Spring break has come and gone. And a new quarter of school has started. Since I'm just three days into the quarter and the real work hasn't quite started yet and I'm still missing spring break I thought it'd be a good time to reminisce and write a post.
The first few days of my spring break was spent was spent in LA grading finals. I couldn't believe it, but two students were caught cheating. They were both doing pretty well in the class. It wasn't in the room that I was proctoring in so I didn't see it, but still... it's just so stupid to cheat! Well... moving on.
After the tests were grading and Lukas did not die of boredom we headed up to Santa Cruz. The first full day there we hung out with a couple of Lukas's friends from elementary school (I think). It was lots of fun to get to meet them and... I bowled a 188! That's my life time best by a long shot. We also went out for sushi! When the four of us walked into Pink Godzilla the waitress asked us if we wanted a table or a room. (PS. The room had a name but I can't remember what it's called right now.) Ofcourse we said a room and then... the waitress informed, "ok, there's a few rules for the room." Rules? This could be hard, did we really want a room? "You've got to spend $30.00. Take your shoes off and 15% gratuity will be automatically added on to your bill." The rules weren't too bad and between the four of us it was going to be easy to break $30.00 on food. So, we slipped off our shoes and climbed into our room. The table was built over this hole so we sat on the ground on pillows with our feet below the table. It was all so very cozy. Some sushi, miso soup, and eta mame later we left all filled up and I proceeded to bowl the game of my life.
Oh, I forgot. Earlier, on the day I bowled the best game of my life, Lukas, Betty, and I went to Natural Bridges and Nisene Marks park. Natural Bridges is a beach and yes, there is a natural bridge. The sky was so bright and filled with big puffy clouds, it looked like it was a painting or the backdrop to a movie set from the olden days. The water was brilliant blue and sparkeling. And... the wind, was COLD! Even though the wind was so cold we all had fun taking pictures - each of us with our own camera.
After the beach we headed into the hills to Nisene Marks. We went on a little hike through the redwoods. It was beautiful to see the light come through the trees and land on lawns of redwood soral and ferns. Betty told me that these new little fern buds are called fiddel heads. I think the name is fitting.
The next morning Lukas and I packed up the car and headed to the grocery store for... hot dogs, marshmellows, chocolate, and grahm crackers. Camping food! We got loads of food and headed up little highway 9 to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Soon we arrived at the camp ground head quarters and checked it. We got campsite 59 and it turned out to be the best site around. We unloaded and set up camp. The site that we had was a walk in site, meaning we parked in this little parking lot and then walked down a path lined with camp sites on either side. Ours was the last site and right above the little creek. After we got the camp site set up we went exploring down to the creek, but found out we couldn't go far once we got down to the water. So we came back up and went off exploring in another direction. We followed a little trail through the trees in the after noon sunlight. It felt good to be outside in the fresh air and just relaxing together. As the trail neared the road we could hear the sound of running water. At the road we saw a trail marker for a waterfall! Ofcourse we had to check this out. The "trail" down to the water fall was nothing more then a short path and some wooden steps to a wooden platform. From a little stream water was falling into a pool, glisening as it poured over the edge. It was the perfect photo op for Lukas.
The afternoon was slipping away, so we headed back to camp to get a fire going to cook our hotdogs and beans. When one isn't in the habit of starting fires getting one to take is an adventure in itself. With several attempts, lots of newspaper, and persistant blowing we finally got the fire to start. Sweet! We weren't going to have to eat colddogs and cold chilli. Hotdogs and chilli had never tasted so good. We polished our plates off and relaxed for a few minutes until we were ready for s'mores and then some hot coco. Isn't camping food great?!
We were too tired that night to go check out my star gazing rock. We snuggled down for the night in our sleeping bags and feel asleep listening to the creak below us and the quite sounds of night in the woods.
The next morning after a breakfast of cereal I consulted the map and found the perfect hike for us - the best recommened hike with three waterfalls. It couldn't get any better. Lukas found the catch though, it was 11.5 miles! That's a big hike. But it being the best we made our sandwiches, packed some water and chewy bars and piled into the car and drove to the trail head. While I don't really remember the begining of the hike, I think that is because it wasn't spectacularly good or bad, it must have been nice because we were in high spirits and enjoying ourselves. We even spotted some wild life... -->
And stopped to examine a possible blister. Thankfully, it didn't manifest into anything major that would have required me to carry Lukas for the rest of the hike.
Finally after many false discoveries of waterfalls I came around a bend in the trail and there it was. The first real waterfall of the hike. It was tall and marvelous. And it was so gratifying to reach what we had hiked to see. Of course, we had stopped for lunch just moments before so we didn't get to eat lunch in front of the waterfall like we'd hoped, but we did stop and enjoy the falls. Then it was off to find the next waterfall... the map had said there'd be three and we had to see them all! The next waterfall was pretty close and had us walking up the side of it. Notice in the lower right corner the wire running through the picture. This was for us to hold on to so that we didn't slip and end up at the bottom of the waterfall. Lukas was brave and stopped for a picture. But we pretty much hiked right on by because there wasn't much a a place to stop. The last waterfall was close too. The rock under the last waterfall was bright orange and looked like big stairs for a giant. As I walked down a little side path to get a closer look I slipped and fell. I was perfectly fine, but my water bottle that had been in my fell off the side of the path and down about 10 feet into the creek below. I watched it bob along and sent Lukas after it. "Hurry!" He hurried and when he got down to the water the bottle had only moved a couple of inches. Oops, I guess it wasn't floating away as rapidly as it seemed. As Lukas waited for it to get close enough to him he had time to snap a few pictures. Here's one of me wondering what's taking him so long and why isn't he back with my water bottle yet? He did get my water bottle for me and made it back to where I was. I dusted myself off and we head further up the trail. This last waterfall was more of a long water slide then the cascades we'd seen before. Around the next bend we stopped so Lukas could get a picture of the cool orange rock and I could show off my water bottle.
With all three waterfalls behind us the hike began to get grueling. We had nothing to look forward to and a long ways to go so on we went. After a ways the redwood forest opened up and became oaks and manzanita. And the spongy path of fallen needles gave way to dry little rocks. It was interesting how much the terrain changed in the turn of a bend. We got more and more tired as we went along. Our legs got more and more tired. Our breaks got closer and closer together. We were just plain pooped, 11.5 miles will do that to you I guess. But we finally made it back to the car and back to our camp site. It felt so good to be "home". Another fire was made and more hot dogs were cooked with baked beans this time. Then we semi-killed the fire and bundled up to go try out my star gazing rock. The rock itself was prefect for star gazing. Just the right slope to be comfortable and still see the sky. But... the moon was almost full and was messing up my star gazing. Still I was content to gaze up at the moon-lit sky and relax. It's nice to just take a moment to sit still and stare off into infinity. And of course... Lukas couldn't pass up a chance to take my picture in my goof bundled up clothes.
We headed back to camp and built the fire back up to warm ourselves back up and have some more s'mores and hot coco. I stayed by the fire warm and cozy and Lukas ventured to the parking lot to get a shot of the moon in a spot were the trees were open enough. The moon was amazing. Glowing so brightly and really lighting everything up.
Then it was into the tent to look at the pictures from the day and clean off our cameras. Lukas got another goof picture of me. I'm such a dork, but having my head lamp did come in handy and I love it, so there!
The next morning we had breakfast with a fire and more hot coco. Then we packed up camp and headed home. We were dirty and tired, but had so much fun.
Then the next morning it was back into the car and back down to southern California to meet my parents who had flown in that morning. But... it's late and that will have to wait for the next blog entry.