It's an Exciting World

The life and times of David Geisert



New Years Backpacking

Adam organized a backpacking trip over new years to Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. Tina wasn’t sure about the difficulty and Steph didn’t have the PTO so it was just Adam and myself.

I started by walking to Caltrain, and taking that to San Jose where the Amtrak also stops. I got there about 45 minutes early to find Adam there as well. The train was running about 45 minutes behind so we had a good bit of time to kill.

When the train got in we headed to the back car on the top level where our seats were assigned. We ate a late lunch from our stores and then got a seat in the observation car. The landscape was gorgeous and we got to see a great sunset. We played a few card games in the observation car until they closed it down. We made it to LA but not Union station, someone had been hot by the train in front of us so we were stopped. The train sat at Van Nuys for 30 minutes with no estimate for when we would get moving again. Once the initial surge for rideshare died down we grabbed a car to the apartment we were renting. I grabbed the couch and passed out.

We had breakfast nearby the next day before heading to Union Station. We grabbed the rental car and found out that the coastal starlight had made it into Union station at 1:30am the night before. We had left it for the rideshare at 9:20 and were at the apartment by 9:50.

We headed out of LA, passing a number of wind farms and made it to Joshua Tree around noon.

We stopped by the visitor center and got the advice to do the planned loop the other way as the planned direction had us sleeping in mountain lion territory. We headed out along the California Riding and Hiking Trail until it started getting dark around 4:30pm. For the first third of the day we had small piles of snow and mush on the trail, but as we got higher the trail turned to ankle deep, then shin deep snow. We had another person’s footsteps to follow so we couldn’t get lost. At close to dark we headed up a small gully to find a spot to camp. We packed down the snow and set up the tents. It was getting a lot colder than we had budgeted for so we got into the tents as quickly as possible. It was a miserably cold 16 hours until sunlight in the morning, but 16 hours of half good rest almost makes for a full night of rest. Thankfully our water didn’t freeze alp the way and we were able to hike to the nearby service road to continue. We had to forge our own way through the snow for about a half mile, which got tiring. We did spot a great story written in the snow of a bobcat chasing a rabbit. I’m pretty sure the rabbit was able to hide in a bush and got away.

We went up the road for some much needed easy hiking before reaching the trail to Eureka Peak. We went up to the peak and got a lovely view.

We headed down the other side and got right back into some shin deep snow. We went down a solid white Black Rock Canyon Trail, which eventually lightened up to ankle deep snow with some tracks to follow. We made it back to the trailhead and relaxed a bit at the visitor center. The hike was about 11.5 miles, at least 8 of which were through snow.

We filled up on water and went into town for a texmex lunch. Afterwards we stopped by the grocery store for frozen dinner and breakfast as the next hotel had a small kitchen. It turned out that the hotel was an RV, and surprisingly nice. They also had a hot spring that we took good advantage of.

We got a good night’s rest and struck out for Death Valley the following morning. A short stop at the visitor center and we headed into the wilderness along a poorly maintained “road.” After a few miles of really rough driving we pulled the car over and started the hike. The first seven or so miles were along the “road.” Then we got to the actual trail. At first it was easy to follow as it went along a small streambed. We camped on a small plateau next to the streambed the first night, and got another 14 hours in the tent. This time it was much warmer if not wholly warm.

The next morning we continued down the rivulet. We passed the cottonwood spring and emerged into a large valley that was ruled by a herd of wild horses. They were right along the trail and didn’t like us getting near. The valley was wide open so we snuck around them. After a small mistep following horse paths instead of human paths we found a great lunch spot. We took a longer break before heading to the highest point along the trail. We made the summit in good time, then continued down the other side. We missed a turn, as did a number of people before us. We followed the tracks of someone into a hard to pass valley before deciding we needed to find the trail again. It was getting late so we hiked to a nearby mountain peak and camped for the night, this time only 12 hours.

In the morning the trail was close, and we scuttled down the slope to it. We made our way through the gorgeous Marble Canyon.

We got to the road and had about 4 miles left to the car. We dropped our packs there and decided to drive back for the rest. We got to the car and found the drive back to be more perilous than expected. I got out to grab the bags and Adam turned around. We stopped of for a somewhat civilizing lunch in Stovepipe Wells before heading to the Luxor.

We got into Vegas around 6pm and grabbed an easy dinner at the Public House. I had a pretty decent impossible burger. We relaxed for the evening and did a four seasons breakfast the next morning. After turning in the rental car we had an easy time at the airport before getting home.


I did an 80 hour fast this week from 11pm on Monday to 9am on Friday.  It wasn’t as hard as I was expecting, but it was uncomfortable in ways I didn’t.  I should have expected not being able to think as clearly, but it was more pronounced than I would have thought.  I also started getting light headed at times.  I started feeling sick in other ways and decided to stop.

