January 31, 2010

House sitting in Greeley Hill, CA

When you think of California you probably think the same things I thought. Warm sunshine, people out and about everywhere, and a certain aura about people that made you feel relaxed. Well, all of that exists... just not anywhere close to where I'm staying. I'm glad ot help my cousin out by house sitting but there's no one my age in the whole town (popuplation of about 900 I think?) and absolutely nothing to do solo. I've been mountain biking and plan to do some hikes and climbing but I don't want to do any of that alone. Without cell phone service (3G specifically) or high-speed internet, finding someone to hang out with is a bit harder. I would normally post on a forum and ask someone to meet me at a crag or a hiking trail.

Had I a travel partner I would be fine I think. I'm in Sonora now and I don't even want to go back to my cousin's house. I may sleep in the Xterra tonight so I'll be close to bouldering tomorrow. I plan to boulder all day, eat lunch/dinner somewhere good and maybe do some website work if needed, before I go back to Greeley Hill. Hopefully I'll meet some people out bouldering!

I have pictures and stuff to post but this internet (i'm using Save Mart's wireless) isn't quite fast enough and I still have to edit a lot of photos. I have some good video of my hike up to Angel's Landing too from two weeks ago I need to post! Grrrrr i'm getting way behind with only dialup.

- laters

January 24, 2010

Greeley Hill!

Driving over to Greeley Hill, CA a very easy drive, felt like I was going downhill most of the time and I used very little gas over 4 hours. The grass, trees, and everyday views here are breathtaking. You can see mountain ranges 50 miles away i the distance as the sun sets and the clouds seem to share the sky with the peaks by giving each other room when needed.

Janet's house is amazing! I'm staying upstairs in a huge room that could easily pass for an expensive winter cabin rental. I have Northeast and Southwest facing windows so I can see the sun rise and go back to sleep. In the West it sets on top of this really neat apple tree in their yard, it still has apples on it, too. The entire house is just so neat.

This morning I'm learning how to get the heat going with Rob, once he gets up. It's 7:20am now and I've been up almost an hour… wide awake. I'm really enjoying my body's clock now which wakes up when the sun rises or shortly before without an alarm clock. Of course going to bed at 10 or 11p helps too but I'm sleepy by that time so it's working out perfect. Last night after eating dinner with everyone, we went into the living room (where the heater is) and I had trouble staying awake at 8p!

Climbing… let's talk climbing! Janet and Phillip have some amazing pictures of so many places! Phillip has even aided the nose of El Capitan (5.12d - .14). Janet was climbing when she was 7-8 months pregnant on things I probably will have trouble with haha. They're going to hook me up with a guy named Rob and I shall start my trade career out here. Supposedly there's some 3 pitch routes (pronouced roots out here) over in Red Rocks, Las Vegas that would be great for me to learn on. There are sooooooo many places around here to climb it's ridiculous.

Well I'm going to go read and wait for Phillip to assist me on making the fire for the day, then find some breakfast. Take care guys and please understand that it may be a few days (or week) before I blog again due to very limited internet connection and no cell phone service. However the blogs will be filled with adventure!

January 23, 2010

Last Night in Tahoe

I drooled on my pillow for the last time in S. Lake Tahoe last night. I'm headed over to the Burton store to see what fortunes they have for offering in trade for your soul, then South to Greeley Hill, CA for a month. My cousin, her husband, and her mom are taking a trip down to Costa Rica and they're allowing me to keep the house while they're gone. Along with the house I have two cats and one dog to tend to, no cell phone services, and dial-up internet. I imagine I will be doing quite a bit of reading. Rock climbing is also world-class in the area so I'm sure I won't be that bored everyday; Yosemite is within 1.5hrs drive so I'll most likely end up there quite often for some bouldering and maybe climbing on the BIG stuff.

I heard there were two more couchsurfers coming in today which would make 5 total surfers, plus the 5 people who live here now.. 10 total! So me giving up this couch will give someone else a place to crash.

So anyway I'm going to write Steve a gracious message on his couchsurfing account, make sure I have all of my belongings, and get on the road. It was really nice of them to put me up a few days longer than expected due to the snow but they hinted pretty heavily for me to stay so I don't feel that I imposed at all. Steve told me to come back and ride once I got all of the snowboarding gear I needed as well!

January 21, 2010

Chillin' (literally) in South Lake Tahoe, CA

So it's snowed everyday that I've been here, 4 so far, today is Thursday. The snow is about waist deep where it hasn't been touched and knee deep just about everywhere else. Shovel the snow down to the pavement and the next morning there's 8 inches in its place. I was going to go snowboarding but it costs $90 average and today I got sick, a little cold or something. I still may try to ride (snowboard) tomorrow but I'm not too sure yet.

