Water Reservoirs in CA

Custom Google Map I built in about 5 minutes with Google Maps Engine, in the midst of a Google for Media workshop for journalists in SF.

Numbers to right of markers represents the percent of capacity for each reservoir. Marker point hues are proportional to the percentage.

Mt. Tam Loop

Amazing day with family and friends, hiking a rigorous 6.5 mile loop through Mt. Tamalpais. Starting near Stinson Beach and working our way up to the (a) crest, through three distinct biomes (fern/rainforest/giant redwood, California Coastal, and dry rolling hills). Everyone worked for it, rewarded by more beautiful vistas around every corner. In the middle, a 15-foot ladder erected in the middle of Steep Ravine to accomplish the elevation. Kids talked and sung improvised songs and exhausted themselves and got stronger by the step. All of us appreciating yet another amazing trail in our own backyard.


Trail map

Flickr Set

Old San Pablo Dam Road – GoPro

Not the main road you’re used to, but the old / abandoned one that runs down near the water. Not exactly easy to access, but blissful once you do. Combination paved/unpaved (you’ll want a mountain bike), and extends the entire length of San Pablo Dam, around 4 miles each way.

Doing a father/son ride with Miles on his 11th birthday.

Old San Pablo Dam Road – GoPro Mountain Bike from Scot Hacker on Vimeo.

Music: Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou :: The Homeless Wanderer

Schmidt Lane Descent

Five-minute descent through the Hillside Nature Area in El Cerrito CA (our family affectionately calls the area “Schmidt Lane” for the name of the street you enter from).

Shot with GoPro Hero3 Black + helmet mount, edited in the new GoPro Studio software. Sorry about the abrupt music ending – Studio currently has no audio envelope controls.

Ironically, I wiped out on the way going up and wracked my knee, though managed to stay upright on the descent :).

Music: Can – One More Night (Ege Bamyasi)

Geocache Europe

No, I’m not heading to Europe – just happened to notice this curious phenomenon when tracking one of our travel bugs recently – geocache placements completely blanket Germany, France, Spain and Italy, then drop to near-zero as you head East toward Belarus and Ukraine. Almost certainly related to the relative lack of tourism to those areas.

geocaches europe

Click for larger version.

Kauai 2013

When we experienced Kauai for the first time in 2010, I was so blown away – and found the experience so transformative – that I spent three days writing a blog post about it when we returned.

Just returned from a 2nd trip, but no way am I going to do that much writing again, even though I’ve got just as much to say :) Instead, just spent a day combing through 2,000 photos (mine, my wife’s and my father’s), and whittled down the set to around 200.

Kauai 2013 Flickr Set

For best results, click the full-screen slideshow option.

A few highlights:

Seed pod on Kahiliwai Bay

Continue reading


From the amazing team at Stamen design, a gorgeous new way to view maps of your area. Go to MapStack, select “Watercolor” from the drop-down, and type in your city or address. So cool.

east bay


How to Get Lat/Long Coordinates from iOS/Android

Recently I needed to obtain the specific coordinates of a point on the earth’s surface, and didn’t have my hiking GPS handy. Turns out you can do this pretty easily from iOS using either Apple or Google Maps, neither of which reveal coordinates directly. This technique assumes you can get to a desktop computer later, and should work just as well with Google Maps from an Android device.

1) Using Apple or Google Maps, press and hold on the location until a pin is dropped. Tap on the pin’s details to find its “Share” feature, and send the new location to your own email address.


2) From your desktop computer, click the link in the email you receive to open it in Google Maps.


3) In the browser, right-click on the pin and select “What’s Here?” from the menu.


4) The Location field in Google Maps changes from a human-friendly rendering to lat/long.



Of course, there are any number of 3rd-party apps you could use to get coordinates directly from the phone – this is assuming you don’t have one of those and just need a quick solution.

Havey Canyon Trail

We call the Havey Canyon Trail (hills above Berkeley, CA) hike our “reverse” hike because it starts at the top of a valley, descends quickly and steeply into Wildcat Canyon, then slowly up the other side of the canyon. Coming back, you end your hike with a major steep climb (most hikes start at the base of a hill, and you end by coming down).



The elevation map ends up looking kind of crazy.


Wonderful evening out with Amy, Miles and a friend doing this regular favorite of ours. Just four miles round-trip, but pretty strenuous on account of all the up/down.

The kids had a great time talking their way through an imaginary “Hunger Games” type world/scenario (they were from the “poison” district).


View in RunKeeper

Little Farm –> Alvarado

A while ago, Miles and I discovered that the fire road leading from Little Farm in the Berkeley Hills led all the way to Alvarado Park (a wonderful old WPA park) in Richmond, near his school – around seven miles through winding, rolling hills. After working out a detour for the section that doesn’t allow bikes, invited a bunch of parents and their kids to gather for a multi-family ride, which happened yesterday in absolutely gorgeous post-Thanskgiving weather.

Generally downhill on the way there, generally uphill on the way back, kids only had to get off and push a couple of times – was so proud of them for having the gumption to go for it and complete the 14-mile RT. Wildcat Canyon Trail still a bit muddy from recent rains, but getting mud stripes up our backs just added to the fun. Such a fantastic way to start the day, and way more fun than fighting crowds in the Black Friday scene.

None of my photos came out that great, but did manage to capture a usable GPS track. Here’s the live version.

Group photo by Rachel Hollowgrass: