Sunday, March 12, 2023

Anza-Borrego Day Trip

Since our Mammoth cross-country trip was canceled due to too much snow, Jyoti and I decided to head out to the desert for a trip.  The forecast was for a good amount of wind so we made it a day trip.

  • Drove out in the morning along I8 with a stop at the Well Cafe in Alpine and topped off gas in Ocotillo.
  • Headed north up S2 taking in the warm temps and lack of rain!
  • The park website had some flower locations and the first for us was Bow Willow.  We turned off and headed to the campground which was full of people but few flowers.  We then headed back out and up nearby Egg Mountain which was covered in flowers and had great views
  • We then started off road on South Carrizo Creek after airing down.  This road had lots of flowers.
  • Made a short stop at the end of the road heading west.  I wanted to check out the stage station site but we didn't want hike out that far.
  • Next up was Arroyo Tapiado and a quick stop at the mud caves.  Jyoti had never been to the caves.
  • The highlight of the offroading was Diablo Dropoff.  We parked and checked out the action for a bit then decided on the "easiest" way down.  It was fun and made it through to Fish Creek without a problem.
  • Once at Fish Creek, we turned east and up and back Sandstone Canyon.  The obstacles were pretty easy but the canyon was pretty cool.
  • We then headed back out Fish Creek and stopped for a hike to the Wind Caves.
  • Then we went through Split Mountain got on pavement for a bit then stopped at Elephant Trees Discovery Area for a very nice hike.  The Elephant Tree is a very interesting and fragrant tree.  Lily loved the hike and didn't want to get back into the car.
  • Instead of going directly to the 78, we took Old Kane Springs Road westward.  It was very wavy and bumpy - not recommended.
  • At the end of the dirt, we aired back up and go onto the highway.   Since it is PCT season, we picked up a couple of hitchikers at Scissors Crossing and dropped them off in Julian.  They looked pretty beat after all the rain lately but they didn't escape since it was raining in Julian.
  • Took the usual route home after a long day.

Atop Egg Mountain

Jyoti and Lily in the Mud Caves

Rosie in the Desert

Overlooking Fish Creek from the Wind Caves

Elusive Elephant Tree


Friday, March 10, 2023

Radio Battery Box

Recently, I picked up a battery box from Napa that was on sale for a great price.  It was meant for car use so is big enough to fit a car 12v battery and had some 50A connectors.  But I wanted to use it for radio ops so made some modifications.  My guide was this great set of instructions on how to build a solar powered ammo can battery box.  I followed that fairly closely but with the following changes:

  • Included the existing 50A Powerpole connectors since they were already there.  I made some pigtails with 15A Powerpole and inline fuse so you can connect a radio to them.  Note that the entire box is 15A regardless of the connector rating.
  • Included the external wing nut connectors since they were already there.
  • Added a Powerpole external connector for the solar panels.  This allows the panels to be connected while keeping the lid on.

With all the interfaces and pigtails, I can use to run radios, laptops, etc.  It is also big enough for me to carry a bunch of gear.  E.g. for VHF/UHF operations, I can fit a couple radios, antennas and other accessories. I can also add another battery if I need the extra amp hours.

Completed battery box

Inside the box showing the battery and charge controller

Powerpole pigtail with SB50 on one end



Monday, February 06, 2023

As part of my experience with Scouting and the outdoors, I have become fascinated with accounts of high adventure disasters.  I take the opportunity to read books, articles, etc. that help me learn more about crisis situations and how people deal with them.  Even activities that I will almost certainly not be part of are useful.  One of those activities is climbing Mt. Everest.  Perhaps the most infamous Everest disaster happened during the 1996 season.  The incident was turned into several books and movies.  I read a few books and watched a couple of movies and recently came across Jon Krakauer’s response to another account of events, The Climb by Antoli Boukreev (and G. Weston Dewalt).  After going through all this, I still have the following questions about the event:

  • Should Rob Hall have abandoned Doug Hansen earlier in their descent?  When in charge of a group, the hardest decision to make is to sacrifice part to same to save yourself and/or others.
  • Why did Scott Fischer and Rob Hall die when Beck Weathers survived?  Did Fischer wear himself out going up and down the mountain managing clients as detailed The Climb; was it solely due to HACE or did some other illness contribute?  Both of them were hundreds of feet above Weathers, was the cold and wind so much more severe there?
  •  According to Krakauer (and others, according to him) have blamed Boukreev for not staying with clients, but what about other issues that seemed to be the fault of the sherpas.  Mainly, why were fixed ropes not present on the Hillary Step and why was oxygen not available at the South Summit?

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Scrum Master Attributes

Mike Cohn has put out a great list of attributes for a scrum master.  Over my scrum career, I found myself going from scrum purism to a more pragmatic view of scrum.  Most of that is due to the nature of the custom and project.  But I think these attributes are valuable for all scrum team members.


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Prescott Weekend

We headed out to Prescott for the weekend to finalize the site alignment for our house.  While we were out there we did a few excursions.

  • Spruce Mt - drove up to the fire tower, partially in the snow
  • Senator Hwy - drove a few miles south through the mud and snow
  • Hike around Goldwater Lake
  • Dinner at El Gato Azul
Top of Spruce Mt

Spruce Mt

Spruce Mt

Our house is in the background somewhere

Spruce Mt fire tower

Map of Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake