Sunday, April 26, 1998

back from camp

I just got back from Camp Costanoan, a retreat for students with disabilities. Because many of my classmates have been there, my parents decided to sign me up so that I could experience it as well. This was my first time being away from the rest of my family for an extended period of time, so it was a pretty big challenge for me.

Day 1

Mom and Dad dropped me off at the camp in the afternoon. I was a little nervous at first, so my parents did their best to convince me that everything would be all right. They went home after making sure I could check in, and so began my adventure.

I was introduced to my counselor Andy after signing in. He was very nice and made me feel more comfortable. I soon met the other kids and their counselors in our group, and we spent the rest of the afternoon getting acquainted with each other. One of the students in the group was a guy named Brian who sounded a bit like a girl and acted a lot like one. He seemed rather friendly at first, although he definitely gave me the creeps.

There was a dance in the evening, and I got to swing dance with my friend Chelsea. While I absolutely suck at dancing, this was by far the best part of camp. I'm usually shy around girls, but it wasn't much of a problem as Chelsea and I are in the same class and know each other pretty well.

It was rather late when the dance ended, so we went to bed shortly afterwards. I had trouble sleeping at first because I wasn't used to being in an unfamiliar place away from my parents. The fact that I was sharing the cabin with all those strange people didn't help the issue. After what seemed like hours, I was finally able to doze off with the reassurance from a counselor.

Day 2

Saturday was long and tedious. There wasn't much to do aside from the group activities, so I spent most of my free time hanging out with Andy and the other counselors. Brian later joined us for a few games of cops and robbers some time after lunch, which was was a great way to kill time.

I wish I could say that all was well, but this unfortunately not the case. Things went downhill in the afternoon, when one of the counselors started picking on me. I don't quite remember his name, but I think it was Derek or something similar. In any case, that guy was a complete asshole. He made me so upset that I was about to bash his head in with a rock when another counselor talked me out of it. I'm rather glad I didn't follow through as I would probably have gotten into huge trouble otherwise.

I later bumped into Brian again in the cabin. This encounter was less than pleasant: he accused me of peeking at him while he got dressed, and then threatened to do something bad to me. I don't understand why anyone on Earth would want to peek at creepy naked guys. Let's just say my positive impression of him just went out the window.

The evening ended with an art workshop of sorts. It wasn't that interesting, but I nevertheless took the time to appreciate other people's talents. The good news is that I was also able to reconcile with Derek. All I had to do was tell him that I didn't like what he was doing, and he apologized for his actions. That worked like a charm; I guess violence really isn't the answer after all.

It was then time for bed again. Having gotten more used to the environment, I was able to sleep much better.

Day 3

This was the last day of camp. The program ended well before noon, so it wasn't long before parents started picking their kids up. The staff put on Disney's Hercules in the meantime, and we were about halfway through the movie when Mom and Dad showed up. I was extremely glad to see them again, and they were obviously very eager to see me as well. Mom went as far as counting how many hours she had to wait before she could pick me up, and she even considered sneaking to the camp to make sure I was safe. Too hilarious.


Camp Costanoan certainly had its ups and downs. The highlight of the program was last Friday's dance, which was loads of fun. It was also nice to get to know the other campers and their counselors. Speaking of which, I'll have to admit that some of the kids really creeped me out. I was actually afraid to use the shower out of fear that someone would steal my clothes, and ended up being a stinkin' pile of sweat by the time camp was over. Come to think of it, I was probably a little paranoid.

However, the worst part of camp was when Derek kept making fun of me, which really pissed me off. You'd think a counselor would know better than that. I cannot fathom why Camp Costanoan would hire a jerk like him. Perhaps it's karma, considering that I've done my fair share of picking on Andy too. :\

On the bright side, Derek was an anomaly that did not represent the other counselors, most of whom were decent people. I guess I'm very lucky I wasn't assigned to him.

To be honest, the negative experiences have somewhat put me off. This isn't to say that Camp Costanoan is bad; it's actually a great place to meet new people, not to mention that most of the staff are extremely nice. That having been said, I may be interested in going there again when I'm older. But for the time being, I prefer family vacations. :-)

Currently watching: Hercules
Release date: June 27, 1997

Sunday, April 19, 1998

Crater Lake and Northern California trip report

"Look at me, I'm Santa Claus!" -- another kid in the hot tub, after putting foam on his face

As crazy as it sounds, my family just came back from another spring break vacation. We visited Crater Lake in Oregon and several other places in Northern California on this trip. It was loads of fun, so be sure to read about our adventure!

Day 1

Our first stop was the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree in Myers Flat. As the name suggests, this was another one of those trees that people can drive through. The admission also included access to a three-story tree house that was built inside the trunk of an ancient redwood. The tree house wasn't that impressive, but it was still fun to go inside.

The next destination was the Redwood National and State Parks as there were some hiking trails in the area. This was only our second time here, so it was quite a fresh experience. The three of us then continued to Trees of Mystery in Klamath to see the iconic statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The rest of the attraction required an entrance fee, so we didn't go in. I figured this wasn't a big deal, considering that we had already seen plenty of big trees elsewhere.

