March 27, 2011 - 10:06 PM
The Oregon Coast might be one of my favorite places. Now, I have spent time on the sunnier and warmer beaches with water you can get more than ankle deep in. In spite of these potential drawbacks, the Oregon Coast has a special place in my heart. There just isn't any denying of the beauty of the majority of the coastline, with its steep cliffs, soft sand, dunes, and beach grass, and I have so many wonderful memories with beach towns. Thus, with my love of the Oregon Coast, I was very excited to spend the remainder of my break at a beach house in Waldport, Oregon.
The last few days have not let me down! After taking a quick stop in Eugene to shower and re-pack for a dry and clean home as opposed to the wet and muddy environment of camping, we jumped back into the car and headed up to Waldport (a beach town just south of Newport). We made it just in time to start cooking dinner, which we split up by the houses attending the trip. It was my roommates and my turn to cook, and we decided on homemade pizza, because Kate's boyfriend Derek has work experience as a pizza cook. It may not have been the best idea though, because Derek ended up cooking the majority of the meal, but it was quite delicious!
In the morning, we decided to make our way up to Newport to check out the town and tour the Rouge Brewery. We started out in the town, and made the obligatory stop at Mo's Restaurant for clam chowder and other seafood. With a long wait at the restaurant, we peaked at some of the shops and my roommate Dana and I checked out a fantastic art gallery. I also bought some tasty smoked salmon at one of the fish markets. From downtown Newport, we took a brief pit stop at one of the many antique stores and entertained ourselves with the odds and ends that it housed. Finally, it was time to head over to Rouge Brewery to take a tour! As a fan of Rouge, it was pretty exciting to check out how it is made, plus we got to taste a bit at the end! We also decided to spend some time in the restaurant and ordered a sampler of their beers. With our stomachs full of delicious seafood and beer, we headed back to the house for the night to relax, watch a movie and eat some tasty tacos.
After a busy first full day in Newport, we decided to take the next day easy. Several movies were watched, including a VHS of Beauty and the Beast found at the house (cabins and beach houses always have the best movies on VHS!), and we walked down to the beach a few separate times. On the beach, a lot of Frisbee and football were played, we took several strolls down the coastline, Lizzy and I even fit in a bit of beach yoga. A few of us also managed to make it about knee deep into the water before the icy pain set in. Back at the house, an absolutely amazing porch that protected us from the wind was enjoyed immensely to just hang out or play a card game or two. It was really nice to have a day devoted to relaxation after the busier days that were experienced earlier in spring break.
We made our way back home on Friday afternoon, stopping in the adorable town of Yachats to get one of the most delicious crab cake sandwiches I have ever eaten. We wandered towards one last glimpse of the ocean and sand, and then packed it all up and headed down the 101 to Eugene via Florence.
Following up an eventful spring break, this weekend back in Eugene has mostly involved a whole lot of laziness and preparing for classes on Monday. We also welcomed back several friends from abroad- Sarah is back from Ecuador and Leslie and Katelin are back from London! It's crazy how quickly winter term went, and I'm so glad with how my last spring break turned out. Now, just one more term to go!
March 22, 2011 - 4:35 PM
My last spring break is already half-way over! I'm currently making a pit stop in Eugene to re-pack and clean up before heading over to the Oregon coast. I just spent the last four days camping and hiking in one of the renowned Redwood forests, so some clean up is a requirement. Six girlfriends and I made the tolerable four and a half hour drive down to Jedediah State Park, set up camp, and took off to explore the national park.
Throughout the planning on this portion of the break, we faced a lot of skepticism and apprehension from other friends about what we were getting ourselves into by camping in an area that usually receives about 70 inches of rain annually (nps.gov). And to add to that information, before we left I read warnings about thunder and lightning storms. So with this knowledge in mind, yet still determined to hike and experience the Redwoods, we left Eugene prepared with a backup plan and lots of rain gear. Emma and I found a cheap motel that we could stay in if conditions were dangerous, but luckily we found that the extra preparation was completely unnecessary (although we certainly required rain gear).
While the weather did not give us entirely sunny and blue-sky days, we only faced sprinkles and a few moments of harder rain. The rain fly on tent did get pretty soaked through on the first night, so we ended up purchasing an extra tarp, but that was the worst of it! I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with how resourceful we were- we even utilized bungees and tarps to create a covered area that even allowed for campfires every night. We also took advantage of a gigantic tent owned by my parents- thus we had plenty of ways to avoid the rain, and covering to play Catchphrase and card games.
My favorite part of the camping trip has to be the long hike we took on the second day, along Boys Scout Trail. The ancient and massive tree the trail is named after was definitely a highlight, along with Trillium falls at the end of the trail, and being surrounded by old-growth redwoods and a favorite wildflower, trillium. We all felt like tiny ants walking along the path- I know it is common knowledge that old growth redwoods are huge, but to actually walk among them- they're colossal, massive, tremendous! Basically any word you can think of to describe big, that describes these trees. And everything was so vibrantly green! The copious rain that this area receives pays off in the form of overwhelming greenery. The hike took us a bit longer than expected, because we stopped constantly along the trail to take pictures and check out the area. We even had a brief stop to lick a banana slug along the trail (they usually make your tongue numb- but we found a dud banana slug so that was a bit disappointing).
On the third day, the weather turned a little bit worse, so we decided to drive into Crescent city and south down the 101 to see a tree you could drive through. We made several stops along the way, the first stopping to view the coast in Crescent City in a failed attempt to whale watch. We drove up to a bluff overlooking the ocean, but unfortunately no whales were out. We did find a very friendly Park Ranger and he gave us some interesting information about whales and the area. We also stopped at one of my personal favorite attractions, the oversized statues of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Ox. The tourist site certainly made a great photo stop as well as featured a sizeable Native American museum that some of us spent some time checking out the artifacts.
While this trip may not have been the most typical of a spring break, I can't think of any other way I would have rather spent it. It was wonderful to have some time off to spend with my girlfriends! With all of our busy schedules, it's tough to find time to just hang out all of the time. It was a wonderful way to enjoy a week off from classes, and I got to spend it with some of my favorite people.
March 19, 2011 - 10:30 AM
My final spring break is finally here! After sweating through my last finals and papers, a much needed break is finally here. We're just finishing up packing now, and then we're off! Our spring break plans took awhile to get settled this year, but we finally decided to spend a few days in the Redwood National Forest camping, and then head back up to Oregon to stay in a beach house for a couple of days.
We plan on camping in the Jedediah Smith campground, near Crescent City, CA. That campground is one of the larger, more popular campground in the park, and one of the few open during the off season. We are definitely anticipating some rain, although we're really hoping that there's not too much! Still, we're leaving Eugene prepared, with tarps, food that can be made without a fire, and plenty of rain gear. Even with the definite forecast of rain, I'm really looking forward to hiking around the giant trees of the redwoods!
I've been to the Redwoods one other time, as a kid on a family road trip. We spent one spring break in grade school driving down to Los Angeles to visit my uncle and his family. We got to stop at a lot of fun places in Southern Oregon along the way as well, and I'm hoping we can make at least a few of the stops this trip too. I was pretty young last time I stopped at the Redwoods, so the only thing I really remember is being able to drive through a tree, and that the weather was gorgeous that day. I am expecting this to be a pretty different experience, and wholly looking forward to it!
I'll be joined on this portion of the trip with several of my girlfriends- the boys decided to sit this portion of the break out. So, I'm also really looking forward to getting some girl time in over the next couple days!
On Tuesday, girl time will end and we'll be driving back up to meet the boys at a beach house near Lincoln City. The remainder of our break will be spent hanging out near the ocean. I'm excited to spend a little more time out of Eugene, and especially at the coast! I haven't been to the beach at all this year, and I'm very excited to be in that ocean air.
All in all, I think this will be a spring break to remember! I'm really excited that most of our group is coming for one portion or another, since this will be one of the last times we all get to go on a trip together. Wish us luck that the weather is nice!
