Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Getting Ready for Africa

This is a picture of our guest bed covered with clothes and supplies for our trip to Africa. Instead of making me psyched it ended up making me feel guilty. We're taking the trip to find about Africa and organizations that we might be able to support with time or money. We're also climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a National Geographic guide and a eco-friendly guide company. We're going in part to see the effect of global warming on the glaciers of Kilimanjaro. So we're going with the best of intentions. But seeing all the clothes and gear on our bed made me feel guilty at how much energy... clothes, oil, shipping goes into getting 2 people to Africa and then up Mt. Kilimanjaro. We've joked that getting ready for the hike has become a part time job but it really is and made me think. If we put this much energy and prep into a non-technical hike up Kilimanjaro, imagine how much effort goes into prepping for Mt. Everest. It is a very selfish activity, particularly if you leave family behind who will worry about you. Your adventure becomes their concern until you're safely off the mountain.

We try to use less in our day-to-day life... we don't drive an SUV, we bought an old house instead of a new one, we take public transportation whenever possible. So maybe this is a splurge, a life experience that interupts our normally restrained lifestyle. Maybe this trip will lead to an opportunity for Anne or I to make a more positive impact on the World and it will end up offsetting any negative impact of all this oil we are personally consuming to get there.

We'll see

Sunday, May 27, 2007

View from Mt. Diablo Summit

Looking East from the top of Mt. Diablo. We're half-way through our last training hike before leaving for Africa. 3 hours to the top but lots of nice views on the way up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mount St. Helena from Mayacamas Ridge

This is a view of the mountain from the opposing ridge that separates Napa and Sonoma. It was taken just off Petrified Forest Road where we stopped to check out Mayacamas Ranch. After a 2 hour hike up into the canyon at Bothe-Napa State Park, we stopped for some serious barbecue at Buster's on the edge of Calistoga. Its almost embrarassing to say but we spent the whole weekend in wine country and didn't stop at a single winery. We actually drove around the heart of Napa to get to Calistoga to save driving time. Although we enjoy showing Wine Country off when we have visitors we just didn't feel the pull this time. Our one nod to Wine Country was doing a flight of wine at dinner. There is something unspoiled about Calistoga that we really enjoy. The town is small and has a striking mountain ridge (the South flank of Mt. St. Helena) that dominates the view down Main Street. It makes Calistoga feel more like a mountain town than a part of Wine Country.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

View from Mt. St. Helena

This is the view from the top of Mt. St. Helena (not to be confused with the more famous, Mt. St Helens in Oregon). Mt. St. Helena sits at the top of Napa Valley and despite being the tallest mountain in the Bay Area is not very well known. If you're looking to do all 4300 feet of it, you might be out of luck because the main route to the top starts in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park about 200 feet up the mountain. The view from the top is nice in all directions but that's because you're not looking at the mountain itself which is non-descript and covered with radio towers on multiple scattered hilltops. There are almost no trails on the mountain. All ascents are made via a single fire road which branches out at the top to the North and West Peaks. The hike is just OK... a good workout but thats about it.