Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back to Reform School: Auxano Round 2

Jim told us to kill each other.
So I came back to Auxano after Christmas break and it was like, really? ANOTHER semester with these amazing people, learning about my favorite subject (God) in this beautiful valley and going on adventures? We were talking to the Kaleo students who go to a similar program at Camp Qwanoes and they were telling us about a big paper they had to stay up late writing and all the exams they had to cram for. It was hard not to feel anything but pity as we don't have any papers or exams. I spent days and days of my break staying up late and sleeping in. I am not ashamed of those days. I mean, yeah, I'm a little ashamed, but not a lot. I helped my parents at home, but not as much as I meant to or should have. I hung out with friends but not enough to really contribute to them in a significant way. I ate a lot of cookies and drank a log of eggnog of the soy variety but not a lot... oh wait. Yeah. A lot. Like an excessive, disgusting amount. I saw The Hobbit and loved how even with the things they added from Tolkien's edits everything was still excessively drawn out, just so they could extend the novel into three feature length films and steal your money with the extra frames per second thingy and the fairly unnecessary three-dimensional aspect. Otherwise I loved it.

This week started with, well, first my day off on Monday, and then an adventure at Botanical Beach on Tuesday. It was my first time to Port Renfrew. I didn't understand; I had heard of Port Renfrew so many times. I imagined it was a city. I can't even be sure it qualifies as a village. Maybe a hovel. All I know is I thought we were going to die on that sketchy road getting there in the Auxano van. Logging trucks seemed to speed toward us (I say seemed because when you get behind one they don't seem quite as fast as you thought) and some parts of the road are single lane which gets really awkward when you have to play chicken with a logging truck. Twenty minutes into the trip Jim remembered he needed gas: Vern was running on empty (we named the van Vern). We had to turn back and head to Lake Cowichan as Port Renfrew doesn't have a gas station around for miles. I think that might be why it stays in "hovel" status instead of becoming a legitimate town. But it was all worth it for the beach. I love the ocean. It seems silly but just being away from it for a few months I already missed it. We found a sea urchin shell for Shayla who was sick and couldn't come with us and brought her home a collection of pretty rocks. I especially loved the tidal pools with their miniature Little-Mermaid-esque worlds. I tried to get Steph and Matt to put their fingers inside the sea anemones that suction your finger with their little suckers (it's the best feeling) but they were total wusses. I was disappointed in Steph until I saw her freak out at a teensy orange starfish the size of your finger and realized her fears had gotten the better of her sanity. That left Matt. What a wuss.

Jeremiah and The Whale Spout.
We hiked across a beautiful rocky landscape. You could see where the sea and wind had eroded the softer rock and the different colored layers that some genius could probably tell geological time from. None of us were geniuses so we just knew the layers were old. There were long stretches of shale with a zig-zag of quartz. I now know where I am going to get my future roof shingles and floor tiles. Trekking across those rocks felt a lot like Frodo and Sam Gamgee on their journey to Mordor. And I'm not even saying that just because I watched The Hobbit. I managed to not get my runners wet during all the times it would have been reasonable to get them wet. For example, at one point we were watching the waves break against the rocks and one came too far so to try and save myself I pulled Matt into a puddle... At another place the waves broke against an alcove and shot up like water from a whale spout and soaked Jeremiah. Another time Brad, Eric and I climbed a ridge on the shoreline and Brad slipped down it like a slip and slide and fell up to his knees in water. No, all those times where I should have gotten wet, I didn't. I managed to get wet at the very end of our trip when all the extravagant displays of the ocean were over. When you are concentrating hard on skipping rocks sometimes you forget that after the waves go out on the shore they come back in again. Finally, after our Botanical experience in Port Renfrew we drove to the Honeymoon Bay Resort and went in the hot tub, which was partially outside and surrounded by snow. To get to it you had to walk through Aslan's Garden and pass the Toadal Fitness room where, if you wanted, you could work out before going in the hot tub. But you didn't see Frodo and Sam working out after their long journey to Mordor. No, they did exactly what any Hobbit would do, they went hot tubbing in Rivendell.
On our way to Mordor. Jim was sick of us already so he wanted to throw us in a mountain of fire.

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