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Back on track

Oil changed, car cleaned, sick of CNN and debates. I’m ready to smell some mountain air again :-) Will post some pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park!


On an AWESOME note, I am proud to celebrate the 1.5 years Kristen and I have “officially” been dating! Woo hoo, go us! :-)


Lafayette Colorado – Downtime

I am in Lafayette, Colorado and am currently not up to much.

I have got to play lots of guitar hero, watch Casino Royale, Go out a few times, sleep in, be woken up by 2 different solicitors. This was my delicious lunch today…

Cheato and HP are awesome hosts and tomorrow I start to get back to business… maybe. Need an oil change on my baby, to watch the debates tomorrow night, then head off to rocky mountain national park for wed/thurs.


Congrats Becky and BU!


Bryce Canyon National Park

“Boo-yah-ka-sha! Check it.” We’z be alls up in Bryce Canyon. I be taken da pictures and postin them fresh.

I’z be handstanding.

I’ze be panoramaing up in da canyon.


Angels Landing at Zion National Park

I woke up yesterday and spoiled myself to a Bacon, Egg and Cheddar on Sesame sandwitch, along with a nice ice white chocolate mocha.

On the Zion shuttle, I had two elderly women talk to me. One was overexcited that I was going hiking and the other was enchanted in the smell of my sunscreen…

Angels Landing is nearly all paved… until you get to the top. So out of the 2.5 miles, 2 of it is paved, but uphill. The last .5 miles takes you along a rockface that can get narrow at times, and there are metal chains there for your confidence in hiking. I got to the top and met a “tour”. They were nice enough to take my picture. I don’t know why someone would pay for a day hike? Who knows. I did pay for my Yosemite and Grand Canyon hikes but they were in the backcountry and food and permits were provided :-)

The view was spectacular. Definitely the best I saw in the park. I think I’m definitely a mountain man, because “The Narrows” are supposed to be the greatest, but I am always more impressed by summiting something.

Anyways, on the way down met another older guy, think he said he was 63, and we talked about how he had hiked down into the Grand Canyon before. He did it when he was 19 and did it all in one day which is one hell of a hike. He, along with tons of other people I met were very happy for me to get out and do these things while I can still enjoy them physically. Now hopefully I’ll still be hiking when I am 63 like him, but maybe in better shape too?

Maybe this is just an elderly person day, but I talked to 2 more from a different tour bus group when i was down getting ice cream at the Zion Lodge after my hike. They tried to tell me some joke about real estate and buying a “lot” (get it?). I just didn’t get the pun, and it wasn’t funny at first. haha.

Anyways, great hike, and made it onto Bryce Canyon National Park where I peeked around a little last night. I am going to go look at it a bit more this morning and then head onto Capitol Reef, and depending, maybe onto Arches? I just don’t know. Cheers!


Yosemite Backpacking Trip (Sept 18-21st)

Yosemite National Park is like a “Grand Central Station” as my friend Paul put it. That is because of its close proximity to San Francisco, and it’s amazingness. In any case, this backpacking trip was in “The High Country” which meant we stayed around 9,000 ft elevation most of the trip, and we started it in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers site on the eastern side of the park, away from the zoo of people.

Our guides made sure we weren’t hiking with War and Peace, and made sure we had warm enough gear. The next morning we headed out on the Cathedral Lakes trailhead and had an easy hike to Lower Cathedral Lake.

Lower Cathedral Lake

I had to hike up to the highest point around of course, and got this panoramic

We laid out and watched the stars until we were nearly frozen and they were ABSOULTELY incredible. I was thinking about how much I wish I could share that experience because I’ve never seen stars so bright and clear. Saw tons of shooting stars, satellites, and this REALLY bright thing which we could only guess that it was the international space station because it flew the speed of a satellite, but was 20x as bright.

The next day we headed over to the Upper Sunrise Lake and did a decent amount of off trail hiking which was pretty neat. Our guides Karen and Mike wanted us to become more familiar with Map and Compass, so it was a good exercise.

Going “off trail”

This night at Sunrise lake seemed like it would be warmer but it wasn’t. It was so cold, that we had frost in our tent, and my swimsuit froze.

The good thing was though that we had a fire that night.

You gotta love my support of Hokie Nation with all my Orange/Maroon gear

Our final day we hiked out past Tenaya lake and got the shuttle back to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead. That was that and I definitely like the Yosemite backcountry. My guide Karen convinced me to do Half Dome the next day which I have posted about.


"The Narrows" – Zion National Park

As recommened by Tom, my Grand Canyon Guide, I checked out Zion Adventure Company and got the gear I needed to do “The Narrows”. It is basically a river going through a REALLY tall canyon. I got:
-Booties/Socks
-Shoes
-Walking Stick
-Dry Bag (For Camera and wallet)

Here is what I saw. Enjoy.