So here's what I've been doing. Steve and his girl Desi are very careful about spending money. All of their furniture was found somewhere around S. Lake Tahoe, all of their groceries have to be on sale or else.. no groceries. So I've learned how to be a smarter shopper and to appreciate what other people throw away just because they bought a newer one or a different color. You get the point.

Yesterday at lunch two more couchsurfers arrived, Stu from Australia and Katy from England. They're really good people and fun to hang out with. We've been eating at casinos because it's cheap and cooking at the house for the same reason. Two nights ago we went to Chevy's, a tex mex restaurant, and had $2 margaritas! Yep we got drunk then went home talked a bit and slept it off. The next day we went over to Sarah and Jane's cabin to snowboard... in the backyard. They had built a small park with two jumps and a log rail haha. We ate chili, some banana bread that Jane made (delish!) and then we all made pizza. Everyone was required to bring one pizza topping, so we have one pizza with bananas, avocado, tomatoes, and pineapple. After eating and getting drunk again we all went to Moe's Place for some live music. Steve ended up hammered and hugging onto anything that would keep him on his feet lol.

Once we (Stu, Steve, & I) walked out the back door we had to get home right? So there's a cab waiting in the parking lot and luckily he wasn't waiting for anyone inparticular. We hop in and the first thing this guy says is "ok guys hold on to your seatbelts!"! The next thing I know we're almost airborne going over the median and then completely sideways in a two lane road with both back tires spinning (remember it's snowing)! Finally we straightened up and the guy says "the best part is the car doesn't belong to me", yeahhhhhh! During all of these car acrobatics I look over at Steve in the backseat with me and he's sleeping... missing all the action. No one was awake within 15 min after we walked in the door that night, but Steve was ahead of us all.

Today we all recovered and I did website work all day while it snowed. I did shovel off the 16 inches of snow from the Xterra and paid a visit to IHOP about lunch time. Man it was great to eat a huge breakfast!

January 18, 2010

To Zion I Go!

I'm now done with the Grand Canyon! Two weeks later and missing friends already, I'm driving to Zion national park, Utah. I'm supposed to be meeting up with Keith who hiked up from the canyon floor with me this past Tuesday. He climbs a little bit so we wanted to look for some sport routes or at least get some bouldering in!

I got to the park around 9:30p so I didn't have to pay the $25 entrance fee. Also I found a camp site, sleep until 6:15a, and then got up and out before the rangers came by so I avoided another $16 for a night of sleep. Crazy how much you could spend if you weren't sneaky and aware of things. Get to your next national park at 5:30 and save $25, haha! So now that I'm up early I ate breakfast and decided to hike up to Angel's Landing before lunch. This was to be the scariest hike/scramble I've ever done in my life! I have some videos of the hike itself that I'll post soon, but I have to combine them together into one really good one first.

After hiking up to Angel's Landing I learned as I was starving that there's not ONE place to eat in Zion national park! So I had to leave the park and it was only 11:50a; meaning I'd have to stay outside of the park until 5:30p to avoid that $25. I ended up eating at the Historic Pioneer restaurant... a huge hamburger with lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese, and ketchup. OMG it was good! After that I just piddled around town at the market and an outfitters store talking to people. Found out there was a big boulder (called The Globe) literally a few feet from the entrance on the outside of the park. Well of course I hit that up asap and it was indeed big enough to be called The Globe.

Well enough about Zion. I was there for two nights, hiked two trails, met some people, avoided $57 worth of fees, and bouldered a little bit. It was fun but I def. need to go back and spend a week or two there for the bouldering and hikes alone. Maybe I'll meet back up with Bob later this year in early fall or something.

Hiking down to Phantom Ranch

Well the Grand Canyon looks big from the lookout stations at Bright Angel lodge, Moran Point, or any of the others. Once you start hiking down towards the bottom you realize just how far it is to the other side or just to the bottom. I hiked back down the S. Kaibab trail to the Colorado river, hung a left and arrived at the Bright Angel Campground. My legs are now like jello and my calves feel like I've fallen and bruised them! I set up the tent, checked out the creek, snapped some pictures of deer and then took a nap.

Just before dark I met Jason from TN and we ended up going to the Phantom Ranch lodge for coffee and hot cocoa (which tasted like hot water). That's where they found the scorpion pictured in the post below this one.. scary. The prices for rooms and food were ridiculous and I'm hard pressed to believe it was worth the money. Everyone who stayed at the lodge hiked down with 10 pound backs while me and the other campers were toting 30lbs+. It's all good because we saved $40 for dinner that night, $20 for breakfast the next morning, and $100 on sleeping arrangements.

