Monday, July 27, 2015

Stafford Creek Trailhead: Navaho Peak

Washington State, Cascades
Date: July 25-26
Weather: mid 60s, overcast

I’d viewed the Navaho and Three Brothers peaks while on a day hike up Ingalls Creek earlier in the Summer.  The first rainy weekend in months on the West Side seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the area and get a different view of the Enchantments/Stuart Range. 

I thought I was going to be in for a lonely weekend with the pooch.  The WTA site didn’t have very much user feedback on either the Stafford Creek or Navaho Pass trails.  And there was a chance of rain on the East Side.  Evidently cooler weather was attractive; the hordes were out.  The parking lot for the Stafford Creek trail was packed but not to worry, there’s no shortage of “street” parking. 

The plan was to hike Navaho Peak on Saturday and Earl Peak on Sunday so one of  the two lower campsites was my target (there’s a third campsite another mile and a half towards Navaho Peak from the divergent point for those two destinations). 

I came upon the first campsite an hour from the trailhead directly after what appeared to be the carnage of a past massive avalanche.  It’s right on the creek with room for one group, maybe two tents.  But no vacancy on this day. 

On the way up I came across the inhabitants of that previous site coming down from a scouting mission. Their advice: grab the first available spot you see.  The upper area is packed with a youth group of some sort. 

I heeded their words.  The second campsite has lots of great tent space but it’s fairly small.  There was already a group of two tents setup around the main square so my privacy (and their privacy) would be nonexistent but given the options (that or a youth group), I took my chances.

The view from Navaho Pass up to the Peak is stunning even on a mostly overcast day/evening.  The sheer granite fortress walls of the Stuart Range one direction; the Kittitas Valley another direction; and view back towards Cle Elum (and I’m guessing Rainier) the other. 

It’s also gnarly! 1200 feet in what I’m guessing was a little more than a mile.  My stay at the top lasted about 10 seconds.  Sustained winds that must’ve been north of 50 miles an hour.  My fingers were instantly frozen. 

I didn’t end up making it to Earl’s Peak the following day. I forgot both a lighter and striker and my waterproof matches weren’t cooperating with other forms of fire-starting.  I didn’t think my bounty of dried mango and limited amounts of trail mix would sustain another long, steep hike. 

*I use a Steripen

Late July during a year with little snowpack or rain
No shortage of water options just prior to the 3rd campsite
It’s dry once you hit the moonscape of the glacial moraine and up to Navaho Peak

Campsite Options

Lower Option
Single site, room for one or two tents
Easy water access (right on the creek)
Fire pit with seating
~2.5 miles from trailhead

Middle Option (where I camped)
Single site, room for six or seven tents
Small spring 100 feet away
Fire pit with seating
3.65 miles from trailhead

Upper Option
Multiple sites, some with room for lots of tents, others just a tent or two
Minute or two walk for most of the sites to an accessible area of the creek
~4.5 miles from trailhead

Sports Tracker Stats (GPS for all)

Trailhead to Campsite
3.65 miles
2399 up / 600 down

Campsite to Navaho Peak (and back)
~7 miles
3622 up / 3642 down

Campsite to Trailhead
3.65 miles
450 up / 2183 up

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Just Stay Away From Jimmy. I Don't Want Him Coaching in Hickory When He’s Fifty.

College athletics is undoubtedly dirty and a complete cluster.  I’m sure the entire system will collapse for innumerable reasons and I can’t say I’ll miss it terribly when that happens.  But I am tiring of the “free market” arguments and incessant complaints that the athletes are indentured servants or worse. 

Through a Twitter back and forth with Sports on Earth writer (amongst other qualifications) PatrickHruby comes this post as a response to two of his articles. Also, this post from Andy Schwarz that talks about market collusion and provides a counterpoint to my primary premise. 

My belief… college bball and football are part of the “free market”… the entertainment market.  College football and bball are in competition with professional sports (including minor leagues) as well as any other entertainment venture that competes for consumer dollars. 

Athletes ARE a part of that market and the market has already set a value for their services.  They have options… they can become professional directly after high school (bball.. NBDL or Europe; football… CFL) or they can go to college.  Those individual athletes have ample opportunity to balance the pros/cons of each route and determine what the best deal is for them individually.  The vast majority of athletes choose to go to college because they’re making a rational decision that college sports is the best means to their preferred “end-point”.  If the player’s value was truly higher they’d be flocking in droves to minor leagues/Europe, which in turn would force universities to re-examine the price it pays for its athletes.  Isn’t that the definition of free market?  Why should colleges bid against themselves? 

From what I’ve gathered from Hruby’s previous tweeting and the two articles is that he believes strongly that college athletes are being taken advantage of and that they should be compensated more fairly.  Below are my thoughts on each article.