Before getting back on the shuttle down to the visitors center…

It was definitely a unique hike. I enjoyed it, and it wore me out. Hiking up a stream is more work than you’d think. I was able to recharge with a delicious Burrito and then put together these pics for you. Angel’s Landing tomorrow morning, and then off to Bryce Canyon National Park!


I call Zion my home (for 2.5 days)

I finished the Grand Canyon Backpacking trip yesterday, and celebrated with two 8 minute showers. I was all lathered up when the shower cut off during the first one, and had to go get more quarters, was quite funny.

After being clean, I then proceeded to “We Cook Pizza and Pasta”, and bought a personal Hawaiian Pizza. It was sooo good. I was able then to relax and use the internet for a bit and put together my 20some panoramas from the Grand Canyon.

This morning I left the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and headed towards Zion National Park. On the way I went past Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

I then proceeded to go a little out of my way to hit up “Tuba City”. My brother is a AWESOME tuba player and I thought it might be cool. Well… it was a Navajo town, and it was small…. That’s about it. Then continued on and hit a Subway at somepoint with Wi-Fi where I was able to get up to date on all my handstands

Zion had an awesome tunnel, and so did Yosemite. I am so impressed with the National Park roads. They are really great.

I am staying at the Comfort Inn/RV Park-ish thing here just outside of the park for two nights. I rented some “canyoning” gear from the Zion Adventure Company across the street and tomorrow I will be doing “The Narrows”. Wednesday I will do Angel’s Landing before heading onto Bryce National Park.


Grand Canyon, Panoramic Style

So I went on another REI Adventures trip this week which was a blast. We hiked down the New Hanse Trail and hit the Colorado River, Tonto Plateau and finished up using Grandview Trail. 3 days down in a beautiful place. Check it out.


Half Dome Hike in Yosemite

Well… ~16 miles round trip, and 4700 feet up, then 4700 feet down. Brutal? Awesome.

Parking Lot


100,000 MILES


San Fran Sisqo

Pictures from the Napa Valley Wine tour are on a plane bound for South Carolina and will appear after a bit. We actually attempted a 12 of 12! I’ll post it after we get pictures.

Here are some pictures of the day after in San Fran!

Golden Gate couple shot

The Girl

The windswept Guy

The Lovely Hotel, oh I mean Alcatraz

San Fran from Lombard Street

Looking up Lombard

Golden gate in the fog

The ferry building

Yellow streetcar?

Am I in L.A.?

Uh… what?

“That’s what she said!”

Ghirardelli Square!

Anyone out there?

one of the 7 hills of San Francisco


Oregon Coast, Redwood National Park (Day 48-49)


Crater Lake Fakeout

Soo… detour. I saw the sign along the highway, 138 was closed east of such and such due to brush fires. This sign was right next to where I was going to turn off, but was too busy on the phone to realize that 138 was still a ways away. Anyways, I felt smart when I thought I was beating the system, and took a 17 mile (oh my god, we might die by falling off, or hitting one of the deer I saw) road. Then after managing to make the “quickest” way over to 138… I realized, IT was the one with the brush fire… sooo, I scoured my maps, and there really was no way except backtracking at least 1.5 hours, and still having a ways after that, or just going way out of the way.

I decided to pick up a red bull, and head for the coast. Only had one deer in the incoming lane. The 3 others I saw along this “midnight” voyage were off the road to the right. I took 42 west, and took the 42S off to the coast where I pulled into a parking lot for the night. I was going to sleep in the front seat, but couldn’t get comfortable, and the streetlights kinda shined in, so somehow I squeezed into the back of the car, and slept “comfortably” crammed next to my mountain bike. I had a “red bull hangover” quality sleep for about 6 hours. Anyways, I’ll have to make it back to Crater Lake at somepoint.

For now… I’ll be “Driving down the 101, California here I come”… :-)


Portland, Oregon (Days 44-46)

Kelly and I at the Paul Bunyan Statue

Awesome Car on Hawthorne St.

Perspective?

Lend a helping hand to a neighbor

Lightroom lets you make fun pictures!

Multnomah Falls! 2nd longest in the lower 48

Our cool new water bottles (Mike on right)

Cool boat on the Columbia River

Mike and Kelly

Word up

Convincing?

Multnomah Falls from the bridge

Cheese!

