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new pictures up on flickr

check em out!  they are from the trip out west part 2 and colorado this summer/fall.  leave comments if you like.  leave comments if you don’t like.


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Let’s start with the 2nd part of the amazing road trip…

Napa Valley:  after several days at Yosemite, aj and i decided to drive through Napa Valley on our way to San Fran.  (which, coincidentally, is not exactly ON the way, but it was close enough..)  We picked out an interesting sounding winery that offered wine tastings and tours and began the picturesque drive through northern CA.  Nikon CDC 432Nikon CDC 434After a late start, & several directional mixups (i will not name the party responsible for these), we arrived at Hess Collection Winery exactly 5 minutes too late for the last tour and wine tasting.  we laughed.  and then we walked around the courtyard and down the aisles of grapes and enjoyed the day in Northern California.  The climate and green plants were a welcome change from the desert weather of Death Valley and Eastern California.  Everywhere we drove and everything we saw was stunning.  It was definately a highlight of the trip, even without the wine tasting.  (I tasted it later by the way… Just as good =)

Next stop was my friend Kathryn’s place in San Jose.  We stayed 2 nights, and took a day trip up to San Francisco.  Aj and I parked the car, strapped on our Chaco’s, obtained a map from an overly friendly guide at an information booth, and started walking.  We went to a couple touristy places by the water, then made our way into Chinatown, which was busy, and had a lot of vendors selling fabrics and shelves full of “As seen on TV” items.  Still walking up and down enormous hills, we went through the Italian neighborhood, where we bought lunch from a shop selling meats, cheeses, bread, and other Italian staples.  Topped off with Gelato, it was a meal I think I could live on forever. Nikon CDC 413 mmm.

This snapshot is one of many that I took of the  charming neighborhood houses lining the hills we walked up and down.

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We then stopped by a grassy area with a good view of The Golden Gate Bridge to take a few pictures.

That evening, back to Kathryn’s for a great dinner, games, and a bed!  A relished amenity indeed.

From San Jose, we got on route 1.  I don’t have room to share all the pictures, Nikon CDC 528 and even this one doesn’t give you the whole effect:  We had a sunny day, a little breeze, and good music.  What more can you ask for?

That night, I had one of the most hilarious stays ever.  Here’s the guy that runs Bill’s Farm hostel:Nikon CDC 605you can choose to pay $15 dollars a night, or work for 2 hours, so we worked on the farm for that night’s fee.  Duties included everything from cleaning the bathroom, to milking the goats, to clipping out articles that he (Bill Daneen) had written for the local newspaper.  We had a blast talking to him and hearing about all the hostelers who had come through – Bill’s Farm Hostel is no longer part of the International Hostel Association, though, because he didn’t feel like meeting all the requirements (see above picture of house)

Nikon CDC 617-2Our plan was to stay 2 nights, but one was enough for my lifetime, so I called my friend Hannah who graciously talked her parents into letting us stay with them in Santa Barbara at the last minute, after I told her how despereate were were.  and we were so glad that she did, because staying in Santa Barbara was a highlight of the West Coast, and we had a terrific time.  Staying in an actual home gives such a feeling of comfort and warmth to me.  And some of my best memories from recent trips are centered around generosity of people who opened their home to me as a poor college student and grad.  I hope some day that when I’ve established somewhat of a “home”, I’ll be able to do the same.

From Santa Barbara we drove to San Diego to stay with Trevor & Sam, and of course Asha: Nikon CDC 173 We stayed for quite a while, since this was the original destination of the trip.  Ultimate Frisbee, lot’s of board game playing, the San Diego Zoo, beaches, and San Diego’s exclusive cuisine were all on the menu during our visit.   It was really nice to have plenty of down-time for a change.

Last leg of the trip… en route to Colorado… night 1: camping in Flagstaff, AZ.  night 2,3: Santa Fe with Aj’s Aunt’s friend.