(Image from The National Park Service).
March 17, 2011 - 8:20 PM
Papers, check. Three finals, check. Last shift at AGP, check. Celebrate the end of a term, and St. Patty's day, almost. Whew, it looks like another (and final) winter term is in the books! Winter term has been traditionally a tougher term for me, and this one did live up to the reputation. Although it didn't come close to touching Winter 2009 (aka a black hole of academic overload in my life) which featured a medley of second term organic chemistry, lab, and biology. It has been a pretty busy term though with my course load and increased hours put in at work and as a Research Assistant in a Cognition lab.
I won't be getting final grades back for at least a few more days, but based upon my feelings after the finals, I think they all went well enough. I had a nice finals week, well at least as nice as a finals week could be. I had my Cognition final on the Thursday of dead week, followed by a weekend to study for Biomechanics on Monday afternoon. I managed to avoid early morning finals this term, although at the cost of having a final at 6 pm. This was due to the combination of a couple large physics classes, so we had to find a time to take the final in Colombia 150, the classroom know for its large size. I have taken many classes in there over the years, and haven't been in that classroom for awhile, so it was actually kind of nostalgic to be there.
Along with finals and papers in the past few weeks, I've been finishing up my winter term shifts at the Annual Giving call center. We are actually moving locations for spring term- out of a basement and into a snazzy new place in the EMU. This move required a fair amount of work- the call center had accumulated a lot of stuff over the years! I came in an extra shift between my finals to help move the center.
Spring term is looking very busy, and as of now I'm trying to whittle out some of the less important activities I have lined up for spring term. As spring term is approaching fast, I'm getting worried that I may be spreading myself too thin, especially since I want to make time to spend with all of the lovely people I've met over the years here before we all go our separate ways. I want to do as much as possible, but still enjoy my final term of college! It's tough to narrow it down, and I am adding a pretty exciting volunteer opportunity for next term as well. I attended an orientation this week for a resource called HIV Alliance, which provides support to the individuals living with HIV/AIDS and prevents new infections. It will be one of my first roles in a position directly involved in health care, so I'm very excited to delve into this new project!
I can't believe I'm 2/3 the way through my senior year. Time has flown by, and I expect the same from spring. Overall, I had a wonderful winter term, and absolutely cannot wait to see what spring brings.
March 13, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Finals week is fast approaching, and I have already spent many long hours this weekend organizing notes, reading, writing flashcards, and making up my page of notes I get to use on my biomechanics final tomorrow afternoon. I'm already done with one of my finals for this term, Cognition, as the class took the final on the last day of class. Dr. Awh, my professor, was very kind in allowing us to take the last test early, because the scheduled final was Friday at 8 am. Plus, it's so nice to have one more test out of the way.
So now, it's time to really hit the books. I got some studying in yesterday as well, but it's getting close to crunch time. I'm usually a pretty big fan of the library, but around this time it's super crowded. It has definitely gotten better with the increase in available outlets in the main study, so I'm sure I will be venturing over there this afternoon, weather permitting.
I say weather permitting, because currently Eugene is experience a thunder/lightening/wind/rain storm, and my sister took our car home for the weekend (lucky girl, was done last Thursday, and only has one final on Wednesday). Thus, I'm not feeling up to walking over to the library in this near-monsoon. I am also currently really hoping that we do not lose electricity, because that would certainly put a hitch in my current plan to stay at my house, at least until the rain and winds stop. We had a pretty big branch fall earlier today, but luckily missed the powerlines for the time being. Eugene is definitely telling us that spring has arrived, with its erratic weather of sunny one moment and pouring down rain the next.
Crazy spring weather aside, I'm really looking forward to powering through these last two midterms and getting to spring break! The fun break I have planned is really helping me get through this week! I only have Biomechanics tomorrow and Physics 202 on Thursday to go. Both of the finals involve a lot of problem solving, so my study strategy definitely revolves around sleep. I am relying less on memorization and more on my ability to think logically and use the equations I have in front of me to solve problems for both exams.
So, back to hitting the books, wish me luck!