Sinkholes, Sea Anemones and Sandy Fri-Chik

By Melanee Grondahl on September 17, 2007

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On a Christian campus such as Pacific Union College, religious and social programs are specially designed and planned to enrich the lives of college students. However, despite the choices available, some students find themselves searching for a more personalized spiritual experience and meaningful relationships. Fortunately there are options and opportunities here at PUC that students can seize and use to change their lives, but it takes some personal effort.

Lana Feiss, a senior liberal studies major, and I decided to plan a group weekend trip to Albion, Pacific Union College's marine field station, located on the Mendocino coast.

We ended up with nineteen eager adventurers who desired to spend some time in nature, make new friends and get to know the Lord better. After the four hour drive to Albion, everyone devoured the pancake and waffle breakfast we prepared in our cabins.

The Albion River was begging for us to canoe its salted estuary, full of seals, osprey, and kingfishers. Joel Dulhunty, a senior biochemistry major, was the first to trek out towards the river and lead the way to our canoes, paddles and life-jackets. He especially enjoyed observing all of God's creatures on the river. Dulhunty commented, "The seals were mangy looking beasts!" The group paddled peacefully up the river, keeping a wary eye on each other's canoes for fear of splash attacks.

We had several canoe races, and I claimed the name Sacajawea because of our canoe's successful navigation and speed. Unbeknownst to us, a less speedy canoe overturned because of some canoe-related panic, and threw its occupants into the freezing cold Albion River. Amanda Anguish, a junior public relations major, barely escaped capsizing as well. She said, "Our canoe narrowly escaped chattering teeth and blue lips. I've never seen people swim so fast!"

After our canoe trip we were ready for another adventure. Amy Latta, a senior history major, wanted to go check out a sinkhole on the outskirts of the town of Mendocino. After changing into dry clothes, we piled into our cars and set out to hike down into the hole. After the harrowing experience of slipping and sliding down a steep cliff, we ended up in a sandy hole with a cave entrance leading out to the sea. Luckily the tide was out, allowing us to play a game of hacky sack with some seaweed and explore the cave without being washed out to sea.

The group then decided to take advantage of the low tide, so we visited some tidepools at the Mendocino Headlands. Elisa Martin, a senior biology major, discovered abalone shells, sea anenomes and other tidepool life. She said, "You just roll up your jeans and be careful not to slip on the seaweed. I've sat in class and studied these animals; so when I get to see them up close, it really makes me happy."

The sun was making its way down the horizon, and Marianne Sabino, a junior liberal studies major, decided to lead out in a sundown worship. Marianne reflected on this experience by saying, "It was such a perfect setting for worship. The gorgeous sunset, the ocean and good friends&shyp;God is a great creator."

Once darkness fell, we decided to meet at MacKerricher State Beach to roast hot dogs and smores and play games. Lana Feiss had prepared some vegetables and Fri-Chik in aluminum to set beneath the coals. She confessed to the group that her secret ingredient was sand. She said,"It brought out the subtle flavors in Loma Linda Fri-Chik." She was praised as the Martha Stewart of campfire cuisine.

Everyone was tired after our full day of roaming the coast, so we headed back to the cabins to visit and get some sleep.

Our group adventure was a success and an escape from college stress. We made new friends, laughed, talked, worshiped together, and enjoyed God's great outdoors. The memories we made will always be connected with our college experience at PUC.

The students at Pacific Union College are blessed with a campus surrounded by many beautiful places to visit and enjoy in God's amazing outdoors. Planning a weekend trip with other students and experiencing these places can be a rewarding option to students' spiritual and social lives.