Hello everyone! Thanks for tuning into my blog today. I’m finally coming to you from USC to tell you about my summer after returning from studying abroad. When I landed back in Seattle I spent 2 weeks catching up with my family and friends, sharing stories, and planing a road trip from Seattle to USC. After some extensive research and collaboration with a few friends, we created the perfect itinerary. Come August 12th, I grabbed some friends from Seattle and began the journey.

Saying goodbye to my parents back in Seattle! Can't wait to see them for winter break

Saying goodbye to my parents back in Seattle! Can’t wait to see them for winter break

The plan was to camp at various places throughout Oregon and California including Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, and finally Yosemite National Park. First stop: Umpqua, a beautiful national forest along river filled with waterfalls. It was absolutely breathtaking how big those waterfalls.

My friend Hayden baffled by an Umpqua waterfall

My friend Hayden baffled by an Umpqua waterfall

The next day we got to Crater Lake and we were all blown away again. We got there in the afternoon so we decided to take a hike up a mountain above the lake to watch the sunset. Once the sun set, we were the last five people on the mountain and I still wasn’t quite ready to leave. Being the space nerd I am, I forced my friends to wait another hour in the cold alpine air until the stars came out in full force. The stars were amazingly beautiful, but my favorite memory of Crater Lake was when we collectively started dancing to disco music to stay warm while we waited for the light to fade. If you haven’t disco danced on top of a mountain with your best friends yet, I highly recommend it.

Sunset just before our disco dance party

Sunset above Crater Lake  just before our disco dance party

The next day we made camp in Lake Tahoe after an eight hour drive. We didn’t really stop during our drive, but being trapped in the car turned out to be a blast. Somewhere in between the blasting music and long naps, the car rides were the perfect time to reflect on summer and get excited for the coming school year. One of the times I was driving me and a friend got on the topic of the Longboard USC club that I am starting up this semester. After two hours of discussion and bouncing ideas around, my friend helped me find new and creative ways to get longboarders on campus together to enjoy all aspects of the sport together. As I head into my Junior year I am extremely excited to finally give back to my fellow Trojans in new leadership roles so make sure you check out Longboard SC if you’re at all interested.

Longboard USC is starting this year! Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/USCLongboardClub

Longboard USC is starting this year! Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/USCLongboardClub

After the surprisingly enjoyable drive, we made it to Lake Tahoe where we camped and kayaked through some of the clearest water in North America. I could have stayed there forever, but we had to get moving so we could get to our last destination: Yosemite National Park. We planned a three day, 20 mile backpacking trip in the backcountry and by the end of it we also summited Mt. Conness which is the third highest mountain in Yosemite.

Our cliffside campsite in Yosemite was optimal for sunsets

Our cliffside campsite in Yosemite was optimal for sunsets

The thin air and high elevation made the hike much harder than expected, but we pushed on to the top for one of the best 360 degree views I have ever seen. Climbing Mt. Conness was a real challenge and even though I was exhausted standing on top, I felt accomplished more than anything.

Me enjoying the view from 12,590' on Mt. Conness

Me enjoying the view from 12,590′ on Mt. Conness

It was the perfect end to a perfect summer, but it reminded me how ready I was to get back into the grind of USC. Junior year is supposed to be one of the most rigorous years for Aerospace Engineering but climbing Mt. Conness reminded me that all the work is worth it. Ending my summer on the top of a mountain got me ready to start the next challenge and to work hard this year to make the most out of my education at USC. As the school year begins, I urge you to challenge yourself and work hard to succeed in every aspect of school and life that you can. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to go exploring and maybe you’ll end up disco dancing on top of a mountain!

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