This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mixed Feelings

These may be fleeting feelings, but so they all are. 

Both ends of the spectrum can look bleak, sometimes you feel trapped. Being single and being with a partner can feel myopic and dark.

When you are single you must balance hope with reserve, caution with openness, dreaming with realism, the short term and the long term. No matter what we hope, we have to live with what we have, and we have to create and capture the situations presented to us. Being single is the ultimate practice of non-attachment to outcomes. You have to put yourself out there and being willing to be rejected over and over again. But being alone can be easy, too easy really. There is no one there to question your ridiculous thought process, your self serving ego. You never get any BS dished to you. But there also the endless, unstoppable searching...

With a partner you have the opportunity to grow, whether you want it or not. You will always be challenged, you have to think about what you say, what you do, how you think and how you frame your goals and life. It is a constant dance of words, thoughts, time, love, and vulnerability. We can only ask so much, but we can't ask too little either. We constantly have to be falling back in love, pushing it forward. Everything in our lives functions like this, it is either growing or dying.

Take a moment to recognize your fortune. If you are single, the possibilities are your choosing, if you are enraptured in partnership, give thanks you have someone to challenge you, something to focus your energy on that has long term gains.

Either way it is a dance with fire. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The contentment of containment

Ever choose not to say something? It is just as important as what you choose to say. Censorship is an art. The conversation is the relationship(Susan Scott). What you choose to say is what defines your relationship, and what you do not say defines the boundaries of the relationship.

Conversations can follow wild trajectories, but fate is as malleable as clay(Joanna Newsome). If you want something to go somewhere, you have to have that intention and get the words out there.

Your conversation will grow inside the boundaries of silence. So will your relationships. Are you willing to grow unbound?

Break the silence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A day at the river

What is clear is immediately in front of us. It is when these decisions fall to the past that their effect blurs. The accumulation of thousands of little decisions turn out to be the direction of our lives, and they all count. 

The water's low flow slowly shapes one side of the rock. During a flood it can shape an entire river bed, tumbling rocks in a tumultuous and powerful event. We need the ebb and flow in our lives to be shaped. We need to be picked up and thrown down stream, sometimes we need to be worn away in one spot. 

Just a little ways away a red tint of algae surrounds a rock. Only here does the river lend itself to this color. This chunk has found a happy home amidst the odd miliue. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What of it?

What of continued contentment? Of challenges and shaping, striving, wanting, gratitude, perfection, the process, the journey, fatigue, dreaming, hoping, goals, happenstance, opportunity, success, failure, learning, trying, groups, introducing, eye-contact, smiling, support, trust, togetherness, showing, compassion, disguises, acting, aberrations, relaxing, tension, affect, intelligence, wording, cause, justification, arguing, negotiation, watching, warmth, passivity, cognition, maturing, adoration, vulnerability, vulnerability, vulnerability, power, friendships, unity, comfortability, openness, welcoming, judgement, ease, intensity, wilderness, risk, sinking, swimming, pain, drowning, playing, peeing, sarcasm, humor, connecting, life, love, safety, responsibility, wanting, eating, drinking, sleeping. 

How do we sift through it all?

Look at the colors!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Switching seasons

The colors around us change.
So do we. The process of becoming who we are is filled with challenge, so is our daily life.

"We come into this world hardwired for struggle" Brene Brown, Sociological reseacher.

Yet somehow we become the people that we once looked up to. We are Engineers, Writers, Teachers, Nurses, Doctors, Coaches, and helpful strangers.

It isn't what we thought. Sometimes it drives us crazy. Being an adult seemed so much simpler when we weren't one, and of course all we will ever be doing is becoming an adult. Who ever really makes it to the destination? Now that we are in pursuit, the destination doesn't seem to be much closer now than it was a few years ago, unless of course you look at our resumes.

Somehow we keep looking forward, our eyes always on the next task. Take a moment...

Today is a day to think of how you have changed, just as the world is around us. We have come far, and maybe it is hard for us to notice but look back far enough and your world will turn on it's head. Remember when you couldn't cook for yourself? Remember when you thought eight dollars an hour was great? Remember when you couldn't fix a flat or keep track of your wallet much less an entire life(but I still can't find my cell phone)? Be impressed with yourself, you should be.

I have a ten year reunion coming up and it reminds me how much we have changed. I sit around a table and all of my friends are married (I am not really surprised I am not), we all have somewhat serious sounding jobs, and everyone is more at peace with themselves and the struggle of life than they ever have been.

We have changed for the better. And we have changed together.

