I’ve been wanting to experience The Redwood trees for years, I’ve always loved just being in the forest (I mostly love the smells of damp earth). And the increase in wildfires lended some urgency to my trip. My life was also recently upended, as I’m no longer going to be a parent – so this trip was a space for me to find my own feelings and my own way forward.
The train was a great experience. It took about 50 hours to get from Chicago to San Francisco. It was very quiet, calm, and relaxed. Everyone was kind. It was a very relaxed way to travel. I was able to read a lot of books, watch some movies, and just enjoy the views as I travelled across the country.
Once I arrived in San Francisco, I got a rental car and started driving up the coast. Since I got in at 4pm, I camped my first night at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. I was able to get a hike in the first night and meet some wonderful people at the campsite next to me (Andy + Alex)!
My first 3 days were the train (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). I drove 4 hours north to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and drove through the Avenue of The Giants en route. It was amazing! The trees just towered over me and everything else.
It’s really difficult to take pictures of these trees, they are just so huge. Many of them are over 300 feet tall. I did find a trick though, using my iPhone in “Pano” mode, but in portrait orientation – which is difficult because you have to use the rear-facing camera, which means you’re taking a selfie blind – but I got the hang of it (or asked others to take my photo).
I did quite a few hikes around the area, then setup camp for the night at Burlington campsite at Humboldt Redwoods SP – it was a really nice campground, nestled beneath some large Redwoods.
Drove north another hour (stopping by Sue-Meg State Park on the way) and got to Redwood National Park proper (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park). I hiked the classic Lady Bird Johnson trail, which is short and enjoyable. But even better was the Trillium Falls Trail! The falls where underwhelming, but the trails was beautiful. Hiking through the Redwoods, you get that dark, quiet forest feeling.
It was a rainy day, but honestly is was the most fun. I got a permit to hike the Fern Canyon trail, and to drive to the trail, you have to drive through 2 creeks. The canyon itself is beautiful, but very wet. I think that was part of the fun, I felt like a kid just playing in the rain. I was jumping from log to stone to branch to traverse the canyon.
After Fern Canyon, I drove north to my last park, Jedediah Smith State Park. All of the parks have a slightly different feel, and I really enjoyed each one.
At Jedediah, I hiked the 6 mile Boy Scout Trail and the 3 mile Grove of Titans trail. The Grove of Titans is amazing, it has some trees that are 2,000 years old. They are currently upgrading the trail, and it has lots of information signage (including much about the indigenious people that lived here thousands of years ago).
Took the train back to Chicago
What I Found
I found so much connection with nature: the endless ocean, the deep dark forest, and the barren desert that we passed through on the train.
What I really found though is the solitude to allow space to listen to myself. I found that of the few connections I did make with people, they were all meaningful. Sharing my story with strangers was surprisingly nurturing, they were “honored” to hear my story and I felt like they held me with love.
Meeting so many people from so many different walks of life also reinforced my belief that everyone is so deeply human: nobody knows the answer, everyone is trying, and everyone has their own struggles. I thought San Francisco was gonna be a bunch of rich snobs and traffic was gonna be insane, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone was so kind, even strangers in the grocery store joked with me, it felt like I never left the midwest.
I think we sometimes think people are so different, especially when they live on other sides of the country. But really, we are all the same.
With each connection I made with strangers, it felt like I walked away learning more about myself. It made me think of what Valerie Kaur says when she encounters strangers: “You are a part of me that I do not yet know.”
My top albums, in no particular order
Audioslave – Audioslave
This album was a great description of my youth, discovered in my high school years, it showcases high energy. Listen to this album on loud.
Pop Evil – Lipstick on the Mirror
This album exemplifies mid-2000s rock, while a relatively little known album (and band). It’s a solid listen straight-through, and even has some nice hidden tracks at the end (I always appreciate those artistic touches). 100 in a 55, One More Goodbye, and Hey Mister are my favorite tracks.
Kesha – Rainbow
This album is gold from start to finish. A powerful comeback story full of sadness, anger, empowerment, and some good ole fun-lovin Ke$ha.
- Sharice Davids in Kansas became the first Native American women to be elected to Congress.
- Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
- In Florida, voters passed Amendment 4, which will restore the voting rights of people who were convicted of felonies (a shocking 1.4 million people).
- The votes are still being counted, but last night more than 100 women were elected to Congress—and more than 100 LGBTQ candidates won federal, state, and local races
In so many ways, this was such a positive push for our country, but it’s still so disappointing.
