Little Things

I’ve started to realize it’s the little things I change about my day that make me feel so much better.

I’ve started studying outside during my free blocks. Even when I’m not doing work, I just sit outside on my phone instead of inside my dimly lit, stuffy dorm room. It feels so much better having both the sun and light breeze against my skin, keeping me warm and cool at the same time. It’s more refreshing, though I’m not doing anything more than sitting outside.

I’ve started getting up early again. I get up around six a.m. now and, despite sleeping less hours, I feel more awake than when I’d sleep in until 7:40. I get up and force myself to go running because even if I’m tired in the moment, I feel wide awake for the rest of the day. I have time to go to breakfast, less time to rush to get ready for classes, and more time to hang out with friends in the morning. I’m no longer starving by the third class of the day or falling asleep by the fourth.

It’s a good feeling finally being motivated to do the small things that make drastic changes to how my days turn out for me and I’m appreciating every day so much more because of it.

Photo Credit:

Camping Chaos

Photo Credit:

After an incredible summer, I’m back and ready for my senior year.

Coming back to school felt so sudden, especially when I heard the news that there was a mandatory all-school camping trip on the second week of school.

Uh oh.

I give credit to my editor and friend, Kendall Shiffman, for this quote that is oh so accurate: “I’m just a happy camper who hates camping.”

The thought of being consistently dirty for five days makes me cringe, but the decision was already made that I had to go.

On the drive up to Moñtana De Oro, I became warmed up to the idea of camping, and as soon as we arrived I was suddenly overwhelmed with excitement.

The environment was incredibly green, cold, and lush. Camping instantly seemed less terrifying.

As the trip went on, I ventured far out of my comfort zone. I never would have imagined having fun was a possibility on a mandatory camping trip, but that’s exactly what happened.

This camping trip truly taught me one thing: I feel more open-minded about life than I ever have before.

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).

Honors Ski Trip

Last week, I had one of the best weeks I’ve had so far this year. I took a trip with 18 of my classmates and close friends along with 4 faculty members to Yosemite for the Honors Ski Trip.

Now, I’ve been to Yosemite before when I was younger and I do remember parts of it. But it was so different than I had remembered and so amazing. It was a completely different experience and a really great one at that.

Day #1:
After arriving the night before when there was hardly any snow, we woke up unsure if there would be good skiing conditions. Nevertheless, we went up to Badger pass, rented our skis, and set off on our first cross country skiing journey. The skiing itself was extremely difficult for me, and I fell over at least every 3 minutes. It was so frustrating and I wasn’t really having the best time. about 20 or 30 minutes in, it started snowing lightly. It got colder, then began to snow harder and harder until I could hardly feel my hands or see very far ahead of me. We stopped for lunch at a campground, which was about 3 miles from where we started, and took a break in the cold snow storm for about 20 minutes. Then, we headed back the way we came to make a 6 mile trip. It wasn’t that far, really, but it seemed like it to be because I was terrible at the skiing, but being surrounded by beautiful scenery definitely enhanced the experience.

Day #2:
It wasn’t as hard for me the 2nd day because I had gotten used to the hang of the skiing, but I was still really slow. We went the same way as we did the 1st day, but part way through, we cut off the main path and went a few miles out on a side trail. It was so beautiful, with many less people, and it was sunny and warm (well, compared to the first day). At our stopping spot, we went up a really steep hill onto a flat area where some of us (including myself) stopped and ate lunch as a small group continued on to another destination. We stayed at this spot for an hour or a little bit more, making snow forts, having a snowball fight, building a snowman, and sleeping in the snow with the warm sun beating down on us. It was a very peaceful and beautiful experience. When we got back and were loading up the vans, a group of us saw a coyote that was so close to us we could almost touch it. Its eyes were extremely greenish-yellow and vibrant, and he was so much more calm than I would expect.

Day #3:
This was by far my favorite day. We split into two groups, one that went on another ski trip and one that went on a hike by half dome and the huge waterfall. We walked a while through the trees until we spotted a beautiful bobcat that was only about 20 feet away from us. It wasn’t scared or nervous, and just went about doing whatever it wanted to. I had never seen one before and it was probably the best part of the day – it’s not very often people see bobcats roaming around, even in Yosemite. We took a very nice hike about 4 more miles out to a location called Mirror lake. It wasn’t a very full lake when we were there, it was a bit more dried up than I imagined, but it was still beautiful. We stopped and ate lunch here and did some rock-climbing, if you could call it that… it was more of a sad attempt.
At the end of the day, we went back to where the hike started and took an interesting journey into what are called the “spider caves”. It’s pitch black, cold, rocky, and the spaces to fit through are extremely small. We weren’t allowed to use lamps, so we were all helping the person behind us through. I only made it through the first half of the cave; I chickened out and found a way to get out. The rest of the group, however, crawled through more small spaces for about 20 minutes until they made it out at the other end.

Overall, I would say it was an extremely valuable experience. I saw so many things that I hadn’t ever seen before, and we had SO much fun in our cabins at night playing charades, twister, and cooking dinner together.

To be honest, I was extremely sad for this trip to end and I wish I could do it at least one more time. All I can say is, I’m thankful for the time I spent with those people and that I had the opportunity to experience these new things. It was truly great.

Cross-Country Challenge

I’m sure that plenty of people will be blogging about this soon, but last week eighteen students, including five students from this blog, went on the honors ski trip.

We all packed up Monday morning and made the six hour drive to Yosemite in two school vans filled to the brim with snacks and camping equipment. I hadn’t been to the snow in five years, so needless to say I was ecstatic.

I had also never skied before. Here is where my actual blog starts.

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