- Expedition: Apr 13-18, 2003
- Bakersfield West, Reseda, Crenshaw High Schools
- Sierra National Forest: Hite's Cove
Now that you've experienced wilderness, what do you think about it? What did you think of wilderness before you visited it?
The bus arrived at the Savage's cabin. We started to pack out things. My humungous bag slowly loses space inside as bear cans and sleeping bags take the place of once was an empty bag. I put it on my back, this thing is sure heavy. As we cross the streets thoughts come pouring through my empty head. For the first time I'm going to get a first hand account of what it is like to be a little creature amidst this vast area we call wilderness. I never really thought about wilderness while living in the city, I thought there was no point in doing this, I was only sure of one thing. The outdoors/wilderness is a great place to be, but one has to trade of the amenities of city life to get a taste of this great experience. And I somehow found it in myself to take a plunge into a river that I've never swam before. And hopefully I may find a mirring part of myself or stumble upon something I never realized I was looking for.
And the hike was long! First steps up the slope were killing my hips as if I were an 85 year-old man, but no worries, I'll be okay. Then the word "poison oak" came out way, and there were literally dozens of them on our way. That's possibly the first thing I realized nature has its inevitable dangers. As we move on, I look to my right and the mountain side full of green, high arching trees amaze me, like I was a little kid. The river flowing was so calming and comforting, almost reminding me that life does go on. The whole wilderness itself paints a picture, I feel I alone can understand.
When I stare at the flowing river long enough I can almost see and witness life pass me by. The water most of the time does not have smooth sailing. Rocks, trees both living and resting blocks it way, but somehow it overcomes those obstacles in hope of finding a more peaceful passage. But as long as long as it overcomes the obstacle that is upon it, another one presents itself, and another one, it may find calm water, but this does not last very long, just ahead is another obstacle. The river continues to do this despite the undeniable fact that it does not know its destination. This for me is what wilderness is undeniable party of one's life. It nourishes our body, the air I breathe and the water I drink. And it definitely nourishes our soul. It enlightens my spirits in ways I never though possible.
Today you've learned about the history of Hite's Cove and explored the ruins. Imagine what life would have been like to live at Hite's Cove during the gold rush era. How do you think they viewed wilderness back then?
We saw several remnants of the past. Machines used long ago to rid the earth of its natural beauty. Everything seemed so abundant back in the days and people looked at the wilderness as an endless supply of raw materials, gold and money. This alone was the value of wilderness. People did not care about the enormous amount of damage they inflict on the wilderness most likely because they haven't fully realized the true value of nature. I on the other hand, was given the advantage of seeing other people's mistakes who walked this land I'm stepping on. I know the mistakes they've done and I have no plans of making the same ones. Rather, I would preserve the peacefulness of this area and let other people know how spectacular Hite's Cove is. The generations before me, committed dreadful mistakes and I have the chance to correct them and you can bet I am correcting them.
I have nothing more to say about the controversies that bounded these woods years ago but this: human nature sometimes puts a blindfold on everything or anything that gets in the way of his earthly goals like money, and somewhere along the way, someone has to pay the price, unfortunately nature paid the price.
4.8.03 The week is over, What have I learned?
We were hiking in a narrow trail only one person can pass by I look to my left, I see a steep slope, plants and poison oak. If I decide to turn right I see a green flourishing mountain with waterfalls completing the scenery. The steep slope and poison oak symbolizes life's uphill battle troubles, challenges and tragedies. And the green flourishing mountain represents the good things in life, while the waterfalls represent that life does go on. The point is, I could always turn my head and see the better side of life. Life is a journey.