I am on team Kokatat

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three words

Simplicity at it's finest:
 The words humbly are chalked into a beam across the training center on Donner Summit at Sugar Bowl Academy. Each day new slogans are marked on a board, but this one stays. It is the most challenging. It applies to everything, to every moment. We need these three words. We cannot let them slip away. But they do, the simpler something is the more ease we have in misinterpreting it, or passing it off as meaningless. But on this day it has meaning.

It means push on.

It means gather yourself and think only of the next movement, the next physical challenge. Forget class, forget the meeting at 3:15 when you will dearly want to go home, forget your endless search for connections, for love, forget trying to understand the meaning of sport, of courage, of heart and truth and pain and suffering. Let it go. You are in this moment and it is suffering. Endurable, progressive, willed even. And come back tomorrow. Don't think about that yet though, there is much to come before that.
These figures. These inert objects of sizable mass, of painful momentum sit idly. They are chipped by the change and evolution of the human body, of the scars of growth. They know of the path to health, the path to confidence and success, but they do just as a good oracle does: They allow you to find it yourself. They are boring. They push nothing upon you, they allow you to find it yourself. Only few will know their majesty, their prestige. That is okay. The fierce, the ones searching, the ones digging deep will find them, will appreciate them. Those who do will find communion in a moment, those who do will be here now.

- a thank you to Candice and Douglas Brooks for allowing me to come in and work out with the kids and them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The water is low and the drive down the canyon is long and slow, winding through bands of rock, red and grey. The river fluctuates in flow as concrete barriers squeeze through turbines to generate precise amounts of power. Minimum flows allow for life to scrape by in the riparian environment.
 Humans have their hands in everything, fastidious in their attempt for control. Not us, we  don't have delusions that the river is ours, that we can tell it what to do. We merely work with it to move downstream, always asking it's permission for passage.
Here our boats displace water and hold our bodies above the fluid. The rocks lay sprinkled in the river by a hand much bigger than ours. As you pass through the boulders and fall into the water it is better to keep your hands at your sides, just as you were taught as a kid. The boulders have a tendency to punish those who get too frisky. They frown upon improper behavior. Tuck in your skirt, keep those legs covered, and always look downstream. 
 It's a maze of beige with the winner coming out unscathed. These rocks know things. They sit and watch as small, frenetic beings splash around them. They wonder, "Who are these creatures of such curiosity playing in my waters?". But they let us pass, even though sometimes you just tuck up real tight and think happy thoughts.
Sometimes we dance with the rocks and sometimes we are wallflowers. Either way the river teaches and we learn. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Post on Fire

The air is quiet.
The flow of water and the crackle of sparks break the emptiness. The river glows red from embers and the forest has changed overnight. The hillside weakens while the large trees expand their chests to breathe in the new air. 

The river flows on.

Searing the hillside, the black char gives new beginnings to what lay below. Tall trees stand unfazed by the shallow depth of it's terror. They have seen it before and been there long enough to shrug at such novelty. The flames week attempt at domination. Though some have lived too long and wait for their chance to fall. Chunks of bark explode as sparks leap off of the shoulders of taken trees.

The smoke rides the breath of the land. The hands of the fire grasp a tree and a plume of smoke is pushed up. It is frustrating. You can't get away. Your skull tightens and your lungs burn deep and weak. It is just enough to be aware of as the substance wears at your insides. It stops us. We yield to it's magic, it's mystical nature and incorrigible shrewdness. The fire continues, pushing us back.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Return to Reality

Go back to your home town. Witness the budding lifelong love, weddings, growing families, changing communities, career changes, college stories, parking stress, and enthusiasm draining traffic. This is real life. Come back to the river and experience ephemeral love, dynamic water levels, 16 hours of sun, shuttles, swims, and poison ivy. This is real life. Dive into it.

These worlds are disparate. Separated by decisions, separated by geography, separated by economies and sociology. Everyone has chasms in their life, divisions that may be real, or may not be: Work or vacation, family or friends, challenge or relaxation, mountains or ocean. It is the way we integrate and balance these competing interests that defines who we are. We discover this balance in our life, mostly through trial and error, fumbling to understand and respect ourselves. Sometimes it feels like we are dictating who we are, but ultimately you have to trust your heart to determine what is important in your life, and allow yourself to discover it.

Will you move to Guatemala, extricating yourself from family and friends to live a life of change? Will you be achieving your goals by doing this? Will you hear the crash of waves as you sleep or see the fall of snow as you wake in the morning?

