The Mountain and the Desert

“There’s gold in them hills. So don’t lose heart, give the day a chance to start.”
– Ron Sexsmith

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The Steens Mountain from the Alvord Desert, Oregon, October 2018. A 10 shot panorama, taken with the Nikon D800, stitched with Lightroom.

After a 7 hour drive from Portland, I got to the desert just after sundown. With no real visible light, I parked my car on the dry lake bed and pitched my tent. The sky was overcast but there was no wind, so I didn’t even bother trying to stake down my tent into the sun-baked ground (although, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to if I tried).

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My tent

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The sun-baked desert

Unfortunately, it didn’t stay wind free. At about 5am the winds began lifting the edge of my tent up and would’ve been blown across the desert like a giant tumbleweed if I wasn’t frantically sprawled out to hold my tent down. But it wasn’t all bad… It got me up in time to see this slice of light falling on the nearby hillsides as I was packing up my tent.

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The Steens Mountain, as seen from the Alvord Desert.

My car and the steens mountain

All packed up…

Alvord Desert showers

Desert showers

Alvord Desert in the morning light

Cracking the desert up with my dry sense of humor

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An April 2012 Update…

From the top of Cat in the Hat, in Red Rock Canyon, NV.

Where have I been?

They say, absence makes the heart grow fonder… although, sometimes the authorities may refer to it as “unlawful neglect of a blog”.  So, I apologize if it seems that my blog has been wallowing in it’s own filth, and had to survive only on the little tidbits of updates I provide my flickr feed via instagram (located at the bottom of my blog), but I promise I have excuses a-plenty!

A New Job, a New City

So, if you aren’t a facebook friend, or a personal friend, you may not realize that I just started a new chapter of my life.  (Hopefully, this new chapter will see much more action than my blog does.) Even though I’ve been “Fun-employed” for the past 8 months, and I enjoyed every single moment of it, I had an opportunity come my way that was difficult for me to pass up.  After my trip out to Montana, I had updated my resume, and sent it to a friend who told me of a great opening at her company.  This followed with a couple of phone interviews, which then led to a day of in-person interviews.  Several weeks later, that incubated egg hatched into a job offer.  So, while it may seem that I’ve been neglecting this blog (which I have), It’s really only because I’ve been cheating on it by getting a job.  So, is that a lesser evil?  I don’t know.

So to sum up what I just said, (or TL:DR, in internet speak), I applied for, interviewed for, received, accepted, and began my new job since my last post.  I am now a Project Manager at Schawk (http://www.schawk.com/), and am now sleeping on my friend’s couch in Chicago!  The couch thing is only temporary, until I find my own place, but hopefully the new job thing lasts longer.  I’m excited to return to being a contributing member of society, and also to have a new city to explore!

But, Seriously!  Where else have I been?

Okay, so, I’m not being completely honest.  It’s not like I was locked up in some dungeon, feverishly working on my resume, and practicing my interviewing skills.  I was still out doing this, that and the other, when I watching episodes of Doctor Who on netflix.  So, where was I?

Las Vegas, and Red Rock Canyon

My last big trip was an extended weekend in Las Vegas, and Red Rock Canyon, in Nevada.  I met up with some friends there, with the main goal to do a 5.6/5.7 multi-pitch trad climb called “Cat in the Hat” in Red Rock, but also squeeze in some fun in Vegas.  I’m not a big gambler, but I did end up winning $80 on slots on the first day, and gradually giving back $60 throughout the weekend via video black jack, one quarter’s worth at a time.  But we balanced out the excitement with a Cirque show, (Ka, which was utterly, breath-taking, and edge-of-your-seat exhilarating).

It was a great trip, and although I’ve been to Red Rock Canyon before (I’ll post photos from last August when I was there, in my next post), I’m sure it won’t be my last time.

Anyway, I’ll post some photos now, and shut up. 🙂

Red Rock Canyon & Climbing Cat in the Hat

Whoa, so I spoke too soon.  I’m not shutting up, quite yet.  I just wanted to add that I didn’t take quite as many photos as I would have liked, and since we got a late start to the climb, and with how busy the route was, it seemed we were always in a rush, especially since we had to be out of the park by 7pm, or we would have been fined an additional $100+.  I think next time I come back, I’ll see if I can take some night photos; the hike out via headlamps and moonlight was amazingly beautiful, even if we were trying to race against the clock.  Okay, I digress, here are the photos. 🙂


The whole climb took about 6 hrs, but a lot of it was waiting for others ahead of us to come down, as the belay stations at the top weren’t very big.  I’ll probably update this with more descriptions for photos, but I’m just going to publish now, because I’m going to bed, now that I have a job to go to in the morning! 🙂  Thanks for reading!  More posts soon, I promise!