Archive for August, 2008

Nikhil ran his first 5K of the season on Sunday in the Guy Poncy 5K at the Block in Orange.  We haven’t done any running during summer break yet he still ran a 26:07.

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This week, I took the boys with their Boy Scout troop up to Yosemite for 5 days. On one of the days, we hiked up to Half Dome. This was a difficult 18 mile round trip from our campsite at Upper Pines. It took us about twelve and a half hours to complete the hike.

We started promptly at 5:30 in the morning while it was still dark.

About an hour into the hike, the kids had a dry cereal breakfast.

Here they are on another break.

At about the 6 hour mark, we near the staircase and cables part of Half Dome.

Here is a picture up the staircase. It is some basic rock scrambling. At the top of this 1/2 mile section is the cable portion. Only four of the boys remained for this last section.

Here we are right before the cables. You can see the cable ascent to the top of Half Dome in the picture below. The cable portion is 400 feet and is rated as a Class 3 climb.

I did not get a picture of it, but to keep the kids safe, we had them all wear a harness and clip themselves to the cables. In case they slipped, the harness would keep them safe.

There were some people that should not have been up there. We saw people in flip flops, people with one or two bottles of water and other accidents just waiting to happen. One of the boys said, “if you don’t know what you are doing, you will die”. We saw so many people that fit this category! In fact, the Park Service reports that there were three fatal falls last year alone.

Finally, we made it to the top! The peak is at 8842 feet of elevation and rises about 4700 feet off the valley floor.

The descent down the cables was a bit easier but still quite challenging.

After the cables, we started back down the mountain. Even though it was all down hill, it was still strenuous with difficult terrain to navigate.

One last shot of the numerous waterfalls on the way back.

Vikram said he “found his guts” on this trip. I would also add that it totally impressed me that these 11-14 year olds were able to accomplish such a feat at such a young age. I am proud of them all.

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On Sunday we went for a long hike into Blackstar Canyon. We started at the trail head and after a short walk through the shady canyon we started climbing up some switchbacks. After a few miles we hit a level plateau before climbing for a few more miles.

Here are some pictures from the hike. Note the bullet holes in the sign!

Here are the boys in front of a big rock.

At about 7.5 miles into the hike, we neared the giant Doppler Radar also known as the “Death Star”.

A little bit further up the trail there were some more strange rock formations that looked like they had been pulled up from the bottom of the ocean to about the 4500ft level we were at.

From here it was a long way back but at least it was all down hill! Fifteen miles in total. I think we are ready for Half Dome.

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Mt. Baldy Warmup

The boys and I are going to Yosemite in a couple of weeks. To prepare, we went on a hike last weekend up to the top of Mt. Baldy. Doug E and his son Adam joined us as our official tour guide. Mt. Baldy is one of the tallest peaks in So Cal at about 10,100 feet. We started at about 6200 feet and climbed up and back down in about 7 hours.

Here are some pictures of us along the way.

Here we are about half way up. There is a cabin with a nice stream running by it.

Here we are near the top. Note the change in the terrain as we are well above the tree line. Still another 1000 feet of climbing left.

Here we are at the top of the mountain!

The walk back down went a lot quicker. A couple of more long hikes and we’ll be ready for Half Dome!

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I was in Geneva last week and it was in full throttle tourist mode. All of the lakefront hotels were booked solid by the Saudi princes and their entourages.

Here is a picture in front of the Kempinski Hotel with “his and hers” Rolls Royce. Behind the Rolls is a Bentley convertible. Note that all of the cars still have their Saudi plates on them. These are not mere rentals, but rather, the cars are shipped in on the Saudis private jet(s). Geneva must have special arrangements for them.

Here is another picture in front of the Woodrow Wilson Hotel. This one is of a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.

Our $5 per gallon gasoline is fueling one of the biggest transfers of wealth in the history of the world. This rising bill for imported petroleum lowers our already anemic savings rates, adds to inflation, worsens the trade deficit, and undermines the dollar.

Wake up George Bush…. it is time to have a comprehensive energy policy!

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