I was very bored riding in the car when I noticed a lever on the side of my headrest. Naturally, I pulled it, and all it did was make the headrest fall and hit my head.
Me: What’s the purpose of this destructo-seat?
Me: Yeah! All it does is fall and hit me on the back of the head!
Me, in a in a robot voice: kill-kill-kill.
Me: All it does is hit you!
Me: Like, Bad human, you’re being stupid so I’m going to hit you on the back of the head.
Winner: the headrest/destructo-seat, because now my neck hurts from it slamming into my head and forcing it down.
This past week, my family and I went camping in Olympic National Park, a massive park primarily known for its rainforests. Naturally, I was sick the entire week, which kept my energy constantly low and made hiking difficult, but I still really enjoyed the trip. Although living in the Pacific Northwest has made me somewhat jaded towards massive trees, the scenery was so different from what I’m used to that I couldn’t help but be amazed.
We walked through rainforests, visited beaches and tidal pools…
…explored mountains (and came across a number of wildlife)…
…and gawked at dozens of magnificent waterfalls.
We only saw a fraction of the park, and my parents are already planning to return sometime within the next few years.
I’ve written before about how I use our camping trips to center myself, and this trip was no different. Returning home, I feel more at peace. Less anxious. More capable of handling whatever comes next. This is, in part, why I travel: because home feels more like home when I return.
Me: I feel like such a hipster.
Ian: Do hipsters normally dye their hair?
Me: I was thinking more in terms of the flower crown.
Ian: I’m soo hipster.
Me: I think you’d need a bushier beard. You’d get that if you shaved and grew it out again.
Dad, chiming in: Yes, please shave.
Ian, completely ignoring us: Super hipster. Happy hipster day!
I laughed, but I was in the process of drinking water/taking my vitamins, so I ended up half-choking. I collapsed onto the hotel bed, laughing.
Ian: I killed Orion.
Me: I just snorted my meds.
Me: I was drinking water, and I started laughing, so some of it went up my nose, and it felt like I snorted my medication.
Ian: Happy hipster day.
A bit of backstory: 1. In his spare time, my father collects minerals/micromounts. He trades specimens with people all over the world, and a couple times a year, he’ll go with friends into abandoned mines, looking for new specimens. A few years ago, Dad discovered a new species of mineral, and the committee who names new specimens decided to name it after him. 2. While visiting family in Georgia, we decided to visit a science museum, which boasts (among other things) a large rock and mineral exhibit.
Me, to my brother: So, on a scale of one to ten, how disappointed do you think Dad would be if someone replaced all the rocks in the museum with pictures of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
Ian: Mom, four; Dad, ten.
Me: Or what if they just did it on his birthday? Like, the rest of the year it’s rocks, but on his birthday, it’s just pictures of The Rock.
Ian: You know how dad always says when he dies we should sell his minerals to people who’d appreciate them?
Ian: We should make a museum out of his collection.
Me: Dude, we totally should! Tim’s Rock Museum?
Ian: Tim’s “The Rock” Museum!
Me: Ooh, and on Dwayne Johnson’s birthday, the collection is replaced with a thousand different pictures of him.
Me: And in the place of honor in a big glass case, we can have the mineral Dad discovered. Which can be replaced with a painting of The Rock.
By this point, most of the rest of our family had caught up to us, with Dad and Grandma trailing behind a bit.
Me: Hey, Dad! We’re building you a legacy!
Dad: You’re building yourself a legacy?
Me: No, we’re building you a legacy.
Dad looked very, very dubious.
Ian: Yeah, after you die, we’re taking your mineral collection and making a museum out of it. Then, on The Rock’s birthday we’re replacing the collection with pictures of him.
At this point, Ian and I both dissolved into laughter, so we decided it was time to make our exit.
I still don’t know if Dad appreciates our ideas for his legacy or not. Dad’s a pretty humble guy, so maybe the idea of a museum in his honor doesn’t sit well with him. Then again, maybe we would have gotten a better reception if we had gotten Dwayne Johnson to endorse it, first.
