Played hooky yesterday to unwind from a couple months of work stress. Planned to kayak Bolinas and hike Tam, but the kayak rental was closed when I arrived – realized a few minutes later that the lagoon empties to bare sand at low tide. Ate oysters and watched the surfers instead, then set out for 10 miles on the Dipsea –> Old Mine –> Matt Davis loop. Came across this young boy swinging on a rope near the peak and snapped some silhouettes – realized later I had caught him at just the right microsecond so it looks like he’s walking on clouds. Gorgeous out – much-needed decompression.
Cool story: The Faroe Islands are so remote, and have such a small population, that Google hadn’t gotten around to doing StreetView there. So citizens took it upon themselves to strap solar-powered cameras to their sizable sheep population, and uploaded the resulting images to Google themselves. Soon after, Google took notice and sent actual StreetView cars and hikers to do the mapping for real.
Just returned from nine days in Iceland – two days of work and seven days of pure exploration. It was winter, so days were short, and it was gray/stormy the whole time, so no Northern Lights for me, but the trip still managed to blow my mind. Misc notes and photos below. For lots more photos, check out my
Flickr Album – Iceland 2017 (full-screen please!)
Iceland driving tip: While it might be tempting to tune in to the Icelandic death metal station while wending your way through miles of snow- and moss-covered lava rock, one notch up on the dial is the “public culture” station, where the only words you can decipher from the lilting Elvish language are “Yoko Ono,” “Steve Reich,” and “John Cage” (and then they play them).
That station works way better with the landscape. No sleep in 36 hours, but made it to the Blue Lagoon, where 464-degree superheated geothermal water from half a mile down in the earth brings up white silica powder which meets cold sea water, creating these gorgeous warm swimming holes; the color of sky refracts off the silica in the water, making it intensely blue in the right conditions (it was more greenish today). Allegedly great for psoriasis sufferers. Exhausted but blissed.
A summer of hard bicycle training finally paid off! I had done several metric century (65 mile) rides over the past decade, but both of my previous full century attempts had been thwarted. Two years ago, I overtrained and developed a tendon problem behind the knee that could have resulted in serious/permanent damage if I had pressed on. Then the next year, an illness in the family resulted in a logistical problem that forced me to do yet another metric.
This year, I wasn’t going to be stopped. Started serious training in the spring, ramping up slowly from 25 miles to 40, then 65, then a couple of 75 mile days toward the end of summer. Also focused on elevation, tackling both Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo in August and September.
Started to learn more about the importance of sodium and electrolyte replacement too, trying half of the ride supplement packets on the market. And I introduced a weekly time trial into the mix, doing exactly the same 8-mile, 1000-ft sprint after work twice a week.
Just lost someone special who hovered on the periphery of my life. Diagnosed with cancer in April, told he had a few weeks to live, gone by the end of May. Life is so fleeting. He was a geocacher who went by the name Olaff Itoff (“Oh, laugh it off!”). He once gathered me and five other people who had had trouble finding a cache together for a group hike and discovery. A few weeks later, he and his son went out caching with me and my son. For years after, we kept seeing each other’s names in logs, leaving little notes for each other. The other day I published a new cache, and the first finder’s log entry said “RIP Olaff Itoff 2016.” Contacted the finder and heard the sad news. So sad, so unfair. Wish I’d gotten to know him better.
Hey wow! KQED used two of my photos in their recent story on Sierra snow pack (mine are the top image, and the lower left in the bottom grid).
Huge day out with friends yesterday, along Coastal Trail to Alamere Falls (Pt. Reyes). Poison oak in full bloom. Recent stories about sea lion pups washing ashore, disconnected from their mothers who are out foraging for food made scarce by warming waters turned all too real when we encountered one, grumbling for a meal. Added another couple-three miles to route (for a total of 11?) as we walked up the beach looking for another access point to the trail above. Perfect weather, huge vistas, maltey barley wine enjoyed on a driftwood log after lunch. Great company, gorgeous day. Life is good.
Images in the Flickr set:
I’ve seen some of these done by hiking geocachers, but this is the first I’ve encountered at this scale (done by a cyclist, not a geocacher): Completely astonishing – from Cycling Weekly:
Salisbury rider David Taylor has created a stunning piece of Strava Artwork – a massive bicycle mapped out around the New Forest, Bournemouth and surrounding area. Taylor carefully plotted out a route in the shape of the bike and then undertook the mammoth 212-mile (341 kilometre) ride on September 20 that also took in 7,201 feet (2,195 metres) of climbing.
On that note, I’m a big user of MapMyRide, but am curious – do you prefer MMR or Strava? What are their comparative advantages? Likes/dislikes? I hear Strava is more conservative with battery usage, but that may just be anecdotal.
Just returned from an amazing two weeks in the Czech Republic with family – one week in and around Prague, and another to the South in the medieval village of Česky-Krumlov, tucked in against the base of the Bohemian forest. From those two rental apartments, we fanned out to neighboring areas on side trips. So many adventures packed into a short stay – different / amazing experiences packed into every day. Will try to keep my notes short, but more is told in the photos than in these words – be sure to check out the slideshow (full-screen please!).
Best father’s day a guy could ask for – kayaking and oysters at Tomales Bay, near Point Reyes, CA. Unfortunately I blew most of the kayaking shots due to not wiping crusted saltwater off the lens regularly (live and learn). Check out the note my wife left for me in the sand.