Saturday, November 10, 2007

a quote/thought

I did a bit of editing in this quote. great concept. shot in the dark

Take your thinking to a new level by thinking about not just your life's events, but how the other people in your life are thinking about their's, what they want to do, and what they think about it.

I'm amazed at how things just sort of fall away from me that don't matter. The rent, the next move on a climb, the next hand, the next round, etc, etc. Other people's life becomes a center focus. Notice I said life and not lives. I define life as the energy and growth in someone. Meh, food for thought.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

short update

This past week was a good one for me. No, I take that back. It was grand. I killed 4 poker games in succession. I feel like my game is growing slowly out of a stale swamp. Now, that swamp is still growing the green, but I didn't feel like I was moving closer to the point where I could move up (play against tougher opponents). I've been reading posts from msnl'ers and hsnl'ers (middle/high stakes no limit players). I feel like I'm starting to grasp a little more of what they are saying and learning to apply them.

I think I've figured out why I tilt so hard against (I'll call him DJ because he is a DJ) DJ too! I need to work on keeping my blood sugar levels up and I'm thinking of instituting a 2.5hr rule in live games. Maybe I'll eat/drink something (fruit/veggies; OJ/energy drink) every hour or 45 min to do that.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

turning pro, some thoughts

This is a reply to a guy who is considering turning pro. He has a good job (60k/yr) with the salary growing SIGNIFICANTLY from there.

The dream of being a professional poker player is glamorous for actually quite few. It is hard work and a downswing can mean that you have to sell your car (or worse). To their credit, a few people have made that lifestyle and done very well. With a conundrum of having a well-paying job that is secure, I give some advice.
You said that in a couple of years, you will be earning solidly 6 digits. I say, keep your job. But don't stop there. Work hard for a couple/few years (day job AND poker) and build some good, sound investments so that you have a passive income. A passive income is money that you get without doing any active work for it. Once you have a comfortable income that you can pay your daily bills from, retire! Become a retiree that plays poker.
So if you take a turn for the worse in poker and decide that it isn't for you, you still have some money to ride you through it and some good experience to get a good job back. Then you can find what you want in life. And srsly, being 23 and making all of those decisions now is not something that you really have to worry a lot about. Take life in stride. Take your lumps. Have a good time. Cheers.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Buenos Aires

I was browsing 2+2 this morning and a guy was talking about living in Buenos Aires and Argentina. A couple of cool photos...

Torres del Paine (Argentina/Chile Border)
Free Image Hosting at

The Obilesk in downtown BsAs. They put a condom on it for AIDS awareness day. :-D

Monday, October 8, 2007

Poker types explained

There are lots of different styles of poker strategies. Since everyone only plays Texas hold em, I’ll use that game to explain a couple of them.

Tight/aggressive (T/ag, you’re it!)
A tight player will stick to solid starting hands that have value overall in the game. Examples would be: ace-king, pocket pairs, jack-ten, etc. They are extremely picky about hands that qualify for their standards to play. They will also fold stronger hands from earlier positions, including the blinds. Being aggressive with these hands, these people bet and raise often. Typically, you have to call a big bet or raise from one of these types to see a flop or turn. They will charge you lots of money for your draws.

Loose/Passive (L/P)
A loose player will play more hands and from more positions. They often have favorite hands that are generally accepted as weak. Examples would be: 75, 32, ace-9. Being loose, they make a lot more calls and checks versus betting and raising.

There are combos of these types too like LAGs (loose aggressive types that we call lagtards), and tight-passive types (usually these players are the weaker players at the table).

Think of it like a graph. The Y-axis measures your hand selection (few to many). The X-axis measures how much you like giving me moneys (a little to a lot)! :-D

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Horsetooth Hang

I drove a van for the Horsetooth Hang this year again and I'd like to nominate Tim Maddocks for the next editor of the Collegian.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taser THIS! Freedom of speech

Last night, I arrived at CSU's campus to visit a friend. As I did, the public hearing regarding the editor of the CSU Collegian was breaking for the night. I was amazed at how many people are in direct support of this kid. He is J. David McSwane, an award-winning writer from Arvada.

As you can see below, the editor was very blunt. He broke campus bylaws. The advertisers of the Collegian have pulled $30,000 of business so far and that may not be all. The staff of the student-run newspaper have already taken a pay cut. McSwane is facing consequences from the Board of Student Communication, which may include some big political ideas. Petitions for and against his firing reached into the hundreds on Wednesday.

