Tag Archives: PUC back 40

Recent PUC Graduate, Stefaan Dick Asks You to Recalibrate

Angwin local Stefaan Dick can almost always be found with his camera in hand. His personal photo blog is littered with striking images from PUC’s beautiful back 40, his year abroad in Spain, and any number of exotic locations he’s been lucky enough to travel to with family and friends. As a senior photography major, Stefaan has spent his last year as a PUC student diligently working on his thesis project, a photo book titled Recalibrate. The idea: to showcase the delicate balance between outdoor athletes and nature; portraying nature as the hero, for without her, none of what we love to do would be possible.

We asked Stefaan to share a few of his favorite images from Recalibrate.

Nephtali Marin trail running in the trails of Moore Creek State Park, just south of PUC.

Alex Nelson climbing before sunrise on Mount Saint Helena.

Matthew Foulston riding along the ridge of Mount Tamalpais.

Matthew Gearing on the Hoffnagle loop looking out over Napa Valley.

Alex Nelson kayaking down the American River above Lake Folsom.

Reuben Dick bouldering on the coast near Goat Rock.

Artist Statement:

“We are what we repeatedly do.” Many have heard this quote and know how the rest of the saying goes. It advocates achieving excellence through choosing constructive habits. I find myself, however, wondering about the first part of the quote: Why do we choose to repeat certain things?

Recalibrate is my answer to that question. Specifically, it seeks to discover the cause behind humans’ chronic desire to escape the daily grind by getting in touch with nature. I have asked outdoor enthusiasts what it is about being outside that urges them to repeat their actions. In an effort to express the freedom and holistic rejuvenation that athletes experience in the outdoors, I have taken on the challenge of photographing them doing what they love.

There’s a reason why people repeat John Muir’s words “the mountains are calling.” You could make this phrase about the rivers, oceans, forests, deserts, roads, or trails and the immediate relatability would still pull on the hearts of many. Being outside is a fix. Connecting with creation is a drug. Whether you’re feeling a hit of raw adrenaline or lost in a moment of stillness, the human emotions are addressed in a way that exceeds the power of any pill a doctor could prescribe.

This book is not about me. It’s not about an individual athlete. The following scenes and stories convey a deeper connection between people and their environment. It is about individuals losing themselves in a world divine, and athletes pushing the boundaries to find peace and direction.

You can learn more about Recalibrate and even purchase your very own copy by visiting stefaanconrad.com/recalibrate.

Nature Photography Day is for the Trees!

Nature Photography Day was this past weekend, June 15th! The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) created this day in 2006 as a way to encourage people to learn and enjoy capturing the beauty of nature through their cameras. One of the best things about attending PUC is being surrounded by incredible natural beauty. From the coast to the mountains, there’s so much to see and photograph while you’re here. So let’s take a look at some of our favorite #PUCAdventures.

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Gonna miss foggy mornings in the valley 🌫

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To see more beautiful photos of life at the College on the Mountain, follow us on Instagram at @PUCNow.

Create a Bond with Nature

By Kelly Dixon

Every morning I wake up in bright sunlight and refreshing air. I can feel the wind blowing through the window into my room. I take a deep breath to start my day. Wow! What a nice feeling, so refreshing. When you take a look outside, you can see many trees standing high above the ground, and their leaves still wet from the morning dew. You walk outside the building, sun shining onto your face and body, surrounded by reams of flowers as you walk through.

There are tons of activities available for students at PUC who want to be productive for the day. For example, taking a hike to the Back 40s or taking a walk to Linda Falls with friends is a significant activity to enjoy. There are plenty of flowers, trees, and animals to view in the Back 40s. It is a fantastic place to have alone time with God, especially in the morning. It is one of my favorite places to go when having a bad day or wanting to spend time with friends.

Linda Falls to me is considered one of my favorite places to be. There is a waterfall and in front of the waterfall sits a huge rock where you can lay on to relax. While relaxing on the rock, you can hear many different animals around you, especially hearing birds calling to their friends or family. Don’t feel like hiking? Well, there are plenty of grassy areas for you to sit, which can be a great place to sit and talk to friends. While talking to friends, you can still enjoy the sun shining on you and your friends; tall trees give a little shade so you won’t be too heated. Nature here is satisfying to be around and a great place to worship God.

Five Ways to Add Vitamin N(ature) to Your Diet

Do you know there are studies that show being in nature actually makes you smarter? (Don’t believe us? Check out our “Five Reasons Why Being in Nature is Good for You” blog post to learn more!) What better place to spend your college years than surrounded by hundreds of acres of beautiful forest, trails, and vineyards! The peaceful setting provides the perfect atmosphere for students, whether you’re studying outside on a blanket or taking a break to adventure into the forest.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate nature into your life, here are five suggestions of outdoor activities to do while you’re a student at PUC!