This past week, my family went down to Georgia and Florida to visit our relatives, who have lived there for as long as I can remember. We usually visit Georgia/my mom's side of the family at least once a year, and Florida/my dad's side every few years. (We also tend to get our southern drawls back, which lasts for about a week after we leave the South, much to my friends' amusement, but that's a story for another time.)
Me, reading store signs as we drive through town in Florida our uncle lives in: Sushi and dry cleaning. Not the worst concept I’ve ever heard of. Ooh, and Deer Hunter Guns. Nice.
Ian: Got my gun, gonna go out deer huntin’.
Me: I love me some deer hunting.
Ian mumbled something that I only caught part of.
Me: Sorry, did you just say you love deer carcass?
Ian: Hunting! I love deer hunting, not carcass.
Me: I love deer carcass!
Me: Better: I heart deer carcass.
Ian: You know what I’m gonna do when I get home?
Me: Go online and make a bumper sticker that says I heart deer carcass?
Ian: No, but that’s better. Do it.
And, as promised:
(Image made with makestickers.com)
Now you and your family can make sure the whole world is clear on your stance on deer, deer hunting, and their meat. I have no idea why anyone would want this, but you're welcome.
There’s an absolutely adorable little zoo in the neighboring town which I’ve been meaning to visit for years, and I finally got around to doing it. The Sequoia Park Zoo is most famous for its red pandas, particularly Masala, their resident “Houdini” (who unfortunately was shipped to Tennessee after her rescue).
While I couldn't get a decent picture of the remaining red pandas, I did get a pretty cute picture of the Patagonian Cavies, and a bloody magestic eagle.
We stayed for the river otter feedings, as well as the bush dogs. The otters were super excited for feeding time, and were racing around their enclosure for a good ten minutes beforehand.
No, seriously. Y’all thought I was joking when I said this zoo was adorable, but one of their employees is a cat.
Yeah, that's right. They have a zoo cat. It's like a farm cat, only better. His name is Oscar, and when he's on-duty, he even wears a little bib labeling him as an employee.
It doesn't get much better than that.
I recently visited Patrick’s Point with two of my closest friends. It’s a small, coastal state park offering acres of forest and gorgeous cliffside views of the ocean.
There’s something intrinsically relaxing about the ocean. I currently live in a part of the world where the beaches are cold, the waves constantly stormy, and the sky is almost always overcast. You wouldn’t think the beaches would be all that much fun to visit like this, but although it’s rarely comfortable enough for us to brave the water, it’s still stunning to sit and watch.
The beaches I visit aren’t ones that fall into most people’s ideas of beaches. There’s no warm waves or sun-drenched sand, but I’m glad to be able to experience them. I’m glad to have these examples of nature’s beauty so close to my doorstep. I’m glad I have the ability to leave my house to visit them. I’m glad to have friends to visit them with. I’m glad days like this exist.
Last weekend, I took a little trip with two of my closest friends to go see Fern Canyon. For those of you who don’t know, Fern Canyon is this absolutely stunning little pocket of natural wonder hidden away in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and was actually the film location of Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World.
Two of us had visited the canyon before, so it seemed like the ideal place to visit on a day when nothing much was going on (which, admittedly, is almost every day in a small town). The day was overcast but still warm enough to be comfortable without a coat, rather typical for this time of year. The hike is actually a loop, but the first part is the section actually in the canyon. The trail threads in, out, and often through a creek, so getting wet is unavoidable. During the summer months, they have little bridges over the deeper parts of the creek to keep you somewhat dry, but they take them away during the winter.
The trip was so much fun, and I’m so glad we decided to make the trek out. I’d been having some mental health troubles, and the trip was just what I needed to remember how to relax and smile again.
That being said, I learned a few lessons for my next trip out to the canyon. I figured somebody else might find them useful, too.
1. Four-wheel drive is your friend.
The road to Fern Canyon is unpaved, riddled with potholes to the point where there’s more holes than road, and more than once passes through a stream. While it brought back fond memories of driving to my worksite in Rosarito, scraping the bottom of the car isn’t good from a mechanic’s perspective. The car we took was built low to the ground and didn’t have four-wheel drive, and made the trip just fine (though there were a few tense moments), but if you do have access to a car built for this sort of thing, you’re gonna want to use it.
