The Struggle is Real

“To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that’s out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He’s likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he’s tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even when he knows what’s ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, he’s unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then *it* will be “here”. What he’s looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn’t want that because it *is* all around him. Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.” – Robert M. Pirsig

2019 Firsts and Notables

  • Symphony with family (Swan Lake)
  • Bought fat-bike
  • Real hangboard training
  • Consistent climbing
  • Downhill skiing with Logan (her first lift ride)
  • Glissading
  • Couloir Climbs
  • Bouldering Enchanted Rock
  • Biked Across San Antonio
  • CMC Trip Leader
  • Jade Driving
  • Acadia peakbagging trip
  • Worked with Acadia guide authors
  • First bikepacking trip
  • Submitted bikepacking route for consideration to
  • Jade NHS
  • Lincoln Woods bouldering
  • Led Backpacker National Summit Day trip – Massive Mania
  • 5.10
  • Big conference talk (150-200 people)
  • Lab talks
  • Ice level Avs tickets
  • Parking lot altercation at Avs game, ended with me repeatedly kicking a guys van after he intentionally hit our car and tried to back over me
  • RMFI volunteer work
  • Delivered a fawn
  • Pawtuckaway bouldering
  • Jade dorm check-in in Vermont
  • Class 4+ 14ers
  • First live leads on sport routes
  • Presidential Traverse (lite)
  • Finished Colorado Trail !!!!!!!
  • V5
  • Vail pass bike trip with kids, Matt and kids
  • CMC co-led 2 trips
  • V6!!!
  • Khatadhin Knife Edge
  • HAMS
  • New Taco
  • CPR cert
  • Moto wiring fixed
  • Complete carb rebuilds
  • Icy bike wreck
  • Skiing blue lines, caught an edge
  • 8-fiddy
  • Logan lab trip

The Abstract Beauty of a Summer Storm

Beautiful Video by Mike Olbinski

Thud and Blunder Bikepacking

My bikepacking buddy and I threw together an overnight trip from Aurora to Colorado Springs to prep for a longer trip we intend to embark on to celebrate the life of Kit Carson (aptly named the “Blood and Thunder” trip). I had no idea what my daily range would be on a 60 lb. bike, and figured the beginner friendly nature of a trip beginning and ending with food, amenities, and civilization would be a good start. Also I’ve thought about biking from Denver to Colorado Springs just about every time I drive North.

We weren’t really expecting much from this trip on the scenery front, though we planned to pass through Castlewood Canyon State Park and some other scenic spots between Larkspur and Monument. A good chunk of the trip was on paved trails that weaved their way through both Colorado Springs and Denver. The rest of the trip ended up being incredibly scenic once we left the pavement of Denver and climbed up into Castlewood. We made it about 55 miles the first day, with about 2k of climbing. There were 2-3 times when I completely bonked, rested a while, and continued on rejuvenated.

My journal entry from camp, “First BP trip, lots of literal and figurative ups and downs. Bonked/crashed about 25-30 miles in. Felt refreshed after good, heavy dinner in Franktown. From Castlewood on scenery was fantastic … lots of wild turkeys. 55.1 miles in 5.5 hours of moving time. Cramped climbing a hill toward the very end of today. Had to pitch tent/bivy on side of road in some trees since we are surrounded by private, fenced in property. I am worried we will bothered in the middle of night by something, though we have done our best to hide everything. Car driving to the house across the road and up the hill from us drove by, saw my tent light and honked. I suppose they could have been honking at the turkeys on the road … maybe even the tom that won”t shut up. Decided to hike-a-bike 2 hills to stretch the legs out at the end of the ride and that felt amazing. Chain-suck twice on downhills, will have to do something about this. Got a few good laughs and moments of encouragement looking down at Jeff picture by the handlebars. Good service all day. 40-ish miles tomorrow and mostly down hill through the wonderful, flowing New Santa Fe Trail from Monument and into springs. We are planning to end our trip with some Mexican food and Margaritas to celebrate Cinco De Mayo “.

One of the most exciting, and albeit a little goofy aspects of the trip, was the opportunity to finally get some bike porn shots of my Pugsley (Peeg) out in the wild.

Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Looking back toward Castlewood Canyon SP
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Home sweet camp
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Home sweet camp 2
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Views opening up toward Pikes Peak after breakfast
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Beginning of second day, in perfect weather near Larkspur
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Near Greenland
Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Wallpaper
Approaching Palmer Lake

PEEG 2.0 – My Surly Pugsley Bikepacking Rig

Bikepacking - My Surly Pugsley Wallpaper

2018 Firsts and Notables

  • NHL Playoff Game
  • Chopsticks
  • Questival
  • Paid of NASA
  • Finally hit my credit score goal
  • Padre Failure
  • Ski Resort Trip
  • Hiked Across San Antonio
  • West Coast Trail
  • First Rifftracks event
  • Royal George (its been decades)
  • Set bike to work speed record, moving time of 52 minutes, moving speed over 15 MPH
  • Played a few rounds of golf with Dad
  • Bought lemonade from a lemonade stand
  • Finished DC badge challenge
  • Capital Reef NP
  • Arches NP
  • Bryce Canyon NP
  • Black Canyon of Gunnison NP
  • 6 NP, cross-country trip with Jade
  • Finally got Longs
  • Tommy Caldwell talk
  • Got Laura interested in climbing
  • Wim Hoff
  • Navy/Air Force game
  • Camped with Moose!
  • 60 mile CT session with Jade
  • Visited Vancouver
  • Moved offices
  • Made progress on CB750 with help from dedicated forum members
  • Got my first real road bike
  • Lazer tag with kids
  • Stopped using work elevator
  • Began climbing in earnest
  • Big Memorial Day car camping
  • Destroyed truck on CastleCon approach (due to mechanic errors)
  • Finished 50 mountains
  • Finished 14 audio books
  • Ate crab pulled right out of a tidal lake
  • Visited a couple of lighthouses
  • Hiked Waldo and Williams Canyon
  • Massive Mania failure

Parenting log 181011

We’ve noticed that kid #2’s grades have been slipping over the last few weeks. We asked her about this, and checked her campus portal and noticed that she had 12 missing assignments 1 day prior to the end of the quarter. She had told me, often with a lot of attitude, that she did not have any school work to do over the last couple of weeks, usually when I caught her messing around on her computer. This is nothing new really, though my wife and I both thought she had turned a corner on this front. Unfortunately for her, we had not checked her grades in a couple of weeks.

I asked to see her computer, and ran some browser history tools (since she has to have a computer for school), and was blown away by the resulting logs/histograms below:

Since kid#2 cannot go to discord, wattpad, furry paws, and her other favorite sites at home, she has been using her school time to surf the web. She informed us that she only did this after she was done with work in class, but the browser history logs for the week indicated that she hit one of her knock-off sites about every 2 minutes during class. You can even tell by looking at the histogram when she is at lunch, and when she is in transit either to or from school. She had a couple of days, once of which she had 5 missing assignments, where she logged over 1000 hits. I am looking forward to showing her teachers this, and installing a HIDS on her machine.

Parenting log 181005

  • Me – “Where is Logan’s comp?”
  • Kid #1 – “I have no idea.”
  • Me – “I found it, it was under your bed?”
  • Kid #1 – “Why was it there?”
  • Me – “Because that is where you hid it when you took it from her.”
  • Kid #1 – “Here fan fic note book? Why she need it?”
  • Me – “Her school laptop, Jesus.”
  • Kid #1 – “Look, Comp usually means composition notebook (a comp book), write PC or CPU next time.”

