Ah, under the sea this time. From the trips above 14,000 feet, I started 2010 off below 60 feet. John and I took two sets of dives at St. Thomas to begin the new year right.

The first dive was to a cement tanker that had sank to 92’ of depth. The tanker was made out of cement simply to prevent it from decaying. Fortunately, the deck was at 60’, so I didn’t have to get too out of my league. It was pretty awesome seeing my first real wreck dive and getting to explore all the nooks and crannies that had opened up when it sank.


To cap off 2009, my Dad and I took our first jaunt through Yosemite. We drove in on September 12 through the dark to find ourselves at backpacker camp. Well, we didn’t quite make it there, but we were a short walk over a bridge away.

The first day we started at Happy Isles and trekked up the windy John Muir trail up past Nevada falls. All the way up the trail we knew we were doing something wrong as almost everyone was coming down the hill and we were going up, with packs no less. Trudging along though, we made quick time on the trail. At the falls we had a great little lunch and watched the piles of people pass by. We turned right and then took the Panorama trail back over to Illouette falls where we spent the night. The original goal was to make it to glacier point, but both of us were still a little green at the backpacking thing and knew a worse day lay ahead.

The second day we woke up early at around 6 and began the trek to half dome. We worked our way back to Nevada falls and then turned right up the trail towards half dome. The best decision we made was to drop our packs at little yosemite valley. With a lighter load, we slowly cruised up and up. When we got to the sub-dome, my dad had to call it quits and sat out while I climbed up the cables to reach the summit. What was amazing to me was how big half dome actually was. You could play a full on game of football up there! We came back down, going the route of the mist trail this time, and enjoyed a nice liesurely stroll back to the car. After 21 miles and 6000’ of vertical elevation gain, we had far exceeded what I thought we could do. Next year though, Dad is making it to the top!


Ben and I weren’t satisfied with only climbing Shasta, so we decided to head out for another fourteener. We decided that it would be fun to go for something that was hard, but had no ropes required. After a long night drive through Yosemite and Bishop, we found ourselves camped up next to the Big Pine Creek.

Waking up early the next morning, we packed up camp and drove up to glacier lodge. There we started hiking up the trail. Unfortunately we ended up on the north fork of the big pine trail for about half an hour and had to loop back to the south fork. With an extra two miles under our belt, we finally started up the south fork of the big pine creek trail around noon. We then slowly worked up the trial past a gorgeous waterfall and through the woods above it. At this point I had vastly overestimated my strength and was dying as we trudged through the bolder field to hit finger lake. Next year, I pledged to be in better shape.


Mt. Shasta is an active volcano that is taller than everything around it. Almost all of the other fourteeners in California live within a 90 mile radius of Bishop, California, a 7 hour drive to the south. The volcano hasn’t erupted in 200 years, but one never knows when this will change.

The whole idea for the trip originated from a trip Ben and I took the year before out in Tahoe. We wanted to climb something taller and harder as Tahoe and only taken us to a balmy 9800’. Ben had also taken a trip with a few other interns weeks before to Mount Whitney, so we were armed with a pretty solid crew to climb.


From the back of Heidi’s cabin in Colorado, you have a great view of a little mountain. To most people, it would be just fine to sit there and enjoy the view, but I wasn’t satisfied. I decided we had to climb it. So getting to a late start at 11am, we left for a quick climb. This was the first time I had ever experienced bouldering, talus, and some light class 3 climbing, but it was a true blast. After a quick jaunt up 1200’ to the peak at around 9000’, we had a fantastic view of the Poudre river and all of the valley around.

I look forward to our next romps in Colorado, but this mountain will always have the most meaning as it being the first summit I ever climbed. Oh yeah, and I got to climb it with my gorgeous fiance... always a perk.