It has been five years since I got that first HD GoPro. I’m not using that same model anymore (I just gave it away a few days ago), but I am still using these tiny cameras that keep getting tinier. At the end of 2010, I had decided to make a compilation using all of the footage from that year. Somehow I knew it was the beginning of a traditionÂ because I named that video Year One. Now we are rolling into 2015 and the fifth of the series is live. This year the video is on YouTube because Vimeo’s new copyright algorithms didn’tÂ let me upload it there. Oddly, YouTube did. The music is once again from First Aid Kit. I didn’t ask for their permission and hopefully if they ever stumble across this video or Year Four, they won’t hate me.
Four years of GoPro use have passed quickly. The image quality has improved dramatically (although the battery life has suffered) and I even got to strap it on a few radio-controlled helicopters this year. Above is my annual compilation of footage shot throughout the year with my tiny beaten and bruised GoPro 3 (and some of my friend’s GoPros also). This year I decided to take a different approach with the music selection by using a moody piece by First Aid Kit. Go buy their music.
The arrival of Summer was a strong incentive to better manage my work life and my personal life. May was populated almost entirely with work including a small job where I played a military officer and had to chop off all of my hair (much to Erika’s chagrin). Yet June and July were a beautiful balance of manageable work hours and many days off to get out of town. Among the more interesting activities were summiting Half Dome, hitting four canyons in Zion, and hiking up and down the Grand Canyon (it rained on us this time). Comic-Con was pretty enjoyable this year also. So far August has been promising. I was able to run an extremely fun and wet canyon in Kernville called the Seven Teacups, eat some crawfish at the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, and Steven got to test out his quadcopter while we climbed in Texas Canyon (video below).
Not too bored yet? Maybe these pictures will put you to sleep.
I recently got back from Zion yet againâ€”this timeâ€”backpacking the Narrows route for my third time. It is always rewarding, although, I felt the pain afterward in a way I hadn’t before. Too much time at a computer being sedentary is wreaking havoc on my body. Thankfully, I was able to renew my gym membership last week so I can get into proper shape again.
I finally decided to give sleeping outdoors tentless a try while on the Narrows trip. Thankfully, it didn’t rain and it was an enjoyable experience. I’ll have to do it more often. I also led my first multi-pitch sport climbs in September (two pitches each). Hopefully, I can start devoting some more time to climbing and advancing my skills.
Work has been pouring in, which is great, but I’ve had little time for much else. Balancing life and self-employment is a challenge I certainly haven’t mastered yet. I’ve completed several projects recently. Some of them will be live soon and posted here for the world to deride.
Here is a compilation of some of the stuff I managed to capture during my first year as a GoPro owner. It’s too bad I didn’t take it more places. There were so many times I forgot it and wished I’d had it with me.
My ability to maintain this journal always seems to wane in the summer. A lot has happened since my last post. I quit my job and fled to Canada for two-and-a-half weeks. The first week was spent sight-seeing with Erika. Along with my friend Steven, we completed the West Coast Trail over six days of backpacking. Then I took the Amtrak train down the coast back to Los Angeles. There is plenty to share about the trip and I intend to do so over two entries in the near future.
Returning to California submerged me in the world of self-employment. I thankfully had two paying projects awaiting me. Those were completed early this month. Since then, I have finally been working on The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell. I am hoping to post a completed excerpt from that very soon. I have also been working on editing fresh demo reels and building a web identity for a venture I intend to launch with a group of friends next month.
It hasn’t been all work. I finally learned to surf. I’m no master, but I can get on the board and ride it a ways (sometimes). I’ve been sticking to my plan to rock climb as much as possible (I’ll be getting up in a few hours to do that). Erika and I hiked the Zion Narrows again, this time with Karl and Extreme Things. We also got back in the ocean and did some more SCUBA diving (the first time since our certification last August). I’ve been shooting GoPro footage all over the place and am hoping to edit a few more short videos (if you don’t know what I am talking about, check out my sledding video).
New posts with better content on the way (hopefully soon).
Occasionally, I look through travel books or magazines searching for ideas. There are often photos of beautiful locales and listings for resorts, expensive hotels, eateries, and other aspects of luxury travel. I can’t generally afford luxury travel and I am not a big fan of pretending to be a member of the bourgeoisie with servants dancing around me. Earlier in the year, I stumbled across two books catering specifically to adventure travelâ€”trips where you learn about yourself and get dirty. Thanks to The Rough Guide to Ultimate Adventures I was informed of something I never suspectedâ€”there are many reasons to visit Utah.
Slot Canyons, deep and narrow gorges, abound in Utah. They are spectacular. My Rough Guide highlighted one in particularâ€”The Zion Narrows in Zion National Park. The itinerary: hike 16 miles (mostly in a shallow river) through the Zion backcountry within the confines of a slot canyon over the course of 2 days. The particulars: The Narrows were formed by the Virgin River. Over the 16 miles we’d be walking through it, its depth would range from ankle deep to waist deep with the occasional hole requiring swimming. Water flow would vary from mostly stagnant to somewhat powerful swiftwater. When not in the water, the hike includes a lot of rock hopping and scrambling. The walls of the canyon often rise over a thousand feet on either side. Nearby rain can cause flash floods (a few occur each year) so the weather must be monitored preceding and during the hike. Once inside the canyon, you must commit. Hiking is your only feasible way out as rescue is relatively difficult and time-consuming. I love climbing and scrambling. I love water (especially moving water). When water and climbing are combined, I am truly happy. From the moment I read about the Narrows in the Rough Guide, I knew I had to go.
Zion is a 7-10 hour drive from L.A. greatly dependent on traffic running through Las Vegas. Erika and I did a number of things this year, but visiting Zion had not fit into any of our plans conveniently. As fall approached, it became clear that our chances to hike the Narrows were dwindling. The waters would grow colder and dry suits (not just wet suits) would be required. Erika is not made for the cold. Labor Day weekend was our last hope. I logged onto the National Park Service website a month prior. Only 40 people are allowed through the Narrows each day as overnight hikers. Luckily I was able to reserve the last four spots for Sunday, Sept. 6 at Camp 2. Thankfully, our posse was only four people: Erika, Al-Insan, Steven, and me. Now, we just needed to wait for the weeks to pass.