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Bear Watching: The McNeil River Experience in Alaska

McNeil Fall Bear Catching Salmon

Last year, I spent two and a half weeks in Alaska and was convinced I had seen and experienced everything the state had to offer. It seems as though The Last Frontier has a way of bringing me back-I recently received an email extending my winnings in the McNeil River lottery for bear watching. It turned out to be one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. 

Upon receiving the lottery results and spending a few days planning out my schedule, I figured I couldn’t resist the proposal to spend four days hanging with Alaskan brown bears (also known as the North American Grizzly) in an extremely intimate setting. The fact that this an off-grid expedition was to take place off the grid was what won me over, given that I have a place in my heart for self-sufficient travels. The permit cost a mere $350, but the planes and charters were both expensive and tricky to book. However, I can now say that the expenses were worth every penny.

The first thing I’ve noticed upon arriving at the McNeil River Game Range was its magnificent and truly breathtaking landscape. The camp was situated by the lagoon, which gave us a view of both the tide as well as the mountain behind it. The rangers provided me with a sense of homely comfort despite being located in what could literally be constituted as the Middle of Nowhere. And after setting up my tent, the bear-watching group returned and introductions unraveled.

Throughout the trip both the adolescent and mature bald eagles were doing some watching of their own (presumably on the lookout for grub), but it almost seemed as though they were guardians watching over their sanctuary.  

For the first two days we were blessed with ideal weather-sunny days, blue skies and the occasional clouds were the norm overhead conditions. 

I learned a lot about how the salmon run works-this migration ultimately decides the fate of bear viewing. I’ve also realized that all the guides were biologists who shared mass knowledge about both the bears and the environment.  It was their passion and love towards the animals that drew them into their careers; by committing to public services, they all live exceedingly frugal lives.

The bear viewing was, of course, the highlight of the trip. On several occasions we were within 10 feet of the bears’ presence. The strange thing is that even being in such close proximity with creatures that have often been generalized as “dangerous” and “beastly”, we harbored no fear, and in retrospect, the bears shared that disposition in direct correlation. Retrospection also reveals that fear shared by both parties will often result in one of said parties getting hurt. By this notion, it can be said that it’s often our own fear we have to conquer in order to build trust with others.

The most rewarding experience came about when two cubs and their mother bear came and parleyed within 5 feet of us right on the beach.  The mother bear was under tremendous amount of stress trying to balance the hardships of fishing for salmon while keeping her cubs safe.  We ended up “babysitting” the cubs when the mother went fishing. When she realized how close the cubs was to us, she rushed back as fast as she could to ensure her children’s safety.  Even under those stress-heightened moments, both the humans as well as the bears behaved in a neutral fashion-this ensured the safety of both entities.

The wild animals roams around free from human interference but it saddens me that animals have to sacrifice so much to adopt a human’s way of living (e.g., destruction of natural habitats, uprising of human civilization in said habitats, etc.) and yet we’ve sacrificed little to nothing to comprise and live in harmony with the animals.  As my trip was coming to an end, I also realized that with substantial appeasement in our behaviors, we might be able to live in a coinciding fashion with one of the most intimidating species in existence. We, as a collective society, often speak of promoting peace and harmony with other nations and even other individuals, forgetting that animals inhabit this world just the same. Maybe learning how to compromise with other creatures of the planet will act as a stepping-stone in furthering the fundamentals of humanity.

To see the photos, feel free to visit my album

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Alaska | Hiking | Inspiration | travel

Tassajara Work Period April 2014

This is my second time going to Tassajara Work Periods. The way the practice works is that the participant volunteers to work for four days on a tight schedule that demands rising early and sleeping early, followed by one day off. During this trip, I’ve experienced a glimpse of not having any notion of “self” at all; although I still gained some insight on principalities, I would not consider this experience to be one that led me to obtain enlightenment. 