During the fast I had black coffee, mint tea, diet coke, and lots of water.  I also took multivitamins and ate random pinches of salt.  I chose a time that wouldn’t mess with social engagements too much, although the time period did include a wedding celebration.  That wedding celebration was low key enough that I could avoid food with only one person wondering why.  In total I only had to mention it to 2 people, the one at the wedding and one that invited me to dinner.  I also told Steph.  I’d do it again, but maybe with more prep.

I broke my fast with my standard two scoops of chocolate protein powder mixed with half a scoop of instant coffee breakfast.  My stomach was ok with that, so I’ll try a bit more at lunch and maybe have pho for dinner.

Saturday Hike

We went hiking with Steph’s coworkers and SO’s (Kaijen, Michael, Pete, and Julie).  We went up to Windy Hill, and thankfully this time there wasn’t rain.  We also started at the bottom, which was easier to get to as we didn’t have to drive on Old La Honda.  I hate that road, and usually drive further to get to La Honda so I don’t have to deal with the one lane, blind corners, and bikers everywhere.  The temperature was perfect, and there was lots of sun, which we were prepared for.  As per usual I was faster going uphill than most of the others, but much slower going downhill.  The knee brace I’ve been using helps a ton, but I’m still careful when going down.

After the hike we went to Rong’s place to watch Akira and My Neighbor Totoro with her and Riley.

Backpacking Butano

This state park was really nice.  The camp sites were nestled back in the woods, and the old air strip on top was great for watching the sunset.  We got there Saturday morning and did a nice hike in.  Part of the Canyon Trail was washed out, so it was a little treacherous.  Hai and Mark turned back and went up the Fire Road at that point, but we got to camp at about the same time.  The group we were with was really nice, including Steph, Hai, Mark, Michael, Joey, and Ryan.  We played some exploding kittens on the air strip while watching the sunset.  A little cotton tailed bunny hopped by while we were playing.  Just after sunset the fog really started to roll in and walking the half mile back to camp was like walking through a horror movie, especially with all the red light from the headlamps lighting up the fog.  It was getting pretty cold so we called it a night early.

The hike out was pretty uneventful, and seemed a lot faster than the hike in.  It might have just been my imagination, but we also took the Fire Road back and didn’t stop for lunch/snacks/rest breaks.  It was also a downhill hike back, whereas the hike to the camp was mostly uphill.

I’ll add in some pictures when I get them.  I didn’t use electronics the entire time we were there, but Hai took a lot of great pictures.



Steph and I joined Lindsay, Kevin, and Debby at Yoga Belly.  The class was really good, and I was able to do all the positions, with only a few stumbles.  I really enjoyed the time there, and the dinner after.  Andrew joined for dinner, and we went to Pho.  The pho was tasty, and the perfect food for after a hot yoga session.

Hiking in Castle Rock

Steph and I met with Joe in Castle Rock State Park this past Sunday.  We had thought about camping there, but I’m pretty glad we didn’t, it is so crowded compared to many other locations.  The views from the mountain were amazing, and the sun was bright with a shady trail.  The entire hike only took about 3 hours with a long stop at goat rock for lunch.


We made it back in time to cook the food for the game of thrones night.  I’m really enjoying this season, with all the differences from the books.

You Jam!

Steph and I joined Lindsay, Kevin, and Debby at You Jam!  It was a lot of fun, and I got a decent workout from it.  We did a lot of dancing, then we decided to go to lunch at a place nearby Kevin’s house.  It was Malaysian food and was pretty tasty.  We of course got Thai ice tea, young coconuts, and the roti with the peanut sauce.  It was all tasty, and they had particularly good tofu.

Hiking out from Sykes

We had a really good hike out, in the morning it was sunny, but as the day got later and we approached the coast it got overcast and foggy, which for hiking was great.

Joe is just visible on the point of the trail


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There were any complications, and when we got the bottom we cleaned up some, then got on the road.  Steph drove, which was really nice, since I was super tired and don’t think I would have been good to pay attention.  We decided to go get some pho at Pho Vi Hoa, which was delicious.  I really enjoyed the trip, and would certainly do it again.

The kitties were happy when I got home.


Sykes hot springs

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From our camping site at Barlow flats it was another 3 miles to the hot springs. We decided to not pack up and drag everything to the hot springs but instead took just day gear and left the rest at Barlow flats. The hike to the springs was gorgeous and the last bit was crossing over a stream several times. When we got there the springs only had one occupant and we chatted with him for a while.

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There are four pools, upper, middle, lower, and small. Other two hottest were the middle and small, then came the upper and then the lower. Flew spent most of our time in the middle pool, which could fit about 6 comfortably. An hour after we got there a group of 10 showed up and we chatted with them for a bit. Steph and I finished off the cider, and had a very relaxing time. More people started showing up as we left and the pools were pretty full by that time. The hike back wasn’t bad and we had a good dinner at camp.

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