As evening neared, my parents and I arrived at our hotel in Crescent City after driving a total of almost 400 miles. All of us were kind of tired, so we didn't do much else before going to bed.

Day 2

Our main stop of the day was Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. According to scientists, the namesake lake was formed after a volcano called Mt. Mazama destroyed itself in a massive eruption several millennia ago. I'm glad I wasn't there when that happened. The water-filled caldera didn't appear very large on the map, but it was hard to believe how big it really was when we got there.

We didn't stay for long except to take pictures as the weather was rather chilly at the lake, but I nevertheless thought Crater Lake was the best part of the trip. The lake wasn't the only attraction in the park as we also hiked some of the nearby trails. The scenery was no less impressive than that of the other places we visited.

The three of us were exhausted from all the traveling, so we decided to relax in the spa after arriving at our hotel in Yreka. While we were in the hot tub, this kid from another family proceeded to scoop up the foam in the water and smear it on his face, pretending to be Santa Claus. That was just gross - I mean, heaven knows what's in that stuff. *shudder*

Day 3

This was the last day of our trip, but there was still so much to do. The three of us took a detour to check out Whiskeytown Lake on the way home. There wasn't much to do here as the lake is mainly used for boating, but we got some great pictures. One interesting feature of the lake was the huge funnel-shaped spillway where excess water drains. But it was also kind of a scary sight as falling into it would mean certain death.

We also took pictures at what appeared to be a winter recreation area of sorts. Strangely enough, my parents and I were the only ones there despite the abundance of snow. I'm guessing it's because it's not winter. There were few other attractions on the way home, so the rest of the afternoon consisted of driving. This was no easy task as Yreka is almost 350 miles from our house.


The forests of the Northwest Coast are among the most beautiful places I've ever seen. As someone who loves the great outdoors, I enjoyed every part of the trip. The highlight of said trip was Crater Lake; it's a shame there aren't any similar places in the Bay Area. While I'd love to have a vacation home in the mountains, that will only happen if I win the lottery. But I can dream, right?

I have to go back to school tomorrow as this is the last day of spring break. Dealing with the holiday blues is always going to be the hard part of coming back from a vacation. On the other hand, summer is coming up in just two months. :-)

In other news...

I'll be going to Camp Costanoan next weekend. I'm a little nervous about it, to be honest!

Currently playing: SimTown

Sunday, April 12, 1998

Eureka trip report

I just got back from a two-day family road trip to Eureka. The vacation was totally awesome despite being somewhat short.

Day 1

Eureka is a little over 300 miles from our house, but the drive didn't seem that long as there were so many attractions along the way. Our first stop was the Drive-Thru Tree Park in Leggett. Its main feature was the Chandelier Tree, which has a tunnel cut through it to allow cars to drive through. This was an interesting sight, although I couldn't help but feel bad for the tree. I'd say the Drive-Thru Tree Park was overall my favorite part of the trip.

As my family loves the great outdoors, my parents and I went hiking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park before continuing on to Eureka. The trails were absolutely amazing, especially with the beautiful redwood groves.

All of us were kind of tired from all the traveling, so we didn't do much in the evening except relax in the spa at our hotel. The hot tub was quite nice!

Day 2

It was time to find out what Eureka had to offer after a good night's sleep. There wasn't much to do other than visit the harbor and check out the local stores, but we still had lots of fun. One interesting attraction was the giant hammer in front of Pierson Building Center, a supplier of home improvement products. The hammer is actually quite famous; I imagine it's brought in a lot of business for the store.

We also came across an office building that housed the local branches of the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. I wanted to go in and take a look as geology is one of my major interests. The office was closed for the weekend as is normal for government agencies, so we just took a couple of pictures outside. It was then time to head home after a long day.

On the whole, my family really enjoyed this trip. The nice thing is that spring break has only just begun, which means there are plenty of opportunities for us to visit other places. I'm definitely pretty excited.

Friday, April 10, 1998

last Easter egg hunt ever?

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. There's nothing more thrilling than trying to grab as many of those goody-filled eggs as possible, or searching for them in obscure places where they may be hidden.

But let's be honest here: I'm getting a little too old for this stuff. Since two years ago, I've started feeling out of place at Easter egg hunts because most of the children present were much younger than me. Therefore, I've decided to stop going to them from now on. I did go to the egg hunt at school earlier this afternoon, but that will probably be my last one ever.

To be clear, I did not give up Easter egg hunts because my parents told me to; it was my own decision. I'll have to admit, this wasn't an easy thing to do because the egg hunts are what make Easter so much fun. But I guess we've all got to grow up sometime, right?

On second thought, maybe I shouldn't say I'll never participate in an egg hunt again... I'll just be hiding the eggs instead. *evil grin*

All that having been said, I'd be happy to attend an Easter egg hunt if someone were to organize one that's catered to older people. Surely I can't be the only one with that idea...

In other news...

We'll be leaving for a two-day trip to Eureka tomorrow morning. There's no better way to spend the Easter weekend than with a family vacation. :-)