What we do know is that you can only determine 10% of someones happiness based on their environment. That means that 90% of our happiness and satisfaction is dependent upon our perception of our environment. So pay attention, give thanks for the events of your day, for the choices you have made to empower your own life and happiness. Exercise. And randomly perform acts of kindness. These are all activites that have shown to put people in a state of positivity, which lends itself to perceiving your environment with gratitude rather than pessimism. And if these activities don't help, perhaps it is time to listen to yourself and shift one of the many balancing acts we perform. Or perhaps it is time to sit around the fire and relax with some friends.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Moving on/Love with care

It is hard to describe the impossible: the reconciliation of our hopes and dreams with reality. Each day we do something amazing. We live.
It is impossibly delicate. A house made of cards, each precariously placed on the last. And we face our day to day without crumbling; we muster the strength to wake up, feed ourselves, clean ourselves and face challenges far beyond just survival. We fight to grow, we fight to love imperfections, within the world and ourselves. We fight to make it all okay. We fight to be happy.
There is inherent risk out there, in the world. Some emotional, some physical: we get hurt, we must learn to love again or we must retrain our muscles with our new abilities. Each of these events take its toll. We don't love so hard, we don't play as hard. We get stronger, more intuitive. It takes us longer to trust something, to believe that it won't rip us apart, but we can go deeper than we could when we were younger. We can love maturely, knowing that it will hurt sometimes, knowing that the challenges our love presents will make our bond grow deeper.
We must remember that the challenges along the way are learning opportunities for growth, that make us strong. The more chaos we go through, the more peace you find in your moment to moment life. The more you realize how peaceful our lives really are. Without chaos there is no calm, without challenge there is no growth.

Find peace in reflecting on the challenges that the thing you love gives you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The story

Photo by Daniel Brasuell
This is Cherry Bomb. It is the reason you hike into Upper Cherry.

First Time
This time I decided to shoulder it in. The 9 mile hike into the put-in of upper cherry is daunting, but I knew people have shouldered their boats in so I wanted to know what it was like. As we were packing Ben Coleman drove up on a little motor bike "You guys better get in there or it will be too low, run it out tomorrow". We nodded our head in respect to the advice from a man you typically hear stories about. "Ben Coleman was just in here at Richter high flows". Legend. We continued to pack with a little bit more anxiety about getting to the top. We arrived at the put in 10 hours later to what we thought looked like a medium-high flow(550 on inflow to hetch hetchy), which was surprising considering we were just told that it was going to be too low to run. We spent the night out on the cool granite, somehow avoiding mosquitoes that seem as though they have been genetically modified to reproduce at absurd rates.

We put our water gauges out, and the next morning it had risen a few inches(600 at hetch hetchy). We made our through the class IV gorge and as we came out it seemed as though the creek was really filling out. Things that I remembered being shallow now were fluffy and pushy. We decided to portage Cherry Bomb. As we rolled into what would be the entrance slide to Cherry Bomb we found two people waiting. A Kiwi, Gordy, and a Tennesseen, Curt. They said they were going and that it was a medium level. Medium? Okay. We run the entrance gorge, which was really good, and get to the lip of cherry bomb. Problem. None of the water lands in a pool. It smashes into the wall on the other side of the gorge, make a spray that hit about 40 feet above the falls. Richter high(650). We back off and start the portage out of Serenity pool, choosing a crack to ledge combo with a boat haul about of about 80 feet. We spend the night at the bottom of Cherry Bomb, hoping the water levels back off.

Shit. The water level rises(700). There are seven of us now, and later we hear that there was someone trying to catch us solo, who ended up hiking out. We decide to leave our stuff and begin the hike out of the canyon to the ridge and back to the cars. We vow to return.

Second Attempt
We arrive a few days later, but apparently a day early. We predict that the water will drop precipitously each day so we need to be near to seize our opportunity. Brian and I decide to go in a day earlier than the rest because he has work. The others also believe it will be too high, but Brian and I catch it as it begins to fall and paddle out on a nice flow(600-550). The high side of good for most stuff. We hike in and paddle out, portaging what we believe to be too risky with just two people. Success.

Third Attempt
I get to the takeout, go down to Groveland for the night. The next day I repack my stuff and begin the hike all over again. We make it to Flintstone and the water level is a nice medium flow. We hike up to the top of Cherry Bomb and begin our way down. We make it to the lip. Nervous. The flow looks good. I decide to take the line that I had the last time that I ran it, not spending too much time thinking about it. I look at the features and go back to my boat. Curt and Chris are up top taking photos and Gordy and I are in our boats. There are two channels you can take at the entrance. I take the left one, but as I go down my nose is deflected to the right, either by the confluence of water or a little pothole downstream of the entrance. Look at the photo. I land absolutely sideways in that pothole.

