Preparing for the Alps on Mt Tam

In 3 weeks, Stephanie and I will be hiking about 125 miles of the GR5 through the French Alps over 9 days. It will be the longest (in both days and miles) that the two of us have hiked together, and it’s a day longer than I hiked with my Dad on the PCT. We’ll be staying at gîtes and mountain refuges along the way, with meals (demi-pensions) included—which means we won’t have to carry food, tents, or sleeping bags. Even so, it occurred to me that I should probably prepare for this endeavor, at least a little. That partly explains my hike last weekend, and partly explains my hike this weekend, and partly explains my hope to go hiking next weekend.

Also, Stephanie had to be in Corte Madera on Saturday to teach a cheesemaking class, so I tagged along. While she was cutting curds, I was making tracks through Mt Tamalpais State Park, covering nearly 10 miles in just under 4 hours.

Mt Tamalpais State Park trail view

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Return to Butano

This morning I had an errand to run in San Mateo. I had access to a car, and Stephanie was busy, so I decided to go hiking afterwards. I was thinking Butano State Park might be convenient, as it’s also south of San Francisco, but it turned out to be an hour from San Mateo, over the peninsula and all the way to Pescadero.

My cousin Christy introduced me to Butano only two months after I moved to California—which I think counts as my first hike in the state. Looking back over the brief blog post I wrote about that day, I was amused to discover that we hiked there exactly 10 years ago, making my return visit an anniversary of sorts.

I arrived, paid my entrance fee, and studied the map for a promising loop. They described the 9.5-mile Canyon Loop as “strenuous”—that looked like the hike for me. Besides crossing paths with a few people at the beginning and the end, I had the trail entirely to myself.

I hiked at a swift pace, stopping only to take the occasional photo. At about the halfway point I sat down and had a little lunch of cherry tomatoes, string cheese, beef jerky, and macadamia nuts. I completed the loop in a little over 3 hours, and I was quite happy to be done after the steep descent on the Año Nuevo trail.

View of the trail from the Canyon Loop at Butano State Park, near Pescadero, CA

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Portuguese Cheese

Tonight, after a long absence, I returned to the Cheese School of San Francisco for a class about Portuguese Cheese and Wine. I enjoy subjects like these, focused and unfamiliar to me. I’ve tasted many different cheeses over the years, but I can’t say that any have been from Portugal.

Portuguese Cheese and Wine at the Cheese School of San Francisco
Portuguese cheeses, in dramatic light

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The Great Purge

Consider this a sort of transparency report. As I mentioned in my recent Responsive Redesign post:

Though I’ve long been a staunch proponent of not self-censoring old content, I may start “unpublishing” some old posts that I feel have little or no redeeming value, besides being cringe-worthy indicators of where I was at the time.

This was a massive undertaking, that involved twice going through each and every one of the 2,088 posts I’ve published over the last 13 years (many of which I reread) and asking myself, Is this something I’m proud of? In the end, I answered No to 277 posts. The vast majority were culled from my early years of blogging. It’s hard to categorize the subject matter which most often fell under the knife, except to say that many of my old political or complainy rants had not aged well.

Graph of blog post words unpublished by year
Word Count by Year (Spared vs. Censored)

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Trinity Alps’ Canyon Creek Trail

It began to pour the moment we pulled into our campsite. So we napped in the car waiting for our friends who were a few hours behind us. The rain had passed by the time Julie, Patrice, and their daughter Eva arrived, but the trees were still dripping, so we ate dinner that night with our rain jackets on.

Justin, Stephanie, Julie, Pat, and Eva at the Canyon Creek Trailhead in the Trinity Alps
The gang at the Canyon Creek Trailhead

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