Younger Brother

It was a relaxing day, the sun was out, and like any other day, I used my time as a wise person would, in the most interesting way, by bugging my younger brother.

I must have been four at the time and my brother was only a small number of weeks old, still too young to have hair upon his head. He had the attention span of a flea most of the time, but today his widened to the attention span of a poodle. As I always loved to do, I lay in his crib with him trying to become loving siblings, but somehow it always ended up with him disliking me.

Today, I carried with me one of the most prized possessions I had ever known existed; my bear, with the completely original name of “Bearie the Bear.” He was a small bear, only about a foot or so long and covered in a white, plush material with two big brown eyes staring into my mine. His face consisted of an unceasing smile and a brown mussel.

I took my usual walk down the hallway from my room to his, with the sunlight illuminating me as I strolled. I walked into his pastel baby room, starring at his wooden crib in the far left corner. Soon enough my mom followed me in, to make sure I didn’t harass my baby brother. With her, she brought an intricate, jet-black camera, which she recorded most of our childhood upon.

I walked over 
to his crib, and my mom grabbed me
 by the armpits, lifting me onto his 
tiny bed. As soon as my junior foot
 touched the soft sheets he lay upon,
 Morgan awoke from his slumber.

 could immediately see his tiny eyes
 drift toward the direction of my bear. They were dead set on 
him, not looking anywhere else.
 I could not bear to see the enthused 
yet mischievous look on his face, but
 I snuck a glare. To my misfortune, I
 could see a twinkle in his eyes that I 
had never seen before. None of this mattered though because there was no way that he was pilfering my bear.

He tried to grab it from my hands multiple times but failing every single one of them. I had a great advantage being the taller one, for once in my life. My mom saw him struggling and scolded me for “unnecessary taunting”, whatever that meant.

As my punishment, my mom stole my prized possession and gifted it to my younger brother.  Still, to this day, I think about how somewhere deep inside his closet, is my bear.


Photo Credit:


The Bear

mossy trees

We were hiking across the Yukon on what was only a five-day trip. When I got lost and separated from the group, it was already day three. While searching for them I heard things splashing in the river – it was a large group of salmon flopping up the stream. But that wasn’t all. There was a bear standing there with his mouth opened, catching the fish in his mouth.

I was spotted. The bear set down the freshly caught fish on a rock and ran off. By that time the sun was setting and I had to set up camp. After making the fire, I remembered that my food was in Joe’s pack. So I decided to go and grab the fish the bear left behind. It was enough to hold me over for a while.

In the morning I packed up and continued hiking to the final destination, hoping I would run into my friends. I hiked five miles noticed something in the fields. It was the bear again. I knew it was him from his whitish fur. You could tell he was old and his face seemed strangely welcoming. I sat from a distance watching it until it got distracted by a bird and he chased it around, running off into the woods. As I was hiking, I decided to make a detour and go see what he was doing in the fields before he left. I discovered he was eating at a bush of berries. I didn’t know what the berries were, but I knew the bear lived after eating them and I would die if I didn’t. I didn’t eat them right away. Instead, I collected them in case I had no alternative food options.

Shortly up the trail I ended up in a third encounter with the bear. But this time the bear was hurt. He had a long deep gash along his neck – he was dying. I sat down next to him and began petting him and gave him water. I ended up giving him all of my water. Most of it I used to clean the dirt from his wound. I pulled out my first aid kit and used everything I could. I had to bandage him with ankle wraps because he was too big for anything else. Rather than finding my friends, I felt like it was my obligation to help this bear.

The only thing I did to take care of myself was make a fire. I gave every scrap of food and drop of water I could to this bear. From my little knowledge of bears I was able to determine that he was a grizzly bear. I never realized how peaceful and beautiful they really are. They have soft fur, pointy ears, wet black nose and solid brown eyes. They’re magnificent creatures, far from a beast. But that didn’t change the fact I could become its meal any second.

The next morning, day five, was the worst of them all. The bear was on his final hours and was mad. He wouldn’t let me help him at all. He just lay there ghoulishly and moaned. I had to just watch and hope that somehow he would push on. As it became afternoon he stopped moaning, just breathed heavily. I walked over and hugged him. I didn’t let go for hours. Not until I heard dogs barking and lights coming from several places. It was a rescue group. Before I could say anything I was in a helicopter.

I woke up in a hospital and there was a Alaska state trooper sitting next to me. The first thing he said was “You know, you saved that bear.” I smiled. That was the first thing that I wanted to know. They said they were bringing him to a zoo in San Diego. That was his new home, because he was too old to be in the wild. My face lit up. I looked back at him and told him “I live in San Diego!”.

French Meadows

When we lived in California, we had a yearly tradition of going camping. Same spot, same people, every year right after school let out for the summer. It was the highlight of my summer, and something I looked forward to throughout the year.

About a week after the beginning of summer vacation, my two brothers, my dad, and I would load up in the truck, along with more supplies than I could ever imagine anyone being able to use. Occasionally, my mom would come with us, but it wasn’t very often that she felt up to the drive.

I can remember being in the car for hours on end, listening to the same CD over and over again, wedged in between my two little brothers intent on landing a punch on the other. They got me instead.

Our car was so full of stuff, from pots and pans to bathing suits and shampoo. As soon as we arrived at our same campsite we had every year, we would unload and wait for everyone else. With three or four different families going, it was first come first served on the places for our tents, so we all tried to get to French Meadows as soon as possible.

Much to the disappointment of myself, and all the other kids, we were not allowed to go down to the beautiful lake until everything was set up and in order. But once that was done, we made a bee line for it.

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Lee Vining: DAY 1

The OVS football team traveled to Lee Vining for the team’s first football game of the season. For those that are completely unaware of how far Lee Vining actually is from Ojai, the team needed to camp out overnight before reaching Lee Vining. Tinnemaha Creek was the stop for the team the first night, which was Thursday. We pulled in at about 10 PM and unpacked for the night. We relaxed and slept before we set off on Friday morning for Lee Vining.

Before leaving, we did a walkthrough of our plays for the game at Tinnemaha Creek. We got our work done and packed back up. We got on the road and moved on to our final destination.

Lee Vining is a very small town, but we aren’t here to sight-see. We came to do some business, and we plan on doing just that. With another practice session in the afternoon, we go into our game confident that we will be at our best. The game is tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 PM.

On to more miscellaneous things!!!

Let’s talk about the trip up here. There was music blasting and tons of inside jokes that I’m sure we are never going to forget. At our campsite, food is never an issue. Not only do we have a lot to eat, but we have a lot of guys that LOVE to eat. What do you expect from a bunch of crazed football players?

As I write this update, we are cooking a rather large pre-game dinner.

How could you say no to a meal like this?

At the campsites, we are finding ways to stay occupied. When we aren’t exploring or practicing, we are having a good ol’ time with the boys. Some can be seen off in the distance learning how to throw a ball properly, others are off wandering in to the great never ending creek, building wooden fishing rods with hooks (most likely infected with tetanus), or building makeshift fish traps. With so much to explore and so many unruly teenage boys always expect the unexpected.

The end of this story ends with two of the coolest guys around sitting at a gas station/restaurant/convenience store/bar writing a blog using internet off of an iPhone’s hotspot while Mr. Floyd and Mr. Wick just sit and watch us type away to entertain all of you readers, no matter where you may be.

John “The Honey Badger” Olivo and Keaton “That Guy” Shiffman signing off on night one in Lee Vining. Check for more blog posts to see if mama and baby bear left us alone tonight.

Lives are at stake here. Please send help (just kidding).