Backpacking Yosemite: Mist Trail, Yosemite Valley, and Clouds Rest

December 27, 2016 Featured, Personal, Travels Comments (0) 258

I realize now that I never posted about my Yosemite trip. Hopefully late is better than never. This was one of the great experiences of my adult life, one good thing in 2016, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone.

2016 didn’t start out great for me. In early spring, I decided I needed a good hiking vacation to clear my head and recenter. After reviewing several options, I chose Yosemite National Park, in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. I booked my flight to Oakland and a rental car, figuring I’d throw my backpack in and drive four hours straight into the mountains.

A view down the Mist Trail from atop Vernal Fall. Look close and you can see the hikers in their rain slickers making their way up the trail.

Of note, you can’t really just up and travel to Yosemite, especially if you want to backpack overnight. The Park Service has instituted a permit requirement that requires advance reservations. This protects the environment, as well as a sense of wilderness in what might otherwise feel like a shopping mall. I first applied to begin at trailheads along Tioga Road, not realizing Tioga Road in late May was still buried in snow and closed. I was lucky, though; there was one spot still left at Happy Isles, the park’s most in-demand trailhead. I plotted a course, a 30-mile circuit that would take me over or past some of the park’s most famous landmarks. I also bought my first bear canister. Continue Reading

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Here is a Cute Kitty, Just Because

October 14, 2016 Animals, Featured, New York City Comments (1) 277

I walk past this kitten every morning on my way to work, along with another (a sibling, presumably?) with whom he or she shares an Upper East Side pet store window.

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My New Venture: RewriteFitness.com

September 21, 2016 Featured, New York City, Personal Comments (0) 407

Just a quick note that I am now a certified personal trainer (based in New York City), and posting regularly regarding health and fitness at RewriteFitness.com. I will continue posting here, too, but I would invite you to come check me out over there.

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Yosemite Bound

May 11, 2016 Personal, Travels Comments (0) 333

YosemitePlanI have been away for quite a while. Sorry about that! Life has kept my attention pretty well occupied so far in 2016. The good news is I’ve rediscovered my interest in fitness (and in not permanently affixing my backside to the sofa) and shaken off about 40 pounds since the new year–nearly all of the unwelcome weight I put on in the three years preceding.

I’m back to running on a regular basis, and got my speed to the point where I’ve set a few personal records recently: A new 10K PR in Central Park (which is no small feat considering the hilly terrain) and a PR of nearly three minutes at the Broad Street Run earlier this month, which I’m especially proud of. I have other running-related announcements too, but I’m holding those for a day or two–unless you follow me on Instagram, in which case you already know.

More immediately, in one week I am loading a backpack and flying to Yosemite National Park, where I will spend three days and three nights on a solo hike through the backcountry, sleeping in a tent, bathing in ice-cold streams of fresh meltwater, and eating my food cold out of a bear canister.

More precisely, I am flying to Oakland, renting an SUV, and driving to Yosemite Valley, then hiking into the backcountry. I have planned out an ambitious route that will carry me over 30 miles in 3 days, taking me over or past the park’s most famous landmarks. I don’t plan to summit Half Dome–the cables will be down, and while I know some overachievers have made that climb, I’m a fan of being alive with bones intact–but I will pass over Clouds Rest, visit North Dome and Tenaya Lake, and (if all goes as planned) conclude my trip by descending Yosemite Falls. Continue Reading

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Among the Clouds

January 15, 2016 New York City Comments (0) 122

432 Park Avenue in the Clouds

If you come to New York City, you can pay $100 million to live above the clouds. My friend calls it “The Bespin Penthouse.”

That’s 432 Park Avenue, the second-tallest building in New York City at present, and the tallest residential building in the world. It’s apartments all the way up, and the penthouse is actually higher up than the spire of the Empire State Building. The view is incredible, according to published photos–although on a day like this, I don’t imagine you see much except the clouds.

 

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Conservative Activism: “We’ve Had Enough Smut!”

January 4, 2016 New York City Comments (0) 201

Liz and I made our first visit to the Museum of the City of New York this afternoon. It’s a great museum and I recommend it–we especially enjoyed the exhibits on protecting New York City landmarks and about the history of activism in New York City.

Speaking of that latter exhibit, the section on Conservative Activism in NYC was amusing. A few photos below for your enjoyment.

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Watching the Storm Roll In

June 24, 2015 New York City Comments (0) 145

Shortly before heading into Manhattan for Erika’s book launch, I got to watch from my apartment window as a heavy storm rolled in over Manhattan. The photos below were taken over a period of less than three minutes; afterward we had maybe 1-5 minutes of very heavy rain (which fell mostly sideways) then a few minutes of drizzle, and then the rest of the night was calm.

Also, I only noticed it just now, but that electronic billboard at the bottom right just perfectly captures the cultural zeitgeist, doesn’t it?

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The rest of the interview will be centaur questions.

May 29, 2015 New York City, Pop Culture Comments (0) 206

This billboard is right near my office, and I often catch it in varying states of completion. It’s great fun.

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Long Island City Sunset 03.24.15

March 30, 2015 New York City Comments (0) 240

20150324_185434-PANOThese last few months have been rough, but sometimes this city isn’t so bad. I took this from the roof of our building the other night, while waiting for a GPS signal before a run.

It’s actually two (or maybe three) separate photos that Google helpfully, and without any prompting from me, made into a panorama. So thank you, benevolent electronic overlords. Continue Reading

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We Are All of Us Irrelevant

March 27, 2015 New York City Comments (1) 256

Kips Bay Towers March 2015Out for a walk one afternoon, and this building just grabbed me. The way it filled the entire frame with faceless identical units, the way it towers over the block despite being set back quite a bit, overwhelming you with its sheer scope. I guess that’s why they call this style brutalist*.

*Apparently it’s not–it has something to do with the French for concrete–but fuck it. This building is brutish.

Turns out this is an I. M. Pei building, Kips Bay Towers, which house more than 4,000 residents on three blocks of the East Side and which were part of the condo frenzy in the early 1980’s.

A friend remarked that, “behind each of those windows are people who will likely never meet each other.” That seems to me like a pretty good symbol of life in New York City, or any really big city.

It’s like a human honeycomb, and in each cell is a family or an individual with a whole universe that revolves around them, a complex web of relationships and goals, desires and failures that feel overwhelming even though they’re surrounded on all sides by people who couldn’t care less. Each cell bears the decor that is the physical accumulation of a lifetime lived, but when somebody dies that will all will be moved out, and the space cleared so the next person can fill that blank space with their life and their mementos.

The longer I look at this photo, the less important I feel. I begin to understand why this was the chosen architectural style of fascist governments.

“From the outside I am thinking / I’m a number, not a man
From the outside I am thinking / What were they thinking?”

– They Might Be Giants, “Albany (The Egg)

 

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