I think that several simple things have happened and need to happen that people seem to be confused about. First off, he exercised his freedom of speech. This great country gives each citizen that right in our constitution. Second, that exercising upset many of the alumni and support for the paper and the university. This, in turn, caused money to be pulled from the paper. I believe that the Collegian is currently being published in black and white now, because of the funding cut. Normally, it is published in full color.

I think that McSwane was completely irresponsible in publishing that in the paper that he did. I realize that I am a lowly blogger, but I cannot ever see using that word in that kind of a paper. If I EVER see a word like that in a syndicated publication, I would expect that it would take an act of the editor, the publisher and several petitions by tens of thousands of it's readers to make it happen.

What needs to happen is McSwane should step down. I think CSU should ask him to step down based on the fact that he has offended so many people. The publisher should ask him to step down on the same grounds. The publisher, given that he doesn't resign, should fire him on the grounds that they have lost so much money in advertising. I say that because, as I understand it, the paper is financially independent from the university and therefore has the authority to hire and fire who it pleases as a business. Whether the students see it as free speech or not is irrelevant.

The "editorial"

The newspaper

The kid

The money it cost the paper/students

Offering no apology.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

funny mental picture

Mike, one of my regulars, was chatting with me about a guy that was lost and found yesterday in Rocky Mountain National Park. I thought, wow, I can see it now! He calls me up and has me over. Sitting on his couch with my photo albums splayed out in his lap, he's off in another world. He studies intently at the photos. In the air, he reaches up as if to hold onto the rocks. He turns to me in the most serious tone and asks me how the hold is. "Is it pretty good or is it more of a sloper?" Then he disappears back into his own mind for a minute. Then, out of nowhere, he asks, "Could you hand me my wine?" with no intention at all of even getting up to see the sunlight!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Where are all of the real women and why are they hiding?

I was observing an older lady the other day. She's pretty heavy. When she comes into the gym, she always stops at the top of the stairs to catch her breath from the stairs. Then something occurred to me. She is hiding. She is hiding under all of the layers of fat. She is using her weight as a protective wall. I had a conversation with her quite a while ago and she seemed nice. Why would she do that? How many women today hide behind weight?

Monday, September 10, 2007

making people feel comfortable (long)

This is something of a continuation of my last post. Here, I tried to go into more detail on my ideas.

SERIOUS "heart to hearts"
I remember a while back. I went to a basketball game at my high school. I was 16 at the time. A girl I knew came up to me after the game was over and asked for a ride. I had zero social life (I didn't go to parties), so of course I said yes. After all of thirty seconds, she started spewing about her life and pouring out her heart. She was all but destroyed. So, I listened. When the last turn to her house came, I kept driving. I drove and listened. After another hour of her sobbing, she stopped talking and I dropped her off. This pivotal event was the defining moment when I realized that I wanted to understand conversations and body language.

When I sit down with anyone now, I focus on that person. When I listen, I listen with my heart. I try to speak objectively and only after they have finished their point. I try to be as relaxed as I can and look as far into their eyes as I can. I also try to have "soft" eyes. Someone once told me that when I "fix" my gaze on them, they feel that I am only looking at them. In response, they feel important in the conversation.

I think one of the biggest things in making people feel like sharing is that they feel safe. I could go on for a while about this, but body language has a lot to do with it. Generally, if you are ready to give a person your full attention, I think that you should be calm and relaxed. If a person is going to share, they are opening themselves up to you and could very well become emotional about it. If you are calm, they will feel better about launching out. If I'm going to open up one of my wounds, I need to know that the person (or people) are grounded and are going to be relatively sane. Now, I'm going to define sane as a consistently slow and objective voice, calm and relaxed posture, and a presence that is at rest. They may have drastically differing ideas than I, but I still need them in that moment to help my climb back into reality when I'm done.

When I look at a listener who I would confide in, they have a presence. They are confident. They are very slow in their actions. They think a LOT. They differentiate between emotion and fact. They look at risk-reward analysis. They take in as much as they can. They ask me questions. Their questions are slow and thoughtful. They look at finding a solution if one is needed. They encourage me. I think this last one is key to bringing me back to Earth. They make me think about things from their perspective while taking into consideration my own.

Eyes are a big part of non-verbal communication. Most of the time, people don't like being stared at. However, it is to everyone's benefit for you to give casual glances and friendly eye contact. I remember writing several times on the power of eyes. I think the fastest way to relax people with your eyes is to have the same look as when you are getting ready to laugh. Pop your eyebrows for a second. This is what many people do when they see something they like. If I just raise them a little bit or briefly pop them, I've found that more people talk to me than if I just left my eyes as though I were reading something. I just try to relax my face and have something of a grin all of the time.