2. Waterproof everything you love.
You will get wet. You’ll try your hardest not to get wet, and then fall face-first into the stream. Then you’ll have a mini anxiety attack as you desperately search for your phone, questioning why you even brought it with you when it doesn’t even have service. Do yourself a favor and bring waterproof electronics, and only waterproof electronics. Wear shoes designed to go in water, and bring a second pair of shoes and socks to change into once you leave.
3. Don’t get cocky. Nature’s not into that.
I’ll be honest: I like exploring. Every trip we go on, I’m usually first in the group, prancing along the path, climbing half-fallen trees and exploring every splinter in the trail. And it’s usually this tendency to half-run along the trail that gets me into trouble. So while it should go without saying that you probably shouldn’t run over slippery logs half-submerged in water, if you’re anything like me, and get overexcited being in nature, maybe take a deep breath or two and save yourself from nearly spraining your ankle exactly five minutes into the hike.
4. I don’t really have a four, but I felt like I needed another point. So… I dunno, thank your friend for letting you drag him out to the middle of unpaved nowhere?
Have you ever noticed that once you decide you really hate a song, you begin hearing it everywhere?
I’ll give you an example.
A few years ago, my mother decided the song she hated most in the world was Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Every time she heard it on the radio, she would immediately turn the channel, making a little noise of disgust.
Me: “Why do you hate that song so much? It’s so positive!”
Mom: “It just repeats Because I’m happy, clap! Clap! Clap! Over and over! It’s so stupid!”
Me: “It’s so positive. He just wants you to be happy, mother.”
Mom: “I am happy. I don’t need a song to tell me to be happy.”
That summer, she and I took a trip to Australia. It was the trip of a lifetime, and hands-down the best trip I’ve ever taken. Our first stop was to Yulara, a small resort town just outside the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It didn’t have too much beyond a few resorts and a campground, but it did have a small plaza, with shops and a restaurant or two. Now, sprinkled around the square were loudspeakers that played a fairly steady stream of music. As we were walking around, I heard the first few faint notes of a song I recognized. I froze, straining to hear the music clearly, and it clicked.
I immediately busted up laughing.
My mom, meanwhile, was rather confused as to why her child had frozen in the middle of the sidewalk and was now laughing at seemingly nothing.
Mom: “What is it?”
Me: “It’s following you”
Mom: “Excuse me?”
Me: “It’s following you everywhere!” *near-hysterical laughter*
Mom: “What are you talking about?”
Me: “The song!”
Mom: “There’s not music pla—oh. Wait. Is--is that that damn happy song?!”
Me: *nodding as I try to stop laughing*
Mom: “We need to get inside. Ugh, it’s everywhere!”
Me: *trailing behind her as she looks desperately for an open shop* “It’s following you!”
And that was how two Americans ended up in the middle of nowhere in Australia, laughing at a song.
We were lounging around our campsite in Bryce Canyon after breakfast. Dad was turned away from us, and seemingly talking to thin air.
Dad: “Hey there little buddy. Whatcha doing all the way out here? Wouldn’t you like to be back by the tree?”
He then proceeds to pinch a spot in the air, slowly dragging his hand towards a nearby tree.
Dad: “Yup. And, there you go—whoops!”
The spider began flying away in the wind, directly towards my face.
Me: *Diving out of the way* “NOPE!”
Dad: “He cut himself loose from his web! He wanted to ride the air currents, isn’t that neat?”
Mom: “I don’t think Orion agrees.”
Me: “It is raining spiders! THIS IS NOT AUSTRALIA!”
Me: *to the tune of It’s Raining Men* “It’s raining spiders! Hallelujah, it’s raining spiders!”
Ian: “Spider. It only rained one.”
Me: *to the same tune* “It’s raining spider! Hallelujah, it’s raining spider!”
Me: “See, it just doesn’t work.”
Ian just sighed and rolled his eyes.
Me: *softly* “Hallelujah!”
I have no idea what I'm doing.