I woke up around 6:30a that morning and ate breakfast, took a few pictures, and packed up my gear. My neighbor was doing the same thing so we decided to hike up together, Keith was part of the reason I made it back up before dark. We hiked up the Bright Angel Trail with an extended (3 miles extra) trip out to Plateau Point from Indian Gardens. The hike up was so hard and so mentally challenging. Once we hit the 3 mile mark the trail was completely iced over so we're slipping around everywhere and every 5 steps is equal to roughly 2. We would take about 40-60 steps then rest and catch our breath between chewing trail mix all the way up. Once we got to the top we decided to go have a steak dinner at this hotel's restaurant, but missed the bus twice. So we decided to eat at the Bright Angel lodge since we were literally starving.

Full and happy to be done hiking we headed back to Keith's car and he gave me a ride to mine and we parted way with the intention on meeting up in Zion national park in 2 days. That's in the next post so keep reading!

January 17, 2010

Catching up.. so much!

It's been a while since I've posted anything new, I know! I've been creating the stories and haven't had time to write about them. Need to tell you all about the hike down to the bottom of the grand canyon, the people I met, the drive to Zion NP, people I met there, bouldering, crapping myself (not really, but almost) on top of Angel's Landing, hiking Emerald pools, and now I'm sleeping in a parking lot behind the Las Vegas Blvd strip!

I'm updating you soon I promise, hopefully tomorrow night @ Steve's in Lake Tahoe, CA,
- peace

January 8, 2010

First hike and other things

I finally went hiking! I went down the South Kaibab trail just to Cedar Ridge which is 1.4mi one-way. Check out the video below...

Later that night I went to the bar to see Kevin and met some more people along with recently new friends. We ended up going over to Noah's house and had some drinks, listened to some crazy music (thx Noah), and talked about traveling. I met John D. again haha, this dude is seriously out of control! He told us stories of his travels in Mexico, almost getting killed twice and having to hold a guy at knife point to save him and a friend from being robbed. Craziness!

Today I haven't done anything besides catching up on my website stuff. Actually had more to do today than I ever have in a single day's time. Got it all done though! Now for tomorrow... Courtney, Angela, and I are planning to try getting a 'stand-by' ticket for the helicopter or airplane ride through the canyon, it's only $16. Holy crap can you believe that. If you don't fly stand-by it's over $100, i think $115 or $117, something rediculous.

Until the next update, enjoy the little bit of snow in GA you guys up North got!

January 6, 2010

The Best Candybear!

What a day! Woke up around 10a and re-organized my things in the Xterra, separated my dirty & clean clothes and ate some Honey Smacks. Once Kevin returned from his girl's house we all (included Red) went for a walk around the Rim Trail of the canyon, got some amazing views and some nice pics on my phone. The North Rim of the trail is closed b/c of all the show so we're limited to the South Rim which is freakin beautiful. But everyone says the North Rim is 5 times better so I can't wait to come back in the Spring/Summer and experience that and do some hike/camping trips too.

Got home just before dark and then ate some pizza, it's not delivery... it's DiGiorno! I just met this married couple, friends of Kevin & Rosi's, and was invited to a surprise party for her at Mike's apartment. It's so nice to actually have a group of friends who welcome me so genuinely when I go to see them. At the party we played a game that Sylus renamed "Sexy Boost", where you write a famous person's name on some paper, pass it to the left, everyone sticks it on their forehead, and you have to ask Yes/No questions and try to guess the name you have. It was a trip b/c most everyone was tipsy and there was one older gent, Hugo, who spoke a little English but seemed to be having the most fun. (Hugo on the far right)

Now for the best part. Leaving the party we were all kind of hungry and Kevin was gonna stop by Maswicks and get a sandwich even though it's not the best of foods. I had nothing back at the trailer so I thought I'd grab something too; then the phone rang. Kevin's friend Sky who I'd just met invited us over for dinner! Perfect timing! He fed us fried chicken and rice, then later he cooked some salmon that was amazing (he used to be a chef)! Now I'm sitting in the trailer enjoying my new internet connection from my phone while getting ready to crash.

Kevin's a bit tipsy himself but offered me a piece of his "candybear" so I'm eating that now. Brushing my teeth, turn off the light, and I'm out!

January 4, 2010

Hurray for friends and HUGE deer!

