Rockstar Life

Most of my work days are pretty benign. And then there are days like today. Though to tell the whole story, I need to go back to yesterday.

I put in a full day of work on Wednesday, shipping an important feature just before 5. Went home to chill for a bit and pack for my 11:40 red-eye to Chicago—to attend a meeting early the next morning. Scooted with Stephanie to Shalala, her new favorite ramen shop. While there found out that my flight had been delayed until 1. This was actually good news, because after dinner we had tickets to the James Vincent McMorrow concert at the Fillmore, one of my favorite artists as of late, and the reason I opted to take the red-eye instead of leaving earlier in the day (with my three compadres from Sincerely). I had been planning on ducking out of the concert a little early and heading straight to the airport, but this meant all pressure was off.

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So we did this thing

Justin and Stephanie's wedding selfie
The wedding selfie

I figured it might be important to post something about it here for those of you who don’t also follow Stephanie on Facebook—where the news was initially disseminated, far and wide.

In common parlance: we got married! Last Friday, amidst the rain and the Giants Parade and Halloween, the two of us went down to San Francisco City Hall, filled out the requisite paperwork, and had a poignant ceremony lasting just over two minutes. The tripod was our only witness, recording the brief event to share with our families in Texas, France, and beyond. Though we would have loved for them to be there with us, it just didn’t make sense for everyone to come so far for so little. (Don’t worry, we’re going to try to get the families together in France next summer!) Afterwards we went up to the fourth floor of City Hall and took photos of each other in our new spiffy duds for over an hour. Et voila! We were married.

Hallowed ground

At the end of July, Stephanie accompanied me on a business trip to San Diego. We booked a later flight home on the Saturday after my meetings so we could visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park—the largest state park in California, and the second-largest in the country. On the two hour drive out there, it occurred to us that we’d probably be crossing the Pacific Crest Trail. At that point in time, Dad was on the trail way up in Oregon, one day past Crater Lake. Stephanie compared the PCT map I was using to track him with our location in Google Maps and realized we were almost there.

Driving slowly along Country Route S22, it didn’t take long to find the trail markers. We got out and took a few pictures. Like our backpacking trip in Kings Canyon, it was another neat Dad was here moment. But even cooler was realizing that he had used his SPOT to transmit his nightly campsite just before the road. It had been only his 5th night on the trail, at mile 101. So really it was more like: Dad slept here! That made it feel even more special. We’ll probably be doing this for the rest of our lives—crossing the PCT on some road trip, stopping to pay our respects, and thinking back on Dad’s incredible feat.

Southbound trail marker where the PCT crosses California County Route S22
Southbound trail marker where the PCT crosses County Route S22

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Return to the High Sierra Camps

After having such an incredible experience with my brother at Yosemite’s Merced Lake High Sierra Camp last summer, I really wanted to return with Stephanie. We entered the lottery last September, but didn’t get picked, so in February I pieced together a partial loop for Labor Day Weekend from among the dates that were still available. We chose the “Meals Only” option, which meant we got to enjoy the same amazing, homemade meals as all the other guests (while saving us from having to carry food and cooking supplies), but we had to bring our own tent and sleeping bags (instead of staying in the tent cabins).

En route to Glen Aulin in Yosemite National Park
En route to Glen Aulin

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The Rae Lakes Loop

When we left San Francisco early on the morning of July 3rd, bags packed for a four-day backpacking trip, there was no guarantee that we’d actually be able to hike our intended route: the 41-mile Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park. All of the reservable wilderness permits for the holiday weekend had been booked long in advance. So we decided to try our luck at securing two of the ten first-come, first-served permits, which become available after 1pm the day before your hike. We had no idea if there’d be a groundswell of interest in the loop (as it’s one of the most popular in the park), so we left as early as humanly possible (aka 6am) to improve our chances. When we arrived at the Roads End Permit Station just before noon, anxious to size up the competition, there was no one else there. We ate our lunch in the shade of the tall trees, and when 1pm arrived, we got our permits without issue.

Map of the Rae Lakes Loop
Map of the Rae Lakes Loop

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