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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Alabama Hills & Sunset Peaks

Hey folks! We started off the day super early compared to the other days since we went on one of our biggest excursions yet. After a egg filled breakfast we all packed ourselves into a cramped van and made our way to our most fun destinations yet. Here’s the thing though, ever since being away from our normal lives, one of the best things to hear is the possibility of going to a gas station. This morning we got the incredible news that we were going to stop by a gas station on our way! We all raided the gas station for their snacks and energy drinks and went on our way. Now, the seniors and juniors were separated due to differences in curriculum, but my fellow juniors and I headed to the Alabama Hills for a meeting with the Nüümü youth council leaders.

After a very bumpy van ride, we arrived in the Alabama Hills desert in the 100º heat. The meeting with the council was crazy interesting! We learned all about how they travel around the US for various conferences and handle large scale issues concerning indigenous youth. We all chilled on a rocky wall in a small amount of shade as they described what their day to day life is like. Once we had learned all we could, everyone split off into different directions to explore the vast Alabama Hills. It was so fun to explore a place where many popular films were made. Personally, I’ve tried to be as adventurous as possible this trip, so I decided to climb to the top of the tallest rocky hill nearby. A group of nearly ten people and I started our difficult ascent. The views were so breathtaking, its nothing like what we see in Atlanta. The wind was enough to lay back on! One of our chaperones, Wyatt, pointed out the tallest mountain in the US (minus Alaska) to me, Mt. Whitney. We took some incredible photos and polaroids, and made our way back down.

I don’t know if it was the exhaustion or hunger, but the BLTs we had after the climb were incredible! Funny enough, I’ve never had a BLT before then, but now its one of my favorite foods. We all munched our sandwiches down and climbed back into the van.

The car ride was a short, and we soon arrived at the Eastern California Museum with our facilitators Kin-sin-tah and Kris. We learned about the history of the colonization of the valley, and the pre-colonial histories especially through artifacts such as basketry, beading, and stone spear and arrow head making. After touring the artifacts and various other things, I bought some really cool souvenirs! I got a cool crystal, an obsidian arrowhead, fancy lotion and body mist, a geode, and a really pretty maple leaf necklace! I grabbed my newly purchased items and headed outside to journal with everyone and have one of our daily meetings. Soon we packed up and headed back to camp. Our van ride back was crazy fun and filled with madlibs.

Once we got back I did my assigned chore of cooking dinner. Even though it wasn’t optional, I had so much fun cooking Indian food. I haven’t had Indian food before either so it was a very new experience. I washed my dish, and headed off to the next adventure.

I wrapped up my night by taking a beautiful sunset hike up the foothill near us with a few friends and a couple of facilitators. I made it up in record time and watched the beautiful sunset with everyone. I got to stargaze and find new constellations that I didn’t even know existed. After stacking my rock contribution on the community cairn, I made my way down in the dark with the couple folks that were left and Mr. Yarsawich. We got a little lost along the way but eventually made it down back to camp. It was one of the best days so far and honestly Ive never seen prettier views in my life! Thats all for today, peace guys!