Body position can play a role as well. When I see someone lean forward as I begin conversing with them, it makes me feel important. They want to be closer to pick up more input. I've noticed that I'll do the same if I feel like I'm not getting enough (enough being volume, pronunciation, etc). However, some people are not confident enough to take this as a compliment and become a little gun shy in the spotlight. If they react with a deer-in-the-headlights look, we have to adjust. In this case, I'll usually try to reposition myself so that I am closer without having an aggressive body position.

Does making people laugh make you more approachable?
Does a commonly held sense of humor attract people?
Is the converse true? (if you are tense/apprehensive, will that rappel people?)

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard or read that a girl thinks that one of the most important features of a guy is a sense of humor. Thousands maybe? This is another reason for my sarcasm. I find so many times that people are down or too serious about something. I just don't know how they get by without making fun of the situations they come into. I'll give you an example. A friend of mine, I'll call her Maddie, seems pretty stressed as of late. I was over at her house the other day and she was all up in arms about her living situation probably changing soon. Well, she just moved into her current pad. On top of that, she has to learn some music BY EAR for a recital in less than a week! That would have me freaking out for sure, mainly because I don't play the flute. I know she's a good musician, but it came down on her so far that she was whining about what she was going to wear to work the next day. I said, "Well, I'm not as educated on women as I would like to be. However, I'm willing to take this challenge on! Some people wear latex, some wear plastic wrap, and some wear nothing at all! But I'm going to suggest that you wear clothes. I think that they might really fit well on you! Shot in the dark!" That was just enough to break the tension and get her to relax.

I love how easily humor loosens people up. I've learned that, generally, people don't like being tense. It's not how we live life to the fullest. Wow, I'm thinking back to May when I spent $50 on a ticket to go see Ron White. Why on EARTH did I do that?!??? Why did ALL of those people do that??? The Buell Theater was crammed for that show. All he did was stand up and talk about his life. That sounds rather boring in and of itself, but he made fun of it in the precess. Some of his jokes are crude, but I rather enjoyed his main joke. I think everyone else did too.

Alright, here's his statement. Don't go after looks; go after someone you can enjoy life with. This is something that I totally agree with. Here is basically how he said that statement. "I just got married again last summer. She's a beautiful woman, just younger than I am. I'm really lucky too because she is smart as hell. Who knows why she married me, but whatever. If there's one thing that I could pass on to the young people here tonight, it would be don't marry for looks. That's so stupid." He gets fairly crude here and if you'd like to hear it, ask me in person or email or something. "You can fix anything on a person. If she gets a belly, you can have a tummy tuck. Liposuction will fix that butt. Breast implants and plastic surgery continue on down the list. But you can't fix stupid!"

It was simply his ability to say something that believed in his life in a way that made people laugh that made him the millions that night. I'd bet you anything that all he had to do was ask anyone in that whole place and they would have bought him a drink.

Does making people laugh make you more approachable? I would give that a resounding YES!!!!
Does a commonly held sense of humor attract people? I'm gonna take a shot in the dark here and say yes.
Is the converse true? (if you are tense/apprehensive, will that rappel people?) Again with the whole yes idea.

I'm going to finish up with the approach that I've been using for the past couple of years. What I do is explain an idea and openly offer my opinion and thoughts. Then I'll ask, "What do you think?" Once in a while, you'll get the arrogant bastard who sincerely doesn't care about the topic. They will say something like, "Well, that would make sense if this person had any value to them." Other than those people, generally the people who offer their opinion will be genuine in their answers and feel validated even if you disagree on one thing or another. This is where I learn the most. (i.e. I hope that someone disagrees with something in this post.)

making friends

"I want to inspire trust and confidence in others."
This is a quote from a friend who is struggling with the idea that they are not approachable. I had a hard time making friends in high school. I fought with this idea most of my life until the past couple of years. Here's what worked for me....

The first thing I did was find something that many people want and have trouble attaining. I chose to focus on understanding women. VERY few people attempt it and fewer still find even the remotest of success. With my topic in hand, I found a place to start sharing my ideas with whoever would read - myspace. Then! I read. I read everything I could find.

I wrote a few blogs and invited people to read and share their opinions. I gave my opinion openly and asked what people thought. I did this over the net, the phone, and chai. I really tried to see things from as non-subjective opinion as I could. In doing so, I tried to take people's opinions and meld and sculpt what I knew of the topic into the most definitive answer that I could. I tried to be as respectful as I could and learn as much as I could while still being objective.