As I have watched more video and looked at more photos, I realize now that I probably was very close to having a good line. If it were a little lower I could have ferried out, if it were a little higher I would not have hit the pothole. But I ended up in the pothole. It is just big enough to give you hope. You can roll sometimes, you can almost ferry out. Almost. I am upright. I am upside down. I bracing and flipping and missing rolls and flipping and spinning. I am trying to ferry. I almost make it but fall back in. I am upside down. My head is hitting rocks. My boat is smashing against the walls. My left roll works. Then it doesn't. Then my right roll works. Then it doesn't. It has been a minute. Everyone is watching me and my green helmet bob up and down, in and out.

Soon I breath in some water and thats when I decide it is time to give up on the in boat portion of this event. Until then I had decided I would use all my energy in my boat and not save any energy for the swim. Sometimes it works...

I am underneath the boat. Grasping. I grab something. The paddle. That doesn't float me. I keep trying for the boat. Soon I am swirled into the back right corner of the pothole. Look at the photo, see the corner of the pothole that is hidden? That is where I am. I feel a boulder under my feet. I can stand! I can breath!

No one can see me now. All they see is my boat upside down floating downstream and nothing else. They all think that I am dead, or at least unconscious in the pothole. But I am standing there. I had just caught my breath when I started thinking about Dave. Dave swam here a few days before me. He got stuck in the hole right below the falls. We was in there for three minutes. He stopped breathing. He was revived and flown out in a helicopter. I don't have $15,000 for a helicopter. I can't get out of the pothole. There is no way. All the walls are undercut and polished granite and the waterfall just slams into it. I just sit there, wondering, up to my chest in bubbling, swirling force, plastering me against the wall of the pothole.

A throwbag plops right in front of me. What the? Holy shit. I am going to get out of here. I can't hold onto this thing. Do I have a Carabiner? No. Damn it. I try to tie it onto the lapelle of my PFD, the Ronin Pro. I hope this thing is strong enough. But they pull it away. They can't see me. They think I am unconscious. They think it is getting caught on rocks. I start looking for a way to signal them. I blow my whistle. Nothing. I look at the corner of the pothole. I stick my hand out there, sun hits it. Sploosh! Another throwbag. They must have seen it. I tie onto my lifejacket. Curt and Chris, on a small ledge, drag me, a 200 pound man, up and over a pothole, through the bottom of the falls, and up a polished granite slab. Damn.

I am a little nauseas and tired, but otherwise unharmed. Understandably, no one else wants to run the drop, so we begin the hike out for a second time in a week. As we hike out, I glance at my boat, it is sitting there in the weir hole, surfing happily by itself. It stays there for an entire day. We get back to camp and decide that I will paddle Clancy's boat out and he will hike out. I portage every class V drop on the remainder of the run, happy to be alive.

Fourth attempt
The kayaking community comes through; my boat, camera, throwbag, and breakdown paddle have all been recovered. So I hike back in, see the level is very low(360) and begin the hike out. 2 hours in, 7 hours out and my fourth hike in lead to about 40 miles of hiking and 15 miles of kayaking. Good Riddance.

Hiked in May 25, diurnal between 600 and 700 each day. Everything up to cherry bomb was awesome. Swimming hole in the rapid before the crux of the class IV gorge. Crux goes great, run it.  Hiked cherry all the way to dead bear. Double pothole probably runnable but consequence is likely death, so hiked it. Great rapids all the way down the red gorge, portaged regular portage as well as the swirly hole down there, stayed low. Finish of the red gorge is AWESOME. Portaged the nozzle gorge. Probably not worth it, but it is if you are already in there.

