Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Any Sunday

Today, a friend and I went for hike in the Redwoods at Purisima Creek. We hiked a loop totalling 7.1 miles and dropping from 2000 ft to 600 ft, then climbing back to 2000 ft. It wasn't radically steep in any one place, just continually and equally punishing. We did a loop including the Whittemore Gulch Trail and the Harkins Ridge Trail from the North Ridge parking lot.
The map only shows part of the route. You can follow the black dotted line to see the balance of the trail.

Banana Slug

Purisima Creek

Then we went for lunch at Alice's Restaurant.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The North Face Mountain 25 Tent

North Face Mountain 25 Tent Without Fly
So, I bought a new tent ... A North Face Mountain tent, and right away I am going to complain about it. One obvious thing is that it's pretty heavy. At 9 lbs. 6 oz. it is heavier than it's specifications and too heavy for one person to comfortably carry. Winter solo travel will be a bit compromised with 10 pounds of extra tent and snowshoes or skis, add additional clothing and the pack total goes up to about 60 pounds.

Another thing is that it's hard to set up, especially the first time. It's not really that intuitive. It will require solid anchors to be really effective. If you happen to purchase this tent I would definitely recommend setting it up at home before going out, especially if you're headed into bad weather.

Mountain 25 with Fly

It has 2 Pockets

Roomy Vestibule

Finger Pull
The finger pull at the end of the topmost pole is a consistent with the kind of thoughtful quality found in most of the North Face top of the line stuff. The topmost pole provides for two vents found at the very top oy the fly. This should help eliminate the need to carry a Canary™ along when expecting heavy snows.

One exit

Second Exit

Fly with Door Open

Two Vents

Once it is set up it looks to be really solid, with snow flaps on one end and two exits and vents, plus a roomy interior, it looks like it would be pretty comfy for an extended stay in ... say ... a blizzard. I noticed that it is quite warm inside and I a thinking it might not be the right choice for a summer adventure into Death Valley.

One area that I might be a bit concerned about, is the center section of the tent, where it tends to want to bunch together, and will possible allow the fly to contact the tent on the sides, or flap excessively in a good breeze. Solidly pegging down the tent should help to counteract this tendency, but might be more than difficult in sandy or muddy conditions.

Wetter places ...

I was walking up Yosemite Creek with my friend Camera Jim and I was recalling an event there with some of my friends, some snow and, I suspect, a few beers, or some Jack Daniels (this was many years ago), where I was challenged and convinced by one of my friends to fully immerse my bragging hiney into the previously mentioned, same said 32 degree creek. It was obviously 32 degrees, because it was in many places covered with ice.

Anyway, I did and took his $100. The rules were that I had to get wet to my neck, and stripping to the skin was my idea (let's keep in mind that this was a long time before that crazy Bear Grills was around encouraging unknowing people to do stupid life threatening things while alone and far from help in the wild).

I told Jim another story too, in the morning when we were camped at Camp 4. I told him a story about an Indian (native) I met in Camp 4 years before. His name was Norman. Norman was from Los Angeles and was returning to nature. He was going to live off the land. In Yosemite Valley. He told me he was going to shoot a deer with a bow and arrow, cook it and eat it. I was really suprised when the next night Norman had a rack of ribs over the fire ... deer ribs.

He offered to share, but I declined ... " I have stuff to eat."

The following day when I returned from a hike my other companions in the camp told me that the Rangers had come for Norman ... and that they had defended my gear ... "It's not Normans" ...

Apparently Norman had gone down to Merced River to bathe. His nudity provoked a response from the Rangers, and they arrested him. Apparently it's ok to shoot a deer in the NP but not to be naked.

I've been unemployed for a while, and I've been sketching out a new catchier resume. I thought maybe a photo of myself and a few photos I've taken might liven it up. During the process, I began to realize that things like being a 7th grade volunteer lunch time recreation advisor for the 3rd-5th grade playground at the neighboring school might be an indicator of a serious life long commitment to leadership in recreation. And that more recent events in my life may also be indicating same, I started making lists of the "important" things I'd been doing. Volunteer photo work for environmental groups, Photo workshops I'd attended and helped with, workshops I'd conducted on my own, certifications like these:
ScrumMaster, Certified by the Scrum Alliance.
Wilderness First Responder, Certified by Northern Arizona University Rescue Medicine thru 01/2012
Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (CPR and AED), Certified by the American Heart Association thru 01/2011
Basic Plus CPR, AED, and First Aid for Adults, Certified by Medic First Aid International thru 10-1-2010