I tried to get my focus off of myself and onto other's, their opinions, and the topic. "If there is one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as your own." -- Dale Carnegie

Using this approach, I've gained a lot of respect from women and, in turn, men. Now, respect isn't necessarily friendship, but with respect, trust is gained much easier. With trust, friendships are born.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Das Mittel aufheben

I have to chuckle with Jacob making that comment. I wrote a blog some time ago about how to raise the average IQ. What we would do is institute a system where, at the age of 18, every person on the planet would be required to take an IQ placement exam. In this exam, there would be many different tests. One would only have to prove an IQ of theoretically 101 or any higher. If they could do it, they would go "free" and live their lives as we do. If they could not, they would have to be "cut" or "tied" and would not be able to procreate. The idea was that the intelligent would continue and the world would become more efficient/advanced/etc. Now, obviously, A I'm not that arrogant and B we would never be able to enact something so desciminating. It was a big joke. If you understood that, then you understand my sense of humor! :-D

Anyway, back on topic. Rori put a rather long comment on my last blog containing any real thought and I'd like to reply to that.
"How do you know if someone is "average" without taking the time to find out? I think some of the most powerful and talented people are probably trying not to stand out. In my experience, everyone has something unique and amazing to offer if I'll just take the time to discover what it is. I don't want to be average either, but I don't want a bunch of people trying to be like me. I wish more people would be who they've been created to be and accept and appreciate each other."

"How do you know if someone is "average" without taking the time to find out?"
Of all of the things I do socially, I think that giving people a chance is at the top of the list of things on which I focus. I try pretty hard to understand people most of the time. I try to see how they are feeling, where they are coming from, if they are scared, if they are happy, if they are sad, and the questions they may have. When I meet someone new, I really focus on this as well as the first few minutes of each time I see them. Now, I'm not nearly as good at this as I'd like to be, but I'm always trying to get better. So, that said, I'm gonna be a little cocky and say that generally speaking, I give people that chance to show that they are not total d-bags and that they ARE worth people's time.

"I think some of the most powerful and talented people are probably trying not to stand out."
I'm not sure why someone who is talented would not want to stand out, but okay, let us say that some of them try not to break the mold. I would think that, given a person is fostering their talent, they will have a lot of trouble in their attempt. I also think that regardless of how hard they try to keep their fostered talent in line, it will still show through eventually.

"In my experience, everyone has something unique and amazing to offer if I'll just take the time to discover what it is."
I TOTALLY agree that everyone has some sort of talent or gifted area. However, I've noticed that all too many of them don't try to foster that gift. All too many of them have walls put up to keep them from being open and sharing. (think politics and/or presumptions that build into grudges)

"I think that if you are secure and grounded in who you are, you're more likely to be the influencing person rather than the one influenced"
I think that even in the most secure and confident people, real friendships will still influence both parties. Everyone has their moments, but I like to think that I am fairly confident. I try not to be arrogant, but I am definitely confident.

"If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary."
I also would not want everyone trying to be me. But I know that will not happen. There's this thing that I learned about in economics called tastes and preferences. Rori, you are SO amazing with words and I can only be jealous of it. But I am not. I keep working on my presence in person and in writing. However, I have no desire at all to write poetry. I love reading it, but I'd feel so limited if I had to make this whole blog rhyme! :-) I wouldn't be able to write all that you've just read. Alright, tag - YOU'RE IT!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

You are anti-social!

I was told recently that I am anti-social. Then I was told to prove otherwise. Well, the truth is... I am! And I'd rather not prove otherwise. Why?

Generally, people are just average. I don't want to be average. I want power. When I run across someone who is way above average in some area that I value, I hang out with them. After a while, they will influence me and I become more like them. If you hang out with scholars, you will become one. If you hang out with dancers, you will become more like a dancer. *shrug* I don't want to be average. When in a social setting, I'll be nice and polite to those I consider less than above average. But to those I see in my little pea-brain as people to aspire to, I'll do my best to imitate.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Yesterday was a blur for me. My work schedule sends me to bed at about 930am on Wednesdays. I got up at about 2pm and had lunch. At 530, I went to the yoga class at my gym. I don't know why people laugh at guys in that class. I honestly don't. That stuff was HARD! The initial stretching was really good and I realized how inflexible I really am. I figured that my history of climbing would help. Heh! Anyway, after a solid workout of yoga movements, the instructor basically put me to sleep with this weird focus on breathing. My mind just shut down. I was never actually asleep, but I remember laying on the mat and some girl coughed. The sound hurt. It actually caused me pain. It was like taking a knife to each one of my ears and shoving at the same time. A minute or two after, we all sort of woke up and left. That was definitely one of the oddest experiences I've ever had. It also relaxed me more than I realized until later.

I've been on a break from poker for the past couple of weeks. I wasn't playing badly, but I didn't have the touch that I have when I run a table over. I was snapped off in marginal situations where I was ahead and nothing seemed to be working. Anyway, a couple friends of mine had their break-in game for their new table last night. It was really fun. I was never uncomfortable or out of my zone all night. That seemed amazing to me as most of the major players in the FoCo area where there. Oh yeah, Jason showed up and tried to run the table over in the first few hands. AHAHAHAHA! Ramming 92o up his ass was grand! I really feel like the break helped me with my focus and patience. It seems like every time I come back from a break the game just flows easier and I make fewer mistakes. Anyway, sick night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Women are crazy

I have to laugh every time someone tells me this. The truth is, well, they ARE. ALL of them are crazy on some level. Yes, ALL of them.

I find that the more I deal with them, the more that I realize that even they don't understand themselves. This is at least up to age 22. They can be irrational, emotionally ADD, and downright hard to deal with at times.

One of the things that I hear from any given female is "I'm just crazay!" Well, yeah, but that's who they are. They are goofy, dorky, funny people. And they have a ball doing it. I think this is what makes them beautiful. And I could be wrong, but I think most guys would agree. Girls love to laugh. They will laugh at the slightest notion of silliness. This what I like to call, plain and simply, "dorkiness." And they will be dorks themselves if someone else isn't doing it for them. I can't remember a girlfriend that I didn't call a dork at some point or another and this is why.

When a girl is unsure of someone, she won't be as apt to be a dork around that person. She won't let her "true colors" shine. She is afraid of being made fun of for her dorkiness. This is only one reason that I try to make everyone comfortable around me. If I'm experiencing people, I want the real deal (guys and girls). Life just seems better.

I think I'll stick to it this time...

I've sworn off women again. I'd like to tell you why though. It seems that all women are crazy (see my other post), but they are all seemingly wanting to ruin my day. So I'm done with it. If some girl thinks I am a "challenge," well, she's in for a big surprise. I think that I'll crawl into an academic hole until next summer. Maybe I'll raise my standards too. Or maybe I should define them a little more in my own mind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to take what will possibly be the most beautiful hike of my life. Now, I am a man. My spirit belongs in the wild. Where nothing else can survive, I flourish.

Its a long way in from the road. The trail is demanding and narrow. Most people don't make it and fewer still come back.

After miles of trail, it disappears. Only rocks and boulders are left. I continue upward. Darkness surrounds me. My legs ache. My mind is exhausted from my regular life. I need rest. I need to be home.

As I reach the top of the scree, I am greeted by a warm sunrise. It climbs over the horizon with slow and deliberate movement. I wait. A moment for the valley to be illuminated, I wait. The cool fluid flows over my head, each droplet finding a hair to cling too. I strip off my sweat-soaked shirt and wring it out. The warm sun hugs me like a masseuse. I am almost there.

After the rope is clipped and my things are repacked, I swing around the rock and sit into my harness. As I become still, I look up at that awe-inspiring rock and stop for a second. Right at that moment, the valley lights up with grays and greens and blues, along with a gold tone over everything.

I dance over the painted rock as I descend the thousand foot face. Years of fluid stains the granite with blacks and dark greens. Soon, I am surrounded by the greenest of grass you've ever seen. I descend a little further to boulders that rest next to the lake.

The lake is a very cool deep blue. The rocks penetrate into it's depths. The surface is as smooth as glass. The silver walls are reflected perfectly off of the mirror in front of me. Most of the rocks are sharp and rough. My rock is smooth and flat. The lake is surrounded by the tallest walls, like a fortress. The walls climb into oblivion as though they are trying to touch the sky. After some nourishment, I drift off to the sweet slumber of home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Long's Trip Report 7-19-06

July 15th, 2006

3:30am came WAY too soon. I stayed the night at my friend Kimie's house. Her parents run a camp about a mile from the trail head. She was super stoked to see me too! It was wonderful to hang out and screw around. Anyway, 3:30am. She woke me up and I dressed and finished packing. I ran outside for a second to see if I really wanted to wear jeans. It was cool, but I'd be working and that would keep me warm. I tossed my fleece on and started putting my bags back into my car. Kimie was leaving for Denver at 2pm and we didn't know if we'd get to hang out again. She threw on some sweats and her Keen flip-flops and waited. She drove me up to the trail head. On the whole minute-long ride, I tried to wolf down a cliff bar as fast as I could. I gave Kimie a big hug. That felt good. My body didn't want to move. I ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep (+/-) that night. Kimie reminded me to sign in AND out on the register and I wandered up the sidewalk. There were four Asian guys standing there, signing in. They were chattering away in what sounded like Korean, but I couldn't tell for sure.

Trailhead, 9,400 3:40am, 0.0 miles

They left and I signed in. Chad, Fort Collins, party of 1, 3:40am, expect to return at (meh, I'll not be egotistical) 4:30pm. And I was off. 9,400 feet. I tried to pace myself, but I have this bad habit of going fast and then burning out. I caught the four Asians almost immediately. One of them had a black little backpack with a big yellow CU on it. They kept chattering and soon let me by. It was good having them to pace me, but they felt WAY too slow. I just tried to pull away from them at a constant rate. The moon was bright enough to keep me looking back, thinking that someone was pulling up on me. Then I realized it. I wasn't alone. As much as I wanted to be alone, that felt good.

Goblin Forest, 10,120 4:20am, 1.2 miles

Pretty quickly, I noticed the "Goblin" sign. Yeah, I just had to. There were people sitting at several places where the creek either crossed the trail or came within feet of it. I stopped once to rest my legs for a few seconds and then I kept going. About this time, a guy and his girlfriend flew past me like I was standing still. There were two bridges that crossed the creek. It was refreshing to know that I was in the wilderness. I honestly don't think I was awake at that point. My mind was more or less on autopilot. The sound of the water was really cool that morning.

"It's kinda pretty back there. Couple of bridges over the little creek I was chasing earlier. Its about 4:30. And the trees are kind peeling away so its kinda beautiful."

I reached tree line and the stars really opened up. It was amazing. I could also see the lights of Boulder and Denver. That was one of the few things that left a bad taste. I just kept looking up at that 3/4 moon. It was wonderful. The headlights showed the trail above as people were slogging along. I passed several groups here. All in all, I passed 15 groups and another dozen or so single hikers. It seemed to me like everyone was set for an Everest expedition with their snow gear and Gore-Tex. Many of them even had Leki poles too.

4:45am "Battle Group Turnoff. I passed the tree line about a quarter mile back. And the Diamond is in pretty clear view. Theres still Mount Lady Washington, I believe, right in front of it, but its coming into view. By the way note to self, sunrise at 12,000 feet, priceless."

This area seemed more like mountain desert than tundra. I could see in the moonlight several patches of snow in the small valley. The Diamond was mostly blocked by Mount Lady Washington. But I could see the Notch and Mount Meeker to the south of Long's. This portion of the trip seemed to take a whole five minutes.

Chasm Junction, 11,600 5:05am, 3.7 miles

"It's a little after 5am and I'm at the Chasm Cutoff. I guess the easy half is over. The Diamond is pretty big right now. Theres snow on a couple of ledges and I can see the glacier. Absolutely gorgeous up here. The Sunrise is just turning orange."

Soon, I found myself at the Chasm Lake turnoff. I stopped for my first water break. I checked the hand-sized map I had printed out. I had already covered 3.7 miles! The sun wasn't even up yet! The eastern sky was lighting up, but no sun yet. There were two girls with their mom chatting about lead leg versus weak leg. Some interesting conversation was happening as I gulped some Gatorade. They took off and I stood there for a second to rest. Well, it's only half of a mile to the next point, so let's get at it! I caught the trio and blew by in a hurry. I found a couple of streams that were trickling over the trail. The third one seemed rather organized and I stopped for a couple seconds to get a handful of some clean mountain water. It was nice and cold too! Tasted wonderful!

Granite Pass, 12,080 5:35am, 4.2 miles

"Have you ever seen a pink sun? Well, I have."

The cutoff came very quickly and I noticed the sun coming up. I whipped out my camera and snatched a photo. The sun was a bright pink. It was not describable. I got back to my pace and within a minute, I heard gasps and the next ten people lined up on the next switchback to take a picture! As I passed them, I said "THAT'S why I had to stop!"

Tundra section.

As the sun came up, it seemed like people's chatter got louder. I tried to get away from them as fast as my pace would let me. But, yeah, I'd just run into more. The ground was mainly small bushes and rocks. It was surprisingly green. As the sun broke over the horizon, the golden rays really made things pretty against the green and gray. The trail was nasty here. It seemed like the trail had been dug out. In places, the trail is more like walking up a trough. The bottom of the trough being a good couple feet below the rest of the terrain. The glacier runoff spilled through the trail, making things just gross. About half of the time I wasn't even on the trail. I'd skip across the rocks on the side of the trail. The ground was so pretty.

