Angelus Oaks

Published: May 18th 2008
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I just spent 4 weeks up in the San Bernardino National Forest in Angelus Oaks, California (Southern California) for my third AmeriCorps project. It’s so hard for me to fathom that our third out of 4 projects is done and over with. Where has time gone?

The population of Angelus Oaks was 190 people, that is a town the size of half of my High School graduating class, pretty small. I loved the fact that we were in a wilderness setting and so secluded from civilization. It took us 40 minutes to get to the closest town. If we went right on hwy 38 we ended up in Big Bear, California, a popular ski resort area and the a left would take us to Redlands California a distant suburb of Los Angeles. Anther hard concept to fathom was the fact that I was so close to L.A. It was nice living the “simple” life up in the mountains; living a life that I previously hadn’t had too much experience with. No cable, no internet, no fast food restaurants, just some mountains, bears, coyotes, bobcats, birds and Gold 4. I really, really enjoyed it.

Work was exhausting, physically exhausting, but

Our view from work
I loved it. We were assigned to a fuel reduction project at Camp de Benneville Pines. I was so excited that my team got assigned to this type of project as we aren’t labeled a “fuel reduction” team and that was such a tough decision for me to make at the beginning of AmeriCorps, whether I should join the fuel reduction team or not. I chose not to and as fate had it, I got to work on a fuel reduction project anyway. It was our job to prevent the spreading of forest fires at their camp. As Smokey the bear says “Only you can prevent forest fires.” I did my part in helping Smokey and reducing the risk of fires spreading. Some days at work the only thing we would be doing would be moving logs, or as they called them biscuits (avg. 40lbs a piece) from one place to another. My body has never worked so hard or been so beaten up: cuts, scrapes, bruises from head to toe. The altitude was a killer as well as we were at 6,800 feet and it was easy to get winded. And although the temperature only read high 50’s - low 60’s being so high up it could have easily been mistaken for 80’s. For the month that we were there I think that there were only 2 days when the sky wasn’t completely blue. It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful! Even though it was a physically demanding job, I enjoyed the project. It was something that I probably would never get the chance to experience if I wasn’t a part of AmeriCorps. I could feel my muscles growing during this project. Prior to AmeriCorps I could do 3 push ups in 2 minutes, now I can easily do over 40 in 2 minutes. I still hate running but it has become part of my life now, same with waking up early. It’s nice that it’s getting close to summer and it’s so much easier to wake up early when the sun is finally up at the same time we are.

During our time in California I challenged myself to a NO INTERNET CHALLENGE. Basically I wanted to see if I could go the duration of the project without going online. Since there was no internet available at the camp where we were staying or working it was a lot
Typical DayTypical DayTypical Day

Katrina and I conquering a huge biscuit.
easier because I wasn’t tempted as easily. On the weekends to keep sane we would go into town where most of my teammates spent the day on the internet, but I resisted and did other things. I went 25 days with no internet, which might seem like nothing, but for a girl who compulsively checks her email when internet access is available it was pretty tough. I did read 3 books though while here which is a big accomplishment for me.

I will look back at my time spent in So. Cal, my third AmeriCorps project, with fond memories and as sad as it was to leave behind I know new adventures in Salt Lake City wait.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Modern ArtModern Art
Modern Art

To keep from going crazy while splitting wood, I arranged the wood into a piece of art titled: "A Town Erected from Wood" by Nicole Schara
Jenks LakeJenks Lake
Jenks Lake

Elena and I at a small lake by our camp
Wood Wood

Wood we split. SO MUCH WOOD!

Spending the weekend at Camp Whittle
Big BearBig Bear
Big Bear

Discovery Center
Ropes CourseRopes Course
Ropes Course

Getting geared up for the high ropes course at Camp Whittle
High RopesHigh Ropes
High Ropes

up on the ropes course
Ear PiercingEar Piercing
Ear Piercing

Getting my tragus pierced.
Team PhotoTeam Photo
Team Photo

on our last day of work

18th May 2008

The adventure never ends!
Hi # 1 Daughter, What another exciting spike to commune with nature and God. I am glad you have all these opportunities to have unique experiences that you may never have known if you didn't join Americorp. I am sure you will love your next spike. It is hard to believe that it is your last location. The next 9 weeks will be something I think you will really love. Much Love. # 1 Mommy :)
18th May 2008

California dreamin
Hi're time in So.Cal. sounded wonderful. I'm sure the beauty of what you've seen will be etched in your mind forever. I'm sure SLC will be impressive as well. Did you really see any of the wildlife you mentioned? It's too bad you can't bring some of that wood home with you for some of your infamous bonfires in the backyard. Congrats on the willpower to get by w/o the internet for that period of time. I'm sure you'll make up for it. And reading 3 books. What's gotten into you and Jeff? He's been reading a lot lately himself. I think it's great. I'm glad to hear that you and the team made it to Utah safely and I look forward to hearing what lies in store for you there. I'm keeping you and Gold 4 in my prayers. Love ya dearly, Pops
18th May 2008

So the town you just left is about the size of my home town in Saskatchewan where I grew up. Mind you, I lived 1 1/2 miles from Maymont on a farm and went into the "big" town for school, church, groceries, etc. It is so exciting to get all your blogs and "live your life" with you. The pictures are great and so are your comments. Glad it wasn't me cause I'd still be under a tree. Love, Other Mother
19th May 2008

Pictures worth 1000 words
How beautiful it is there! I'm vicariously living through your adventures and enjoying every one. I prefer southern or English style biscuits, but envy your physical prowess. Prayers and blessings are flowing around you. Enjoy Utah! Love Mrs. S.
20th May 2008

So cool that you were in Cali while I'm in Mississippi, and I was in Cali when u were in Mississippi...we flip flopped! AmeriCorps is a crazy experience...I'm glad we both joined so we'd have a friend that could understand. You're the coolest. Life is an adventure.
21st May 2008

You make a difference
Nicki, No matter where you are or what your doing I can see you are impacting the community around you. Your life is changing lives. I can't wait to see how the Lord will direct you after these incredible experiences. I am praying for you. Love, Aunt Nettie

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