Saturday, December 07, 2013

Villager Peak Hike

I did my first hike with the local Sierra Club chapter up to Villager Peak.  After reading about the Villager and Rabbit Peaks in Schad, I have wanted to hit these peaks. However, the trip seems pretty daunting due to the lack of an established trail.  Having a guided trip was the perfect solution.
The nine members of the group met at Kendall's Cafe in Borrego Springs at 6:00a.  After breakfast (just coffee and chocolate milk for me), we headed out to the trailhead along S22.
The first part of the trail is quite flat as you cross a plain to get the "trail".  The trail is started up the ramp via a series of switchbacks.  It then leveled a bit for the next 5000' of elevation.  There was a faint use trail and ducks for most of the way, but portions, especially along the knife edges were mostly cross-country.
After several false peaks, we finally got to the summit in 4.5 hours.  All but one of us made it (the other stopped due to injury).  After a lunch break, we headed down.  Going down the step and rocky trail was at times more difficult than going up.  My carpool partner and I made it down in 3 hours.  The others came in over the next hour.
Overall, this is one of the most difficult day hikes I have been on.  It is essentially 7 miles and 5000' feet straight up.  One of the highlights was seeing a pair of bighorn sheep.  Although it was a from a good distance, they were unmistakable as they cross a canyon wall.  I enjoyed the hike to Villager, but don't intend on going back anytime soon.
See my track and pix here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend Activities

  • Plenty of beach time - water is still warm
  • Safari Park - loved the new Lemur Walk exhibit
  • Hike with the kids and Sophie in the La Costa Preserve - dusty but nice views
  • Dart practice after a long layoff

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ray Dolby RIP

The biggest name in audio recently passed away. His LA Times obitiuary has a very interesting section on how even young people, motivated and with imagination, can make great impacts in science and business.
While still in high school, he started working for the ground-breaking Ampex Corp. in Redwood City that made audio tape recorders and was developing new uses for magnetic tape. "I made a deal with my high school," Dolby said. "I was so far ahead in my credits that I didn't have to worry about getting into college, so I went to school three hours a day and worked five at Ampex."
He worked at the company with Charlie Ginsburg, who headed a small team that developed the first broadcast-quality videotape recorder, according to an MIT profile. Ginsburg, who died in 1992, said in a 1988 Times interview that Dolby played a vital role.
"I'd say that Ray essentially was the inventor of that whole system," Ginsburg said. "He had virtually no formal education then, no college, but he was already an outstanding inventory."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cibbets Flat Recon Hike

I have started to compile a list of good places to take the Scout troop backpacking in the local backcountry.  San Diego is challenging to find good weekend or multi-day hikes because of the water situation and lack of long trails.  The PCT is one obvious option, but for young scouts it is too much; it is also logistically challenging.  We have had good trips in the Cuyamacas going to Granite Springs and Arroyo Seco.  But I want to find some other options.
My first recon hike was the PCT between Boulder Oaks campground and Cibbets Flats campground.  It turns out be 7.5 miles each way with a 1300' elevation gain.  Pretty good for experienced scouts.  One option for beginners would be to start the junction with Kitchen Creek Road about halfway.  The trail is in good shape.  There is little shade so in hot weather is quite miserable.  Water is only found reliably at the endpoints.  Although Kitchen Creek had some tepid pools, they are difficult to reach and for survival purposes only.
Full intel on my hike can be found at Trimble Outdoors here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Activities

Weekend Activities
  • Lots of beach time
  • Jogs and bike rides - knees finally feeling better
  • Work around the house
  • Great potluck on Saturday night

Friday, August 23, 2013

Zoo at Night

The family went to Zoo at Night.  I was good to spend time with the kids and the animals were very active (with a few exceptions).
  • Wombats sleeping
  • Koalas climbing and eating
  • Artic wolf howling
  • Kangaroos hopping
  • Rhino bathing
  • Snakes squirming
  • Deers with fangs!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Update

I finally got back into my weekly rhythm after being away for so long.
  • Beach time at Cardiff
  • Hikes at pipe and jogger
  • Bike ride along 101 to Via De La Valle to El Camino Real
  • Threw darts after a long layoff

Friday, August 02, 2013

JMT Report

I finished my John Muir Trail adventure.  It was a mixed bag.  On the downside, blisters and weather made the hiking somewhat miserable.  But the scenery and people helped make it tolerable.
I copied my journal pages I made each night.  These tell the story.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Baltimore Osten Family Visit

