Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route: Day 1

Oct
13

Today was a good beginning. Starting with a carb loaded breakfast, I met my group and we all piled into the van that took us to the mountain. Thus began the Kilicoaster: the van often encountered bumpy roads with plenty of ruts and other vehicles needing to share the limited space. At some points, the van seemed in danger of tipping...and yet resourceful porters managed to hang on to the back ladder for brief lifts.

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Airport Troubles

Oct
11

I arrive at the airport and the kiosk tells me it can't find my ticket. So I get in line to talk to an agent and encounter the stupidest system ever seen: people that check in online get served at the counter before anyone else.

After a bit of waiting, I force my way in to find out I have to talk to a different counter. Would have been nice for the computer system to tell me that...and for the agent to not have said my ticket was "cancelled" (technically was, but only because I had a different ticket in the system to replace it).

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Skydiving Party

Sep
26

So not long back, the owner of the dropzone I normally go to threw a 30/50 party, celebrating his 30th birthday and the 50 year anniversary of his first skydiving jump. Or something like that. And boy does he throw a party--pig roast, kegs of beer, ice luges, a live band, bonfire and even a professional fireworks show. Oh, and we even got some skydiving in. Quite a fun weekend, although probably best served by just looking at the pictures--enjoy!

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New York

Aug
27

So Brian and Olga, my wonderful cousins from Australia, came to the US for a few weeks recently. They ended that trip in New York City and I was lucky enough to meet up with them for their last weekend.

Now, because they had spent much of a week there already, they had managed to do most of the standard tourist stuff on Manhattan. This left me in the enviable position of showing them some of the less accessible parts of New York that many tourists end up skipping simply due to time constraints.

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Living History Part 2

Aug
23

Sometimes things just don't work right. For example, I couldn't upload more than 141 images to part 1 of this post without causing funkiness. Not sure why, but seemed easier to just make a part 2 than to spend hours fixing it.

If you want to see all the pictures at once, I recommend the Image Gallery.

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Living History

Aug
23

Ever wonder what it'd be like to live in the early 19th century? Every year the Grand Portage National Monument organizes a reenactment of a fur trade rendezvous, a gathering where much trading of furs for goods happened in slightly less wild parts of the wilderness. The Grand Portage site is a historically important rendezvous site and this event seeks to commemorate that and help educate the public on an important part of US and Canadian history.

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Special Events

Aug
16

A few weeks back, several quite cool things happened. I would have posted about them sooner, but things have been busy. At least I'm still able to keep having this fun without posting about it :).

First off that weekend, I convinced my dad to try skydiving again after a 42 year hiatus. He stopped jumping the first time after his main wouldn't open on a jump and he had to pull his reserve--decided he'd rather live than jump, although he did one last jump after to prove he still could.

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Caveat Emptor

Aug
14

So, in the past, I've done most of my trip planning myself or relied on close friends and family (like my dad) to handle the same. Recently, though, I've been planning a few trips with different organizational, logistical, legal and other issues that have pushed me towards some externally planned packages (like the guide requirement for Killimanjaro--you can't legally climb without a licensed guide). While most of the people I've dealt with have been very helpful on this front, one recent experience has given me even yet another reason to do what I can myself when possible.

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Discreet understatement

Aug
13

I haven't had a lot to say about Andrew's recent trips. His own posts are pretty vivid, particularly if you read them, although I wouldn't recommend that. They're full of these excruciating little details."Simple errors like an improperly adjusted harness or slight imperfections in parachute packing can easily lead to greater than intended forces being exerted on small regions of the body." An innocent sentence until you start thinking about particularly small regions of Andrew's body, when it brings tears to the eyes.

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Pushing Limits

Jul
22

So, over the past few weeks, I've been doing a lot of skydiving. In doing this, I've come across quite a few "limits" and am enjoying how easy it's been to push on and exceed those limits.

One of the more obvious limits when talking about skydiving is terminal velocity, where wind resistance balances out the force of gravity and stops you from falling faster--about 120 miles per hour for a human jumping out of a plane. But that limit can be changed simply by adjusting body position (and, therefore, drag). Playing with this is part of what makes skydiving fun.

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