island of Coronado which we toured from the seats of a tandem bike, eating at a wonderful restaurant in the Gaslamp District, and walking around the streets of the city as the fog began to roll in. It was a fantastic day with Kelly and a great way to end the weekend.
As we returned to main campus, the next week was spent preparing for our trip to the city by the bay. Each semester the students at High Sierra get the chance to spend a weekend in San Francisco visiting a number of world-renown art museums, cathedrals, and churches. The trip, organized by Tom, our art professor, involves not only a look into the historical and artistic side of San Francisco, but also the excitement of staying in a hotel right off of Union Square in the heart of downtown.
Each morning we visited a different museum and church, including the Legion of Honor, the Museum of Modern Art, the DeYoung, St. Mary’s, and Grace Cathedral. After a group lunch at the museum or church, we were given the rest of the day to explore the city. We were even given a one-day trolley pass on Saturday so that we could move around and see more of the city than we could by foot.
My exploring included a trip to the local REI and Patagonia stores (what trip to the city would be complete without visiting them?!), dinner at the Wharf, and a movie downtown. What I did the most, however, was simply sit and take in the extremely diverse and unique population of San Francisco. We were lucky enough to be in the city during the “perfect storm” – Halloween, the election, and the upcoming vote on proposition 8. It was a very interesting time to be in San Francisco, to say the least.
Now I’m back in the mountains. While we were gone, 25 inches of snow fell in the high country, and winter officially moved in. The last few days have been a time for me to settle again, and enjoy the quiet that High Sierra provides. With only five weeks left, I feel the need to thoroughly appreciate this environment I’m in, and spending a weekend in Los Angeles and San Francisco has definitely made me all the more grateful for where I am this semester.