Monday, December 8, 2014

Short Film by Mooon, "Neptune"

It's weird in a Euro-silly kind of a way, BUT there's running and cool landscapes. It might make me uneasy just because the score and film quality reminds me of late 70s/early 80s scifi suspense movies, like Beyond the Black Rainbow was intentionally imitating. Note to self, no running in France in Tyvek suits.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey/Pennsylvania Border

Late October and late November. Beautiful shots by Reddit users Jerry_Rigg and outside_guy respectively. That's a bald eagle in the snowy shot. Looking at these, I regret not getting up there more when I lived in PA!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rod Dixon: A Great Pennsylvania/New Zealand Marathoner

Because he ended up moving from the awesome mountain trails of New Zealand to settle in my home town in Pennsylvania, I decided to look up Rod Dixon. People mentioned him living in the area when I was a kid. If you don't know where Nolde Forest is, that's okay - this article about his crack at the 1983 New York Marathon is still interesting as a document of early 80s running history. He won in 2:08:59 by 9 seconds, catching the leader at the end in what is widely considered the greatest finish in the history of the race.

Interesting, and difficult though this is to believe for us in 2014, Dixon was the first non-American to win New York - and no American-born runner has won it since. (And only one American has won it since then, Eritrean-born (and San Diego/Mammoth's own) Meb Keflezighi.)

He also held the course record for Bay to Breakers in 1983, but did something even better in his fun-run in 1985.

Might I just point out with absolutely no patriotic bias, once again we see that the two best places to train in the U.S. are Pennsylvania and California.

The City That Said No to Baseball

Sports teams often threaten to leave the cities where they play, if they don't get nice new stadiums paid for by taxpayers. (Imagine if, say, Wal-Mart tried that for one of its stores.) The funny thing is, sports franchises don't like to directly answer "Would this be a sensible investment for the city?" If the answer is yes, there's a case to be made. If the answer is no, then you would expect the teams don't want this talked about out in the open, and then they rely on sports tribalism and mostly indirectly threaten the local mayors. That is, many voters are economically irrational and care about their team even if it's costing them money, and will vote out the mayor if he lets the team leave on his watch. This has already happened at least once. And (surprise!) the answer is a clear no, where new stadiums are concerned - they don't bring growth to the area around the stadium, or money into the region. (That's a Stanford study at that link. What, you don't believe Stanford, the engine of Silicon Valley? What are you, some kind of a communist?)

But other cities have told teams to get lost, and done just fine afterward. Here's another such story in Phoenix. And while we're at it, ask yourself: has San Francisco been hurt economically after telling the 49ers not to let the door hit them in the ass on the way down to Santa Clara?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reyes Peak, Haddock Peak; Also Gaviota Peak

I was going to be down in Santa Barbara for a wedding and decided to bang out some of these Los Padres trails. If I'd had more time I would've done Reyes/Haddock the honest way by starting at the bottom on 33 and going all the way up Chorro Grande, but that will have to wait for another day. I was happy enough to finally see this corner of Los Padres. That country up there around Haddock is amazing and at one point I regressed to age 7 and started rolling pine cones off the cliffs to see how far they would go (only about 5). I have to admit I was doubtful about the abundance of bear sighting I read about in that part of the state but I saw so much bear scat that I am now less skeptical!

I also got up to Gaviota Peak, above the pass of the same name, by heading up the fire trail and then back down on Trespass Trail. I'd been to the nearby hot springs a number of times and always wanted to go further and get up on the ridge, which is the western end of the Santa Ynez Mountains. It was hot enough up there already, even with a fog layer below me that didn't want to give up. The wind cave on Trespass Trail was a nice surprise too. Maybe another time I'll run all the way to Ronald Reagan's old ranch. Had no idea it was there until I read up on the area.

I was also obsessed with seeing an active oil seep, which I'd read can sometimes be found in the sand at Carpinteria State Beach, but only found some washed up on the sand. Ih, I'll live. I think this was more than offset by seeing one of my best friends get married in a really beautiful simple ceremony at the sunken garden at Santa Barbara City Hall, which I had never seen before.

The Channel Islands once again escaped from my prying eyes. We'll have to head back when we can actually spend some time.

By the way, should you find yourself in Ojai, do yourself a favor and check out easily the most awesomest bookstore I have ever been in, Bart's Books, basically an open air maze of books. Open 7 days a week until sunset!

Pictures below are from online resources as credited, to which, as always, I am grateful as a fellow lover of trails.

Reyes Peak-Haddock Peak Trail. From David Stillman.

Haddock Peak. From Val Hikes.

Gaviota Pass from Trespass Trail. From 100 Peaks.

Trespass Trail. From Songs of the Wilderness.

Near Gaviota Peak. From Hikes Peak.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bears on Western States, Plus the River Trip That Wasn't

Ran the part of the Western States that runs between Foresthill and Michigan Bluff. Saw a bear on the trail even! (He took one look and seeing the likes of me he high-tailed it out of there. Less fear, more disgust I think.) This is added to a piece I did around Green Gate. Western States is mostly quite undeveloped in character until quite near the end in Auburn. Really, it's the quarry; you might also count the first 3 miles going up to the Escarpment at Squaw Valley adn then the stretch along the road in Foresthill, but that's really it.

