Mammoth Ski Adventure

Just about this time last year, my friend Carter and I took a wander over the hill to Mammoth Mountain, a ski resort in the cold and blistery Sierra Nevadas. The drive up was a long one, and we stopped at an absolutely disgusting Japanese fast food restaurant. I ordered some kind of beef bowl, and the beef did not look at all real. But moving on, we arrived in the middle of the night, in a light blizzard, and could not see a thing. It took all we had, there were four of us, to make it to the door of the cabin we were staying in and get our bags inside. We were greeted by three other friends that had already set up camp, and we all sat down to a game of Coup, a card game, until the real fatigue set in. On the next day, a Saturday, we hit the slopes early, renting our skis and trying to make it to the lifts before the large mob of people that comes with a large and popular skiing place. This evidently did not pan out as we thought it did, but the lines moved quickly and we got to the top of the rock in moderate time. I of course, did not immediately choose the black diamond slopes, as I am a less than amateur skier, instead choosing to follow the blue and green signs on the mountain. Carter, on the other hand, quickly chose the more difficult paths, and that choice often sent him and his snowboard flying.

Sorry I don’t have any images, I had trouble uploading them, I will get them up as soon as possible though!

We both hit our groove at an area with abundant small jumps and rails that tested the fiber of our snow-travel apparatus skills. Carter would try flips and jumps and all sorts of neck-breaking, thrill-seeking ventures, while I just tried to land whatever jump I went off, making about half or so. Before we knew it though, our time skiing came to an end, and we settled in for a night of board games and Monkey Bread, waiting for the next morning when we would test our mettle again.

Squealing Skunk Scandal

Just a few days ago, I was watching Orange is the New Black, when all of a sudden, I heard my mom yelling from across the yard, calling me over to look at something. Curious, I walked to the entrance of her office, which is a separate building a ways away from our house, where my mother stood, pointing at a furry black and white creature. The little animal, a baby skunk, was waddling about, beneath a loquat tree, eating the fallen fruit and paying us onlookers no mind. My mom filled me in on all the details: She had seen it some minutes before with the mother, but the mother had since disappeared and left the little one on its own, and I should be wary of the bushes around, as they might be harboring an angry skunk. Excitedly, I raced to get my sisters camera to capture the moment.

I took pictures for a good fifteen or so minutes, trying to capture every angle, and get a good shot of its cute little face. As time went on though, I caught sight of Sly, my sisters jet black cat, coming ever closer. And not far behind him, some rustling in the tall grass notified me of the Bad Cat, an old, previously tame but now wild Maine Coon that lived somewhere in our yard. The Bad Cat had a limp, so it might have run into the mama skunk before. I decided, after seeing these possible attackers, that it was my job to follow and protect the baby skunk.

It waddled from one place to another, slowly sniffing every branch and every fallen leaf on the ground, testing each paw placement before taking a step. The highlight of my time with it was when I stood stock still, and it crawled up and over my shoe, brushing up against my leg with its soft fur. After a while, I decided I should leave, but I didn’t want the little guy to get eaten, so I urged it in the direction of where my mother had last seen its mother, which was a difficult task on its own, taking a half hour of leaf rustling and noise making to direct it. When I finally felt satisfied, I looked about to make sure neither Sly nor the Bad Cat were in sight, and I let the baby skunk roam off into the wild on its own.

Lazlo’s Weenie World

Just a couple of weeks ago, my father, uncle and I flew to the beautiful state of Virginia to participate in the Virginia State Frisbee Tournament, a gathering of mainly old, Frisbee players who all helped found various niche Frisbee sports and events. The tournament itself was over a long, ‘lost’ weekend, as they call it at the tournament, beginning on Friday and going through Sunday evening. It is hosted in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a small town an hour south of DC, where we flew in. The town is situated along one side of the Rappahannock River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay, and Pratt Park, the park we play in, is just across the river. Pratt Park is actually an old Civil War battlefield, and often our Frisbees will land in the dugouts the soldiers used 150 years ago. We flew in on Wednesday night, from California, so we could get to DC and drive into Fredericksburg by 9 am. We stopped at a local diner that we visit every year, the 2400 Diner, and had scrambled eggs with bacon and potatoes.

