Trail Report: Mt. Shasta via West Face

May 17, 2015


On Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at 11am all six members of my group summited Mt. Shasta at 14,179ft via the West Face. The altitude sickness most of us experienced over the last few hundred feet made it an incredible mental hurtle. All of us had a base of hiking, backpacking and rock climbing experience, but this was our first mountaineering trip. Below you can find our planning materials and trip report to assist you on your climb.

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First Thoughts on Apple’s App Analytics

May 4, 2015

I’ve been digging into eventing data for some time now on the Coursera App using Amplitude to gauge usage, follow user flows and investigate potential production issues. With that experience as a baseline, I’m pretty happy with Apple’s App Analytics. Combining the two systems (internal eventing + Apple’s analytics) I’ve finally been able to create a complete funnel from referrals and app views to app launch and feature usage. However, there are a few peculiar things about the system which tries so hard to be beautiful, but sometimes ends up convoluted.

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Oh Shit! An Elk Gored my Tent!

May 3, 2015


Sometimes we go to nature, sometimes nature comes to us. This week I bring you a guest post by Mariel Reed about her recent adventure in Northern California.

“The Lost Coast”– a wild, and sometimes dangerous, 50+ mile stretch of California coastline– lives up to its name. The landscape feels like a land before time. In just 24 hours, two friends and I (Mariel) faced a stubborn mountain lion, intense winds and rain, and rowdy Roosevelt Elk. The beauty and wilderness of the Lost Coast took our breath away (and, um, our tent). But we escaped with our lives, and our thirst for adventure intact. Here’s the full story– and why you should go.

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Oh Shit! I’m Canoeing in Four Foot Waves!

April 26, 2015
Photo under CC by Morten F

Photo under CC by Morten F

I had my first ‘Oh Shit!’ moment in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. Despite a prior night’s storm our morning started out relatively calm paddling in my two person canoe. However, as the day went on and the lakes became larger the wind would overpower our human-powering steering. Repeatedly it diverted us away from our prospective camp sites, separated our group and forcing us towards rocks. Several times we had to communicate across islands to regroup, strategize our next campsite attempt and push our physically abilities and technical skills.

I call these emotionally driven situations ‘Oh Shit!’ moments where your group is forced to make quick decisions deviating from the original plan. They happen due to unexpected hazards (weather), human error (becoming lost) or just bad luck (injury). They are experience altering and often scary at the time, but make great stories and valuable experience later. I’ve had a number of these moments so I wanted to share my strategies for making the best decision when you realize, ‘Oh Shit!’

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The Best of Banff Adventure Film

April 5, 2015
David Lama from the film Cerro Torre – A Snowball’s Chance in Hell © Manuel Ferrigato

David Lama from the film Cerro Torre – A Snowball’s Chance in Hell © Manuel Ferrigato under approved Banff Usage

Every year the Banff Mountain Film Festival gets me fired up to push my next expedition even further and leaves me in awe of the modern adventures pursued today. I’ve attended every Banff Film Festival event in the SF Bay Area for the past three years and I love it! I promise you, watching each year’s favorite below will leave you with a new perspective:

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What a GIFF tells you about Geocaching

March 29, 2015

I took an hour the other day to watch the short film finalists for the Geocaching International Film Festival (GIFF). What I liked most about the GIFF is that the films touched on the major themes in geocaching: community, adventure, exploration, memorial and just good fun.

Additionally I loved how real and relatable the GIFF felt. No expensive camera equipment, no fly overs, just a collection of diverse storytellers who feel like normal people you could meet on the street. With all that in mind, get ready to smile and laugh as I share my favorites from the 16 finalists of the GIFF.

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Swift-Snippets: A Max Function for Optionals

March 22, 2015

The other day I needed to compare several values to determine which one was the maximum. Great, there is a max function built into the swift language!

One catch, that max function only takes unwrapped values and I needed to compare optionals. Simply unwrapping these optionals and then calling the built in max function doesn’t scale because you have the same number of permutations as the max comparison implementation itself. Therefore, I decided to write a generic max function that takes optionals:

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What its Really Like Going Solo

March 14, 2015


In November 2014 I decided to spend a week alone in the backcountry to get a taste of the solo backpacking life. Some people love the true solitude, some people hate it. So before I thought anymore about the John Muir Trail I wanted to get a taste. As a plus, the trip was also the longest backpacking trip I’ve done and my first time winter backpacking. It ended up being one of the more difficult physical things I’ve accomplished.

To document the solo experience I journaled daily and I’m hoping that journal can help share the experience with you.

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1000 to 1: Why I Left Medium

March 8, 2015


When I started blogging in 2014 I choose Medium as my platform because it offered a great value-added proposition: A clean, simple interface and algorithmic promotion of my content to readers. After a few posts I was further convinced:

Sobering Up

As a new blogger, Medium was like a drug at first. It was a rush to reach thousands of readers in just a few weeks. However, my 5th blog post bombed with under 50 views in its first week. What happened? I had no idea so I reached out to Medium on Twitter only to be completely ignored.

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Best of the Bay: Geocaching

March 1, 2015


I found my first geocache in the bay area in November 2013. Having just purchased a GPS, I was curious about this global treasure hunting game called geocaching where you find containers others have hidden at specific coordinates. I immediately became hooked. In 2014 I logged 120 geocaches. One of the many reasons why I enjoy the game of geocaching is that it reveals another layer of society. Walk a mile in any direction and you will have walked past one if not multiple geocaches.

Another reason I love geocaching is that the community is so creative. All geocaches have their own cool factor, but some really outshine others in their construction or placement. Today I’m going to celebrate some of the most creative geocaches I’ve found in the bay. If your curious about geocaching I encourage you to go experience their awesomeness!

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