Awww


Mount Rainier National Park (Day 43)

I went over to the “Paradise” portion of Mount Rainier National Park. Took some pictures on the way, and hiked up nearly 5000 feet of elevation in about 5 miles to Camp Muir, a base camp for summiting Mount Rainier. Quite possibly one of the coolest hikes ever. I’m totally bringing my snowboard the next time I do it.

Mount Rainier again

Reflection Lake lives up to it’s name a few times…

Mount Adams

Mount St. Helens

This is the glacier i climbed up, one foot at a time, slipping every once in a while, and don’t take too big of steps…

That’s the “Paradise” visitor center at Mount Rainier that I started at

Don’t fall into the crevasse. Man it was kinda scary, went down 30?50? feet? I don’t know, didn’t get close enough to find out.

Mount Adams from a little higher up Mount Rainier

Mount Hood

Mount Saint Helens

Camp Muir! I made it! those crazy S.O.B.s have/will climbed to the top of Rainier.

See, i DID make it.

Clouds roll in…

I hiked through it and came out below the clouds…


Mount Rainier National Park (Day 42)

Went up to the “Sunrise” section of Mount Rainier National Park…

I didn’t caption a lot of these, but they are all in the “Sunrise” portion of the park.

Handstand at sunrise point

Mount Freemont Lookout, awesome trail, and there is the lookout!

2 days after labor day, they were using a helicopter to take stuff to/from the lookout and I got a close view!

IFR conditions


Seattle

I have gone a lot of miles, even through olympic national park…

to find “Nasty” chinese food…

I’ve had to take ferries…

right hand turns…

walk on my hands at Tiger Mountain…

all the way down this…

AND this.

Luckily, on this journey I have found very important things, like these black tail deer…

this abandoned greyhound bus…

and those wonderful geeks from Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX08) playing magic the gathering.

All of this has led to one course of action. To change in a bold way.

I let my hair grow a little…

And attempted to style it…

and that gave me a lovely view from seattle, 19 floors above the streets.

That was quite a tale! The REAL story is, I got to Seattle this past Wednesday and had 2.5 awesome days with Martha and the gang. (thanks guys!) Then I headed even further downtown and stayed with Dan, and enjoyed the view from the 19th floor apartment, 1 block from the convention center. Just after going to “mutton chops” for about 10 minutes, I was cleanly shaven. It’s sad, but quite nice :-)

I think Seattle is a pretty nice place. There is lots of culture for sure… maybe too much? Only had internet for a moment, on my way to mount Rainier by way of an Oil Change!


Back in the U. S. A.

Back in the U.S.A. !!! That means I have a cellphone!

Seattle bound in just a day or two, outside of Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, WA at a Jack in the Box for dinner after getting off the ferry from Victoria :-)

Pictures!

Rain Forest at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Victoria HDR

Hard to top those past 2… but here are the rest :-p Here is my campsite at Green Point

Some moss in the rain forest…

Ahh, rain forest in CANADA???

There is a big tree I was promising you

Elevated trail

Love the rocky outcrops and islands

Crazy FRENCH PEOPLE!!! I didn’t go to the right because I thought I might get the PLAGUE

Trail down to the beach…

Looking up at it

One view of the big building…

A “figurehead”

The Empress

Its top lights change colors a bunch

Perspective

More Perspective

Late night fountains and Victoria

Victoria at Night

Have to get my license so I can fly a float plane

Cool Parking lot

Totem Pole!


Vancouver Island, so far

I like it. Once the sun came out, I feel like i’m the northeast coast, except not as busy, mountains, and just plain cooler. I took a nap during the rain early yesterday and enjoyed playing around on the beach and walking around Tofino last night around late sunset. Just FYI, Tofino is like Marijuana city. I saw probably 10 people in dreads in the hour I was there, and this morning at 1030am while packing up the campsite, could smell a little wafting through the air. British Columbia, aka joint country :-p

Random note:
Tim Hortons -> Everywhere (almost as bad as Starbucks and McDonalds)

Here are some of my pics from the beach as I enjoyed it yesterday

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Jump for Joy

Go Crazy!

“ahhh!!!!”

What the hell is that?

Ahhhh… Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for the next few pics…

I got a Karma Special for Dinner, Yum!


HDR for YOU, good like cookie

HDRs are kinda like cheating… cause they look SOO cool, but I hope you enjoy!

Pyramid Mountain (Jasper) with a cloud blocking the peak

The wonderful town of Kamloops (meaning the meeting of waters, a native word, I learned that on CBC radio)

Just to the west of Kamloops

Along Highway 99

Turn around from past pic… along highway 99

Horseshoe Bay Park, West Vancouver

Horseshoe Bay Park’s little island

Horseshoe Bay Park

Looking back towards the mainland from the island

The belly of Lion’s Gate bridge

The lion himself

HDR Handstand at Green Point in Pacific Rim National Park

Green Point

Green Point (a little lighter) Photomatrix lets you play with settings, so I tried two different ways.