Red Herring #1 – Deloss Dodd’s $1 million+ salary and the comparison with all sorts of other important professions like the president.  Used to suggest that ADs aren’t worth their extravagant salaries. 

·         My take –   Drives me crazy when “market principles” are used to support the players value but then that same logic isn’t applied to other parts of the debate.  Universities pay LOTS for ADs not because they have to have someone to give all of those surplus dollars; they pay ADs lots of money because that’s what the market suggests a top-notch AD is worth.  And those ADs deliver a LOT of money back to the university… donors are often times the biggest funding source for university athletic departments. 

Red Herring #2 – “Drexel study estimated that if athletic departments shared their revenues in the same manner as professional sports the average fair market value of FBS college football and men's basketball players would be over $121,000 each, with Duke's basketball players each worth roughly $1 million and Texas' football players each worth $513,000.”

·         My take – “Markets” don’t exist in a vacuum (unlike academic studies).  A market price is determined by how much one entity is willing to pay for an asset/product/service.  The NCAA has a published price it’s willing to pay for an asset (re: player). European leagues, the NBDL, the CFL (and for upperclassmen, the NBA and NFL) are all part of the market also setting the price for those players.  If the players perceived value was higher, they’re free to go another route to achieve their full value. 

Red Herring #3 –“ Less money chasing the talent means more money chasing everything else.”

·         My take – Completely agree but it also points to a bigger question… would college athletics have the high TV ratings, packed stadiums, huge donor checks and sponsor dollars IF that “money wasn’t chasing everything else”.  Stadiums/facilities matter (yes, even Godzillatron). Having great coaches matter.  Great ADs and great conference commissioners matter (see Scott, Larry).  Conference TV networks matter.  You can’t say player X is worth a million while at the same time criticizing the investments that were necessary to make that player (supposedly) worth a million. 

Red Herring #4 - "It's like [the NCAA is arguing] that if we have to pay stipend to our quarterback, university intramurals is out the window," McEvoy says. "There's no way. Study a Division III athletic department for 10 minutes.”

·         My take – Comparing DIII athletic dept budgets, in which there aren’t any scholarships, with DI athletic depts. with $100 million budgets is a bit ridiculous. Perhaps the whole D1 house of cards won’t collapse but that money does have to come from somewhere.  Just suggesting that coaching costs and AD salaries are going to mysteriously go down is a bit pollyanish.  D1 schools are so heavily invested – Cal’s repercussions from its stadium renovation is a good example – that they’re all doubling-down.  Sinking a few million into upgrading a coach is a much less risky financial move then seeing your program lose relevance, lose ticket sales, lose booster donations, etc. 

Will the money come from cutting other sports?  Who knows but Temple’s recent announcement that it’s cutting 7 programs impacting 150 student athletes might be a window into the not-too-distant future to save football and basketball.  This follows similar cuts from Cal, UMass, Rutgers and Robert Morris. 

The 2nd article.  Perhaps I’ll dissect this on at some point.  But not today.

Headline Quote Movie of Origin: Hoosiers
Character: Myra Fleener
Setting: Female wet-blanket 1st ballot HOFer Myra Fleener doing her durndest to ensure Larry Bird doesn’t become Larry Legend.  (Jimmy Chitwood is based off the Hick from French Lick, right?)

The Quote is Relevant How? Jimmy’s only realistic escape from Hickory is playing college ball even though Myra Fleener thinks he can get an academic scholarship.  But she’s dumb.  

UPDATE: More color added to the conversation via Twitter.  Click to enlarge the image.  

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

I've Seen the Future and the Future is Women.

El Duderino has kicked off a new venture, The World's Greatest Seattle Walking Tour. This post is a shameless plug for that business and the means to add an all important "inbound link" to the Website. Google, Bing and Yahoo require such things. The Duder thinks you can help by also posting to blogs, Facebook accounts, Twitter, etc, etc. Many thanks.

Headline Quote Movie of Origin: Can't Hardly Wait
Character: Mike Dexter
Setting: Mike Dexter just dumped Amanda in preparation for the next chapter in life... college. He's to convince his three knucklehead friends to join him in his newly found independence. His winning strategy involves the headline of choice.

The quote is relevant how? It's not. Deal with it.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

You Stay Classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?

Anderson Cooper is considered one of the better TV journalists.

I have a conspiracy theory that The Daily Show and Colbert Report are funding the broadcast news industry just so they have jokes. Kind of like when Tim Watley converted to Judaism for the jokes. That theory is the only thing that keeps me from vomiting every time I unwittingly watch broadcast news.

