Arches, belly flops, and beautiful skies.

Today began with a 9AM hike to Chautauqua which I definitely didn’t wake up at 8:57 for. After frantically jumping into my only athletic shorts and a miscellaneous t-shirt, I began the day’s exercise by running downstairs (I made it before 9 don’t worry). Once at Chautauqua, I resolved myself to make it to the royal arch and back before noon. The hike was rather intense as Andreas, a ridiculously fit backpacking aficionado, set our pace. The only thing keeping me going was the great company and the promise of a breathtaking view, and man, was the view breathtaking. 

Gustavo and Taizo posing proudly at the summit. 

The aforementioned breathtaking view.
Everyone who made it to the arch posing for the obligatory group photo. 

After running down the mountain, or more accurately falling down the mountain with style (Dr. Fallscheer trail runs and I definitely do not) and downing a refreshing matcha ice cream milkshake, I made my way back to campus and to the pool for the first time. Once at the pool, me and Andreas attempted playing a variety of water-adapted sports from volleyball to basketball, each with varying levels of success.

Me and Leo after a masterful display of superior athletic ability (we sucked at volleyball and people were definitely laughing at us). 

After my outdoor fun, I decided to move to the indoor pool as my acute lack of melanin typically mixes poorly with prolonged UV exposure. While inside, I convinced the very patient SSP alum Sasha to teach me how to dive. Naturally my first attempt was a beautiful belly flop. There was 

slow progression from there but Sasha stuck with me like any good teacher does. This progression culminated in some slightly more painful belly flops when I finally worked up the courage to attempt a “dive” from the diving board.

My second dive attempt which was much less belly floppy than my first. 

After a little more instruction from Sasha, Andreas decided to join me in diving.

The next major event of the day began as we all filed onto a coach bus heading for Mud Lake. The 30 minute bus ride was punctuated by the driver making a wrong turn which left us face to face with a metal gate on a dirt road. We finally made it to the beautiful mud lake and enjoyed a chef-curated omakase experience (Jimmy Johns).

Needless to say, the bus ride was very relaxing.
William and I repping the CUB apparel at the lake. 
The mountain views were beautiful at sunset.

Joshua, me, and Taizo cosplaying as gopniks. 

As the sun set we boarded the bus once again to head to our final location, a mountain research station at 10,000 feet of elevation. To escape the nippy high altitude night chill we all piled onto a blanket 3 times too small. While laying on that cramped blanket staring at the ghastly, gray streak of milk in the sky I was struck with awe: awe at the beauty of this universe, awe at how small and transient my life is, awe at how lucky I am to be experiencing this very moment. 

To end this blog I’ll leave you with one final image, an image of the milky way I observed this night captured by our wonderful TA Richard.


Hi, my name is Dominick, and I am from a small town in Georgia. I love working on cars, driving cars, learning about cars, well, really anything that has to do with cars. I also really enjoy cooking a variety of dishes and the way food can act as a portal into other cultures.