Hey, thanks.

The Thanksgiving sunset was incredible. It didn't hurt that we were in the mountains of southern California with family.

Left to right, Aaron, Anna, Richard, Lisa, and Andrew hosted annual "get together with family and eat lots of food day". It was a great time filled with deliciousness and games from basketball to Chinese checkers.

The Pacific crew. Nicole's brothers Jason and Jeremy stayed with us for the week and shared in the Thanksgiving festivities. We hit Venice beach, the 3rd Street Promenade, hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains, and ate tons of great food. Great food including a day after Thanksgiving feast with Nicole's uncle Scott.

Tomorrow it's back to work for me, and final projects for the semester are due for Nicole this week. That's the good word.

What did you do for Thanksgiving?


Run for the hills...

Pictured above...the three finishers. Nicole, Alright, and I enjoyed a beautiful day running in the mountains off the coast of Malibu this past Sunday. Nicole fell in love with her first trail run and has made a public statement to the effect that she will run again.

The race was well organized and a blast to run.

Alright and I decided since the drive home was along the Pacific Coast Highway it would be a good idea to pull off to the side of the road and go for an "ice bath" in the ocean.

This act of lunacy helped relax our sore muscles enough to convince us that a hike in the mountains the next day was an excellent idea. Nicole's brother Jason (in town for work and pleasure) joined Alright and I for a nice 5 mile hike and Subway subs in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Today I went back to work and another of Nicole's brothers (Jeremy) flew in to spend the holiday with us. It promises to be another great week full of fun and food.

This concludes Trail Days SoCal 2008.


Trail Days SoCal...

Fellow 2007 AT thru-hiker "Alright" is visiting from Ithaca, NY. We are going to run a 30K in the mountains tomorrow. Nicole is running the 9K. More news on that topic after the run.

Last night we met up at Souplantation with two other '07 thru-hikers, Figgy and Stitch. Not pictured, the photographer (Nicole). It was awesome to catch up and swap trail stories.

Today Alright and I headed down to Venice beach. We strolled up and down the boardwalk before going up to Main St. for some Mexican food. Among the street performers today were two guys who did all kinds of crazy stuff related to juggling...like one standing on the others head...with one foot...while juggling...knives.

Tonight we'll probably all lay low and maybe hit third street after dinner. Then an early night and early rise for tomorrow's run.

Until next time...


Up in smoke...

These are some of the 10,000 people that evacuated their Southern California homes in the midst of the most recent wildfires ripping through the mountains. There are three major fires currently burning strong.

The stats...

Homes/Mansions/Businesses Destroyed: 170
Mobile Homes Destroyed: 500
Acres Burned: 14,000
People Evacuated: 10,000
Amount Contained as of Sunday: 20%
Highest Wind Gust: 80 mph

The 500 mobile homes that burned reportedly went like a a pile of dry tinder. We are in no real danger, but it did rain ash for a couple of days and the smell of smoke was heavy in the air.

Below...multi-million dollar homes go up in smoke.

In other excitement, we watched "A Scanner Darkly" last night. Good and bizarre...which helped make it good. Tonight we went out for Thai food, most of which was delicious, all of which was eaten.

And that's the news.



Little houses.

Nicole and I first saw these a couple years ago. They are a frugal and amazing use of space. I think it would be an amazing getaway home, but we would need a little more room to stretch out than the smallest models...

She thinks about these things. Do you?


On Holiday...

Yesterday I made the hour or so drive up to Angeles National Forest for an overnight backpacking trip. I camped about 6 miles in from where I parked, the last 3 miles I hiked in the dark. I actually enjoy hiking, and the challenge of setting up camp, in the dark.

I over packed for the trip and still weighed in with a base weight (weight of pack and gear without food and water) of just over 8 lbs. The night turned out to be pretty chilly, so I was glad to have the extra clothes.

A highlight of some of the gear taken, and links, in case there are other gear nerds reading this:
Gatewood Cape tarp
down sleeping quilt
GoLite Jam2 pack
thermarest short pad
Patagonia micropuff pullover
REI Sahara convertible pants
Gossamer Gear trekking poles
Inov-8 Roclite 315 trail runners
Tilley hat
Tikka XP headlamp
capilene shirt and compression shorts
UL waterproof silnylon stuff sacks

As I look through this list I appreciate how nice it is having a select arsenal of quality, lightweight gear. Much of it was used for the AT thru-hike last year. Also, I think everything on the list was bought on sale or gifted by generous friends and family.

And the food that I ate on this trip? A gourmet selection.
-a variety of cliff bars
-spicey ramen noodles rehydrated with cold water in a zip lock freezer bag
-instant potatoes made the same way with tuna fish mixed in
-a chunk of cheddar cheese
-a huge snickers bar
-2 milky way bars

That is what I call fine dining. For most shorter trips like this I have found that I enjoy the convenience and freedom of not carrying a cookset. Mind you my entire "kitchen" on the AT (stove, fuel, utensils, cookpot) weighed in at under 8 oz.

Anywho. That is my idea of fun. The parting shot below is of my camp site...bye now.


Let there be art...

Tonight Nicole and I went to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for a show put on by their Art and Sales Gallery. Several talented artists were showing their work, including our friend Paul Guillemette. Check out Paul's site here. The piece in the photo below is a "work on loan" hanging in our house. The current work he is doing consists of found objects, mostly wood. All I can say is pictures don't do them justice.

After taking in the art and the wonderful night air we headed down to Main Street in Santa Monica for some Pinkberry with yogurt chips, mango, and kiwi. Oh yum yum.

I'm off to enjoy a nice three day weekend...which will consist of an overnight backpacking trip Sunday through Monday at an undisclosed and undecided location. More on that upon my return...


Yes we did...

Nicole and I walked a few blocks over to a garage last night to vote in our first CA election. Above is a picture of the garage that was our polling place. Earlier in the day the line was over an hour long, but we were able to sail in and out with no wait.

Apologies for the delay between posts. Nicole has been busy with school and infinite projects and I have been busy at work and training for the 30K I'm running with my AT friend "Alright" in a couple weeks. Excuses, yes. But that's what I've got.

In the meantime...things have been going well. We are enjoying our new library in town, and the bizarre weather. By bizarre I mean are we ever going to have to close our windows or does winter here mean mid 70's by day and never freezing at night?

More frequent posts to follow. Stick with us.