Category Archives: Hiking

Yosemite – Half Dome Hike

The closer we got to our trip, the more it looked like Mother Nature was against us.

  1. Weather forecast, Saturday high of 99F
  2. The Big Meadow Fire closed our camp (Crane Flat Campgrounds)

We were lucky and change our camp site to Wanwona Camp Ground. Being further south and 45 minutes away from the trail head forced us to wake up around 3:30 AM to ensue an early enough start to limit the size of the crowds we would face on the cable climb.

Yosemite Valley

[more Yosemite Half Dome photos]

On the way up we opted for the Mist Trail route since it was technically shorter, but that meant a faster elevation gain. Which in hindsight may have taken a little more energy to complete. It was very pretty passing Vernal and Nevada Falls, probably less crowded which was good. The hike was definitely more difficult than I was expecting. It didn’t take long to make the decision to maintain a steady pace instead of  killing ourselves racing up the Mountain. Thus, by the time we reached Half Dome itself, the line started to form and backup considerably.

Now if you are wondering why Justyna has credit for a few of the photos of Half Dome, that’s due to the fact that I decided the last bit of climbing up the cables was not for me. I turned back about half way up the switchbacks which was plenty high enough for me to get the vast views of Yosemite Valley.

If you are in Yosemite and would like to challenge yourself then the Half Dome hike is a good one. I’m in pretty good shape and this hike was long and rather difficult. The hike takes you up ~5000 ft of elevation gain over 14-16 miles. If you are hoofing it you can probably do this in about 10 hours, so be prepared with plenty of water and food. Because getting to the top of Half Dome is only half the battle.

There are quite a few technical spots where if you are not careful you could seriously injure yourself, if not tumble to your death. Take your time and enjoy your surroundings. But please don’t follow in the footsteps of these two morons who are descending Half Dome outside of the cables on the left. They are not only endangering themselves, but everyone else around them. Very inconsiderate.

The whole weekend in Yosemite was awesome. Thanks to Peter and Mercedes for inviting us. I not sure why it took me 10 years to go.

I’ll be back soon!

Now playing: Blue Six – Music & Wine – Beautiful Tomorrow

[More detail on the Half Dome hike by Kenton Lee]

Lake Como

We have Jeremy to thank for our stop in Lake Como. The latest Bond film has a scene where 007 is housed up in a super swank hotel overlooking the lake. I’m not sure if it was the beauty of the location that caught Jeremy’s eye or Daniel Craig on the beach. Either way Lake Como turned out to be a serious highlight of my travels.

Lake Como

After spending multiple days eating pasta and sitting on a train, we all agreed that exercise in dire need. So what better way to burn calories than to take a strenuous day hike though the mountains. Our hotel manager told us about a spectacular trek which started in Brunate and ended all the way up in Bellagio. He claimed it should only take us 4 to 5 hours to complete, but it was well worth it.

He was partially correct. The views were spectacular, but it sure wasn’t a 5 hour hike. Our hike ended about half way though and at that point we had been on the trail for over 6 hours. Not knowing what the public transportation would be in these small towns, we decided to cut the trek off early and head down to the closest town to catch a bus back to Como. Trying to calculate the distance on the map I’m pretty sure it would have taken well over 9 hours to complete the whole thing. Which of course would be a stellar day hike if you got an early start, or a nice chill 2 day trek with a night of camping.

I didn’t actually make it outside of the Town of Como, but I’m guessing the rest of the lake towns are just as beautiful. If you are looking for a super chill vacation spot in Italy, then Lake Como should be on the top of your list.

Another option, spend more time in Lake Tahoe of course. :)

More Lake Como Photos

London – River Thames Walk – 08/16/2007

Woke up this morning around 8:30, probably due to the guy in the bunk next to me banging his shit around as if he was trying to kill a rat in a garbage bag. I guess this is what I have to look forward too for the next 7 weeks.

So I decide to get an early start and went to the first place I saw for my eggs and toast breakfast. I ordered two eggs scrambled, wheat toast and coffee. The waiter asked me brown toast? So I said yeah, wheat toast. Well what came out wasn’t wheat toast, but instead burnt white bread. Also I’m not sure, but I think they made me 5 scrambled eggs or it was two ostrich eggs because the whole plate was covered. I didn’t eat much because it tasted rather nasty, which I think pissed off the waiter, he gave me a “what you don’t like” look. From this point out coffee and a croissant is going to be plenty for me.

River Thames - LondonToday was such a nice day I decided that walking the River Thames was a good idea. I started at Tower Bridge and planned going all the way to Buckingham Palace. I snapped a ton of cool pictures, but only made it to The Houses of Parliament before my camera battery gave out on me.

So here’s a quick list of what I saw:

  • Tower Bridge – The coolest bridge in London
  • Tower of London – I didn’t actually go inside the line was HUGE and it was £16. Which is more than $32. Call me cheap, although it’s probably worth the money…
  • Borough Market – Apparently London’s oldest food market. I got a killer sandwich and coffee for only £3.50
  • St Paul’s Cathedral – Again didn’t go all the way inside because the line was super long, but I did get a couple decent shots…
  • Royal National Theatre – I tried to get a ticket to one of the shows, but it was only running two more days and it was already sold out.
  • And a bunch of hacks who probably get a better wage on Pier 39

By this time it was almost 7PM, so a quick trip back to the hostel on the tube to drop my stuff off in the room then off to the pub for dinner and a beer. Which again the beer was probably the only part of the meal worth the money.

Horsetail Falls Hike

Christopher and I headed out this afternoon on a hike to work off our prior days gluttony. We headed over to Horsetail Falls, but didn’t actually make our way to the falls. Instead we made a detour to see if we could climb up to the summit of a steep cliff area.

Horsetail Falls Trail - Tahoe, CA.

Well we were not too far from the ridge before we thought it was probably best to turn back before one of us fell a few hundred feet to our death. (it got super steep rather fast toward the top)

Here’s a image of our elevation gain on the hike. And of course some stunning photos by yours truly…

Now playing: Amon Tobin – Triple ScienceOut From Out Where