We could squeeze out every last ounce of sanity locked within our craniums holed up in hobbit caves reading circuit analysis books for the remainder of the summer. In preparation for the coming guaranteed shit show of a fall quarter at OIT, this option might not be a bad one. Haaahmmmmmmmm…I think I just blacked out. Sorry, let me rephrase; actually that option sucks. Many of us have recently finished our first year at OIT, also known as “cannon fodder on your face” engineering (I just made that up and of course I mean in the best possible way), and many of us are feeling the hangover of four consecutive quarters of integrals, circuits, decay rates and my very favorite, dynamo flux generation – (still trying to hash that one out).
So rather than allow our brains to further dissolve into the black hole of despair, a few of us decided to embark on the greatest journey in the history of all journeys. That’s right, we went on a road trip to Redwood National Park in northern California.
Jacob Brulc and I departed from Portland on a lovely sunny day to meet with John and Andrea near Crescent City California, a sprite little coastal town just north of the park. John and Andrea had already been exploring southern Oregon for a few days, including Crater Lake National Park. The first night the four of us camped south of Crescent City on a comfy overhang looking out to sea. The daytime mist managed to part with the night so we had a panoramic view of The Milky Way galaxy above.
The next day we drove to the park entrance and began a 6 mile hike through the heart of the redwoods. The redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet and quite massive as well. Not quite as massive as another California tree, the sequoia, but hot damn they were impressive. A few were definitely over 300 feet and I read the tallest grow to over 400. The oldest are over 2000 years old. Yes, that means when we had a little baby Jesus, we had a little baby redwood just taking root – pretty cool. The majority are in the 200 to 500 year range and still quite lovely to gaze upon. One thing that struck me during the hike; the whole enviroment reminded me of Return of the Jedi when those dudes are cruising through the forest with the Ewoks on little hover scooters. Funny, after I mentioned that while hiking, John informed me that those scenes were filmed in the redwoods.
We made it to the coast within a couple of hours and set up camp in the sand somewhere between two man-made campgrounds. Within a half hour a six point elk came creeping up on us. It approached within 75 yards. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t trying to get impaled by a large beast of a herbivore so I used my flight instincts to hide behind a tree stump.
The following day we hiked out. John and Andrea met up with some rafters and Jake and I went to Sixies River in southern Oregon for some old timer gold panning yeeeeehawwwww! Apparently we went at the end of the season when the river is mined out, so after four hours of half-ass gold panning over two days we both struck it rich with a couple of sand-grain sized gold flakes. I’m thinking they amounted to about 10 cents worth of gold, but considering the miniscule size of our find, it really illustrates how valuable those shiny boogers are.
Afteword, Jake and I camped a few more places farther north until I dropped him off in Winston, OR so he could head home to Medford to see friends and family. For my part, I cruised up the Oregon coastal byway for the remainder of the day, burning through my classical and reggae CD collection. I stopped two times for some fresh seafood and also payed a visit to the Newport aquarium. Overall, a great way to celebrate the end of the first full year at OIT.
Some of you may be asking, what does this have to do with renewable energy or energy conservation? I mean Nate you were driving your little fossil fuel burning Honda, for your own self-serving interests, all over god damn Oregon you god damn hypocrite. But you see, in the redwoods I was exhaling, giving the trees much needed CO2. This allowed them to grow stronger and sequester more carbon. Hee hee. The trade-off is exact I swear. (Don’t worry ideals are still present, just waiting like a tiger to attack at the right moment).
In conclusion, prospective OIT students, this is the outdoor club. John Grieser is the go-to man if anyone has any questions about outdoor trips. He is usually going on one every weekend. Seriously. Every weekend. It’s a wonderful way to meet fellow students and develop the camaraderie necessary to build the OIT name and find success in the program.
See you all this fall and don’t spend too much time this summer in hobbit caves reading up on circuit analysis.