We woke up pretty early for the second day of our hike: around 6:45 AM and cooked up a quick hot breakfast of oatmeal. Soon, we were on our way.
Although we had fewer miles to cover than the day before, the first mile was potentially one of our steepest. In .8 miles, we would ascend 700 feet. So, we started slowly. My breathing was heavy, but by the time we took our first break, we had already ascended around 150 feet! Soon enough, we made it to the top, but more importantly, we made it to our first snow pile! I dropped my pack at the top of the summit, ran down to the snow pile, and made a snowman! Caltech has a lot of cool things at it (pun intended), but unfortunately snow is not one of them (although there is Caltech/JPL research done in Antarctica), so the experience was a treat for everyone.
My snowman! His eyes are a little lopsided, but I tried my best!
Next, we made our way slowly along a ridge, surrounded by alpine snow banks, sand, and marmots! Then, we descended into the basin where we would camp. We thought we had aways to go, but we took a quick snack break, someone looked around, and saw a lake! Sure enough, we were at our campsite. Luckily, we didn't miss it, as there was no real water beyond where we planned to sleep.
Since we got to the campsite so early (it was before 1 pm), we decided to take a quick day hike around the nearby lakes. While some of our group decided to swim in the icy waters, I was content with just putting my feet in.
On our way back, we saw a parade of horses across from the little stream near our campsite; a great throwback to the Caltech Y horseback riding trip in Griffith Park, a great experience I had third term!
That day, we enjoyed two hot meals, one for lunch and one for dinner. Afterwards, we went right to sleep, as we were planning to get up at 4:30 AM.
The view of Death Valley below us after we climbed up 700 ft in .8 miles.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.