Same Procedure as Every Year

Unlike last year, where we had a front row seat to the shenanigans in Cologne, Germany, Goddess and I will be sitting in a quiet house, watching as the next round of 4-6″ of snow falls. No riot police for us this year.

While we lived in Germany, we were introduced to a curious NYE tradition, the annual showing of a TV skit from 1963 called  “Dinner for One“, or more accurately Der 90. Geburtstag. Starting at around dinner time, the skit gets 20 or more showings on various TV channels until midnight.

It’s a fun tradition. Just not one where you should try to keep up with James.

Happy New Year, everyone!

PCT – Permits

Hello everyone.  It has been a while.  My semi-regular posting schedule has been much more semi than regular lately.

Things are rolling quickly.  In just over a month we hand the keys to the house back and we’re effectively homeless.

Not long after that, we’re walking.

Did you catch that? In just over a month…

I’ll let that sink in.

Mostly for us.


Permits

A trek like this isn’t possible without permits.  We cross a lot of public land that is protected for one reason or another, not to mention several National Forests and National Parks.  Each requires a permit.

PCT:  For the purposes of a long-distance hike on the PCT that is longer than 500 miles, the PCTA manages an interagency permit system that covers the myriad permits along the way.  That’s much easier and more efficient than  trying to coordinate with all of the different agencies.

Especially to summit Mount Whitney.

Due to the increasing popularity of the trail, they’ve had to institute a 50-hiker/day start schedule.  That move caused a lot of consternation amongst many hikers, folks who by their very nature are easy-going and just go with the flow.  The new quota meant that we hikers had to pick a date and stick to it.  For those that didn’t jump on the registration site right after it opened, their preferred date might not have been available.

That’s a bit problematic for folks that had already bought airline tickets.  The system is even getting press in The Smithsonian.

But it’s working out.  After the initial consternation, most folks are realizing that the system is the only way to minimize impact on the trail.  Our start date is already full, at the beginning of a stretch of two weeks where every day is fully permitted.  So we’ll see a lot of folks on the trail in those first few weeks.

Campfire: Since we’ll be camping mostly outside of established campgrounds in California, we are required to obtain a campfire permit.  It’s a simple system consisting of watching/reading a short fire prevention presentation, then taking a test.  A successful test completion means a permit.  Done.

Canada: Yep, we need a permit for Canada.  Why?  The final 9-mile stretch of the trail is in British Columbia, finishing in Manning Park.  But there isn’t an official border crossing there, so they need to know we are coming.  Plus, we need the official stamps to show that we aren’t in Canada illegally.

That makes sense.  Otherwise, I might take away someone else’s job at a Tim Hortons.*

Mind you, we don’t have to go into Canada to complete the PCT.  We could stop at the monument right at the US/Canadian border, take our pics and not enter Canada.  But that means a 30-mile hike back to the first US town south.

Since we don’t have anything keeping us from entering Canada (e.g., criminal record), we’re going to keep walking.

The added advantage of going into Canada is that a very good friend lives nearby.  It will be good to finally meet him on his home turf, as we’ve only been able to get together in Germany and here in the US.


That’s it for permits.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the PCT and Canada permits add a bit of stress to the process, as they don’t open for application until so late in the planning.  But it has worked out.  We’re fully permitted.


*Tim Hortons – my only experience with a Tim Hortons has been their furthest east franchise, a lovely garden spot known as Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I must say that they make a fine doughnut.  Hopefully I can get another one at the end of the hike and see if it tastes just as good.

Tradition

Well, it’s already 2015 in some parts of the world, but it’s still New Year’s Eve here and in Europe.

Our German neighbors introduced us to their NYE traditions and this is one of our favorites, watching Dinner for One.  It has now become a tradition on this blog.  Sit back, have a good laugh, then be safe out there this evening.

Goddess and I hope you have a great year!


Here’s a fun little read on the history of Dinner for One (click here), along with the longer cut, complete with German introduction.

Globes

GlobesWe are marking the first full day of winter today with a grin.  Yesterday was the kick-off for this year’s Winter Solstice offering over on my photography site and it was a good day (thank you everyone!).

But if you’re following via social media sites, they do a fine job of squashing certain posts that contain certain words, especially words that are a single-word representation of an offering of anything at a reduced level of currency.  Why?  Because they want us to pay them to increase viewership of those specific posts to normal levels.  Or pay even more to increase viewership even higher.

If you are looking for a holiday present, it is too late to get it this week, but if you’re looking for a different look on your wall, now is your chance!  Please click on the picture above and you’ll see the code at the top of my website.

Again, thank you all for your support!!!

Winter Solstice Sale

In a few short hours it will be the official winter solstice for those of us north of the equator.

For some that means it’s now the the beginning of a long, dreary winter.  A season to dread.  But not us.  Winter is another great season to get outside, explore and play.

This past Friday was opening day for our local ski mountain.  Goddess and I were able to get more than a few runs in on uncrowded slopes before school let out for the holidays.  And the rain today.