The Boulder Field, 12,760 6:00am, 5.9 miles

"I've reached the boulder field. The sun is up and it looks like its gonna be hot today. The glacier is still pretty big comin' off Longs. SO gorgeous up here! Note to self: invest in Estes Park real estate. By the way, the Diamond is huge and its all lit up in those golden rays from the sun. Second thought, gorgeous is an insult to this place."

"6:10 to about 6:15. I'm in the middle of the boulder field. Theres a couple of solar-paneled stalls up here. They're just funny looking. Theres, I dunno, probably 30 or 40 people hangin' out. A dozen little tents in little random rock piles to shelter from the storms I assume. And I'm headin' up to the Keyhole. See you there."

As I popped over the hill, the boulder field came into view along with the Keyhole. To the left were some beautiful slabs with some snow at the bottom. To the far left, you could see the diamond. (See picture) Once into the boulder field, the trail all but disappeared. I came into an area that had been worked on by the Forest Service. There was a wooden triangle with rocks in it. Looked like a tiny corral. I thought that people might tie horses to it, but at this altitude? I certainly wouldn't want to bring a horse up here. I'd consider a dog, but the National Parks Service prohibits dogs on the trail.

There were roughly 40 people hanging around. Tents were sheltered in small areas with rocks piled up like small castles around them. There were two outhouses with solar panels on them. Weird-looking things. I guess they're called "Privy" for some reason. Anyone know? Anyway, speed racer and his girlfriend, who'd passed me earlier, were headed off to the bathrooms. I don't know if they'd summitted already or not. I chatted with this guy about hiking and the boy scouts for a second while getting some water.

I could see people heading up to the Keyhole. The boulders were tough on my knees. But the worst was yet to come. Boulder hopping is a joy to me. This was hard. There is no trail here. Period. You just look for the Cairn piles and an easy route up. As I approached the Keyhole, I finally saw what Septimus was talking about. There is a stone shelter just to the left. It talked about some mountaineer who was sailing and got dead. The other person tried to save them. I didn't feel like going in and sitting in the 4 feet of snow, so I continued the 20 feet to the Keyhole.

The Keyhole, 13,160 6:35am

"I stopped at the Keyhole to take some pictures. I hope they come out."

The Keyhole shows you one amazing view of the valley and mountains to the west. Storm Peak is in clear view. I was so awestruck that I couldn't find words to talk about it. There are several boulders that people can sit on. There were 6 or 8 people hanging out there in the sun. I looked out to the south and saw the bulls-eyes marking the easiest way. It was still early and it was all in the shade.

The "rock ledges" is really just some rough granite. Your path is really about 30 or 40 feet wide along the side of the mountain. You want to find solid footing. You also want to avoid kicking anything loose. If you were to "fall," you'd really only fall the length of your body to the ground. If you started tumbling, well, it'd be a rough day (700 to 1500 feet give or take down the slabs). The ledges continue for roughly .75 miles around the west and southwest sides of the mountain. It is also, by far, the prettiest view I enjoyed the whole trip.

"Its a little before 7am and Ive reached the Trough. Yellow pants boy really entertains me. Hes about halfway up the Trough right now. So, Ill see you at the top of the Trough."

Eventually, you reach the Trough. Now, I kept hearing 600 feet whenever I read about this trip. The Trough is NOT 600 feet LONG. It might be a 600 foot elevation gain, but don't even dream of walking down the block for 600 feet! This was, hands down, the worst part of the whole trip. I kept moving as I could, resting often. And by often I mean every 6 or 8 feet. About 400 feet from the top, I sat down. This was the only time I felt any sort of sickness. I felt slightly light-headed. I sat and thought about why that might be. I was guzzling Gatorade and water. Food! So, I had two cliff bars right there. I hadn't eaten since the single cliff bar in the car ride to the trail head. I sat for about five minutes and just chilled. I was passed for the second time, a few older guys that looked like they knew what they were doing. I stopped again a bit before the top and took those couple of pictures. Almost immediately, I started feeling better. Right below the top, there was a short technical section. Either go left and do a little odd bouldering or go right and layback/slab up about 10 feet with some small hand holds. I went right from being sick of boulder hopping. It felt good to do some easy climbing. It wasn't anything scary or hard, but it was relaxing. I had taken a solid 45 minutes to do the Trough. YUCK!! Note, yellow pants boy turned out to be yellow pants old lady.

"It's about 7:35am. Ive reached the top of the Trough and I'm entering the Narrows. I see the two rocks that are supposedly badly placed and *I dunno* it looks fine to me. Its kinda windy up there right at the top of the Trough. It seems like the air is flowing out of the western valley and funneling right up that tunnel."

