Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trip to San Diego and Mission Gorge

We went to San Diego last weekend. It was sweet.

We went down to the Book Project (where we sort through book that going to get trashed and send the good ones to people who need books: schools, nursing homes, etc.) and did a little work.

Here Karen, Marty, and Mom show pose among the palettes:

Patrick and Jack take a lunch break:

Then we went home for some dinner and Scrabble.

Mom makes a delicious signature salad:

Dad pretends he's diving the Great Barrier Reef:

Patrick and Jack playing der Scrabble:

Jack enjoys our al fresco family dinner:

Then we woke up early on Sunday to go climbing at Mission Gorge.

This was my first time setting my own anchors and climbing on them. Thanks to the advice of friend John Vawter and John Long's book on anchors, we all survived. It was a little harrowing, though, rappelling off an 80-foot cliff on the first anchor I ever tied, when the last time I rappelled was 15 years ago in the Boy Scouts!

Patrick looks like he might still be a little groggy:

"You tie in rope...and knots...I think."

View looking down from near the top of The Tower:

Same view with telephoto:

Thomas on The Tower:

View of Patrick and Mission Gorge midmorning. I wonder where the creek is...:

Not sure what Jack's pointing at here...maybe he saw a spider:

Jack cranks through the tough first few moves on The Steps:

Thomas demonstrates how not to never take your eyes off your climber while belaying:

Jack gives a thumbs up on The Steps:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

San Gabriel Peak and Mount Disappointment

On Friday, July 3rd, Patrick and I hit a couple small peaks in the San Gabriels: San Gabriel Peak (6,161 ft.) and Mount Disappointment (5,960 ft.).

We had beautiful weather, if a little warm, and met a really nice couple who pointed out some other routes that they recommended we try at some point.

It was good to get up over a mile high; we're trying to start getting used to thinner air to prepare for a "three-legged race" assault on Denali later this year (not really).

This is on the narrow road leading into the park:

"Look, we drove to a place!":

Patrick 50m into the journey:

It got really steep, really fast. Those cars are the JPL parking lot, where we parked, and the trail begins immediately with switchbacks:

Massive pine cones abounded:

Nice view from the trail. It's a little crooked...I was breathing hard, I guess:

Patrick hikes effortlessly along, as I try to control my wheezing:

Giant, sweet-smelling flowers were waiting for us near the top of Disappointment:

We knew there had been a Nike missile silo built on Disappointment in 1955, but weren't sure what it looked like now, since it had been filled in. This area was our best guess:

Thomas channels the spirit of the Nike missile. Reebok created a Cold War missile, too, but it was never as popular:

Patrick and Thomas at summit of San Gabriel Peak:

Patrick does a little scrambling:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fun Castle!

Okay, so I signed up for a softball team at work. I thought it would be light-hearted, easy, and there might even be beer.

It was fairly light-hearted, but there was no beer, and it was NOT easy. Especially difficult was hitting the ball, which, it turns out, is an important part of the game. So, I decided I needed some rehearsal, and Patrick, Stephanie and I headed out to where all serious athletes train: Sherman Oaks Castle Park!

Surely these helmets could stop anything, including a falling piano:

I prefer Patrick's improved version of the photo. 100 is certainly how fast it felt:

Patrick gets ready to "smack it" with the "bat":

Stretching: good for the humours:

On this one I hit it so hard the ball vaporized and then snowed pack down to the ground as powder...or maybe I missed it. I can't remember:

The batting practice went well, and Patrick and I both improved. Turns out it's a bit hard on your obliques, though, so we eventually switched over to a more gentlemanly pursuit: minigolf.

Stephanie demands, "Total and complete silence," as she lines up a putt:

Minigolf putter ad:

"Why, hello:"

Patrick copes with the terror of the h-h-haunted house!

I seem to remember that she hit it through the lighthouse's window:

Thomas's apostasy from his Catholic upbringing: