Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ruby Crest

I ran the Ruby Crest in Nevada in June. I've been hearing about a couple trails in Nevada for the last few years: the Ruby Crest and the Toiyabe Crest. 35 and 70-mile long National Recreational Trails, built by the CCC during the Great Depression, and supposedly still hikeable. Having hiked some epic CCC trails, and with the word "Crest" in the name, I was pretty excited to do the Rubies. It was a very nice run, but it wasn't as great as I'd hoped. Maintenance on the trail is poor (but does appear to happen on rare occasions) so it wasn't too hard to follow, but long chunks, especially in the southern portion, aren't necessarily run-able with the overgrowth. I also didn't think the trail was particularly crest-y, in that it didn't really seem to follow the ridgeline. The northern half is definitely scenic, with high alpine lakes.  The trail is worth hiking, but I probably wouldn't go too far out of your way to do it.

Yep, George came along for the whole trip.

You might see mountain goats right around here. George expressed some interest, but a pair of large males stood impressive guard over the herd and after a staring contest he didn't do anything stupid.

It was a fun trip, but it was definitely disappointing to fail so miserably on what was supposed to be Day 2: running the East Humboldt range, just one range to the east of the Rubies. Old maps show trails that can be connected to hike the length of the range on the western slope, but those trails definitely don't exist on the ground anymore. After an hour or so of painful bushwhacking, we knew there was no way we were going to make it the whole way, so we gave up.

Access to the southern end of the East Humboldt range requires crossing some private property and a bunch of fences. Access to both ends of the Ruby Crest trail is more straightforward.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


There's a housing crisis in the Bay Area thanks to decades of under-supply of housing. People who call themselves progressives only want 100% affordable housing projects built, which basically results in no new housing. Then neighbors are opposed to anything tall, or that casts shadows, or that has too little parking (or too much parking!) or is the wrong color, or the wrong style, or might allow "the wrong type or person" (as if such a thing was possible, and wasn't horribly racist) to live near them. So nothing is built and the problem gets worse.

So I spend a fair chunk of my free time at Berkeley city council meetings speaking for more housing. Or arguing with friends and relatives who are NIMBYs (despite what they would have you believe). Or writing op-eds:
  • A mayoral candidate wrote an op-ed in the Daily Cal. So I wrote a response. Another person wrote an epic response to me, which is quite impressive in that it manages to encapsulate all manor of privileged NIMBYism and terrible carbon math into just a few hundred words.
  • Governor Brown has an excellent plan to increase the amount of housing (including affordable housing) by streamlining the housing approval process statewide. The same mayoral candidate opposes it. So I wrote another op-ed, this time for Berkeleyside.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Continuing my quest to put together long trail run loops in Emigrant/Carson-Iceberg/Mokelumne/Desolation, I did a decent 42-mile loop in Desolation Wilderness Saturday. I had some ideas for the eastern side of Carson-Iceberg Wilderness for today, but George said he was done, so we came home.

For my money, Desolation is the shortest drive from the bay area to serious granite. Shorter drive on HWY 50 than 88, 4, or 108, and more exposed granite. But it's fairly small, and a lot of the trails dead-end at lakes in cirques. There are only two real trails traversing the Wilderness north-south, one being the PCT. That's just me saying I've seen most of the trails that can be used to construct a decent-sized loop. I'm sure there's a lot of good off-trail stuff to do, and I know of some folks who do a peak-bagging adventure run, but I've got a race that day.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Travels with Alice and George

I've been on the road for the last few weeks. In telling you about it, I think the most important thing is that I deactivated my Facebook account and deleted Twitter, Slack, and Instagram from my phone. As a result, I read a book. (Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.) I'd tell you how long it's been since I read a book, but that would require that I log in to Facebook since my Goodreads account is linked to Fb. So let's just say it's been a while, and that  I hate the Internet and want my old brain back.

I visited six places on my trip: Nevada, Southwest Oregon, Portland, Chicago, Ann Arbor, and the Oregon Coast.

First, I drove to Nevada (with a brief detour to Royal Gorge on the American River in the Sierras) and ran the very nice Ruby Crest trail with Brian. We also tried to do the East Humboldt range the next day, but it didn't work out because the trail doesn't exist anymore.

Second, I drove to remote Powers, OR, where I locked myself in a friend's cabin and worked on a paper that I need to finish. Nobody bothered me, and I was productive.

Third, I drove to Portland, OR to present at a conference. My friend's goat tried to help me with some statistical analysis.

Fourth, I flew to Chicago to visit Sorrels. We went for a bike ride and watched a documentary about tickling.

Fifth I took the train from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I taught a two-day workshop on research transparency and reproducibility as part of the ICPSR Summer Program.

Sixth, I flew back to Portland, and then drove home down the 101. I saw the Columbia River Gorge, Astoria (sadly the Goonies house is off limits), Ecola State Park ("Bells Beach" in Point Break), a bunch of other small state parks and beaches, and lastly Humoldt Redwoods State Park (Avenue of the Giants) in California.

And now we're back home. It was a great trip, seeing mostly places I hadn't seen before. Hopefully I'll find time to write more about it.