Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter in the Marble Mountains

There's nothing quite like a good stomp around in pristine knee deep powder to get yourself excited about the upcoming ski season. My friend Drew and I lead a group of completely random folks on a 14 mile trail in the Marble Mountain Wilderness, a sub-range of the Klamath Mountains. A six hour drive north of Berkeley the Marble Mountain Wilderness lies beyond Mount Shasta, the second most southern of the Cascades, close to the Oregon border. We drove up on Friday night arriving at the trailhead parking and campsite just after midnight, just in time to pitch our tents before the heavens opened. At 4200 feet, all this precipitation was rain which soaked pretty much everything before we had even started hiking. The hike headed along the side of a colorful canyon before emerging into what would have been a green meadown had it not been for the thick snow cover. At this altitude the snow was only a few inches deep and gave the whole scenery an fabulous wintery feel. As we passed through another meadow and a series of frozen lakes, the snow starting falling. Soon it was more like a blizzard with periods of full white out conditions. At this point we began to ascend on to the ridge line where the trail meets the Pacific Crest Trail. Here the snow was knee deep and occasionally waist deep in the drifts. Drew did a sterling job kicking a trail up to the ridge line. At this point darkness had begun to descend and all hopes of reaching the summit lake camp had been thrown out of the window and we were just happy to find a good sheltered spot in the trees at the start of the 2 mile ridge traverse. Here we made camp and attempted to stay warm until first light.

Early the following morning we woke up to freezing cold boots and in some cases frozen trousers and socks - nice! We continued along the ridge, joining up with the Pacific Crest Trail. The snow along the ridge line was mostly knee deep and after half an hour or so everyone's feet had pretty much defrosted their frozen boots. The views done into the Valleys either side of the ridge were spectacular although the freezing fog and low level cloud prevented us from more far reaching vistas of Mount Shasta and beyond. The trail itself was almost completely lost in the snow forcing us to resort to the map and compass at times or to Erica's amazing ability to spot the slightest hint of the trail under all that snow. The chutes and routes through the trees looked so perfect for some backcountry skiing and myself and Drew were cursing that our gear was in the shop getting waxed ready for next season - these untouched slopes and pristine fluffy powder would have been awesome to ride down - we'll just have to wait until xmas at Lake Tahoe and new years at Whistler/Blackcomb.

Welcome to Winter!


Election Night Done Right

The almost FINAL results from last Tuesday, Missouri is still to be officially called though at this point it is irrelevant which way it swings:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fright Night - Mario Kart Stylee!

Halloween night - the photos speak a thousand words and yes I was Bowser:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indecision '08: 6 days to Election Night

Only 6 days left on the campaign trail before America decides who should replace George W. Bush as President! Its hard to imagine that either candidate, Barack Obama (Democrat) and John McCain (Republican), wouldn't do a better job since the bar has been set so low over the last 8 years. Its a fiercely fought contest that's being going on for what seems like forever, it will be good to have it finally come to an end next Tuesday.

I think one of the most defining moments in the race and one that is still extremely important going into the vote next week was the candidates choice of running mates or the Vice Presidential candidate. Early on many people argued that Obama did not have enough experience especially of foreign policy - so wisely he chose Joe Biden, a Senator from Delaware with plenty of both to be his running mate. McCain, with more than his fair share of years in public office, chose to appeal to the more hard line members at the heart of the Republican party by choosing Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska who has very little experience but who believes in drilling oil in the National Parks of Alaska, enjoys hunting from helicopters and who believes the Earth was made some 3000 years ago! A satire show here called Saturday Night Live (SNL) thats been going for eons, does a brilliant take off of Palin with Tina Fey playing the role of Palin (she is the spitting image)! One particularly entertaining sketch was poking fun of Palin's view that there is no such thing as man made climate change, the skit goes "global warming is not man made its just God hugging us a bit tighter!" Hmmm.....quite amusing but also scary that she could end up in the white house, especially with McCain being so old, he's 72, there are concerns he may have health problems during his time in office such that she may, if elected, have the reigns of the worlds most powerful country! The entire McCain picking Palin, a hockey mom, had Matt Damon say that it was like "the premise for a really bad Disney movie"! And thanks to the folks at, there is now a trailer for this bad Disney movie, amusingly entitled "head of skate", check it out here.

Fingers crossed for next week....I'm throwing a party to hopefully celebrate Obama as the next President or to coordinate a mass exodus to Mexico or Canada if the other guy wins!!

Wish us luck....


Love Fest: Birds Eye View

Just to show you that its more than a little popular, here's an aerial shot of the party outside City Hall....

LoveFest '08

In the spirit of a true San Fransisco experience we donned ridiculous hats and loud shirts and heading to the city for the annual LoveFest parade and party!

A parade of floats hosting various "local" dance DJ's heads down Market Street in the city aroudn lunchtime and ending up outside the City Hall and Civic Center where the floats continue to blare out loud dance music for revellers to soak up amid booze soaked carnage. What more do I need to say!

Gotta love the party.....


Brews on the Bay 2008

For the last 5 years the San Fransisco Brewers Guild have put on a beer festival to show off the finest of SF many microbrews. Entertaining it is hosted on the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, a liberty ship built during world war two. Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the United States during the war. They were British in conception but adapted by the U.S., cheap and quick to build, and came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output. Based on vessels ordered by Britain to replace ships torpedoed by German U-boats, they were purchased for the U.S. fleet and for lend-lease provision to Britain. Eighteen American shipyards built 2,751 Liberties between 1941 and 1945, easily the largest number of ships produced to a single design. Its quite a location for a beer festival I can tell you!

There were 7 or 8 breweries present and despite what you might think about American beer, budwesier being the major export, the ales were both varied and some were really tasty! Ale drinkers of Britain would have been proud and there were views of Alcatraz and guns to mess around once you sampled all of the aforementioned brews!

Happy days!