That Thursday was full of Frisbee Golf rounds and greetings with all our good friends that we hadn’t seen since the year before. When the tournament officially began on Friday, we had nearly tired ourselves out trying to prepare, but we played great, and the highlight of the day was seeing everyone at Lazlo’s Weenie World(AKA The Canteen), a pop up vegan restaurant that is set up specifically for the players. Dozens of volunteers prepare and serve food to players who can sign up for the “Lost Weekend”.  What this does is after a small fee is payed, you are  guaranteed free breakfast, lunch, snacks and unlimited Pabst Blue Ribbon for the entire weekend, Friday through Sunday.  The effort and work that is put into The Canteen is simply mind blowing, and its amazing how dedicated the volunteers are. I am so excited to return next year for a weekend of fun and exhausting Frisbee adventures.

Feel free to comment below, and check back next week for another post!

Riverby Books

This weekend, my father, uncle and I flew over to Fredericksburg, Virginia, for the VA States Frisbee Tournament.  We arrived Thursday morning in DC, and drove the long way down, through the countryside, past farms and creeks and rolling hills. We stopped at a diner along the way, and had scrambled eggs, home fries and english muffins, all with orange juice and coffee. We spent the day greeting old friends we hadn’t seen since last year’s Frisbee Tournament, and playing the disc golf course at Pratt Park, where the tournament would be held the next day. By the time darkness had fallen, we all were exhausted from running about with our frisbees. But we still had one more adventure planned for that day. We’d been invited by our good friends Sam and Jay to the Riverby Books used bookstore, which was owned by another friend named Paul, who would be playing in the tournament the following morning. Paul had set up an 18 hole mini frisbee golf course throughout his store, and we, the Californian team made up of Tom, Jeff, and myself, were playing against the local team, made up of Sam and Jay.

As we read over the obscure rules, certain things popped out to me, like how if you were to knock over a book on your throw, you gained a stroke, or how your hand had to be touching the place where your disc had landed, if it had landed on a bookshelf. We stepped up to Hole 1 and all took a shot at the target, which was a shelf up and around some obstacles, and had mixed results. Hole 2 had us throwing through a hole in one bookshelf, and 3 brought us down to the below ground level of the store onto a white couch. 7 had us back up to ground level, but throwing up into bags hanging from a balcony of the second story. Hole 9 took us from said balcony, and across the open space unto a cushioned seat. 10 was into a hanging weigh scale for fruit, and 11 was back downstairs. On 15, we were required to land in a velvet lined accordion case, and 16 was out the door into the rain. The final hole, 18, was around and down a staircase and into a cooler full of beer. In the end, it was the Californian team that won, but we all had a blast and had, for a little while at least, forgotten about the long, grueling, lost weekend ahead.

Adventures in Bunnyland


Over this last weekend, my friend Curran and I decided to make Italian food over at his house. I started running over, but quickly was out of breath and walking. On my walk, as I stopped to admire the flowers, something unusual appeared in the corner of my eye. A small black form, barely moving, but still twitching just enough to notice. I slowly turned about and saw a small black house rabbit sitting in someone’s driveway. There was no one in sight, and the bunny didn’t seem to have any problems, it was just sitting there, staring up at me.

I sat down on the edge of the road, right near the bunny, and decided the wisest solution was to Facetime Curran, and see if he knew anything about this rabbit. I tried to mute my phone, as I thought the ringing would disturb my little friend on the road. When Curran picked up, I didn’t say a word and only turned the screen to face the rabbit. Shocked and excited noises came out of the speaker and I quickly turned it back to face me. A quick conversation yielded a hastily put together plan for me to catch it. While still trying to let Curran see through the phone, I began a slow chase, where I would creep up and reach out, but the rabbit would hop a few feet away. As this went on, Curran thought it best for him to run down and help. As I waited, the rabbit started running off, and I tried to follow, but it ran into someone’s yard. I frantically tried to keep an eye out for it, but it soon disappeared.

When Curran came careening down the hill, I filled him in on the situation and we both ventured into the yard, quickly locating the rabbit and trying to corner it. We would have gotten it if it weren’t for the speed and dexterity of this chubby little animal. We found a rabbit hutch in the yard with three or four other rabbits and thought this might be the home of our escaped friend. After chasing it all over the yard, under trees and bushes, through plants, flowers, and other miscellaneous objects, we got it pinned between us and the wall of the yard, andCurran managed to get his hands on it. Back in the hutch it went, and we walked up the hill, so we could make some delicious italian.