Subway … eat awkward

I just got back from my local subway, which has been hilariously shitty the last few visits.  Usually they have one of their 2 hard working employees working alone, frantically trying to keep up with the volume of customers poring through there, which led to 20 minute wait times the last few times I have been there. The last time I was there this poor guy was making subs for 6 customers/groups of customers at a time before ringing them all up at once. I suppose management finally decided to hire some new help, which oddly enough, might make me less likely to visit. Today, I walked in to loud, over-the-top, country music blasting throughout the store. A tall, 17 year old kid was working there, along with this obnoxiously outgoing girl that I have seen before. When I walked in a customer was patiently waiting to give his order while she chastised the young kid publicly while trying to train him to operate the register. After a couple of minutes that ended and the kid made his way over to the customer in front of me and proceeded to take about 2-3 minutes to try to figure out what went on his sandwiches. Eventually, obnoxious girl swoops in to help him (after the customer told him which chicken to put on his sub), all-the-while rolling her eyes and looking at the customers. She began singing some pop song (“don’t throw this away” was the lyrics she kept repeating), with an annoying, almost comical falsetto. Her singing was about as good as mine and yet here she was subjecting the customers and her poor coworker to it (over the top of the country music which was still blasting), while trying to help him out. By that point, I wanted to be anywhere but in that Subway. Things can get worse though. A guy comes in behind me, and of course he is an extrovert, a nice man, but an extrovert none-the-less, which means that obnoxious singing Subway Goddess now has more of an audience.  She proceeds to ask the customer in front of me how long he thought the young kid had worked there, to which he replied, kind of annoyed, “I don’t know is today his first day?”. Obnoxious Subway Goddess smirks and answers that this is his 5th day, which is why she, being the local Subway Goddess, had to give him a good talking to today. She told the customer that he was a little quicker the last couple of times but was having problems today, and that if she had to talk to him again it would be a bad thing for him. All of this actually was addressed to the customer in front of me, which is kind of awkward/hilarious/shitty. The nice, older extrovert behind me swooped in to make the young kid feel a little better, and loudly announced that the kid, who was actually quite built and tall and who could have passed for a college kid, had a wild night last night and that today he was just feeling it. Subway Goddess announced that he better of not had a wild night because he is 17. The extrovert customer said “oh, like you never had a wild night when you were 17”. The Subway Goddess then upped her “my-farts-smell-like-roses” game with a “I am 22 and never had a sip of alcohol … blah blah”. She then apologized personally to me for the kids lack of speed, and I spent the entire drive home wondering why I did not tell her that the reason I might not come back is her singing and and propensity to publicly berate her coworker. I seriously cannot remember a more awkward fast food run and I am hard pressed to come up with a reasonable scenario that would have made this trip more cringe-worthy … perhaps if Jared himself walked in wearing a prison jumpsuit and began suggesting subs.

West Coast Trail, & Hiking Speed/Times, Compared to US Long Distance Trails

A friend, my daughter and I just completed the West Coast Trail and the experience was as incredible as advertised. In fact this was the best hike/backpacking trip all three of us had ever been on.  I have read many guidebooks on the trail and forums, and just about everyone said that if you are in great shape and bust ass, you could do it in 4 nights and 5 days. I could not find anyone comparing hiking times/speeds of the WCT to some the PCT, CDT, CT, or AT. This stressed me a out a little bit since we did the hike with my 15 year old daughter, and though she isn’t new to hard backpacking trips, she can bonk at times. Eric, our super-fit trip partner, wanted to try to attempt to do the trip in 3 days and 4 nights. We have a pretty good baseline for long distance hiking speeds in the US, from the Colorado Trail, and parts of the PCT, CDT, and AT. On those hikes we average about 2.5 MPH on a trip, and through difficult sustained climbs, might slow down to about 2 MPH or a little less.  When we checked into the Parks Canada office, the ranger scoffed at the three of us for requesting passes for 4 nights. This became a theme for our trip. We would meet new people or camp with a group of people, exchange itineraries and beta since we were often heading in separate directions, and be told that we would not be able to reach whatever destination we were attempting to get to. On the second to the last night we were told more than once in no uncertain terms, that we would not finish in time. So how hard is the West Coast Trail compared to US long distance trails? Below is a breakdown of our speeds and distances per day:

  • Day1 – Began hiking at 12:18, finished at 19:09, 30-45 minutes spent between Pachena Lighthouse and sea lion watching, camping at Darling River campsite.
    • 14 KM/8.69 Miles (2.04 KM/H | 1.3 MPH), average moving speed (eliminating stops above, pictures, and other breaks) closer to 2.86 KM/H 1.75 MPH
  • Day2 – Began hiking at 07:15, finished at 17:00, 90 minutes spent between wandering around beach near hole-in-the-wall, Tsusiat Falls, and waiting for ferry, camping at cabin at Nitinat Narrows.
    • 18.25 KM/11.34 Miles (1.87 KM/H | 1.16 MPH), average moving speed (eliminating stops above, pictures, and other breaks) closer to 2.57 KM/H 1.6 MPH
  • Day3 – Began hiking at 07:15, finished at 15:00, mostly beach hiking, go caught scrambling/slipping with class3/4 moves early on beach to get ahead of rising tide. Spent about 30 minutes at Carmenah Lighthouse, camping at Walbran Creek
    • 20.75KM/12.89 Miles (2.67 KM/H | 1.66 MPH), average moving speed (eliminating stops above, pictures, and other breaks) closer to 2.86 KM/H 1.75 MPH
  • Day4 – Began hiking at 7:30, finished at 17:15, quick stretches of hiking on boardwalks, followed by several bogs, 90 minutes spent napping/eating at Camper Creek, camping at Thrasher Cove
    • 18 KM/11.18 Miles (1.84 KM/H | 1.15 MPH), average moving speed (eliminating stops above, pictures, and other breaks) closer to 2.25 KM/H 1.4 MPH
  • Day5 – Began hiking at 7:30, finished at 10:10, quick stretch, good path, lots of short ups and downs, finishing at the Gordon River Ferry
    • 6 KM/3.72 Miles (2.26 KM/H | 1.4 MPH), average moving speed (eliminating stops above, pictures, and other breaks) closer to 2.4 KM/H 1.5 MPH

So the takeaways?  The first thing I need to mention is that we had fantastic weather. It did rain about 2-3 inches the night before we began (while we camped at the Gordon River Area), so the trail was a bit boggy. Other than that we could not ask for better weather with no precipitation whatsoever, clear skies and little wind. Another thing I need to mention is that we were kind of forced to hit the trail early 2-3 mornings to get ahead of the tide and past a coastal section where there were no inland alternatives. This lead to us getting the bulk of our hiking done by lunch each day.

The trail is obviously harder/slower on average than the big 3 in the US, as evident by the average moving speeds. The reasons being the need to constantly balance on slick stuff, avoid (if possible) deep boggy areas by carefully stepping on rocks/sticks/whatever, trying not to break your leg when stepping between ridiculous amounts of root networks, utilizing cable cars, and climbing up and down ladders. I thing one of the things that slowed us down most is simply stopping to take in all of the amazing views/places, and taking photos. The West Coast Trail has an insane amount of beauty-per-mile, so that in itself slows you down. We made sure to stay on the beach the third day, as long as we could, past Chez Monique’s. This stretch of beach is insanely beautiful, and quite easy to hike provided you are ahead of the tide. We also made it a point to avoid the beach on the last two days since it gets pretty gnarly, and we already got to experience that a bit early on the third day.

We could have finished the hike in 3 nights/4 days, if we would have pushed a couple of hours longer on the second or third day. We chose not to mainly because we didn’t really have much of a reason to rush (see 15:00 stop time on day 3), and because we were wary of pushing hard only to miss the Gordon River Ferry cut-off time of 15:30.  Eric mentioned that he and I could probably come back and knock it out in 3 days/ 2 nights, which seems like a reasonable goal. Both of us have hiked a handful/half dozen days or so over 32.19 KM/ 20 Miles while my daughter’s longest day to date is about 27.36 KM / 17 M.

Some people suggested that even if we could finish in 5 days/4 nights, we would miss so much due to being in a hurry. I do not think that was the case at all. We stopped at literally everything that interested us, took naps on the beach, stayed at the narrow and hung out, ate crab, spent time at both lighthouses, and visited all of the waterfalls. I feel like we saw just about everything we wanted to see other than somehow missing what I assume is an Orca skeleton at the Carmanah Lighthouse. If Chez Monique’s was open we would have spent an hour or so there, which would not have effected out schedule much since we finished hiking at 15:00 that day. That being said the risk for injury will go way up if we push hard for speed, since there are so many damn places to hurt ones self. I think some of our recent class 3 scrambling trips in the mountains of Colorado helped us with balance and moving quick on uneven surfaces.

Below are our galleries for the trip:

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