Sunday, October 15, 2017

Weekend Activities

The heat canceled a planned hike to Tecate Peak but its was still a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weekend Activities

  • Participated in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor and helped out another Eagle in his project
  • Ira Glass at the Balboa Theater

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Potato Hack Diet

Since I am on my own this week, it is the perfect time to do the End of Summer Potato Hack! Bring on the taters.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fitness After 10 Plus Years

I have been focused on health and fitness for over 10 years now and I thought it was a good time for reflection on where I was and where I am headed.
In the beginning, I started out with the conventional wisdom stuff.  Low-fat diets, jogging and moderate weight training.  I got bored quickly and didn't see much progress.  My big step came with P90X.  I started the program and finished a full 90 day regime including the diet, for the most part.  I really saw progress and was eager for more.  Next up was Tim Ferriss' book "4 Hour Body". Two things immediately jumped out at me.  One was the diet, which he calls the "Slow Carb" diet.  The other was the high intensity workout stuff.  I started the diet and felt better immediately.  Tim's diet contains a cheat day every week which I think is great for those starting in the paleo/primal world.  I then came across Mark Sisson and his blog Mark's Daily Apple.  This was a life changer. The primal lifestyle really resonated with me and I converted quickly. Now I know how diet and exercise affect me and after a few years, I am healthiest I have ever been.  Grok on!

  • Diet - 90% primal; my main cheats are wine and snacks my son keeps around
  • Exercise - I toggle between P90X (usually only doing half a workout but with higher intensity), sprints and weights

  • Vision - my eyes have been getting slow but steadily worse.  I recently got bifocals and felt very old.  So I am going to start some exercises that I got from my father-in-law to help reverse that effects.
  • Flexibility - I am not very limber and would like to get more flexible
  • Tai Chi - something to focus the mind and body
  • Body Composition - I am still looking to drop some body fat to get more tone; I will am going to look at optimizing different diet and exercises

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Philmont 2017

The troop had an awesome time at Philmont as Crew 718-G!
We stayed the following camps:
  • Minnette Meadows - very nice low altitude trail camp
  • Cimorroncito - I finally tried rock climbing and rappelling
  • Cyphers Mine - my second favorite camp with the mine challenge, blacksmithing and Stomp!
  • Mt. Philips - hailed like snow
  • Cherokee Creek - trail camp with a steep climb from the river
  • Apache Springs - sweat lodges were great
  • Fish Camp - loved the lodge
  • Abreu - they let us sleep under the pavilion due to rain
  • Stockade Ridge - nice jumping off point for the Tooth of Time
We had rain most of the last 8 days of the trek.  Sometimes it was heavy but our crew did great.  They all had effective rain gear and knew how to deal with the weather.
Can't wait to go back again!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Leaving Northrop Grumman

After 15 plus years, I recently left Northrop Grumman.  It was certainly a sad transition but it was for the better.
NG was a great phase in my life and I highly recommended the company.  Long story... in mid 2001, I was laid off during the dot-com crash.  My family and I were living in Scottsdale at the time and I looked around for another software gig but there was nothing happening.  After a short while, my wife and I decided to move back to California.  Without a job, we drove along the coast looking for a place to call home.  We eventually settled on Encinitas and shortly thereafter I landed the job at NG.
Some of the many highlights that stand out in my memory:

  • My first project at NCTSI at Point Loma
  • Working on SRMT
  • Visiting SPAWAR Old Town
  • BACN first flight at MCAS Miramar
  • Moving to Spectrum offices
  • Participating in the company Toastmaster's club
  • Moving to Mission Valley office for a couple years
  • Being nominated for the Emerg1NG Leader program which was a life changer for me
  • Getting into Scrum
  • Flight test for SNP

Many thanks to all the folks I worked with over the years, especially Curtis E., my manager for 13 of those 15 years.
My new gig is with Georgia Tech Research Institute where I will be working on cyber projects.  It is an exciting new area for me and can't wait to get going.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tahquitz Backpack

Our last Philmont training hike was a one-nighter up to Tahquitz Peak area in the San Jacinto Wilderness.  We left on Saturday morning to Humber Park.  We got lucky and found some parking pretty close.  Devils Slide trail was pretty steep the entire way up and we took it pretty slow due to the heat.  By the time we got to Saddle Junction, the troop was a bit tired.  A few us went to the meadow to filter water and then setup camp.  Dinner was nice and I went down early under the stars.  We got up early the next morning and made it down very fast.  Overall, it was a great tuneup at a wonderful location.

Lily Rock from Devils Slide
Saddle Junction

Saddle Junction signage

Monday, June 05, 2017

Off The Grid (almost)

Our solar generating system went on line about a month ago!  We got 16 panels installed by Sullivan Solar which will generate all of our electricity.  We will surely be in the black during the non-winter months but we will have to wait and see how much we generate during winter.  We also got an electric Fiat 500e so it will interesting to see how much net out at the end of the year.