Guadalupe

Just last week, I took a trip up to the small, windswept town of Guadalupe, about an hour north of Santa Barbara. In the middle of the main street, tucked between an old antique store and a taqueria, stands a small, barren plot of dust. In the corner of this land is a small, covered arch, wherein a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe stands. It is surrounded by withering flowers and tall candles with her picture on them, as well as several other saints. To the right is a small marble bench for weary travelers, and to the left on the wall it reads “And you, you who are my messenger, In you I place my absolute trust”. This is repeated in Spanish and Nahuatl. These are the words spoken by the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego at the hill of Tepeyac, which one day would become part of Mexico City. Below her statue is a kneeling stand, so that passers might have a place to pray. The shrine is protected by white-washed walls and marble, building up to a yellow rose that caps the beautiful sanctum. On the floor is marble too, with golden leaves etched in that contrast the bland grey of the sidewalk. The ceiling is a faint blue, resembling the cloudy sky. Many people often stop to pray or to pay respect. I arrived on a windy day, and when I stepped into the confines of the sanctuary, the howling of the wind was quieted and the rushing cold had retreated. Soon I had to leave though, and stepped back out, into the screaming gale. We made our way cautiously across the road, nearly falling once or twice. We made it to the car and got safely home, and there I looked upon our own candles, with the Virgin of Guadalupe’s face staring down. There, there was our own shrine, our own sanctuary.

Mission: Impoppyable

The search for golden poppies began at the foot of Grass Mountain, just outside of the small town of Los Olivos, California. My family and I set out on foot, crossing creeks and passing beautiful wildflowers. While we did stop to admire and smell the inviting Lupins, we had but one thought on our minds: Poppies. We could see the orange swaths across the mountainside above us, and that only drove us onward ever furthe r and faster. As time wound on, the trail began to become steep and slippery. Loose stones and dust only rose the stakes as one after the other, we all took a tumble. But the Cole family pressed on, unhindered by scraped knees or eyes temporarily blinded by dust. We managed to break through the cool shade of the trees, and were met with eternal fields of grass and shrubbery, broken only by the occasional yucca, ready to spear unsuspecting hikers. Heat beat down upon our backs and necks. We were forced to stop several times, and pass about a water bottle to quench our thirst. But on we kept, and soon, the peak was within our grasp. It took only a few minutes to ascend the last few yards of path, find a patch of poppies to lay our blanket next to, and enjoy the view. I managed to snap a few pictures of the poppies, and nearly fell trying to find my footing on the near vertical slope. As quickly as we arrived, we soon left, packing up our things into my backpack and leaving the Poppies for another day. On the descent, I tried to slide down the mountain, through the fields of grass, to little avail. I soon decided that walking and attempting to slide was not quite at a speed on par with my energy, and took off running down the mountainside, nearly falling at every turn or twist in the trail. With the trailhead in view, we hiked on, all the way to the car, and drove home, excited for the next time.

Kaibae at Expo West


Just last week, I had the chance to attend Expo West, the largest natural products convention in the world. I went as an ambassador to Kaibae, a company who’s goal is to bring the improved nutrition and health benefits of under-utilized ‘lost crops’ into the global economy. Hosted in Anaheim, CA, over four days the convention itself saw nearly 100,000 attendees and constantly seemed full to the brim. Thousands of exhibitors had set up booths to inform first journalists, executives and other exhibitors, and then in later days the public, about their products. By the end of the day, my sister and I had collected dozens of stickers, pins and other odd souvenirs that had been handed to us throughout the experience. The expo allowed for an elevated mindset that made me realize how big the natural product industry really is and how prevalent it is in our daily lives.

Flowering Spring

The last rains of the season fell today. The grass bent over, weighed down with water that had gathered there in the night. Though this may be a sad time, seeing the final storm, and waiting for the accompanying dry heat of summer, the flowers are blooming.

The plum tree is preparing to give fruit, and in doing so, producing beautiful pink trimmed, white flowers. Orange blossoms are dashed across the North-Eastern side of Oakleigh, making for a fairytale setting. The purple periwinkles have popped up everywhere. Most alluring of all though, is the Wisteria. Cascading over an iron pergola, the vines creep and crawl through a lattice work of twisted metal and crossed wood. Faint violet bushels of petal hang down to brush the shoulder of passerby. Yesterday I walked through the purple clouds, only to find myself reminded of the barren stalks that are left behind in the fall, when the leaves dry and the seedpods crackle and snap in the hot summer wind. But for now, I enjoy the soft flowers and smile in their presence.