At the top of the Trough, the wind was blowing a bit. I pulled up close to the rock on the left side, stepping out onto the narrows. Looking back down the trough, it felt so good to be done with it.

The "Narrows" is really just a continuation of the "rock ledges." There are about two short sections where your path is less than 3 or 4 feet wide. If you're scared of heights, you won't like it. When you top out on the Trough, you face a whole lot of air and exposure. If you look down, you'll be looking at about 800 to 2500 feet of slabs again. You most definitely don't want to fall, but the trail is, well... calling it easy might be giving it too much credit. The two "badly placed" boulders at the beginning are probably the worst of it. Past that, there's one move that I remember actually using my hands to pass over. The rest of it, you just use your hands for balance. The narrows traverse east and eventually ease back toward the summit. Once past a couple of large (dinner table sized) boulders, the path becomes extremely solid and smooth. I'm glad that I took good running shoes for this portion. It might be technically tougher than the Trough, but it is nowhere near as long. I bet the elevation change is less that 200 feet, but I could be wrong. Point being, it's not very long at all.

Near the beginning of the "Homestretch," look to the east and you'll see some gorgeous rocks. They look like an organ in a cathedral that has been there about 8,000 years and played by the same old lady for it's entire life. These are the Keyboard of the Winds and the picture I took doesn't do them justice.

The Summit, Longs Peak, 14,255 7:55am, 7.5 miles.

"7:55, SUMMIT!! I'm gonna make some phone calls and have some breakfast!"

When you see the sky meet the rocks, that is the summit. It's tough to imagine it, but after 4 hours and 15 minutes, I had reached my goal. The Summit!

People were hanging around, eating breakfast and taking naps. Other people were chatting and just enjoying the view. I tried to call Mom and Dad, but my cell wouldn't connect the calls. I also tried to call Kimie to see if she'd come pick me up at the trail head, but no go. Anyway, I laid down for a little nap, but it didn't come. About 20 minutes later, I packed up and had someone get a couple pictures. I also signed the piece of paper known as the log that everyone signs. 8:30am, I'm making like a baby.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Women attacked

The world has made women the target of attack. It seems that the world sees women as the "weaker" of the genders. Take a look at the stories that we all know. The villan always goes after the hero's lady. ALWAYS. She is thrown away into the highest tower in the scariest castle/dungeon. Women are the attacked.

Women aren't meant to be the strength. Women are the givers of life. If a kid skins his knee, does he run to his dad? No, he goes and cries to mommy. why? bc he knows that she will nurture him back to health. Age does not matter. Women are made to love. They are made to be soft and gentle. The crown of creation is/are women.

I am grieved that men have fallen so short in that they have not defended women to the point where women feel the need to defend themselves. They, again, are not meant to be worriors. If their men would be their advocate, their worrior, they wouldn't need to waste so much energy "keeping it all together" or keeping up their appearance to the world's expectations. They wouldn't need to worry about that. They could focus on being themselves. They would know that they are not standing alone and they wouldn't be abondoned. Their man is and will always be there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Why do Christians pray to Jesus?

A friend of mine brought up an interesting question. "Jenny said that's why she's Christian, and not Catholic. Catholics pray to Saints, and there's something not right about that. But as I drove home, I thought- Christians pray to Jesus. Isn't that kind-of the same thing? You can get around it by saying Jesus=God.. but then why not just pray to God?"

The part of this that I'd like to address is "Christians pray to Jesus" with Jesus being human. "but then why not just pray to God?"

I need to give a little background before I can give my thoughts. When Adam and Eve first sinned, they broke the bridge from mankind to God in that they were no longer worthy of His presence. God is perfect. They, obviously, were not. For a man to be in His presence, innocent blood must be shed in sacrifice to atone for the sin. This is the reason for all of the lambs sacrificed in the days of Moses, etc.

Before sin, we walked and talked directly with God. This is where Jesus came in. He was concieved by God in Mary. He was NOT made from man's seed, in this case Joseph. I shake my head in disgust when people incinuate that she was a whore. If she was, then Jesus would have been killed in some way or another before he was 10. He would not be hailed as the Saviour. He came as the innocent sacrifice to take our place. He gave his life for all of us so that we may talk with God. He is the replacement bridge.

Alright, now to the question. Why don't we pray directly with God? Well, we do. But, we do it through Jesus in that Jesus is perfect and worthy to be in God's presence. This is why you will hear at the end of many prayers " Jesus' name I pray."