Green Point (a little darker)

Wow, i see GREEN at green point!

Tofino, Vancouver Island, B.C. Need to get my SES rating (Single Engine Sea)

Tofino, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Tofino, Vancouver Island, B.C. Absolutely LOVE the blue in this


Found Fast Internet!

Maybe tonight? I’ll do some HDRs, I have the pics now, just need to merge them at somepoint. For now, here are my new pics!

Go support your local Staples store, they have provided me with internet today unknowingly!

Route 99 in British Columbia is truly scenic. Here is a roadside view

When I attempted to locate the ferry docks, I stumbled upon Horseshoe Bay Provincial Park which I loved. Definitely will go back some day.

I love how the hills just come out of the water.

And the island was super cool, of course I went over :-)

Just really loved the landscape. I think I drove by some millionaires houses because they had these outstanding views and were just decadent places.

On my way out to the island…

Just really liked this place. One of my favorite “stumble upons” during the trip.

On the “island”

Handstanded! This is after I got adventurous and went for a dip in the chilly water. It was my “shower”, gross, eh?

A random note… has anyone ever told you about Mount Ranier? I crapped my pants when I saw it from highway 99. In the car I actually said “holy shit!” out loud. hehe.
I didn’t get a pic, but here is someone elses…

So you’ve heard of “Lions Gate Films”? Well, here is the bridge! “Lions Gate Bridge”

And the view next to the bridge

Stanley Park, which is where I took the bridge pictures from is LITERALLY crawling with racoons…

More Bridge

and more…

Random Vancouver City

Go Vancouver Team! I think the canucks play next door to this place?

Coming back across Lions Gate at night, trippy effect

Trippier

Vancouver Skyline at 450am from Cypress Park

These were 20 second exposures :-)

Correctly aligned. This is my favorite :-)

A view from my dash of the Ferry Lineup at 530am

A view of the mainland from the ferry

More mainland…

Looking off the back of the ferry…

And the “Sun Deck”

Looking off the deck

off the back

Namaimo on Vancouver Island

So I’m driving, and didn’t know there were “big” mountains on the island. I looked up and saw this and about crapped my pants. Those clouds can be tricky!

Roadside park…

Cool trees, will have to get some wide angle shots…

Sweetness..

Pacific Rim National Park and Tofino, here I come, it is 1123am here and I’m off!


Vancouver Island!

I made it, after sleeping in my car on the street, and hearing people talk about girls, and some guy at 4am taking a piss and then driving off… O well, it’s done and I am here in dreary vancouver island.

Off to Pacific Rim National Park and Tofino! I have a campsite the next 2 days, woo hoo! One in Pacific Rim, the other near Victoria.

USA bound on Tuesday at 3pm to Port Angeles.

Pictures will come as soon as internet with speed comes.

Cheers!


Vancouver Rocks

Loved the park at Horseshoe Bay.

City is HUGE, Chicago like cause it’s on the water, but man, it’s cool. I said WOW out loud when I saw mount ranier for the first time. Love the mountains, love the shore. Just gotta make it to my 620 am ferry to Vancouver Island.

Cheers!


Jasper to Whistler (Today completes month #1 on the road!)

Pacific Standard Time! Woo Hoo!

Last night I slept about 30k in on 99 heading south towards Whistler, at a Provincial Park Campground. I started reading through my books on Olympic National Park and some others, and just got excited. I love this. This trip was a great idea, and totally cool. So glad I get to keep exploring!

I’m in the library in Whistler right now. The sunrise drive down from the campground was quite pretty. I’ve got reservations to get over to Vancouver Island, head over to Pacific Rim National Park, and then down to Victoria, so 2 full days over there :-)

Then it’s off to Olympic National Park on Tuesday, and then Seattle for Labor Day weekend!

Hope you enjoy the pics, I’ve driven approximately 500 miles on smaller roads in the past day, phew! Only a little over 100km to Vancouver!

P.S.- Stick to snowboarding in Whistler. The mountain biking was a letdown, almost killed myself on the rocks, and then gave up because it wasn’t worth it.

Do you know this creature?

Pyramid Mountain… Glorious

Kamloops, British Columbia

Just outside of Kamloops heading west

Cache Creek, British Columbia

Along the roadside of 99 in B.C.

What about this guy, he your friend?

Ahhh…

Oooo…

Pretty flowers with a mountain Bokeh

Handstanded!

Most AWESOME jump EVER, it goes OVER the mountain!

2010 Olympic Bobsled and Luge Track!