Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I’m currently in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlan. It is really nice to kick back and relax here after traveling around for a few days. It took me two days to get from Utila to Antigua. I spent all of twenty four hours in Antigua before heading out to Panajachel to catch a boat to San Marcos. So after three days of traveling around it is nice to kick back a little.
The rest of my stay in Utila was really nice. I’m definitely going back there do dive as soon as I can. It wasn’t as hard to leave as I thought it would be. It seems like the only things to do there are dive and go out to the bars. I can only take so much of that. It would be nice to kayak around a little and check out Pumpkin Hill. Apparently the island is a raised reef, but Pumpkin Hill is some sort of volcanic thing. It would be cool to get over there and check it out.
Antigua was a pretty nice town. I’m looking forward to going back there and spending more time. The city its self is very European and touristy. As I was leaving around 1 o’clock yesterday you could tell that there were a lot of tourists coming into town for Christmas. It’s nice to be in a little more quite spot for Christmas after the sad turn of events.
I’m trying to make the most of it here. Things are really laid back. The town is full of laid back hippies and native mayans. There are a ton of places to do saunas, massages, and yoga. I think today I’m going to go check out the lake, do some bouldering and swimming there, then kick back and do some reading and yoga at the hotel. Maybe even a massage if I run out of lazy things to do. That pretty much seems to be the deal here in San Marcos; kick back and relax. For Christmas I’ll probably end up doing some kayaking along the lake and some more yoga. After Christmas I may head to San Pedro La Laguna and hike the volcano there before heading back to Antigua to hike an active volcano and try to poke lava with a stick ;)
The lake is gorgeous! I wish that I could post some pictures of it but the computer here flips out every time I try to load some pictures. When I get back home I’ll do a post of the best pictures from the trip, and post all the pictures on facebook.
I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Yesterday I started SCUBA diving school at Utila Water Sports. Scuba diving is really cool; there is a whole other world under the water. I´m really glad I was able to get this in. I had a little trouble at first with my claustraphobia, but scuba diving is all about mind over matter. This is the first time I have come into problems with how fit I am/was. With my lungs from skiing I burn through a tank of oxygen REALLY fast, and I have a hard time staying bouyant because I don´t have much fat and with my lung volume causes me to rise and fall a whole lot when I breath. I guess it will take some getting used to, I´ve only done on real dive so far.
There is the coolest bar in the world here. It is called Tree Tanic. It is this pirate ship up in the trees! The owner spent 12 years building the place, and must have done so on drugs. The whole place is a work of art! There are amazing mosaics, and really crazy stairs. You´ll have to check out my pictures on facebook.
I have finally found a place that has fast enough internet to upload some pictures. Because in facebook I can upload a large batch all at once I have been slowly putting pictures on facebook. I´ll see if I can get some here.
Well off to lunch and my second dive!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Holly cow! What an experience getting into Guatemala. I am a bumbling idiot. I don´t understand a thing. After a bunch of bumbling and stumbling I got a ticket to Copan and found my hotel. The sawed off shot gun toting policia are friendly. I don´t want to see why they have shot guns.
Well while it is still light out I´m going to go stumble and bumble some more to see if I can find sustinance, and a less meandering path to the bus terminal.
I´m probably going to go to Copan and hang out there and go to a spanish school since I am a bumbling idiot.
Well I´m off.... wish me luck.....I´ll need it.
Pictures will come. I don´t want to look like a total tourist. I already have the deer in the head lights look.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Now I'm going to be going down to Portland for a few days to visit family before heading down to Guatemala. On the way to Guatemala I have an overnight lay over in Houston so that I can visit family there before making the final flight to Guatemala City.
I am planning on meeting up with Cassie in Guatemala then checking out the Mayan ruins, volcanoes and jungles. I'm arriving in Guatemala nine days before Cassie gets there so those first few days I may try to head over to Honduras and the Bay Islands for some beach time and snorkeling.
Up until then I've got to do my research on Guatemala and Honduras and learn some Spanish!
and others go to the backcountry!
There is something truely special about skiing in the mountains. I felt especially gifted last Sunday when Zach, Jason, Karl and I went skiing out at Tin Can in Turnagain Pass.
The avalanche hazard was pretty high that day and most people were going skiing out at Alyeska. Turnagain Pass got dumped on the last couple days and there was a lot of unsettled snow. The plan was to ski the low angle slopes and trees. I was a little nervus about the conditions; but I was going with some really experience skiers and climbers. Zach is a guide for Mountain Trip and is soon off to Argentina to guide on Aconcagua and Jason is a long time climber and skier with a lot of experience. Between the four of us I felt that we could make some smart decisions.
While driving down to the pass we hit real thick blizard conditions along Turnagain Arm. We stopped in Girdwood for a little while to let things settle down before heading up to the pass. Thankfully by the time we got to the pass, things had settled down and it was starting to look like a blue bird day.