Hike to Inspiration Point

PUC’s back 40 property has over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, across ridges and valleys. Ask most students at PUC, and they’ll tell you their favorite Sabbath afternoon hike is to Inspiration Point, which is a huge cliff (safely cordoned off with a railing!) with a lookout offering beautiful vistas of the neighboring Pope Valley.

Marvel at the Wonders of Linda Falls

Did you know there’s a waterfall near PUC? A short hike from campus takes you to the infamous Linda Falls, where you can climb around moss-covered rocks, get your feet wet, or just relax and take in its magical and peaceful sights.

Star Gaze at the Young Observatory

Napa Valley’s incredible views don’t just include what you can see from the top of a mountain. Look up! The college’s Young Observatory, a fully functional and modern observatory that is the prized jewel of the department of physics, offers the opportunity to gaze into the heavens. Spot the Big-Dipper or catch a glimpse of a shooting star. Featuring a Celestron (CGE1400 14-inch Schmidt with a 3910 mm focal length) telescope, the observatory is used for lab classes twice a week by Astronomy classes and open for public viewings two or three Friday nights per quarter.

See the Sights at Mount St. Helena

The most strenuous on this list, the hike up the majestic Mount St. Helena in nearby Calistoga is a 2,068-foot climb over 5.1 miles to the summit. Once you’re at the top though, your hard work is rewarded with breathtaking views of the valley terrain below. On clear days, Mt. Tamalpais in Marin and Mt. Diablo near Walnut Creek can be seen, and some have even claimed to see Mt. Shasta, 192 miles away.

Explore Beyond the Valley

Northern California has limitless options for PUC students interested in spending time outdoors beyond just what’s in the Napa Valley. There are plenty of beaches within a short distance of the college. Grab a blanket, a Frisbee, a guitar, and your friends and spend an afternoon on the coast. You can also raft down the Russian River, ski at Lake Tahoe, and surf at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. With so much to explore, you’ll never be bored!   

We love living in Northern California, and we know you’re going to love living here too.

Finding the Back 40

by Maria Rankin-Brown
Chair, Department of English

I’m mostly known for teaching English, but when I’m not, I’m known for stalking the greenery and flowers in my neighbors’ yards so I can capture photos I share on Instagram (@dooglebuggy and @ria.arby). My favorite place to go wild with my camera is the Back 40. Many locals and students use the Back 40 to stay physically fit. What better place is there on campus to get your uphill run on? While I theoretically appreciate the benefits of hiking or running in the Back 40, I mainly use the space to hide from others. The combination of the many, many trails, the solitude, and the opportunity to slide behind a tree when people approach is irresistible to my introverted self. As much as I enjoy the eight hours of interacting with students and colleagues during the day, I need alone time to recharge. The Back 40 offers the perfect combination of isolation, silent company, and opportunities for photography. The Back 40 calms and centers me and shows me how important it is to simply spend time sorting through my thoughts and feelings.

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Featured in @allkindsofnature @amateurs_shot and @all_colorshots 🕸🙏🏼🕸 Alien Dandelions look like they come from somewhere other worldly. Little antennae communicating with the mothership, then getting trampled by the cows grazing in the pasture.🕸✨🕸✨🕸✨🕸✨🕸✨🕸✨🕸✨🕸 ✨🕸✨🕸#ig_discover_nature #nature_spotlight #igersverybest #myheartinshots #eye_for_earth #naturehippys #modmixx #rsa_nature #snapshots_daily #beautiful_world #bestnatureshot #igs_style #naturelovers #nature_wizards #whywelovenature #nature_special_ #arte_of_nature #astounding_shots #Excellent_Snaps #fabulous_shots #impressive_shotz #shotsbyyou #stalking_nature #snapshots_daily #dandelion #moody_tones

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Don’t Be Stuck in Your Dorm Room

PUC has always promoted an active lifestyle and healthy living, and there are plenty of ways for students to stay active on campus. The gymnasium, officially known as the Pacific Auditorium but more endearingly called “The Covered Wagon,” is always full of students participating in a variety of activities. For students who enjoy the great outdoors, PUC owns over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.

The fitness center and weight room, climbing wall, and pool are used for both classes and independent recreation.

If being outside is more your thing, there are also outdoor sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, a track, and and multiple baseball and flag football fields.

From hiking and biking in the college’s back 40 property to the popular intramurals program, there’s something for every student at PUC.

If you’re interested in attending PUC, you can talk with an enrollment counselor in the enrollment services office about the application process and any questions you have about the college. Email enroll@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to be connected with a counselor today.