Monday, July 16, 2012

summer in the woods

At the beginning of summer, I made a list of 100 things to do before summer ended. In typical procrastinator fashion, I only wrote down 50, including such things as "eat strawberries" or "learn to swim". But one I hadn't put on the list but might be the most important of all: get back into nature.

I'm not exactly the outdoorsy type, in that I often complain about changing temperatures, bugs, no-flush toilets, and sleeping on the ground. And yet, I still love it. My father would often take me hiking when I was younger at these little alcoves of wildlife tucked away in the sprawling city of Long Beach and the surrounding Los Angeles area. I learned to become a naturalist (my personal essay for college was about this subject, hah!).

At some point, I became a forest girl, through and through. I still enjoy to varying degrees the ocean, the desert, chaparrals, and even grasslands which is my favorite plant community to study. But nothing makes the world feel more pristine and calm to me than the forests.

So then why isn't my most important to-do "get back into the forest"?

I got a summer job at Lake Berryessa, a surprisingly big and popular recreational lake about an hour from Davis, the college town I live in. Before I started this job, I barely knew the lake existed. I was introduced to a whole new world of jet skis and ski boats, wakeboards and tubes. I shouldn't say "introduced" since I had known it existed before, but my eyes were opened to this other world of nature I had never enjoyed, the lake. Most likely because of my lack of swimming skills and nonexistence of large and grand lakes in Southern California, I had never once been on  a ski boat, been tubing, or gone wakeboarding. Only once had I been in a tiny fishing boat and once in a jet boat, both times on small mountain lakes. 

So I decided to try and become more familiar with the multifaceted characteristic of Mother Nature personally. Now that I was almost done with the book-end bit of ecology, why not learn through first-hand enjoyment?

Swimming at Lake Berryessa

Hiking at Napa

(more about the Napa trip later!)

Bouldering at Vacaville

(first two photos credited to Imma)

Eagle Falls Hike at Tahoe

(more about this Tahoe trip later as well!)

Summer's not over yet, and Erik and I have planned a backpacking trip to Point Reyes as well as car camping at Yosemite, with possibility of camping at Lake Berryessa, camping and rafting at Bishop, boating at the Delta, Tahoe again, and random odd hiking trips (University Falls, perhaps?). I can't wait!  

Are you an outdoorsy person? Where is your favorite place to go?

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