Toward the end of March, the second semester Adventure Education class headed down to Santa Cruz Island, California. This trip tested the metal of both students and leaders. Travel was difficult. A large mudslide in Oregon prompted a bus ride from Portland to Sacramento. Sleep was possible for those hardy enough to lay on the floor of the bus. Trip highlights included hiking through a field of wildflowers on Santa Cruz, sleeping under the stars, solo time on Montanon Ridge, finding several newborn island skunks, a wave-tossed boat ride from Santa Cruz to the mainland and ultimate Frisbee on the Santa Barbara beach. Students' comments follow:
Don't focus on just hiking, like from "a" to "b". Enjoy your surroundings and take it all in.
Once we got back from Santa Cruz Island, we visited a farmer's market in Santa Barbara. This was a unique experience because I had never been to a farmer's market that large. I loved it. While I was at the market I bought lemonade (made with real lemons), strawberries (juicy and red), a baguette, and snap peas. I also got an "Obama for President" pin for free!
My favorite part of the trip was sleeping on top of the hill on Santa Cruz Island. I had the adventure the night we arrived at the island. After pitching the tents and making sure our belongings were safely packed away inside them, Mr. Bergquist took a small group of us to the top of a nearby hill. It felt so great to be out in the open with nothing between us and the stars. The only lights besides those in the sky were found far below us, across the sea on the mainland. The only sounds I could hear were my classmates' soft voices and the rustling of the grass. I felt so in tune with nature. The wind blew pretty strongly, but it was pleasant and refreshing. After being out in the hot sun all day, the cool breeze was comforting. My sleeping bag worked well to insulate me with heat and I fell asleep easily that night. I woke up well rested the following morning.
When dusk fell, we played Mission Impossible. I provided the glow sticks. The glow stick was on a pedestal, guarded by two headlamp wielders. Everybody else tried to get it. If your name was called, you're out. That was the most fun part.
The most important thing I learned was how to budget my thirty dollars. On the way to California the bus stopped at so many different fast food stores. It was so hard not to buy stuff. Then when we got in California we went to a lot of stores and it was super hard not to spend any money there. I learned to find the cheapest thing of what I want. So that way I can budget my money.
This trip was a real eye opener. I saw things on this trip that I had never seen and will probably never see again. I had an amazing time. Both seeing the island and Santa Barbara were things that I think have changed my life forever. This trip has changed my life forever. I have truly based my summer on this trip and decided to do some backpacking and camping this summer on my own as well as with a camp. This has been a life changing experience.
The most fun I had on this trip was hiking because it builds your strength...
Adventure Education is by far the best elective I have taken part in this year, and I hope that it will continue for students for years to come. I personally loved this trip because it was a chance for us all to get outside a little bit and stretch our wings. It was very nice sleeping on top of the hill on the first night, something that I had never done before and hope to do again someday. It was one of the best chances I've ever had to watch the stars that well, and was a very memorable night. Overall, I would give Adventure Education a five star rating.
The most important thing I learned on the trip was that hard work pays off. There were hard hikes, but the views were amazing.
All in all, the trip to California was probably the best part of my life so far. If I had a chance to do it again, I would take it without a thought (but I'd wear more sunscreen). I had to suffer through some things, like walking two miles to get to McGrath State Beach on the side of a highway that smelled like a pulp mill, but it was all worth it. I'll never forget the experiences I had in California. I'll keep the video that we're making in class forever. Adventure Education may be sleeping-on-the-floor-of-a-bus-and-waking-up-with-a-stiff-neck-hard, but I'm loving every minute of it!
I learned a lot on the California trip; a little about camping, and a lot about myself. The most important thing I learned is that I am self sufficient and I can push my limits. I don't need nice clothes and fancy iPods to have a good time. All I need is myself, a few good friends and the "great outdoors". Okay, I admit, that might sound a bit cliche, but it's the truth! Hiking, swimming, sunning, exploring, traveling, and growing. It's all a part of the splendor of being able to do it; necessary to realize who you are and what you are capable of doing. Ugh, here I go again with my corny cliches! But I don't think I can talk about self sufficiency and realization without sounding corny and cliche. Without any further sappy lines, I'll just say I really needed this eye opening experience to get me headed in the right direction and to steer me away from Paris Hiltondom.
One thing I liked about this trip was getting closer to people I didn't know before, a lot of kids and adults that went on this trip I barely knew their name. Now in the hallways we wave or even stop and talk for a little while, when before we didn't even look at each other.
I think I really learned the lesson that we are so spoiled! People all over the world are in poverty and homeless, just getting by. Yet we are complaining that we need this and that! After going on this trip we managed fine with what was on our backs. No TV's, computers, video games or cell phones. On the island all we had was food, water, some clothes and each other! Even though living the life of luxury is great, whenever I think I need something I'll have to stop and think about this trip and remember that I don't NEED anything extra. It's more I WANT it! I also learned that with perseverance you can succeed. At first when we started slacklining I could not walk even one step. With practice everyday I got better and better. By the end I was walking ten steps and turning around. "Give a little, get a little."
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Many thanks to Charlie Snelling, Gena Kraha and Micah Sewell. As always, I appreciate your help and leadership.