This past weekend some friends and I climbed Mt. Whitney which is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. The peak sits at an altitude of 14,497.61 feet and the campground is just around 8000ft.
We woke up around 2AM and started the hike around 3AM which gave us about 3 hours of night hiking. All in all the uphill hike took about 10 hours and we only got to 13,000 ft. We didn’t go the rest of the way because of improper equipment. We didn’t have crampons and ice axes which apparently were critical in order to make it past the ice cliffs
I took plenty of other photographs(205) and took some movies(16) that you can see at http://www.flickr.com/photos/damienhowley/sets/72157620426196020/.
I hope you enjoy
This past weekend Melody and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe for the first time. We met up with my friend Greg and his girlfriend Leah and stayed in Squaw Valley. It was truly beautiful and the slopes were amazing. I snowboarded for about 6 years when I was younger and even though it was a lot of fun the slopes in Cleveland Ohio (Brandywine) were excessively subpar in comparison. We arrived in Reno late Friday night and went directly to The Dubliner where we enjoyed live music and some beers. The next morning/afternoon we headed out to the hills and got a half day pass. Melody and I rented the ski-blades which are really short skis. They were very easy to learn although I would definitely recommend using ski poles as we had a hard time maneuvering to and from the ski lifts. I took a bunch of pictures which I put on flickr. Here’s a preview.
We stayed with Greg’s aunt and uncle (Dr. John and Carol) who were very nice. On Saturday night they had a group of friends over for drinks and dinner which was great. I really enjoyed my weekend, however, next time my trip is going to be much longer. I’d really like to see more of the area.
About a week ago I wrote a post called “A San Diego winter day” which talked about a sailing trip to Mission Bay. I started the blog post of with thoughts about San Diego and how I absolutely love living here. I also added some pictures from my sailing trip that day which showed just how beautiful it was. Over the weekend I received a comment on my San Diego blog post questioning how I could enjoy living in San Diego so much if I have never traveled. On my walk to work today I was thinking about whether I have traveled enough to offer such and adoring opinion of this city and as a result I’ve decided to compose a list of places I traveled to in 2008.
- United States
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- Hermosa Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- San Juan Capistrano
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Santa Clara
- Mammoth Mountain
- Yosemite National Park
- Cabo San Lucas
- Puerto Vallerta
I only listed the destinations that I stayed overnight or longer and I’m sure that I’ll think of more. That’s not a bad list for one year and I think that means that I have actually traveled enough to confidently say I like San Diego the most. I’ve also circled around the US twice in my car and lived in 5 major cites (Cleveland, Cincinatti, Atlanta, Chicago and San Diego). Oh and I’ve rafted the Mississipi (not all of it) in a man made wooden raft and I saw quite a lot there too.
I got back from Thanksgiving late Monday night. It was very nice to get back to San Diego but I did have a terrific time with my family. Melody and I arrived in Chicago late on Wednesday night and were greeted by my mom, dad, and Andrew. Since we arrived so late we said hello and went to bed.
Thursday was great. We didn’t really do much of anything. My parents prepared a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Their new kitchen has a lot more space for cooking so this year we had 14 items in our Thanksgiving dinner. My favorite of course were the Yorkshire Puddings that I kindly told Melody tasted awful just so I could have hers. After dinner we sat around and played cards together.
Friday was another lounging around day. I didn’t want to get caught in the chaos of Black Friday shopping so I didn’t do much during the day. In the evening we went on a search for an Indian restaurant that was recommended to my parent. When we arrived at the restaurant it looked like shit and it was completely vegetarian which really didn’t fly with me. We disputed for a little and ended up at the thai restaurant next door. IT wasn’t too good but we had a good time making fun of the place and the other patrons.
Saturday turned out to be jam packed with things to do. We woke up “early” around 11 and went for breakfast at Einstein Bagels. After breakfast we jumped on the Metra train and went to downtown Chicago. I love downtown Chicago. It is packed with people. There’s always somewhere to go and generally I feel safe downtown. After walking up Michigan Ave we stopped off at the Hancock Building for a drink. It was really beautiful. I’d already been up their a couple times before but I know Melody loved it. We watched the sunset on the 95th floor of the Hancock building. After about an hour we headed down and caught a cab to Room 21.
Room 21 is apparently Al Capone’s old hang out and has been renovated into a modern upscale restaurant. The food was very inconsistent. I ordered the steak rib and scallops which turned out to be absolutely delicious, however, Melody ordered the salmon and it wasn’t quite as good. Over all the restaurant was very nice. After Room 21 we hopped on the train and went home to retire for the evening.
Sunday was fairly boring. Melody and I had planned to go back downtown to check out the Museum of Contemporary art but decided not to because we were tired. We started of the day with breakfast at a local restaurant. After breakfast my brother had to travel back to his college (Miami University of Ohio). It really sucked to say goodbye to him. I always have a good time with my brother and I knew I was going to miss him.
Monday was also quiet. It was basically the day were we just wait around until our flight. Fortunately we had most of the day to relax so it was too stressful. We took off around 8 and our flight had to stop in Vegas, which sucked because I didn’t know it had to. Overall I had a really good trip home. I’ll be back there in 3 weeks and I can’t wait.