I've neglected this blog for a few months now, and it seems a shame to ignore everything that's happened in the mean time. This is the second part in a two-part series playing catch-up.
Coming from the harsh cold of the Midwest, Oregon spring is paradise. It was lovely to be reunited with my family and dogs and to have minimal obligations for several weeks. I spent that time working around the house, riding my bike, and relaxing as much as possible. I needed some time to get away from the intensity of college.
My lovely sister had just hatched a batch of ducklings. We were having tons of fun playing with them and Rocky, our border collie, in the lawn and I got a few nice pictures of it. No ducklings were harmed in the process.
I also got the opportunity to spend some time in some very special places. Marys Peak, a 4000' mountain in the coast range, is home to my favorite trail and some of the most beautiful forest I have ever experienced. There is no way for pictures to do it justice. There's something very awe inspiring about being out in a relatively undisturbed old-growth forest. It feels like the trees have souls.
Yaquina Falls is a remote, completely unmarked and mostly unkown spot that I had been trying to find for several years. The clues finally came together, and my friend Boone and I made the trek on a quiet Sunday in early June. It took some serious scrambling and bushwacking to make it to the falls. The scale of the falls surpassed any expectation I had. It is a truly magical spot.
I took my camera on a shot some video just for fun, but it ended up turning out well enough that I pieced together a short edit of the day. The music is by a friend of mine, the incredible Nevan Doyle.
Alex and Dalton, friends from the Copper Country Cycling Club at Michigan Tech, dropped by for a couple of days on their two-month long mountain biking road trip. We made the trip up to Marys Peak, as well as a few of my other favorite local spots.
My dad and I climbed Mt. McLoughlin in Southern Oregon. It's become a bit of a tradition for us to climb a new peak each summer.
I put in a solid 1000 miles on my mountain bike, and made it out to some fun trails including these at the Blackrock Mountain Biking Area near Falls City, OR. Hopefully it was some decent prep for the collegiate racing season.
The family (part of it, anyhow) even managed to get out on camping trip to Davis Lake for some canoeing and relaxation.
As the summer was coming to a close, I managed to fit in a spontaneous 3 day backpacking trip in the wilderness east of Broken Top. It was a fantastic trip with great friends. The glacial lake was a nice swimming hole as well. (Photo evidence is coming as soon as I can get ahold of it.)
The finale of my summer was a week-long canoe camping trip down the Willamette River. That story is more than deserving of its own post, so we'll see if it comes together.
I've neglected this blog for a few months now, and it seems a shame to ignore everything that's happened in the mean time. This is the first part in a two-part series playing catch-up.
In early April, I jumped on the opportunity to make a weekend trip south to Ripon, Wisconsin with some of my cycling clubmates to race road bikes and get away from the snow.
It great to relax for a weekend and catch some sunshine. I somehow managed to come in 3rd in the D's (newbies) criterium, despite being the only person on a steel road bike with downtube shifters.
A week or two later, a full lunar eclipse was predicted in the wee hours of the morning. My friend Bryan and I jumped at the chance and lucked out with a quick break in the clouds aligning perfectly with the event.
I finally managed to get out to the family cabin, despite the wet snow and my lack of snowshoes. Next year I plan to take advantage of it much more. It was in surprisingly good shape, but will need some sweeping and scrubbing inside. It's a perfect bike ride in the fall, assuming the weather holds.
My friend Helen convinced me to get involved in some OVC outings. A combination of rad people, adventure, and the natural wonders of the yoop coincided in the best way possible. No adventure is complete without the possibility of arrest by federal agents or death by icefall. As always, I wish I had gotten involved sooner.
Stay tuned for part two.
As spring continues to deny its presence in the UP, I've decided to look for more quality reading material on the internet. There is a lot out there, and it's much more satisfying than the "fast-foods" of online media—Reddit, Buzzfeed, Twitter, and Facebook. I've found enough good content that I'm going to start putting together collections so that other people can enjoy it as well.
Here's what I've been digging recently:
I don't know if this is good news for freedom of expression, or basically the legalization of unlimited bribes. Campaign funding is a really grey area for me. I think political freedom is extremely important, but elections should be won through merit rather than based on who can be bought most easily.
An interesting counterpoint to the idea that people are poor because they're lazy and irresponsible.
If you can't get a job, that might not be your fault, but that's not what American ideals tell us.
A fascinating and surreal insight into living in a totalitarian political system.
Al Jazeera America
Another argument against the "tough love" approach to solving poverty.
I think the question of what happens to people when the industry they rely on dies out is going to become even more important in the near future.
I can't get enough of this website, especially the essays. They're all fantastic.
National Parks Head Blocked Grand Canyon Bottle Ban After Meeting with Coca-Cola
This is old, but still. Sellouts.
A Conversation With an Environmentalist Oil Industry Worker
I don't think I could do it. There is too much moral conflict in supporting an industry as environmentally destructive as the petroleum industry.
An Adventure Life Essay: The Joys of Chopping Firewood
Chop some firewood. It's good for you.
The Contrails of the Western Sky
Great essay on perspectives.
Happiness Is in the Little Things
Enjoy where you are and the fun things you can do on a daily basis. It sounds cliche, but they actually make you happier than big trips/occasions.
Discussion of relationships between people of differing abilities.
In Focus - The Atlantic
Not exactly heavy on reading, but I had no idea Lesotho was this beautiful. This photography blog is very much worth following.
I can't wait to get back on my mountain bike this spring, even if I won't be riding in North Carolina.