Saturday, November 16, 2013

11/16/13 Kevin Williams

“Sea Life”
Kevin Williams
 Today we woke up to a beautiful sunrise on the sea, laying on the beach with plenty of sleep, a perfect start to any day. So far our time in Baja, California has been spectacular. We have seen pelicans fishing daily, a dolphin swimming joyously, and a grey whale coming up for air while feeding. The amount of life next to a desert is unreal. Today we paddled out to an island where many of us got to see sea lions for our first time. As we approached many of them jumped into the water but while we were sitting in our kayaks they decided to show off in the water giving us free entertainment. You could never get the experience we had at any aquarium, it was truly spectacular seeing all the sea lions on the island and watching them swim in the water. As we got to our camp along the shore we busted out our snorkeling gear to see the vast amount of fish, stingrays, and sea erchints. It was a truly beautiful day seeing all the life present in the ocean and ended even better with a great stir-fry made by Liz.
“Any glimpse into life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way” -John Muir

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15/13 Cassandra Roy

Welcome Back!
Cassandra Roy
“When one door closes, another one opens”
 Today was the last day of our backcountry portion in Baja California. We awoke from Catavina; having slept under a starry night sky surrounded by group members in a Mexican desert. Five a.m. came and our group of 14 loaded into the vans and headed to Ensenada. Hours later we arrived, and the town was packed full (The Baja 1000 race was this weekend as well). No sooner were we out of the van than did our group take off to shop for the 2 hours of time allotted. You might be thinking that 2 hours is more than enough time to go shopping, but it was not even close; so many shops, so much to see, and so much to buy. It seems as if two hours was over in a snap of my fingers.
 But what seemed to come even faster was Francisco’s departure. Francisco, or Tati as Jeff likes to call him, was a friend, a guide, and an overall wisdom giver. The two weeks spent with him at Casa Azul was truly an eye opening experience and myself, as well as the rest of ECOEE, cannot thank him enough for everything he did. Sadly all good things must come to an end and Francisco left our group in Ensenada. 
 Back on the road we went all 13 of us to head back to San Diego. With a few wrong turns, the help of a man on a bike, getting the vans split up, and going through border control; we arrived back at San Diego State University within 10 minutes of each other and back into Jim’s graces.
“Do not be mediocre, be exemplary”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12/13 Quinn Moore

"Bitter Sweetness"
Quinn Moore
 As I awoke this morning, at the crack of dawn roughly five am I thought to myself “this is way too early to wake up and still function properly!” Once I got out of my bag, I started to prepare for the day. While I was getting ready I realized with a bitter sweet sigh that is was our last day of the backcountry portion for our expedition. I was fairly sad that this portion was ending. After the group finished eating and cleaning up breakfast, they then began to pack up their kayaks. The group packed the kayak’s and got out on the water in record time! After that the group headed back to our final stop, Casa Azul. Once we reached the house it meant the end of our sea kayaking expedition in Baja California. Realizing how close the end of the backcountry was for us I started to get mixed feelings and thoughts. I started to think of our first day on the Grass River in Canada, when we stopped at the first campsite that left a bad taste in our mouth! The site was atop a very steep hill and the widow makers surrounding the site didn’t make it any better. Widow makers are dead trees that can fall down at any moment by the way! I remembered how inexperienced the group was. We even had problems setting up some of the tents! No one knew how nervous I was because I have never been on a long canoe trip like the one we had. I reflected on how I have grown since the trip, and it makes me feel proud. Back to matter at hand. I don’t know how many pots of boiling water was spilt that day, but let me tell you we wasted a ton of fuel trying to cook one meal for ourselves! I remember the stories Jeff told us during dump school, and how uneasy everyone was to go to the bathroom in the woods. At this point we were all strangers to one another; we didn’t have the emotional connections yet. The next though that flooded my mind was about our first rapid. One of our boats tipped over and another one went down the wrong way. Man Jeff was very upset with us that day! The next thought I had was about the day we got off the river. I won’t go into a lot of detail but let’s just say it was very long and very cold and it had to been the worst day on the expedition! After the group finally paddled back to Casa Azul sadness started to build up in my heart. This trip marked our final stop in the backcountry. No more funny moments with one another, no more time without the temptation of technology, no more emotional rollercoasters, and finally no more pooping in the woods. The last one I wasn’t so sad about though. The cleaning tasks kept my mind off of my negative thoughts for a while but eventually they flooded my consciousness once again. After dinner I got ready for bed, and I laid awake for a long time before I finally was able to rest my mind. Before I dosed off I was able to write my tale in this journal. As I wrote in this journal I said farewell to the backcountry experience. It was a long and difficult experience but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world!
   “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it” – Confucius
   “Roses are red
   Violets are blue
   Farewell backcountry
   I’ll miss you too”