And suddenly I was thinking of the wilderness training I 'd had, you know, Indian guides at 5 yrs, old. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Webelos, Eagle Scouts, my knot tying badge, 8th grade wilderness first aid, vision quest, shaman training ... and then I started thinking about my more recent and important training:

Intro to Sea Kayaking, Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center, Sausalito, CA
Kayak Roll, Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center, Sausalito, CA
Sea Kayak Surf Zone, Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center, Sausalito, CA
Climbing Belay, Mission Cliffs (Touchstone Climbing), San Francisco, CA
Basic Climbing Skills, Mission Cliffs (Touchstone Climbing), San Francisco, CA

Then I really started thinking how all this training doesn't really cover what I actually know. Ironically, this is true in many aspects of my life. Things like:

Wilderness Travel
Fire Starting
Winter Camping
Backcountry Safety and Hygiene

And how none of it even comes close to suggesting the way that my very presence in a workplace improves the general health of the workplace be my being a constant advocate for fitness, health, good diet, and ongoing exercise. How do you write that in your resume? Maybe a list of your climbing skill level, combined with all the adventures:

Yosemite – Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Little Yosemite Valley, Badger (Winter).
Canyonlands – Chesler Park, The Needles
Mokelumne Wilderness
Superstition Wilderness
Joshua Tree
Death Valley
Grand Canyon
Desert Tortoise Conservation Area
Olympic National Park
Puget Sound
Missisippi River Headwaters
Sandwich Notch
Prarielands National Park
Saguaro National Park
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Giant Staircase
Water Canyon
Rock Creek
Feather River
Death Valley
Memphis Blues Festival
Asia ...

Well, I am thinking ... It's all pretty ridiculous at this point. There's no way that list will ever demonstrate any thing about what actually happened. The not getting lost. Navigating in the dark without a flashlight. Hiking with my father. The trails found, rattlesnakes not biting me, falling into the river, or not ... the crossings, the photos, the traveling companions passing out in the shower, plane flights, gear issues ... eating raw octopus and drinking soju in Choung Ju, South Korea. The companionship, leadership, following, friendship, the teaching, the stories told, or not ... a sandwich in a two table cafe in the alps, or life without mushrooms ... or just something as simple as not being stripped of my possessions by the gypsies on a bridge over the river in Paris.

There's so much of what I am that I can't possibly explain. Especially not in a resume or Curriculum Vitae format. There haven't actually been that many people that have bothered to really know. Maybe there's 5 or 6. One was my (umm -- ex) wife, who I never really talk about in my blog. Another is my daughter, who I don't talk about that much, either. Another is one of my lifelong friends that I studied art with early in my life. More signifigantly is the woman who liked to hit the road and swim (naked) in every backwater puddle we could find. So I said ... maybe my resume needs to be a list of the waters that I've been naked in:

Salmon River, Idaho
Clearwater River, Idaho
St. Joe River, Idaho
Weir Creek, Idaho
Lochsa River, Idaho
Coeur D’Alene River, Idaho
Snake River, Washington
Columbia River, Washington
Illinois River, Oregon
Mokelumne River, California
Stanislaus River, California
Eagle Creek, California
Tuolumne River, California
Keough Hot Springs, California
Hot Creek, California
Mono Lake, California
Crystal Springs Lake (shhh!), California
Little Yosemite Creek, California
Russian River, California
Rock Creek, California
Cottonwood Spring, California
Colorado River, Arizona

That's 22. I think that's pretty impressive. How many places wet have you been naked in?

Other waters I’ve been in or on.
Lake Berryessa, California
Lake Mendocino, California
East Walker River, California
San Francisco Bay, California
Eel River, California
Truckee River, California
Sacramento River, California
Seal Slough, California
Pacific Ocean, California
Sherman Island (SF Bay Delta), California
Puget Sound, Washington
San Juan River, Colorado
Lake Minona, Wisconsin
Huron River, Michigan
Missisippi River, Minnesota
Atlantic Ocean, Florida
Lake Kanasatka, New Hampshire
Pemigewasset River, New Hampshire
Some frozen lake near Whistler Mountain, British Columbia
Mediterranean Sea. Marseilles, France

That's 20 ... Once I met this woman on line and she accused me of not being a water person, because I don't much like boats. I think the truth is ... I'd rather be naked in the water than in a boat.