Thanks to Kokatat for gear that kept me safe and New River Academy for employing me. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thinking back

When I first rolled in the cold waters of Lake Almanor, it seemed like a small feat. It was a moment of exhileration, my head popped up and I shook the water from my hair as a chill ran through me. I quickly thanked my teacher and paddled to shore to warm myself, feeling pleased.
Thousands of river miles, swims, accomplishments, learning moments, and smiles later that moment still sticks. It is rare you can trace a passion back to its conception, it's birth, no matter how symbolic or contrived that moment may seem.
How does something start?When you first see it? When you first want to do it? When you sign up for you first class? It is hard to define. For many kayakers, their first experience in a whitewater boat is to roll, is to experience the chaos of being disoriented and upside down under water.
What an appropriate beginning.
It has it all. The difficulty of unnatural movement, the struggle against the water and yourself, the desperation for oxygen and life, the thrill of escaping the situation to return to the surface; triumph! These are the qualities that separate kayaking from other experiences, that lead to its unique feeling. They never stop, and kayaking becomes quite a long journey.
For years, after this moment of completion through struggle, people who fall in love with the sport tangle with its grasp, fighting to get back to the river and learn what it has to teach. Soon the hardy soul on this journey is running the drops once watched on youtube or bombflow; running whitewater that was once unimaginable, impossible. The journey is scary, humbling, and now you too fumble over how to describe what you do, and why. The fear in the movies is real but the actual danger still seems intangible.
Then is the first real injury. A flip in a quick rapid and 20 stitches now decorate your face. Then a subluxed shoulder. An underwater pin that forces a dislocated shoulder leaves you sidelined for three months.  You come back from the injury and are strong for awhile. But then you swim, not just a swim. You have a moment where you contemplate death. It enters your mind as a viable result of the situation. You make it out! Close one...

The risk sets in, the honeymoon phase is over. Kayaking is real, and the stories the old kayakers have been telling you for years starts to sink in. They have seen friends pin, swim, and die. But you always thought it wouldn't happen to you, but it is. Kayaking doesn't feel so glamorous anymore.

Friday, June 1, 2012

MF Feather

This trip was for Rivers For Change: 12 Rivers project. Rivers for change is a non-profit organization that is raising awareness of our watersheds through community events and running 12 rivers source to sea with coverage by Canoe and Kayak

The Story:
"I am out of shape and all I have is a t-shirt" the shuttle driver says. Eric loads back in the car to take our mortified shuttle driver back out of the canyon. It is hailing and the road into the Middle Feather is steep and treacherous(if you want to put in at the PCT). The shuttle driver started showing signs of weak nerves as trees brushed the side of the truck. "Are those going to knock the paddles off?" he wondered aloud as he checked his phone for the fourth time. As the road gets steeper and steeper it becomes increasingly clear that our shuttle driver is scared. We step out of the car at the bottom of a challenging section and Eric announces that he will be returning to the take out with the driver. "My friend, my responsibility" he says,  so we were down to three... Apparently being overweight and wearing a t-shirt makes you a bad candidate for driving MF shuttles, so beware of that. 

I follow the boys down the steep hike to the water. 
We make it part way, but still 1 mile away. Which way is the Trail?
The rare overhead shot
Rivers for change is trying to protect little guys like this. 
It never gets ugly.
This time down Galen and I ran a rapid I have been dreaming about for years: The Portage.
Down through bald rock
No one hates clean thirty footers

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


As your boat slides into the Potomac, the mirror reflection waves up and reverberates all the way across the 600 foot wide pool. The moist, warm air settles on your skin and the water drips off of your hands as you paddle. The perfect reflection ends in a long flat horizon line, where it looks like the end of the world, like looking out to sea. But it reflects the sky perfectly. You cannot tell what is below until you fall over the horizon. As you look up the six foot tall dam runs across the entire river, giving it a manicured feeling of false perfection. 
Past the dam, the river runs through a field of boulders until the falls. It splits and braids into dozens of channels, where hundreds of feet before it was a slow moving reflecting pond. Soon you are above the middle channel.
The rock is abrupt and ungainly. The water thrashes against it to make its descent down to the next pool, and no concessions are made in its path. There is no easy way down. The landscape is baked. The few plants that live on these islands of rock have been thrown there from floods, or exist in the marginal space between regular flow and flood level.  Grace under Pressure.

Craig Kleckner
Galen Volckhausen

Craig Kleckner

Soon the river runs into itself and slows down. The walls of rock lift up around the riverbed and create a corridor for the tranquil Potomac to slowly move toward the sea. The float out settles the river back to the reflecting pond it was when it began, and your mind can return to contemplating what happens in congress only a few miles away...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chasing Shadows

A Jackson Rock Star shines blue steel

Who cares about success? Trying to fit yourself into the box of success is an exhausting venture. We spend our lives trying to copy other people, studying what works and emulating it as best we can. But we can’t. We are our own people and we play by our own rules. Jobs try to fit us into categories but none of us are perfect. I try to teach math, but I am no math teacher, I try to coach kayaking, but I am no kayaking coach, I play dad, psychologist, counselor, philosopher, disciplinarian, adult, cook, nurse. I am none of these things. I have been trained to do these things but I am only me. I double dip, I forget to clean my dishes, I get frustrated and tired, I am not worthy of these tasks, I am not perfect.