Evidently some news outlet ran a story that Barack Obama went to school at a fundamentalist Islam school when he was like 6. Tonight Anderson Cooper set the story straight… by sending a reporter to Jakarta… to visit the school where Barack Obama went to school when he was 6… 40 years ago! You know, because the reporter can find all kinds of sources to confirm or deny the presence of a young Barack Obama 40 years ago.

Not only was the whole thing absolutely ridiculous but Anderson Cooper ended the segment by getting all high and mighty, “other news agencies report news. We check facts in person.” Shoot me now.

Headline quote movie of origin: Anchorman

Character: Ron Burgundy

Setting: Ron Burgundy, star anchor of the Channel 4 news team, has dedicated himself to the art of the spoken word. He’s the master and kind of a big deal. He has many leather bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany. However, every superhero has a weakness. Superman and kryptonite. Mighty Mouse and cheese. Silver Surfer and global warming. Ron Burgundy’s weakness? A literal and perfect reading of the teleprompter.

The quote is relevant to this story how?: The Channel 4 News team is from a bygone era. A time when broadcast news delivered hard hitting stories that kept the world on its toes… stories like Panda Watch: the birth of Ling Ching.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

She Was a Hip, Hip Lady, Man

The federal government’s crackdown of online gambling continues with the arrest this week of two former directors of a popular transaction service called Neteller. I just don’t get the government’s fascination with online gambling.

A person can go to nearly any shady, rundown boulevard in nearly any city in the Seattle area and bet to their hearts content. I’d imagine it’s the same in other places nationwide. Poker’s hype cycle seems to be over but you can still watch OTHER people play poker for large sums of money pretty much any late night. The American public clearly could give a rat’s ass about gambling.

So the government’s crackdown seems to be purely motivated by the fact they’re not profiting through tax dollars. There’s an easy solution… make online gambling legal and tax the bejeezus out of it. There’s your deficit reduction strategy right there, G-dub.

Headline quote movie of origin: Dazed and Confused

Character: Slater

Setting: There’s a party at the moon tower. Slater, the weed seller guy and the weed seller guy’s girlfriend are discussing the principles of our Nation’s founding fathers. The quote of record is in reference to Martha Washington, who in the eyes of Slater was a hip, hip lady.

The quote is relevant to this story how?: According to Slater, our founding fathers recognized the value of cash crops, some of which are now considered illegal. Gambling certainly falls into the same bucket as the greens, of which our first President was evidently a grower of. Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There's some spooky shit goin' on there. And it's green too.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

I promise, that one day, everything's going to be better for you

I was still but a twinkle in my parent’s eyes during the Vietnam conflict and admittedly have only a basic understanding of all the ins and outs of that time period. But, I believe the high-level theme of America’s involvement was to stop communism from spreading in the region. America lost… but did the world?

What seems to be missing in all of the political conversation surrounding the decision of whether or not to bring home troops from Iraq is what we’re actually trying to achieve and if America is truly the best entity to satisfy that goal. All of the original aims outlined by Bush have proven to be completely baseless and false. Is our sole objective now simply to stop the country from complete anarchy and to prevent a Taliban-style government from assuming control?

If that really is the new goal, are American troops on the ground really the means to that end? The people of Iraq, the countries of the Middle East, and hell, the rest of the world, all have a pretty big stake in the final outcome of Iraq. It’s not just an American problem. I get the sense that the rest of the world just wants to give America a big “told you so” before taking a more active role in helping to put the necessary political pressures to help Iraq eventually succeed. That’s not to say a withdrawal will solve the immediate problems. It won’t. But those problems are going to exist with or without an occupying American force.

While a withdrawal will undoubtedly hurt our bloated egos, if a positive outcome is eventually achieved, like Vietnam, than ultimately the world has won. That should be the goal, not proving that we’re the biggest and baddest.

Headline Quote Movie of Origin: Donnie Darko

Character: Donnie Darko

Setting: Donnie and Cherita Chen, the butt of much schoolhouse ridicule, find themselves alone in a hallway. Cherita, wearing earmuffs, is speechless, given her ginormous crush on Donnie. Donnie whispers into her ear that everything is going to be okay.

The quote is relevant to this story how?: Our country has an arrogance that we can solve any and all of the world’s dilemmas. While the current unrest is largely of our doing, it’s certainly likely that it’s a problem we won’t be able to solve. However, just as Donnie reassured Cherita, eventually the world seems to right itself. Everything is going to be okay. I hope…

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Monday, November 29, 2004

My name is George. I'm unemployed and I live with my parents

It's about friggin time they put Seinfeld on DVD, if only three seasons for the time being. As a kickoff, here's a link to a top 10 sports-based moments list in Seinfeld history.

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