Last night when Kevin got off work we went bowling at possibly the shittest alley either of us have seen (in a Best Western). And we sucked it up pretty bad bowling too. We met a couple from Atlanta/Chatt and invited them to come hang but they had a 12-pack they were going to spend some time with up in their hotel room.

After that we went to Maswick('s) bar and met up with some friend Kevin knew and I'd just met. This one guy named John D., appropriately known as "John Mother F*cking D!" was a trip! He was about 5'8" built like a diesel truck and as outgoing as anyone I've met. He stole my camera and took random pictures claiming "the guy with the nice camera never has pictures of themselves", which is def. true.

So this guy Andy from Philly (originally Ecuador, on the right) was visiting his sister here and last night was his last. I got invited to ride to Flagstaff to drop him off at the greyhound and what better to do than just that? On the way there we saw the biggest Elk,Elephant,Deer,Mule thing I've ever seen. I don't know what it was but the horns were easily as wide as the car and it was probably 6 foot tall. Anyway, we hit up Walmart and IHOP while in Flag then got back to Grand Canyon Village at 5:12 this morning. I've been sleeping every since haha.

Oh I wanted to show you guys how big the deer are here in the park. I've seen a twelve point and a sixteen point within a span of two days. I've probably seen 10-12 deer total throughout the entire park. Check out the rack on this monster!

January 3, 2010

Met some Ecuadorians!

Last night I finally met Kevin's girlfriend, Rosi from Ecuador. She took us over to her house and I met her friends from Ecuador that work at the Grand Canyon too. We all had some drinks and watched Angels & Demons on Ronald's new 52" flat screen! That dude is a techno guy like myself =)

They were planning on hiking down to Indian Gardens today and I was going to tag along but I think they overslept since I didn't get a phone call. I overheard some people talking about the trail they hiked today, said it took them 4hrs 15min and it was really beautiful. My buddy said there's a place called Plateau Point that's really nice, and I can get some good pics.

Today me and Kevin ate breakfast at the "employee cafe" and it costs $4.52 for both of us to eat! Pretty cheap and it makes me mad to pay "regular people"  prices for anything anymore hah, damn profit margins. Well anyway i'm full and I'm not broke so that's a good thing. I think Kevin and I are about to go bowling before he heads to work. He said his best game was 279!

Tomorrow or the next day I plan to hike down to the bottom or near it and kev and I are heading to Flagstaff to couchsurf with someone and/or do some shopping for much-needed housewares stuff.


January 2, 2010

Day two, ready to do something!

Man it was so easy to become out-of-breath yesterday. Just walking my buddy's dog had me huffing and puffing haha, it's amazing what 6,876 feet changes. In Carrollton we averaged 920 feet. Today I'm breathing a lot easier and looking at going on a hike soon. I think I'm going to walk around the park more today and take some pictures. I really would like (and feel I need to) hike down to Phantom Ranch (7 or 12 miles) which is at the very bottom of the canyon.

Annyyyyywwaayyyy enough of this computer stuff. I'm going outside!

January 1, 2010

Finally made it to the GC!

[skip to the photos]
Wow the canyon is HUMONGOUS! I made it here by 10am MST this morning. Took a nap and now I'm up at the restaurant where my buddy works catching up on things. I don't even know where to begin with blogging about the drive out here, there were so many amazing sights along the way! In Arkansas the only thing I remember (it was dark) was lots of water and high winds. Oklahoma was very flat with no much to see, but it made for good thinking time.Driving across Texas left me eager to see trees again. The ranches out there are literally are thousands of acres and I can imagine losing your cows on all that land pretty easily.

Now let's talk about New Mexico! The Eastern side is a little plain with gentle hills and lots of snow, but the Western side is a different story. Granted it was dark as I was driving through the mountains, but the moon lit everything up pretty well and the mountains were high with snow caps just like the cliche picture you're thinking of. Once you come out from between these two last mountains you start going down a big hill on the interstate and Albuquerque sits right in front of you. As far as you can look left, right, and foward there's the city with what looked like every light they had on. I'm not sure about the square miles compared to Atlanta but it made Atlanta look like a playground.

Arizona, the last state (for now)! Everything was covered in snow at this elevation and there were acres and acres of fluff with no footprints yet. Everything seems 'cleaner' with snow for some reason and I was really starting to experience the dry air and cold temps which felt like vacation.. you know what I mean? Well the mountains began coming in to view and as you pass through them everything flattens out again and different canyons start popping up (or down) everywhere. Once I got to the park the road was completely covered in snow, made for fun driving but it's also about sketchy when making a turn.

Now for the photos! I think the easiest thing for me to do is post on facebook, so here's the link.