Big Ride

We did a new thing this year with the troop and heading up to Irwindale for the Big Ride!  The Big Ride is a cycling event put on by some folks out of Antelope Valley.  Participants have choices of 25K, 50 mile and 100 mile routes.  We had a small contingent but riders in all 3 segments. 
We fought traffic driving up Friday night.  We setup camp on the nice grass near the lake.  After the riders meeting we all hit the sack.
The 100 milers woke up really early to get going.  Me and another scout were doing the 50 mile route and were up and about by 7:00.  The first part of the route had us going north up the San Gabriel River into Asuza canyon.  It was uphill but a nice ride in the morning.  We turned around at the trail end and headed downhill, first to the dam and then to the first rest stop and Legg Lake at Whittier Narrows.  The next segment continued south down the river to El Dorado Park in Long Beach were lunch awaited.  After some rest, we headed back up the river trail.  The sun finally came out and made things a bit hot.  We stopped again at the Legg Lake rest area for water then make the final stretch back to camp.  It was pretty grueling for me since I don't ride much but all the scouts did great.  We met the 100 mile guys on the dam.
Once back at camp, we pile in the cars and fought traffic on the way home.  It was a cool event and something to consider again in the future.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend Activities

  • San Dieguito Academy memorial service
  • Finished the patio and got all the furniture in place
  • Had a great day with my parents and the family
  • Awesome hike at Del Mar Mesa Preserve

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mt. Laguna

For the last official troop outing of the year, we headed up to the Mt. Laguna for our biennial pioneering event.  We hauled up the staves and ropes and built and awesome tower.  The scouts are getting good at it and taught the new guys well!  This was the first time I had seen the little Laguna with water up to the rocks!  Big Laguna was full all the way up to the dike.

Pioneering Tower

Little Laguna

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mt. Wilson Backpack

For our first (and maybe last) Philmont training hike, we hooked up with troop 782 for a weekend at Mt. Wilson.  The forecast going in was for some rain and probably cold and maybe windy at the summit.  We didn't cancel since we figured it wouldn't be too bad.  Both troops met at our church and we loaded gear and scouts quickly so we could make it up there before the gate was locked.  After fighting traffic and accidents, we made to Chantry Flats road gate with 10 minutes to spare; the police car was standing by to lock it as well!  At the parking lot, we arranged group gear and food.  Then it is was off for a 3 mile night hike to Hoegee's camp.  The moon provided some nice light but the trail is very wooded so it was a bit spooky walking it.  Camp was pretty crowded mainly with other scouts but a few other groups as well.  A few of us cowboy camped but I was awakened around 4am by sprinkling on my face.  I made the decision to put up my tarp and went back to sleep. Some of the scouts didn't put up shelters and woke up a bit wet.
The next morning was overcast as we ate breakfast, drank coffee and packed up for the hike to the summit.  Shortly after starting out, it started to rain lightly.  As we made our way up the steep trail, it rained harder and harder. By the time we got to the road, we were all in full rain gear.  The summit was socked in and we couldn't even see across the parking lot.  We decided to bail and thankfully another scout and his family had driven up and were able to give us a hitch back to Chantry Flats.  After several hours of shuttling and rescuing another hiker, we finally headed back to Encinitas.
It was a great hike to test out gear and I can't wait to get up there again so I can see what it looks like!

Hoegee's camp

Raining at the bench

Monday, April 24, 2017

Eagle Rock PCT Backpack

For a troop 774 beginner backpack, we headed to do the PCT section up to Eagle Rock near Warner Springs.
On Saturday morning, we parked the cars at Barrel Springs.  While we waited for everyone to arrive, we checked out the spring and trough which had plenty of water.  There were a few hikers there; they certainly wouldn't be last we would come across.  After lunch and some training on gear and maps, we headed out northbound on the PCT.  It was about 4 rolling miles to our camp at San Ysidro creek.  We were the first ones there but by nightfall another troop camped upstream and several thru hikers had found spots as well.  There were probably 40 plus folks along the creek! The scouts setup tents and started exploring the local creek and rocks.  In the afternoon, we took the 2 mile walk out to Eagle Rock and back.
The next morning was slow getting up and going but the hike went quick.  We got to the cars, unloaded gear and drove home. Overall, it was a bit hot but a great trip to get the new scouts into backpacking.

Barrel Springs trailhead

Along the PCT

Great views

To Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

Cowboy camping

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pamo Valley Recon

I was going to spending the weekend at Wilderness and Remote First Aid class so I took the chance on my off Friday to recon a place I have never been, the Pamo Valley area.  I have seen it on the CNF maps but didn't really know what was there.  I drove up along the 79 to Ramona to the Palomar District ranger station.  I chatted for a bit with the very helpful rangers and the head out to find the Black Canyon pools.  After some pavement and a few miles of dirt road, I made it to the pools.  With all the water, they were flowing nicely.  With the great weather and lack of people, it was an awesome spot.  The only downer was all the graffiti (which the ranger warned me about).
After enjoying the pools I drove back to the station and down into the valley.  It was like an oasis with all the green and flowing streams.  I drove up to the north end and back.  Most of the bottom of the valley is owned by the City of San Diego for ranching.  But you can take side roads up to Black Mountain and Orosco Ridge.  I headed up to ridge for a few miles on a very bumpy road.  There wasn't much there.
This is a great area for day hikes and exploring.  But I need to search some more to find some good camping spots.

Black Canyon bridge

Black Canyon pools

Black Canyon pools

Pamo Valley - End of the Road

Pamo Valley - View from Orosco Ridge