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Accumulation of Injury

February 20, 2008 -- Ruptured tendon sheath and A1+A2 pulley on my left ring finger. Over a year later this requires taping and care to prevent re-injury. I haven't done much in the way of therapy, although now I am stretching it and trying to strengthen it with exercise and vitamin I. This is an extremely common climbing injury, and it would have been really nice if someone had told me this could would happen if I tried to hang my weight on my ring finger. I have suffered a catastrophic tendon injury in the past requiring surgery and months of healing. I can tell when it's going to rain, even 30 years later. I know that I will continue to use my finger and it will hurt, and swell, and as long as I continue to use it, it will continue to work. And hurt.

January 3, 2009. I fell on the ice in the parking lot of my class in Flagstaff, AZ. It hurt at the time, but not the way it does now. Although I struck the outside of my elbow during the fall, the real injury affected the inside of my elbow and now the tendon seems to hurt under usage, in a way like tendonitis without the sandpaper feeling.

December 7, 2008 -- I pulled a hamstring on my right leg while climbing up Trousdale Ave, during a 30 mile ride with the Mushroom Girl. It still hurts, but only if I try to ride a bike.

September 2008 -- I stepped out into the front yard barefoot and crunched my foot down heavily onto the brick surrounding the lawn. The clicking noise probably wasn't a break, but was rather an adjustment of some of the metatarsals. They now are capable of rendering sufficient pain to a stop a good run. On the last hike I made in the Superstition Wilderness (December 30, 2008), I took some Ibuprofen and hiked through the pain, which seems to have helped stop it from happening. Psychologically, however, it is a factor limiting the extreme boundaries of my performance. I am afraid and unwilling to plan longer hikes or runs because of this.

Today, Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone, and there's a lot of thinking he won't make it to the Tour. The truth is, as you get older, it's all in the journey (it's not the bike). You don't heal as quickly. Fortunately, we endure pain better. Losing some of the function of our finger may not be that important. Ibuprofen works, and it doesn't matter as much that it might damage our livers. It's more fun to climb anyway, eat Vietnamese food, enjoy our friends. To climb gracefully, without complaining. For me, enjoying the moment is infinitely valuable.

Aside from that -- I am thinking about hiking a piece of PCT. Maybe in a few weeks. Despite my injuries.

Over at the House of Pain ...

Photo Angel Viloria

... Things are heating up. I am trying to get myself up to a solid 5.10b rating so I can take a lead climbing class. Or just blow away my climbing partner next time we climb (he's been traveling). So I've been busting my butt. It's a bit like training. I've been working on my finger strength, my gear, the chalking up of my hands, and even the taping technique for my effed up fingers. I've been drinking the power drinks, recovery drinks, and sleeping well before climbing.

I mostly am bouldering a V1, which is typically better than a 5.10b. There is some disconnect because bouldering can be short, while climbing a 5.10.b or c route can go on for some time. I can visualize myself bouldering 15 ft of V3, but feel very challenged by 50 feet of 5.11a/b route. go figure? There's a bit of a difference between the two.

Next time I go to the house of pain, I think I am going to finish a V2 bouldering route. I can feel it, which is just a bit more than simple visualization. I know I can do it if I'm fresh.

The interesting bit for me is the obvious thing. I really need to know every piece of my gear is going to work in an optimal way. Last week, as I reached each new level, a different piece of my gear was holding my back. My fingers were stronger, yep. But my shoes wouldn't stick because they were dirty. I cleaned those with sandpaper.

My pants held me back by restricting my reach. I fixed that by changing pants. I strengthened my fingers with one of those Black Diamond™ rings. My hands have started to develop callouses. When I was an active sculptor, my hands were both strong and tough; now they are neither. Ten years of typing and doing not much have softened them up. They will come back.

Tomorrow, I'll be there at the wall, with my fingers taped, my shoes clean, the right pants, a strap for my glasses, and, hopefully, some crazy effing spidey magic.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)

White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

I think this is a Juvenile Merlin?
Some time ago, when was up and running I had a page for Colusa NWR. Sites like linked to me, as a "friend" of the refuge. It was a short page with a few pictures. Add Image It's true though, I am and have been a patron and a friend of the refuge.

I stopped there on my way back from Oregon and shot a few pictures.


Black Phoebe

Nuttall's Woodpecker



Blue Heron


White Faced Ibis

There's more ... a lot more. I'll post a few more tomorrow.

Mt. Shasta

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Willamette River Day Hike

It's a fairly short tale, really. My friend Mark, his dog Buster, and I went for a Hike along the Willamette near Eugene, Oregon this morning. It was pretty rainy, so we all got a bit wet.

Beaver's Lodge

Mark and Buster
That Would be Me

Sandbar in the Willamette

There's an Eagle's Nest in There