The skin up was amazing! The trees were loaded with snow and the sun was just coming up over the mountains. It didn't feel like I was in Alaska any more. I was completely overwhelmed.
Jason had the perfect quote for the day,"Boys, it gets better than this; but not much." It certainly couldn't get much better than being outside with three friends on such a fabulous day. I was so thankfull I wasn't in India at the time. I could definetally feel that there was something out there keeping me from India so that I could be there that day. I felt much more of a connection that day than any time that I had spent in a church. There is something to be said about the power and majesty of the mountains.
The snow was pretty decent up there. There was six inches to a foot of new on top of hard pack in the chute. We decided to stick to the lower angle terrain and out of the rocks due to the avalanche hazards.
All in all it was a great way to get out and share some powder with friends before gorging on excellent food!
Cassie skinning up
Jason with Cassie in the background
Jason practicing his dry tooling technique in his "manskos".
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last Thursday I had the day off so I figured I would head out to Hatchers for my first cross country ski of the season. The conditions out there were perfect! Ed had just finished grooming, it was extra blue conditions and I had the place to myself.
After skiing around for an hour and a half I noticed that there was another red swix drinking belt. There had been one other person up there while I was skiing, and they didn't look like the type that would have had a drinking belt. There aren't too many kilometers of trails right now at Hatchers and I was stumped on who else could be up there that I wasn't running into that would have a red swix drinking belt. I decided to go in for a closer investigation. To my great sunrise it was Karl's drinking belt. Apparently he had forgot it up there after his ski the previous Saturday. Thankfully I was able to get to it before someone stole it.
That evening Cassi and I heard that the ice was coming in at Eklutna. So that Friday we headed out in that direction for some ice climbing. We weren't sure what the river situation was so we decided to hike up the Thunderbird Falls trail rather than up the creek. The first climb in Eklutna is Mad Dog. Upon seeing that it was somewhat in and that we could repel into from the trail we decided to go for it.
We couldn't see from the top that there wasn't much ice on the bottom half of the climb. It looked like it might be over my head with the first half of the climb being mixed. Karl was nice enough to let me borrow his ice gear which was really nice because it was nice and sharp so I didn't have to hack away at the little bit of ice that was clinging to the rock. It ended up being a lot easier than I thought it was. It was really fun to tap the tools in on little placements than to hack away at a wall of ice.
Haha, look who's got Karl's drinking belt.
The climbing on the glacier was a little harder than I remembered it to be. The ice was much harder and colder than when I went climbing in July with Brian. On top of that the twilight made it hard to see where the best placements were. Anyways, no excuses, it was crazy awesome!
The next morning we met friends at Hatcher Pass for some tele skiing. We had quite the mix of people out there. Between the eight of us we had everyone from complete beginners to some awesome AT skiers trying tele for the first time. It was the prefect set up for a great day! By the end of the day the snow was pretty tracked up between the eight of us and ton of other people that were out there. If you're heading out to the Hatcher's area for skiing you'll have to work for some fresh tracks.
Cassi hiking into the glacier
Where we climbed on the Mat.
Jason and Adele skinning up to April Bowl
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I bought a Cannon Powershot A590, which was the cheapest camera that I could find that had aperture and shutter priority as well as a fully manual option. I have been very pleased with the camera so far.
The day was perfect for a hike. When I started out from the end of Canyon road, it was perfectly sunny with four to five fresh inches of snow over a thin crust from the previous snowfall. The trail was absolutely gorgeous with fresh snow hanging on all the trees. For the first hour or so I had been following someone's tracks up the trail. It turned out that it was a my friend Danielle and her dog Bean! They had hiked out to Rabbit lake and back for Columbus day. We were both commenting on how there was enough snow at this point that we should have taken our skis rather than crunch along up, and down the trail.
Soon after running in to Danielle, I reached the section of trail that was just below the saddle between Ptarmigan and the ridge leading back to Flattop. My goal was to get up to that saddle then hike back on the ridge to Peak 3, then down to the car. Just as I was about to gain the saddle I looked up to find that I wasn't alone. There were three sheep hanging out just at the crest to the saddle grazing away. They weren't scared at all and I could get within 20 meters of them and get some great photos.
Upper Rabbit Creek Valley
Sheep with Avalanche Peak in the background
My three companions under Ptarmigan
It was a great 3 hour hike in the fresh snow. It was different to look down from the ridge and see skiers down there skiing back and forth on the power line. Its been really nice to do different stuff like this than the traditional ski training this summer and fall. I have really been enjoying the change of pace since deciding to ski recreationally this winter. Perhaps I'll get the bug to race fast again, but for now this is the life.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Suprisingly enough it wasn't as hard as I thought to hang on with them. However, I did jump in halfway through completely fresh and up hill running was always my strong suit in fall training. It was really reassuring for me that if I really wanted to, with a little bit of work I could get back where I was. Here are the few pictures that I took thinking it was the time trial.