Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Travel Woes to Facebook Friends

Last Thursday I left on a 5-day trip to Death Valley with other students and people who signed up for the Geology trip. The trip was phenomenal but it offered additional lessons in human behaviors and tolerances. I saw tempers flair, people who spoke when they should have kept their thoughts to their self, personality conflicts, and negative attitudes throughout the trip. One trip member lost her tent to the wind gods of Death Valley, and some involuntarily brought home sand grains from the Dunes that they are probably still trying to remove from body parts. Normally, these types of human behaviors or events can ruin a trip, but despite the few rough spots in our road, the journey was a success.  The few conflicts involving personality seemed to iron themselves out, except for one, however that is to be expected on a trip this long with literally strangers living and studying together for 5 days. I even had to seek validation from my professor after someone on the trip said something that broke my spirit somewhat. Those who left on Thursday as strangers came back Monday hugging one another and promising to "hook up" with each other on Facebook. An educational journey to a region of faults became the backdrop for new friendships, self-discovery, and fond memories...I cannot wait for the next  trip...or to get on Facebook to connect to my new friends.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Death Valley or Bust!

Photo Credit: Stephen G. Weaver  Earth Systems Imaging.

I have been to the Mohave Desert some years ago on a road trip with my then-roommate Pat. Our final destination was Fort Irwin to visit Pat's brother, Gene. A lot of laughter and junk food highlighted our trip. We accidentally killed a little bunny outside of Bakersfield that sobered us for about 30 minutes, however our youth and poor trip planning soon made for more laughter. I remember asking some strange man where "THE Joshua Tree" was, of course neither Pat nor myself knew that it was actually a bunch of "Joshua" trees in the desert we had been driving past for miles. To this day I cannot think of this trip with smiling and shaking my head. Great memories came from that drive many moons ago, and next week I will be returning to the Mohave and to Death Valley on a Geology Field Study class. I am excited to be going with an awesome group of students from Modesto Junior College. Some of us are in Geology classes, or are past or current members of the Geology Club. Our fearless leader, Garry Hayes (and his incredible wife Susan) will be towing us around geologic sites for four "rock loving" days. With the trip closing in my mind is going 500 miles an hour and in at least 12 different directions. Need to download my topo maps, print out my inventory list, starting packing the backpack and duffel bags, organize my rock collecting tools, make sure all the stuff I am camping with is in order, etc. etc. etc. I can't sleep...I am already too's 3:05 AM and I am sitting here alone with one of the worse movies ever (2012) playing in the background. If this sounds pathetic - well, it is. I must sleep and I must turn "off" my excitement. Of course, this is easier said then done. Deep sigh!