The Baltimore Ostens were in town for a summer vacation.
  • Saw the Cardinals pound the Angels
  • Racing at K1 Speed Irvine
  • Fireworks!
  • Plenty of Moonlight Beach and Rico's
  • Walked around Old Town San Diego
  • Kids got wristbands at Boomers
  • Kevin and Robyn got some rounds in at Encinitas Ranch and Carlsbad Crossings
  • Kevin's birthday dinner at Lonestar
  • Tour of March Field Museum with commentary from someone who flew many of the planes.  Lunch afterwards at Perris Valley Airport watching the skydivers. 
  • Lots of food and games

Kindle and More Books

I recently got a Kindle primarily as a way to take some reading material on my upcoming JMT trek.  However, I have found I really enjoy reading on it.  The e-ink display is much easier to read than a smartphone or computer screen.  I have bought a couple books and borrowed some from SDCL.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Two Week Warning

It is now two weeks to the JMT.  I received confirmation from Muir Trail Ranch that they have my resupply bucket.  It only took 4 days for it to get there from Encinitas.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Backpack mods

With a month left until my JMT trek, I made some modifications to my backpack based on my recent shakedown cruise.
  • I added padding to the shoulder straps.  The original design calls for stuffing extra socks into the straps.  I never liked that but the straps dug into my shoulders pretty good.  So I cut some strips from an old foam pad and inserted them into the hollow straps.
  • Along with the padding, I added a small sternum strap to relive some the pressure.  This is useful since I will be using poles and therefore couldn't make full use of the thumb straps.
  • Inspired by Stick's water bottle holders, I first added some daisy chains to the front of the shoulder straps.  I then made two of the bottle holders to attach to the loops.  This will allow better access to water, especially since I do not carry bladder tubes.
These mods add some weight but increase comfort immensely, which is a good tradeoff in my book.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend Activities Bonus Edition

  •  Bengt competed in his first USSD karate tournament

  • Jaya finished her first year of high school
  • Bengt earned Star rank at the final Troop 774 Court of Honor

  • Bengt was elected patrol leader
  • Bengt tested for green belt (a big week for the guy)
  • Early Father's Day trip to the zoo went awry due to us not know the hours, but we ended up at Liberty Station and Smash Burgers
  • Jaya started her running training
  • Walks with the dog at the lagoon and Cardiff
  • Moonlight Beach!

Monday, June 10, 2013


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

  • First dinner party at the new house with the O'Briens
  • Backpacking!
  • Long walk on the beach with Jo; Moonlight Beach is looking great but still not open
  • Short beach time at Cardiff, too many flies from all the kelp

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Laguna to Cuyamaca Backpack

Troop 774 headed out on a backpacking trek from the Lagunas to Cuyamaca.  The trek was a 20 mile one-way trip from the Penny Pines trailhead to Green Valley campground with overnight stays in Granite Springs and Arroy Seco primitive camps.  This was my shakedown hike for my JMT gear.  I had almost all my stuff I intend on taking in July.
  • Bear canister was nice and big and not too cumbersome
  • Quilt compression sack was key to creating more room in the pack
  • I am approaching the weight and volume limits of my G4 so have to watch what I add very closely
  • Flip-flops were a great addition for end-of-day foot comfort
  • Duct tape works great for blisters
  • My food continues to refine and I am pretty set with the menu
  • Cowboy camping worked out great and was a big timesaver
  • Solio charger worked nicely charging my phone from around 50% - 99%

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eating Analogies

Mark Sisson has a nice post on some analogies about complex health subjects.  It is a good primer on myths and mysteries about health.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bengt's Birthday Weekend Activities

  • With Bengt's 13th birthday, the teenagers have evened the odds in the Osten household.

  • Bengt and I went fishing aboard the Chubasco II.  The trip was just off shore in the local kelp beds.  Fishing was pretty good.  Bengt got a nice sized oceanic whitefish and I pulled in a monster 31 lb. halibut.  That easily won the trip jackpot!  Thanks to the crew for a good time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekend Activities

  • Long walk on beach with wife
  • Episcopal Refugee Network Gala
  • Wonderful Mother's Day dinner at home with the kids

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Activites

  • Black Mountain hike - took the Glider Point trail up the NW side to the peak, then down the road to the Miner Loop trail back

  • Zoo with the family

  • Midway with dad and friends

  • Another Troop 774 Eagle Court of Honor