Being that the semester is almost to a close, I’ve come up with a top ten list of the things I’ll miss most about High Sierra in no specific order:
1.) The Community. 34 people living together, eating together, studying together, working together, hiking together, and helping each other become the best students and people we can become. Living in this environment produced so many amazing friendships that will absolutely continue into the rest of our college careers.
2.) My bike rides around the lake. Being an avid cyclist, I obviously brought my road bike up to campus expecting to stay in shape. What I didn’t expect was the absolutely beautiful rides I would have while living up here. About three to four times a week I was able get out on the bike for a ride around Bass Lake. My favorite rides were the ones right before dinner, as the sun was setting, and the shadows of the trees along the road were long, and the sunlight had turned golden.
3.) The classes and the professors. These professors care about you and your education. They spend their days, and often their meals, with you, getting to know you, building friendships, discussing topics from class, going on Trek, and truly playing a paramount role in your semester up here. These professors and their classes opened up my world scholastically, teaching me so many new things and giving me a new, enormous appreciation for learning and reading. My last year and a half at school will be ten times more fruitful and productive because of them.
4.) The faculty and staff. Rob, Katie, Meredith, and Colleen, along with the camp staff who keep this place running are absolutely one of the reasons this semester has been so amazing. God gave these people a passion for higher education and they have poured out a lot of who they are for our benefit here. They make this place what it is, and APU is so fortunate to have them as faculty. Make sure, if you come to High Sierra, you get to know these people – they have a lot to offer.
5.) Yosemite. The third most-visited national park in the United States was my backyard for four months – how cool is that?! I was able to make it up to the park about five times this semester (and about ten times too few), and saw so many incredible sights. We saw views of the valley from Sentinel Dome, Half Dome, Eagle Peak, the Devil’s Bathtub, and the top of Yosemite Falls, and accumulated about 50 miles of hiking in the park. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to spend so much time here again in my life, but I do know that having this epic landscape fourteen miles up the road was one of the most incredible parts of the semester, and the things I’ve seen there will forever remain in my memory.
6.) The food. I ate a lot this semester. A lot. And I couldn’t help it. The food is just that good. With a magnificent, home cooked meal to look forward to each night, including a fantastic desert afterward, my mouth was watering every time I walked into the dining hall. Breakfast each morning, a great smorgasbord of options for lunch, and a bottomless cereal bar were some of the reasons I just couldn’t stop eating!
7.) The campus. Being that I was born in Illinois, living on the border of the Sierra National Forest in Northern California was something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do, and will probably never have the chance to do again. Waking up in the morning and hearing birds and smelling the crisp, pine-scented air is an event that never got old after three months. Coming from the loud, smoggy, busy environment of Southern California to quiet, clean, cool, green Bass Lake was fantastic, and I’ll miss the heck out of this place.
8.) The deer. A family of deer resides somewhere here near campus, and each morning and evening they make their way onto our grounds to graze. After living here for several years now, they’ve grown accustom to being close to people, so I’ve been able to stand on the porch ten feet above them and just watch them feed for fifteen minutes at a time. And just the other day, I saw the buck for the first time – a beautiful eight-pointer. Slowing down and stopping what I’m doing to watch those deer everyday just makes me feel even more removed from quick-paced society and appreciate the place that I’m in all the more.
9.) The lake. Bass Lake is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in this country, and all semester it was my playground. We wakeboarded, swam, kayaked, and camped along the banks. I biked around it and ran along the trails that wind through the surrounding forests. Some people would kill to rent a home here for the summer. I had the opportunity to live here for three months…I count myself as pretty lucky.
10.) Sleeping on “Star Rock”. Looking up at night and seeing more stars than you thought existed is something that never gets old. Sleeping under them is even better. I’ll always remember my nights on the rock, sitting around an enormous, glowing bonfire talking with friends, then sleeping under the dark sky and bright stars on a cool night in my sleeping bag.
- I’ve also compiled a list of things you all can look forward to from me next semester as I will still be blogging after I return to main campus:
1.) More blogging (obviously)
2.) More pictures
3.) Being that I am the “Study Abroad Liaison Blogger”, I’ll keep up with the up and up on APU’s Study Abroad program, interviewing students who have been to other study abroad’s and providing you with some insights into your options as an APU student.
4.) Some in-depth Oscar coverage (no, I will not be discussing the evening’s celebrity fashion choices).
5.) A view into the life of a returning study-abroader to main campus and how the transition happens.
- And since I love lists so much, here’s a list of my top five movies from 2008 (so far)*
1.) Rachel Getting Married
2.) Young at Heart
3.) The Dark Knight
5.) In Bruges
*Unfortunately, this is an incomplete list, as there are many movies I haven’t seen this year, and a great deal of fantastic films still to be released before January 1. I’ll update this list again after the beginning of the year closer to Oscar season.
- In my next blog I’ll have a report from Trek II including some pictures.
Talk to you all soon!