Volume 1, Issue 6 - What was 2018?

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday December 18, 2018.

This might sort of be a year-end roundup of what I did online this year. I know, great way to sell this. But I do believe that I can cross it over—some best of content from me, along with some stuff that I’ll touch on that you may not have seen.

Adventures

I like to kick off any conversation where someone asks “What have you been up to?” with a broad overview of what I’ve done in my free time lately. So, I’ll briefly recap what adventures I had in 2018. Unfortunately, the quantity left a little to be desired, but the quality was superb.

January—Snowshoe camping trip near Carson Pass

Went out with a couple of guys I hadn’t met before, Walt and Mike, to Carson Pass. From there, we threw the snowshoes on and walked a few miles in. We stopped at the eastern base of Elephant’s Back and set up camp. The hike wasn’t much—just a couple of miles and no significant elevation. But the trip was good for learning a few things. First, using a bivy sack for winter camping leaves a lot to be desired. When it’s cold and the sun goes down at 5:00 and rises at about 7:00, you spend a huge amount of time in your tent. That’s tough to do in a bivy sack. No amount of reading material can keep you sane in that time when there just isn’t much room to move around. But the trip was great. The view of Elephant’s Back was great and we had some great conversation getting to know one another.

March—Failed trip to Boundary Peak

I made an attempt at driving to Boundary Peak and making on overnight expedition out of the climb. My plan was to drive as far up the road as I could get and approach from there. I was able to get pretty far up the road. I wound up a mile from the main pass that the road crosses over to the other side of the range. That hike was simple enough, if hot, with a large pack. But once I hit the proper trailhead and began to climb just a bit, I realized that one of my main assumptions—that there would be snow throughout the hike, therefore providing me with unlimited water—was incorrect. There was almost no snow at all on the south face, and none whatsoever at the saddle where I had planned to camp. I had to scrap the trip from there and turn around. I wound up turning it into a scouting mission. I drove through Bishop and Big Pine to get to the road that runs into the White Mountains from the south. I drove in about halfway to the end and turned back because the terrain was getting a bit scary for my vehicle. I didn’t want to wind up on the wrong side of an icy hill in plummeting temps. So, I decided then that I should head home, and did.

April—Three day expedition to Lassen Peak

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Went with the same Walt, another guy named Peter, and a woman named Debbie to Lassen Volcanic National Park to spend a few days taking in the views while making a summit run on Lassen Peak. This was another opportunity to try out some new gear, as most of my trips tend to be. My winter tent was magnificent. My most coveted jacket was magnificent. The mountain was magnificent. We had to stop at the park entrance and hike in from there. It was mostly a snowshoe trip, which is easier than carrying snowshoes in case you need them. We set camp up near the mountain, climbed it the next day, then spent the afternoon resting before bed and leaving on day three. I will say this: Lassen Peak isn’t a tough ascent. I haven’t been there without snow, but as in many of the climbs I like to do, I would say that the route we took (straight up the northeast ridge using crampons) seemed like it was easier than the windy trail that’s available in the summer months. If you get a chance to simply drive through that park, you won’t be disappointed. And take a crack at the mountain. It’s not bad, and the view of Shasta is tremendous from up there. Glissading down is highly recommended.

August—The Dust Devil Sprint Triathlon

I actually won a triathlon.

November—The Lost Coast Trail

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You can read the entire story of this adventure on my blog. Outside of this being a premier backpacking trip on the west coast, the biggest takeaway I have is that it’s probably possible for anyone in even moderate shape to tackle. There is no elevation gain. The terrain, while not always the most fun, is still navigable by anyone who hikes even once or twice a year. Planning would be key. There is so much access to water on this trail that you could realistically take as long as you want with overnight stops possible all over the place. That makes it accessible to anyone who has an inkling about what they’re doing. It’s not easy, per se, because the planning is a real endeavor. But reading up on how to handle this sort of undertaking will get you far on this trip.

What’s next

I have at least one series adventure planned for 2019, which will cause others to come into play beforehand. I’ll be climbing Mount Rainier via the Kautz Route in June. That’s a non-trivial thing—one that I’ll have to spend serious time training for. It also means that I’ll have to make a trip or two before June to climb some other mountains in preparation. Namely, Mount Shasta sometime in either late March or April, depending on weather and conditions. It seems like I’ve tried in one way or another to climb Shasta for the past four years. It hasn’t worked out yet, but with the Kautz looming, I’ll have to find a way to do it this year.


Everything else

We had a pretty decent year for getting out of town. A few weekend trips, including one to Los Angeles to watch the Dodgers beat the Angels, broke up the monotony. We also got a week in Oregon. Christy and I drove up with my mom, spent a few days with my brother in Vancouver, Washington, then Christy and I drove to the coast to check out potential retirement options and a couple nights camping at the beach. We met back up with my mom in Eugene and drove home.

We made two trips to Ashland, Oregon for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We had gone once the year before and had a great time. We took the trips this year about a month apart. It was great, but I’d prefer to space them out a bit more. We keep winding up there when the Dodgers play in the World Series. Two years running we have spent the weekend watching games late into the evening at bars, and two years in a row I have seen some great, fun baseball and some great, not-as0fun baseball while in Ashland. I was the only one of the four of us who went to make it to the end of the 18-inning epic of Game 3. The year before, my weekend in Ashland was preceded by a weekend hike on a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail, then a work thing I had to be a part of on Wednesday morning, immediately followed by a plane trip to LA for Game 2 on Wednesday night, then a drive home on Thursday, and an immediate turnaround to drive to Ashland for the weekend on Friday. That was a hell of a week.

On the personal development front, I spent a not-insignificant amount of time installing and curating a photo gallery on my own website. I have paid for Flickr as a premium service for 12 years, and now the price is going up. Well, I shoot far, far less than I used to, and was only paying to this point in order to keep what I had alive and online (I do not like deleting anything). The price will be double in January when my subscription renews, so I found what amounts to as much of a clone as someone with my technical skills can run and installed it. I will be using that for photo embeds and all new content from this point forward. I’m proud of it.

I’ll stop the reminiscing here. The key points are that we’re alive, doing well, and I had a decent year for fun and adventure. I just hope to keep building on that.


Cool stuff you should check out

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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