Also, friends Rene and Greggypoo were kind enough this same weekend to invite me along for a raft trip along the American River. I knew I would be late and tried to join them and the same day, ran the bit of the American River trail from Sunrise to the footbridge at Pond Park, carrying my raft, hoping to find them. Although my river sandals literally fell apart along the way, it didn't work - one fleet of drunks on the river looks very much like the next, it turns out! At least we ended up getting some good Korean food that night. Still fun.

Friday, September 26, 2014

San Diego: Regents Bridge Over Rose Canyon Is Dead

Ding dong, hurrah! A number of people and organizations have fought this over the years. Thanks for preserving the canyon. Now everyone else, get out there and kill some fennel!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

To What Extent Does Minutes of Sunlight Explain Temperature?

The list of stupid things I wonder about grows longer still. As I evolved in my complaining about Sacramento's summer weather, I started thinking about to what degree you can predict the daily temperature from the minutes of sunlight. Obviously the relationship can't be 1:1 because the solstices are not the coldest or hottest days on average. But it turns out, for American cities that don't have marine climates, minutes of sunlight accounts for over 70% of the variation in average daily temperatures. You might say, "Of course! What else did you think explained hot summers and cold winters, seasonal volcanism?" It's that I didn't expect the relationship to be so clear, and to be obscured by other climactic factors.

Below please note sunlight-temperature scatter plots for Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, and Philadelphia. Initially I expected Sacramento and Phoenix to be similar, and San Diego and Philadelphia (Philadelphia because of humidity and cloud cover). I also didn't expect too tight of a correlation. Temperature data is from 1980-2012.

This was a surprise. Cloud cover and humidity per se don't make a difference, but being downwind from a massive heat sink does. And when you break the temperature cycle in half, and do a separate linear goodness of fit for both decreasing and increasing temperature, the R^2 goes up past 0.9! (Again, for the non-marine cities.)

I even adjusted Sacramento for the differing angle of the sunlight (i.e. a minute of sunlight in January is different than in May, because the sun is lower, and the same power is therefore spread over a greater area; that is to say, watts per square meter is lower in winter than summer.) After all, every place on Earth gets the same minutes of daylight per year, but obviously the higher the latitude, the greater the departure from directly-overhead sunlight, and therefore the less power being delivered, and obviously for this reason higher latitudes are colder. But it turns out that adjusting for incident intensity comes out in the wash, within the same dataset - adjusting for different sun intensity only increased the goodness of fit by about 0.02. There is an obvious difference in the pointiness of winter (Sac and PHX are pointier than Philly, i.e. they start warming after the solstice more rapidly than Philly); this might be explained by difference in cloud cover.

One take home: if you want to identify marine-influenced climates, you could write a program that calculates the R^2 for any city, given latitude (so you can calculate minutes of sunlight each day) and daily average temperature data. The worse the fit, the more there's a massive heat sink nearby screwing up your prediction, i.e. the more marine-influenced is the climate you're looking at.

ADDED LATER: This very nice related NOAA map I found at the Map Porn subreddit. Purpler = sooner (December), green-yellow = later (February).

Temperature data is from average daily temperature archive, University of Dayton.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From Rattlesnake Bar to Auburn - It's Autumn

I am always happy to have underestimated the neato-ness of a trail. I initially thought "Ih, dry oak scrub at the start of the foothills, whatever..." I was running it to connect the American River Trail to Western States in my little projecty. And boy was I wrong. Turkeys everywhere, a beautiful little pond, a rushing mountain stream, wild grapes, deer and elk everywhere, an old flume alongside the trail, and this critter, out for his autumnal walk. Other pictures follow below.

Forgive me the video's shakiness, my priority was first not having a tarantula on me, and second entertaining you, dear blog reader.

These pictures are along the North Fork of the American River, just upstream of where it runs into Lake Folsom. The first two pictures below are wild grapes near Mormon Ravine. They do in fact taste like grapes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Minarets and Bristlecones

This weekend we wanted to get out of Doge* so we went over those mountains over there, and screwed around on the east side. We got up in them Minarets (which included seeing the Devil's Postpile, finally; also see here) and seeing the Bristlecone Forest, finally. Below please see Minarets. Was warm even at 10,000'.

Simple question for geology and materials science types: if basalt sometimes forms regular hexagons (as with Devil's Postpile) because it's a stable shape, and salt flats do the same thing, why don't they always (or usually) form these shapes? Why are the regular hexagonal patterns so rare as to stick out to us?

Below, seen in Bishop: I know I'm often frustrated by gelato shops that don't sell weapons when I need one. (Or the other way around.) Finally! A store that addresses this problem! However, steak was consumed at the best steakhouse in town, which is in (no kidding) the local bowling alley, and which is (similar lack of kidding) a solid place for a steak and a beer.

Above: I said we wanted to get out of Doge, and I meant it.
Below: Cooking Wiss a Doge.

The next day we saw us some 4,000 year old trees. The 4.5 mile trail from the visitor center in the Bristlecone Forest may not seem like much but the flora changes based on north- or south-facing slopes and elevation are pretty interesting. Fun trail. Plus my car turned 100,000 on the way; can't think of a better place to mark the occasion. Panorama is taken on the high road between the visitor center and the UC research station.