Monday, March 16, 2009

Sequoia National Park

Adventures in Sequoia

A recent camping trip to Sequoia National Park prompted my thoughts about camping.

Top 5 reasons why camping is better than being in an apartment:

1. Food always tastes better: We had quite the cuisine of tin foil dinners (due to lack of sufficient coals we were forced to adapt them to iron skillet dinners), peach cobbler, pancakes, sandwiches, hot dogs (actually polish sausage, which is definitely better after being roasted over an open fire)

2. Clothing: Why wear only one pair of favorite clothes when you can wear all the clothes you have in order to stay warm? Reverse strip poker can also help accomplish this task. Layer after layer of clothing goes on and really the loser is the winner because they can stay warm.

Many layers were the key to success while sleeping and hiking around

3. Clean air: My lungs got quite the rest from the LA smog during our wonderful trip to the clean mountain air. Even the fire smoke couldn't dampen the wonderful clean air.

The Great Western Divide

4. Darker at night: When I got home I tried to sleep Sunday night and realized that the city lights of LA make it rather hard to go to sleep after experiencing the wonderful pitch black nights in the forest. Plus when it's that dark you can see millions of stars.

Sunset in the mountains

5. Beautiful scenery: The breath-taking scenery from the top of Moro Rock was enough to make the trip worth it. The trees, river, and snow-covered mountains were much more beautiful than the congestion, parallel parking, and schoolwork of LA.

Our first glimpse of wildlife.
View from the top of Moro Rock

Top 5 reasons why an apartment is better than camping:

1. Hot water: Try doing dishes in freezing cold water at midnight. Hot showers, hot dish water, laundry, etc. Modern life conveniences surprisingly make life more convenient.

2. Light: Somehow we didn't bring a lantern with us on the camping trip. This may have been slightly easier had we not put up our camp in the dark. Being able to turn on a light switch and instantly have light certainly is easier than wearing a goofy head lamp for two days.

3. No bear boxes: Due to the black bear traffic in the park we had to put all of our food, toiletries, baby wipes, etc. in the bear box each night. Good thing we didn't encounter any bears because someone left the bear box open Friday night. How thankful I am to have a refrigerator full (well sometimes it's full) of food that I only have to share with Sara, no bears.

Bear Boxes and "the boys next door" tent

4. Insulated walls: Tent walls are rather thin and when your neighbors "the boys next door" and "The Andersons" are loud at night you can't help but hear everything they say and their snoring. Sadly the walls in my apartment are not much thicker than the walls of a tent as I went to bed on Sunday night and could still hear Jessica, Sara, and Josh quite well on the other side of the wall.

The circus tent and The Anderson's tent

5. Soft mattresses: Now my mattress is not exactly a sleep number bed, in fact it doesn't even have a real box spring (thanks Jessica for your old mattress which acts as my box spring). But when I got in bed on Sunday night, I felt like I was sleeping in the best bed ever. Sleeping on hard ground with a half-an-inch thick pad below you is not exactly comfortable. In fact I think I may have several bruises from unwanted rocks under our tent.

Somehow Josh managed to get a picture of us while we were sleeping. Guess which one I am?

So after weighing the pros and cons I would say that as far as a permanent residence goes I'll have to stick to an apartment, but camping needs to be a more frequent undertaking in my life.

John, Kristen and Josh exploring the soft bark of the Sequoias

John, Kristen and Josh spanning the tree
General Sherman--the largest tree in the world (so they say)

Rick, Sylvia, Jeff and Bethany on our snow hike

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You know you go to school in the ghetto when...

Wednesdays are my super long days at school already. I start class at 9:00am and don't get done until 10:00pm. I still can't really figure out why I did that to myself. Today was especially hard because I feel like I'm getting a cold and it took all I had to just get up and go to school today. As I was just about to finish my ergonomics class today my classmate leaned over to me and asked me if I got a text from the Trojan alert system. I hadn't checked my phone in a while so I looked at what hers said

Trojans Alert: Shots fired @ Budlong & Adams. 1 suspect & weapon in custody. 3 suspects @ large. LAPD perimeter north of UPC. Stay inside until further notice.

Well I had just finished a 13 hour day and there was no way I was going to stay at school any longer. I didn't mention that where the shots were fired was a couple of blocks away from my building. So we all decided that we would just walk in groups and brave it through the night. I walked with my friend to her car and then she dropped me off at my car which was only about a half a block away. I hate that I have to get a ride to my car half a block away. As I drove to the freeway the cops had Adams blocked off and there were helicopters circling, trying to catch the suspects still at large. As I got in my car I turned on the radio and what did I hear, no nothing about the shooting by USC, but another high speed chase on the freeway that ended just after I got in the car.

Somehow I made it home without any other criminal activity. Sometimes I really wonder why I ended up here. Thank goodness for spring break!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Unwelcomed guest

Always looking much younger than my age may soon be ending. Today as I was straightening my hair (yes it was a weekend, about the only time I actually do my hair) I was trying to look at the back to make sure it was sufficiently straight and I saw a hair that did not match the others. After further inspection I discovered that this hair was much lighter, much whiter than the rest of my hair. So I did what all girls do when they find a silver hair, pull it out. Let that be a lesson to others who want to take up residence on my head. They will be plucked out. Sadly this hair didn't know what it was getting its self into. When I pulled it out one end (the older end) was a lovely reddish, brownish color (I'm never quite sure what color to call my hair), but the other was a not so lovely shade of silver/white. I guess 25 is just going to be too old for my hair.