An hour after we left Trevor and Sam’s place, I decided to remember that I left my wallet in their car.  Then we hit a lot of traffic in Arizona.  When we finally got to Flagstaff, we pitched the tent at a campsite, and had to make a decision.  The Grand Canyon was only an hour away, but we wouldn’t have time in the morning to go…  and since it’s just one of the 7 wonders of the world, I thought we probably should.  Nikon CDC 200-2 This is the beautiful sunset that we saw on the drive up to the Grand Canyon… Which means that by the time we arrived, it was pitch black.  hahahah.  It WAS really funny.  and cold.  We took a picture anyways just to prove that we went.   The sign in the fuzzy picture below says: “Grand Canyon Visibility”

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and that was my Grand Canyon experience.

From there we went to Santa Fe, which I came into very very low expectations, so I was blown away with how interesting it was.   There are SO many galleries and local artists there – it’s kind of odd.  but great.  We drove from there back up to Denver, thus ending the amazing gigantic loop we made around the country.  Things that I won’t be bringing next time:  a guitar that I don’t know how to play, 10 edible plant books when 1 will do, tennis rackets, waterproof winter hiking boots.  Big space suckers.

Next up..  14er’s from this summer and bizarre snowstorms in October.  I promise it’s coming before next year.


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best of the west part 1

MAY 18th??!!  i haven’t posted since May 18th?  i am an unapolagetic disgrace to bloggers everywhere. 

ok well, moving on..

i got back from an 18 day road trip to california several weeks ago.  it was kind of an early vactaion; a trip to celebrate my friend aj’s graduation.  i’ve already forgotten a lot of what we did because EVERY day we met a potpourri of interesting people who, corporately, made the roadtrip memorable.  i think breaking it into days would be too tedious.  breaking it into states is too broad.  so let’s do geographical locations, in regional neghborhoods, so to speak.  we went about 5,000 miles, so this post will most assuredly be monumentally long.

first stop, bryce canyon national park.  it was overcast, but well worth the Nikon CDC 036stop.  aj had never seen it – i camped there last year.  Bryce is one of the greatest national parks in the world, in fact, known for the rock formations carved out by wind and rain erosion.  can anyone name the name of these formations without looking the word up on wikipedia?? 

next: Zion national parkNikon CDC 003when caleb camped in zion, he met a ranger on one of his hikes.  they started talking, and the ranger invited him to his house in the park.  so when we went, we got in touch with this guy (Brent the Birdman he calls himself) and had a blast staying in his old and charming stone house.  *memorable person #1.   We sat under the stars and felt the hugeness of the canyons in the dark.  What a great stay. 

Nevada – long and boring.  a couple billboards about area 51 and aliens and lots of dust.

Death Valley:  HOTTT!  my car has no AC, so when we repeatedly passed signs that stated “turn off air conditioning next 20 miles to preventNikon CDC 160 overheating”  we just laughed real hard and popped another ice cube from the bag we got (the best $2.99 i have ever spent).

Lone Pine:  look this place up.  famous for movies filmed because of the desert like atmosphere with the Sierra Nevada Mountain backdrop.  we saw a wierd looking theatre/museum coming into town, where we promptly stopped to investigate.  Hil-arious.  We came back later to see a showing of an old western i had never heard of that was filmed in the town, which was Awful, which is why i’ve never heard of it.  Desert Legions i believe.

that night was verrry windy, and when we got back to the campsite, my tent was no-where to be found.  Aj and i strapped our headlamps on, grabbed a lantern and some bear spray, and took off to find it.  10 min later, there it was lodged between 2 rocks, flapping erratically in the wind.  with much effort, we dragged it back to the campsite, wedged it in a big rock, weighed it down and examined it for tears, which i am proud to announce that we did not find.  go rei!  and that is the tale of the lost tent that was so funny and much more exciting if you had seen it happen in person.Nikon CDC 275

on our way up to Yosemite, we saw Bristlecone pines – the oldest living organisms on the planet, located in the white mountains.

and then there was Yosemite.  lots and lots and lots of tourists, ugh.  the 1st night we were there, all 500 or so campsites that were open were full.  except 1/2 the people weren’t camping – they hooked up their rv, set up the satelite dish, and settled in for a rough evening “camping”.    anyways…  we found a national forest campsite outside yosemite where there are a lot less bears and pitched the tent for the night. 

