A few days ago I hiked up from the valley in southwest Virginia to scout out rock climbing Tinker Cliffs and check out the possibility of setting up some solid routes. From a mile down in the valley, the possibility for rock climbing on Tinker cliffs appear endless. And up the 3+ mile Andy Layne Trail to reach the summit of Tinker Cliffs, I found exactly that. The beta for the Cliffs is sparse, with the Mountain Project info limited to a few comments on a forum and other sites simply hinting at the possibility. So I wanted to hop up there and see what rock climbing Tinker Cliffs would look like up close.
I am currently living in Norfolk, Virginia, a place I used to consider the armpit of Virginia but I’ve grown to love over the past year. Its residents are passionate and deeply care about Hampton Roads and their love for their home is incredibly contagious. I recently moved into an apartment with an incredible view overlooking the Elizabeth River and truly consider it my home. For someone who really likes being settled, the past few years have been a little disorienting for me. I’ve moved a lot, lived out of my car for several months, and been temporarily without a home several times. So it’s really nice to have a place to call my own and get settled in.
Yesterday I had my first day of a two week stretch of training out in the western Virginia woods. On my drive to Blacksburg, Virginia, I stopped in Montebello to do The Priest hike, one of the longest climbs on the entire trail. It was a beautiful cooler day and it’s great to be back out in some shaded woods after training through the winter in the leafless forests of Shenandoah National Park. I met some awesome thru-hikers, Koz from South Carolina hiking for his second attempt, Patterns and her canine companion The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and her other hiking friend Scarecrow. I gladly let them help themselves to the snacks, drinks, and candy I housed in my car and it felt great to have the opportunity to do so. I told them I would be hiking south in a few weeks and may see them again. It certainly would be nice to see a familiar face out there.
I am very excited to announce my partnership with 3Sports triathlon store in Richmond, Virginia for my upcoming Appalachian Trail self-supported thru-hike record attempt. They will be outfitting me with shoes and nutrition for the trip. I really couldn’t do it without their support and expertise so major thanks to all the amazing staff at 3Sports! Check them out at their store off River Rd. in Richmond and online here: http://www.threesports.com/
I sat on a toilet seat for the first time in a month a few minutes ago. I washed up, cleaned the travel grime off, trimmed the nails, shaved the beard, cut the hair, and now I’m ready to return to civilization, sort of. I’m actually scared out of my mind and can’t sleep. Believe it or not, after all the crazy scary things that I have done over the past three months, immersing myself in the social world and heading to medical school are scarier prospects than a lot of my adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and paddling a kayak 70 miles from civilization out into open water solo is about as absurdly scary as it gets. But medical school is a close second. Maybe I’m overreacting, but it just feels like I’m starting all over again, and that’s kind of overwhelming. Continue reading Home
I like biking and I like going places, so logically I thought I would like the two together but I was wrong, dead wrong. The last 48 hours were absolutely torturous. I began a test ride from Virginia Beach to Richmond, VA to see if I would enjoy biking across the country. In reality, it was me beginning an adventure in secret after a highly announced and altered adventure before. It was tough changing my plans so severely from a Bahamas trip to a Tortugas trip, despite each being equally exotic and challenging. Continue reading Shyeah, no.
A couple weeks ago I visited Blacksburg, Virginia for a couple days to clean up where I had been living. I had stayed at my parents’ place for the last three and a half years and it showed. Some of their friends were going to be using the place so I had to touch it up before they got there. But I didn’t want to just drive there and back, I wanted an adventure, I wanted an escape. So I shoved some gear into my backpack and planned for a trip in the woods.
I made it to Blacksburg around two in the morning and crashed. The next day I quickly cleaned and called a couple of my friends who were still there. I told them what I wanted to do. I had ants in my pants and there was only one sure fix. My friend Daniel and I went over to our friend Scott’s place to talk plans. Daniel had no intentions of coming with us but after hours of discussion, we convinced him to meet us out there after buying some gear from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. Scott and I made it to hiking just before seven pm. It’s not unusual for us to get a late start but this was a little crazy even for us considering we had sixteen miles to our destination. We headed towards Dragon’s tooth in Catawaba, Virginia, a beautiful mountaintop rock formation with incredible views, possible star-gazing, and good enough shelter from the wind. Continue reading Summer backpacking adventure
Yesterday I rode for the first time in months. I ventured down south of the James and rode on the beautiful low traffic roads that I remember once believing were hilly. It was an amazing feeling to be mobile and fast again. Despite the occasional tweak in my ankle, the pain couldn’t compare to what I experience when running or swimming. And the pain from my lack of training was an adequate distraction. For the first time in many, many years, if not ever, I was passed on a solo ride by another cyclist. It was awkward as hell and I’ll admit my heart sank when I heard the whir of his spinning chain slip by. I felt broken but I remembered I had vowed to not let my insecurity be my motivation and I continued to enjoy my ride. With my hairy, skinny legs, I was determined to accept the state where I had arrived with acceptance and pride.
I had my MRI yesterday morning. Ever since learning about the basic of an MRI in my organic chemistry class, I have been fascinated with that form of medical imaging. For the twenty-five minutes I lay with the magnets clambering around my leg, all I could think about was the amazing feat of human knowledge and engineering to be able to create such a machine. Continue reading Badass pictures
Recently I’ve disappeared from the triathlon scene. I know I’ve kind of disappointed some people. With the college degree in hand and the ability to pick the next step, I know a lot of people hoped I would explore my endurance capabilities. I’ve struggled with inspiration in seeing the worth of such an endeavor. However, the mental inhibition from my curiosity has not been the primary reason for my backing away from the endurance community. My lack of training was entirely involuntary, set in stone by an ankle sprain on New Year’s Day. A foolish question of the party of the night would be mistaken. I was trail running with a couple friends, exploring mountain peaks and bushwhacking through mazes of snowy slopes covered in thorny briers. Wearing MICROspikes which gave my feet a little too much traction, my ankle rolled, tearing two ligaments on an already bum leg.
With an appointment scheduled the next day to find a tiny fracture on my patella, the diagnosis was quick. With an ankle the size of a softball, my leg was booted up and I was on crutches for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks though, something was still not right. Continue reading Triathlon hiatus
I’m about to make an argument on a premise that not many people agree with me on. I guess that’s a pretty silly idea but hell, I’m doing it anyways. I wrote a post not long ago encouraging people to be more selfish. You can read it here. But the general gist of it is that selfishness is not synonymous with greed and that if one is truly concerned with oneself, then they will inevitably help everyone more than someone who strives for selflessness. An analogy would be to giving an employee a higher wage so they can come to work without hunger and therefore, be more productive. Sometimes, I understand that this is not the case, that to the employer, the benefit of satiety is minute in comparison to the cost of feeding. But I argue that this is a dynamic stage, not a homeostatic one. I believe from fundamental logic of thermodynamics that an economy can reach equilibrium unless restrained by external interference. Of course there will be unemployment but there will be less than if restricted by regulation.
So here I go. Grant me that initial premise and you may realize this one. Or maybe the combination of two seemingly faulty premises will help with acknowledging that I may not be a quack after all.
Walmart is actually an awesome corporation. There I go; I said it. I know I’m not the first one and I imagine (I hope) I won’t be the last. Why is Walmart awesome despite the overwhelming hatred for it and its customer base to be, shall we say, less than classy and occasionally inbred? Walmart is great exactly because it is as selfish as it can possibly be.