Category Archives: Photos

As seen in Sunset Magazine…

I’ve been seen in the background of live nationally televised shows like The View, The Today Show and Survivor’s live finale and reunion. I’ve had an op ed piece published in defense of Survivor, my TV favorite show. I’ve been quoted in USA Today commenting on H1N1. And now I’ve had photos published in Sunset Magazine!

Two of my photos from last year’s Yosemite trip to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, appear in the July 2015 issue of Sunset Magazine. They are part of a story on Yosemite’s High Sierra Camps which I’ve become a big fan of since visiting last year.

It was a fun process to be randomly contacted through LinkedIn by a Sunset travel photo editor with a request for two of my photos found on Flickr. In exchange for a small payment, I handed over high resolution versions of the photos, happily, to a publication I’ve enjoyed since moving here. (It’s a West coast-centric magazine focused on traveling, the outdoors, cooking and gardening.)

Misadventures with Derek

Six words you don’t want to hear five weeks before an international trip:
You need to renew your passport.

This is the sentence I awoke to on Monday morning in an email from my travel agent. A perfect way to kick off the week.

I’ve planned the hell out of this upcoming 15 day trip to Peru and I did confirm two months ago that my passport is in my known possession and does not expire until March 2014.

Little did I know that to travel to many countries, like Peru, you must have six months valid on your passport, as of your planned return day. My trip concludes in early October so basically I will be expired by about six days. In a world where details (sometimes) rule, this is enough to require me to renew and expedite.

It’s always something isn’t it?

Well as I renew my passport I have to send in my current (and first) one and will likely not get it back. So it seemed appropriate to capture my international travels over the last 10 years and do a little reminiscing…

I got my first passport in college in 2004 as I prepared myself for my first international trip, a summer study abroad throughout Asia. .

Pages 8 and 9

My summer in Asia took me in (Tokyo) and out (Osaka) of Japan (with Kyoto in between), before camping out in Hong Kong for two months, with side trips to Macau and Singapore.

Pages 10 and 11

Following my study abroad, I didn’t leave the country again until a trip to Australia in 2006 and then again in 2008 when I participated in a one week exchange program with Racepoint Group to London, with a side trip to Paris (although with no photos or passport stamp from France, I can’t actually prove I ever made it there).

Page 12 and 13

It was around 2009 that the rules for carrying a passport in and out of Mexico changed so I got a few stamps for trips south of the border. Then it was 2011 that I most recently left the country on a trip to Barcelona for work and play, although my immigration checks were in Zurich.

While I’ve only left the country a half dozen times in the last 10 years, I always feel blessed with the opportunities I have to travel. Here’s to filling even more pages in passport #2 (which hopefully will arrive without delay) starting with an adventure to a new continent.

(Shout out to my dear friend, seasoned blogger and world traveler Andi, who I clearly and blatantly used as inspiration for the title of this post. I hope she doesn’t mind. 🙂 Visit her blog, Misadventures with Andi, for travel stories and tips, food porn and other great content that inspires me to blog more.)

Accidental art #3

Maybe this isn’t accidental art but it’s unexpected. On my way into work there is a building near Duboce Park under construction. They boarded up the outside of the construction zone and it now hosts a beautiful and very green mural.

Accidental art #2

Usually walking through the streets of SOMA/Potrero Hill near my office is not an exciting experience. But today as I was walking through the neighborhood on the way to my eye exam I stumbled upon an interesting contraption sitting on a corner under a stop sign. I have no idea what it was, if it ever served any sort of purpose or where it came from, but it caught my eye.

Any ideas what it is?

accidental art on the streets of san francisco

Half Dome #3 (brought to you in part by Instagram)

This weekend I completed my third trek up Yosemite’s famed Half Dome. Getting to the top of Half Dome requires a 17+ mile round trip hike that takes you from 4,062 feet at the base of the Yosemite Valley floor, up to the 8,842 feet summit. (Yes that’s 4,400 feet of elevation gain. To put that into perspective, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall.)

Half Dome

Half Dome standing 4,400 feet above the Yosemite Valley

I still remember finishing Half Dome for the first time in the summer of 2007 and thinking to myself, “ok, well that’s something I only need to do once.” I thought this because the hike is not only exhausting but a slight bit terrifying. The last 400 feet requires you to scale up the side of the top of the Dome, pulling yourself up a sketchy set of cables. And of course coming down is equally as terrifying. There have been many deaths on Half Dome and most of them have occurred when someone got tripped up on the cables.

Half Dome cables

The cables of Half Dome greet you with 400 feet to go, straight up

But of course after a few years I forgot about the pain and terror, and decided that I wanted to drag my Dad up Half Dome. During the summer of 2009,  I completed my second trek to the summit with father in toe and then let a few more years pass again before thinking about doing the hike another time.

By now however, due to congestion, an increase in deaths, and unsafe hiking conditions, Yosemite implemented a lottery program to gain access to the trail to complete the hike. Now only 400 hikers and backpackers are allowed on the trail to Half Dome each day and you better believe the lottery is competitive, especially for weekends. This spring I decided it was time to do the hike again and I threw my hat in the ring for a permit. Thankfully I scored one and this weekend the day finally came to subject myself (and a +1) to the torturous hike.

For as tiring and scary as I describe the journey up Half Dome, I should mention also that it’s beyond beautiful. On the way up you get to see two amazing waterfalls and by the time you’ve made it to 1.5-mile-to-go mark to the summit, you’re enjoying expansive, stunning views of the Sierra from high above Yosemite.

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall stands 594 feet tall on the Mist Trail, on the way up Half Dome

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall, just downstream from Nevada Fall, boasts a 317 foot tall rushing cascade along the Mist Trail

Glen and the Sierra

Glen soaks up views of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra from the shoulder of Half Dome

This year, I was joined by the company of one of my favorite people, the sun was shining, we were surrounded by happy hikers, and the day ended with pizza, Wild Cherry Pepsi and hot showers. I’m sure this wasn’t my last time hiking Half Dome but it will always stand out as a great day and a memorable hike that I will cherish, probably forever.

Glen and Derek on Half Dome

Glen and me just before tackling the cables up the last 400 feet, note the tiny trail of hikers behind us scaling up the granite Dome

Half Dome, The Visor

Me on The Visor on the summit, 8,840 feet above sea level

the Sierra

Me and Glen on the Summit of Half Dome with the Sierra behind us, one of my favorite views in Yosemite