A moment of perfection
What are we even trying to live up to anymore? I am not Evan Garcia, I am not Richard Montgomery, I am not Rick Stock. We are on our own journey, have our own strengths. We can only be who we are, fight to be better, and learn from our experiences. It will never be perfect. It will always be a mess. It always seemed so clean when I thought about life. I will just teach math, or I will just be a raft guide, or I will be a researcher. But you are not as savvy, as smart, as responsible, as you think you need to be to get it done. We can never live up to the expectations we build up for ourselves if we live in the shadow of our heroes.

Thoughtless flight 
Move on. Joan Didion wrote “innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself” and eventually ends with “to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect”. Ultimately we cannot hold ourselves to the standard that we assume we need, or that others want us to have. We can move on in earnest, each journey is unique and what we can do is keep our heart and mind tuned into compassion, learning, and what we love.  Ultimately what others think can give us some guidance, but should be considered a small piece of the information we use to understand ourselves and chisel out our self- identity. We must live for ourselves.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Changing Perspectives

Paddling with New River Academy has completely redefined how I think about river running. My worries are no longer my own, photos are a last thought, and rapids are no longer a way to express my skill but a way to demonstrate a technique or a venue for students to express their skill. I come last now. I am always sweeping, with the pin kit, first aid kit, and break down paddle neatly tucked away in my stern. It is a rare day that I get to pop out and take some photos. This is how I imagine it is to have kids. It is no longer for you, it is for them, what they want, but you are there to help guide them for what you believe to be what is best for them. You fight with them, you love them, you lose your logic, you lose your temper, you learn from them. I wish I could understand them. It is an endless cycle of mistakes and recoveries, learning what a teenager thinks is "fair", which apparently is different for each of them, but we have to figure out what rules apply to everyone. 

Head Coach Craig Kleckner showing a different line down the Watauga. 

Hunt "styling stouts with authority".

The biggest lesson this year? Don't take things so seriously. Nobody is dead or pregnant, and the sun is going to rise in the east and settle in the west, and we are going kayaking.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Talullah Gorge, Georgia

The hike into Tallulah gave me extra time to think on this particularly warm day in April. Here is a shot of the Put-in for the Tallulah, which is earned after 540 steps down a well maintained staircase. 
This great run only has water 8 days a year, a huge staircase and only room for two people to put on at a time. It makes for a long wait. The 90 minutes it took to get down to the water was more than enough time to get to pondering. On this particular day I was thinking about the past, as we are always wont to do. What choices have I made?  What could be different? We have a tendency to have some remorse about past decision sometimes, we repeat decisions in our head and try to play out the alternative scenarios. 
This kind of thinking is dangerous, it gnaws at us and pulls us away from our current situation. It has been shown that people who tend to ruminate are more likely to suffer from depression. We can't spend a lot of time questioning our decisions of the past if we want to be happy now. 

We need distractions from these thoughts, to break the cycle.

Oceana provides this kind of break.

We have to reconcile with the moment, and not the what ifs. It is not that we need to forget these decisions, in fact we must remember them and learn from them. But we must move past it, incorporate it into our self and move on.

This is what the Tallulah brought me back to. Oceana cleared the slate on the past and let me flow through to now. We have made the decisions we have and all we can do is learn from them and push forward to make the best decisions we can for the future. What we have is right now, what we have is effort in this present moment, to make the best of what is around, which is beautiful. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012


During this trip home I went to Santa Cruz and surfed, went to Quincy and kayaked, and then went to Tahoe to do some skiing. All this in under a week. Drink it up people, California is one of the most spectacular places to be on the planet, especially in March when everything is good.

Jared Licht takes a second before furthering the path into Sugarbowl sidecountry

We make a few turns and find our way to a unique feature of "The Lake Run". One must pass through the old train tunnel to finish the line. It is pure ice in there, and falling holding skis and poles is either really funny or really painful. Plus, as you can tell in the photo, it soon turns pitch black. Ice skating in ski boots while blind never appealed to me, but it turns out to add quite a twist to a short adventure. 

We slip out through a small opening in the side of the tunnel and the boys scope the final pitch.

We can see Jared's house and he leads the way down the heavy but buttery snow. 

March: The surf is pounding, the snow is deep, and the rivers are raging. 

Today's Advice: If you can't get time off from your job, consider quitting.