So many people supported the Republican party, which has become the party of Trump. Even those who spoke so critically of Trump now fully support and vote in alignment with Trump. And for Republicans to come to fully support what Trump is, and then for so much of our country to continue to support that – that is what makes this still feel like a loss
President Trump is a sexual abuser. He has normalized lying. He is lying on average 10 times a day! That is absurd.
You may say “My local Republican elected officials don’t support Trump!” Well, unless they are speaking out against Trump, then they are part of the problem. Anyone who normalizes what our country is right now is part of the problem. And by continuing to support a party that no longer listens to it’s own constituents anymore, and blindly follows a leader who the rest of the world sees as a clown, you are hurting this country.
Good blog post from Seth Godin today titled “A productivity gap“.
You’d think that with all the iPad productivity apps, smartphone productivity apps, productivity blogs and techniques and discussions… that we’d be more productive as a result.
Are you more productive? How much more?
I wonder how much productivity comes from new techniques, and how much comes from merely getting sick of non-productivity and deciding to do something that matters, right now.
He makes a great point and I agree, lots of people get these new apps, but are they are they really getting more shit done?
But I also see the other side of the coin – all these new apps are out there as tools that work for different people and different projects. I think it’s great there are so many great productivity apps, it gives me the opportunity to use the app that is going to make my productivity the highest and fit my current project or work style. I personally love Podio because it fits my work style and is great for collaborating.
So are you just using apps because it’s new and you can? Or are you using apps because they fit your work style and actually make you more productive?
“Of every 100 American commuters, five take public transit, three walk, and only one rides a bicycle to work or school.” I’m very fortunate enough to be close enough and have a community that is conducive to bike riding. I also have to bike through snow in the winter.
But honestly, biking is just as fast as driving for me, so it makes total sense.
January 24th, 2013
I hope I’m not the only one who had a heavy heart when reading the message on the Doudna steps yesterday. If you didn’t see it, the message chalked on the steps says (paraphrased) “My rapist still attends EIU. Will no one listen to me?”
If you didn’t know 1 in 6 women will be victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in their lifetime. It’s also a statistic that there are only 1-3 “reported” rapes a year at EIU. Sounds great, right? Sadly, the statistic gives the false sense of security that sexual assaults just don’t happen “here.”
What you don’t hear is all the stories of victims on campus. This message only proves the silence our campus survivors feel. If our administration isn’t speaking publicly about this they are doing a disservice to the survivors on campus. Survivors should feel the unwavering support of and entire university behind them administration, services, and police included.
I believe in Eastern Illinois University and yet it is with great disappointment that I saw this message. I know EIU to be better than this. I, as staff, as a male supporter of survivors, demand more. I will be writing the following message on the steps, “We expect to work on a campus that supports victims.” If you too believe this statement then join me at noon today (Thursday) in signing your name on the steps with me in support of the victims and demand more.
January 25th, 2013
Article: University removes chalking
The support that this campus showed really renewed my faith in EIU. I totally believe in this campus, and the plea for help on the Doudna Steps shook my roots and beliefs. But yesterday this campus showed it’s true colors. Supporters came, proving that ‘we are listening!’, and we are supporting with our love, compassion and anger too. Anger that this would happen on our campus – that survivors would report and be shunned.
But let’s put our anger to use, and stand in solidarity with so many victims that have felt so alone they have not had the courage or strength to keep fighting. If you can, give to SACIS, they have done more for this community then I can start to explain, and are a true blessing for this community.
But mostly, let’s not forget this past few days, let’s continue our work and demand change!
Even though I’ve only been in the web community since about 2002, there has been a huge growth in the community. There are so many forums, blogs and online magazines available – and sharing knowledge and experiences has become a huge piece of what makes working on the web awesome.
One series that I’ve been reading for years is Web Advent (formerly known as PHP Advent). The series features an article written by a guest each day about a different topic that is web development related. I learned a ton last year, and the 2 posts this year are great. Do yourself a favor and read it daily this month!
I’m lucky enough to work on a college campus and stay involved with the track & field team. I was an athlete for EIU from 2005-2010 – so even though I don’t compete anymore, I stay involved with the team by volunteering at the home meets. I manage the timing, results and scoreboard.
The team had their annual “Turkey Trials,” an inter-squad meet just before the Thanksgiving break. Its a pretty small meet, so it was just me and Coach Akers running the show. Its a good opportunity for the athletes to get a taste of competition after training for months, a good measuring stick for coaches, and a good chance for me to make sure the timing system is ready for indoor season.
Our first home meet is the annual EIU Early Bird, which is usually the 2nd Friday of December.