It’s currently raining up on the mountain, on top of the minimal snow.  Hopefully it doesn’t melt the snow and start another rough winter for the mountain, which never opened last winter for the first time in its 50-year history.

Fingers crossed.


As is tradition here on the solstices and equinoxes, I’m offering a sale on my photography.

All products are 20% off (does not apply to shipping costs).  Just enter Winter14 in the coupon field when you are ready to check out.  Just click on the coupon below to start browsing.

BAP - Winter14Thank you so much for your continued support.  I do appreciate you!

Brilliance!

It’s not too often that I talk about companies or products here.  I have talked about some cycling, running and triathlon related products over the years, especially once I’m confident that it’s something that I like.

This is one of those times.

Actually, a moment to rave about some phenomenal customer support from one of the companies.

The company is Light & Motion, creators of personal lighting systems for pretty much any activity you want to engage in, on ground, in the air or in the water.

The story:

I bought a set of Stella 300 Dual headlights back in autumn of 2009.  I needed them for my bicycle commute to/from work in Germany.  If you’ve lived in Germany, the winters are cold and dark.  Very dark.  Especially if you spend a large amount of time riding through the forest, hoping to dodge any deer or boar that want to cross the trail.

Brilliant riding!

They treated me extremely well through 3.5 brutal German winters, including two in a row that the German weather service declared “the worst in 40 years”, followed by “the worst in 41 years”.

Days like this:

Winter Riding in Germany

Except when I was commuting, it was pitch black except for what the Stella would illuminate.  Which on a snowy ride like this, pretty much everything was illuminated for a good 30-40 yards ahead.

Like I said, brilliant riding.

Here in Oregon, I don’t need them for daily commutes, instead breaking them out on occasion, like every Monday to get home from the bike polo game.  A couple of months ago I realized they were not working as they had, or should.  So I contacted Light & Motion.

A bit of talking back and forth and they suggested that I send it in for a look.  Which I did.

They arrived back at my front door today, an almost completely brand new set.

Looking at the work order, it mentions that they replaced the cable (that runs between the battery and the lights) as well as changed out the lights.  In other words, they rebuilt a new set, which is great since they no longer make this model.

So the lights are almost five years old and completely rebuilt.

They covered it under warranty work!

The quote that they gave me prior to the work was extremely reasonable, coming in at around 1/10 the cost of buying a new light kit.  I was pleased with that, knowing that their standard warranty length is two years.  But three years after that point, they still covered it.

Amazing service that was completely unexpected.  Unexpected, but greatly appreciated.

Broadcasting their excellence to the world is the least I can do.

So if you’re in the market for headlamps or headlights or dive lights, buy from Light & Motion.

I know any lights I buy in the future will be from them.

 

Still Standing

Instead of feeding a stream of pics from the last cloud/rock session, now would be a good time to throw some variety up on the wall.

I’ll reach back a few years or more for the next few posts.  Long time watchers will recognize a few, but hopefully there’s a surprise or two.

The images will be a few of my favorites, likely focused on landscape shots, as that’s the direction my photography has gone since moving here to Oregon early last year.

———————————————————————————-

A neat little shed in the middle of a grass field.  The shed has seen better days, not weathering the elements as well as the Alpspitze, the highest point in Germany, in the background.

Still Standing

Garmish-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany; August 29, 2012.

————————————————————————————–

Just a gentle reminder about the sale that I have going on.

It’s simple -> Enter “Summer14” when you check out and receive 15% off pre-shipping costs from now until July 7th, 2014.

Summer14
Summer14

I do appreciate your support.

Darkroom View

A place where I know that I’ll always feel at home.

Even though it’s half a world away.

Darkroom View

I absolutely love the work that comes out of the room that provided this view.

Lots of nuggets here.

How many can you find?

Tradition

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve.  By the time this is posted, it’s already 2014 in some parts of the world, evening in Europe.

Our German neighbors introduced us to their NYE traditions, and this is one of our favorites, watching Dinner for One.

Goddess and I hope you have a great year!

Snow Puff

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, we were getting snow.  The rocks that we were standing on to take that photo got somewhere between 15″-20″ of snow overnight.

Down here in the valley, we picked up 6-8″, depending on where you stood.  Walking through the forest at sunrise to get this photo, I pushed through knee deep spots in places.

It sure was nice.  Although I couldn’t see the sun.

It was still snowing, as you can see by the streaks in the photo.

Ashland Creek, Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon

Or you can play with the fake snowflakes on the screen by moving your cursor around.  Make it a gentle snow or make it snow sideways.

But back to real weather, we’ve established a trend.

Other than one short-lived snow day in spring of 2012, this is the first measurable snowfall here in town since 2008.  What’s changed?  Goddess and I are here.  Prior to that, the first winter that we lived in Germany was the worst in 40 years.  The second winter, the worst in 41 years.

Anyone want us to move near them?  The stipulation is that it has to look like here.  And feel like here.