Nikon CDC 318the next morning, aj dropped me off at the trailhead for Half-Dome at 6 am, and i started the 16 mile hike.  mist trail is the most direct way – which shoud be called drench trail.  it is up the side of a waterfall and not a square inch of you is dry after climbing it.  when its dark and chilly, it’s not the best start to a long hike.  when i reached the part of half dome where you climb straight up with metal cables, the clouds in the sky looked ominous, and i had a little pow pow with myself.  thoughts going through my head:  “i just hiked 8 miles with a 5,000 foot elevation gain.  i’m 200 yds from the top of a rock with metal cables and it looks like a thunderstorm is rolling in, what’s the worst that could happen?”  ultimately, i decided that the clouds were moving fast, and i was going to summit anyways, so i better do it quickly.  if i didn’t summit, i would have hated myself for the entire hike down.  so i did.  and it was awesome.  and i did not get struck by lightning.  when i got down to the trailhead again, my legs felt like jello, and i was wiped out.  i was also proud of myself for hiking halfdome roundtrip in 8 hours.  that made the pain feel much better.

the rest of yosemite was beautiful, but crowed with lots of camera’s, tacky hats (the ones that people buy with the purpose of wearing on vacation because they have words like “moisture wicking”, but never wear again) and cars everywhere.  so, in conclusion, it would have been wonderful if i really felt like i was in the wilderness, but clearly i did not.  We did meet some cool people, however, had a good night camping, and enjoyed the majestic rock structures that are unlike any other in the U.S. 

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ch-ch-check this out

i saw it on tv, and made my own.  it’s an UPSIDE DOWN tomato plant!  drill a hole in the bottom of a planter, place the plant upside down, buffer with newspaper, place in the sun, water with care, and pick as needed for delicious salads, pizza’s etc.

this picture is a little off because i was testing out a new lens, but you get the idea..

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i’m putting a few pictures of jake and mom’s visit out here on flickr, so you alll should check them out to see how much fun you would have if YOU visited Denver.

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madness is over

Well everyone:

it’s been real

and it’s been fun……..

but it hasn’t been reeeaaalll fun 😉

Congratulations, Jeremy – AKA “Reverend Pain,” on the championship title of the annual Family Fandango Bracketology Bonanza.  Maybe next year, Uncle Dave.  But until then, I’m forced to claim my bragging rights as you become well rehearsed in your infamous “loser dance.”

In other news, things are well in Denver.  Lot’s of transitions happening: details to come shortly.

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March Madness 2009

it has begun…



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the semi-bi-monthly-quarterly update:

i changed jobs.  not because i didn’t like working with at-risk kids, but because the emotional wear on my body became so heavy that i needed to do something else to take care of myself.  it was an extremely difficult full time job, considering the vicarious trauma and physical toll it took on me.  it took me a long time to be ok with leaving, but ultimately i knew that it was the right thing to do.

now i’m working with residents at an assisted living community, specifically with memory impaired adults – early stages of alzeimers and parkinsons.  such a different type of work as you can imagine, but also so similar to working with young children (therapeutically).  there is actually a chart showing the peak of the human brain and it’s correlation of aging.  the older you become, the closer to infancy your brain becomes again.  fascinating stuff.  i like the pace and the work — still figuring out lot’s of things, but getting by.  the building is only a couple miles from my apartment – biking distance! 

secondly, it is almost springgg!!  meaning… i’ve been shaking the mud off the hiking boots, putting together a list of all my potential trails, buying seeds for an herb garden (which will be interesting, seeing how i killed the only plant i owned this winter), packing away the flannel sheets.  i am ready.  spring is such a glorious thing.  i’ll miss playing stickball on campus this year – the staple spring activity with alpha.  but oh man, i can’t wait to go backpacking.

otherwise, life is just going right along.  i’ll be putting up pictures as they come.  here’s a couple from February.

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