In accordance to my knowledge gained on the first trip, I have constructed three lessons learned from my time spent at Tassajara. The first lesson encompasses the importance of sitting. I’d volunteered to do weeding this time and after hours of crouching to dig the grass, I found myself sitting in the courtyard during my break observing birds and squirrels, two very common findings in nature. However, I didn’t feel the need to talk to anyone, nor did I feel the urge to check my phone for emails and text messages. The act of such a simple physical recess yielded one of the most pleasurable moments, leading me to realize how rare it is for us to acknowledge the simplicity of things that we are inherently entitled to. For a moment, I let myself separate from the hectic entailments of the average person’s worldly consumptions. For a moment, I let myself generate an appreciation for the things that are so simply and commonly present that they are often overlooked.  I let myself feel the immensely gratifying effect of my legs restoring blood circulation as I watched nature be nature; it was an honest state of being that I will never forget. 

My second lesson began with a task that required me to transfer composite that was decomposed naturally back to the plants and ended with me learning a heck of a lot about the importance of decomposition and recycling . The processes of environmental sustainability are always important, but I had been completely unaware of the major role that decomposition plays in our preservation of resources until I began to play a minor role in the Earth’s recycling process. The food we have left over, the leaves that litter the grounds, and so many seemingly excessive products of organic matter actually have some substantial importance to them-the decomposed matter returns to the Earth after a period of time and continue to sustain our planet. During my task of providing decomposed nutrition to the plants, I realized that materials like plastic can be extremely harmful to the environment. Due to the fact that certain products of waste are not capable of decomposing, they can not be recycled through the passage of natural change, at least not for a great deal of time. 

My third lesson was more of a personal revelation: I like vegetarian food. Learning from the mistakes of my first trip, I entered the practice equipped with an abundance of lactase pills because, well, I’m lactose intolerant. Surprisingly, the food was probably the highlight of my trip. I never thought I’d enjoy being a vegetarian as much as I did, but once I began eating I dropped all hankerings for meat. After five full days of being a vegetarian with dairy-eating capacities, I am convinced that there is a very limited range of good vegetarian food from which to choose from. I mean, I had only been on that diet for five days and I was already feeling restricted by my options. I’m assuming that the lack of variation plays a large factor in many people’s refusal to give meat up, myself included. 

The work period is a practice in itself.  Bermuda grass contains a deep and extensive root system: the root can survive without sunlight, and it likes to grow in between rocks to shelter itself.  It is powerful enough to crack its aboding rocks in half and conducts itself in a highly invasive manner. Never had I thought a plant could harbor such an evil nature. Upon digging into the roots, I was overcome with the urge to get rid of them as quick as I could. The completion of one task would immediately lead to another, but utmost efficiency was not of the essence-if we didn’t finish in the given time slot, there were no consequences (someone else would just finish what I’d started). With my realization of the task’s permitted leniency, I went down and unearthed much of the surroundings, including a major portion of the bedrocks that was built for the road.  After two days, my team and I were able to fill four buckets full of the bermuda grass which I assume will not grow back for at least three years.  By not giving myself deadlines and working in a relaxed condition while being mindful of the task’s demands and parameters, I was able to feel satisfied with my work.

Tassajara’s endless supply of great food and great people made it impossible for me not to experience an enjoyable stay. As I was preparing for my departure from the Zen Center and taking a nature spring bath for the one last time, I wrote a little poem to extend a heartfelt farewell:


Coming to tassajara with one thing in mind,

To obtain enlightenment that will come in time.

I am humbled and grateful for the five-day stay,

May the dust from everyone be washed away.

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Inspiration | travel | Zen

My TEDxAdventure: Jungle experience

Photo by Oliver Wolfe and TEDxAdventure

Perhaps it is because I’ve grown tired of partying that I try to avoid the over- commercialized New Year celebration and instead felt drawn to the uncomplicated grounds of wilderness. I appreciate being surrounded by an atmosphere where I can feel the touch of nature that will provide ultimate healing towards one’s soul. 

As I was on my way to plan my itinerary for solo hiking Torres Del Paine in Chile, my friend Nate Mook posted the information about TEDxAdventure.  Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s fate, or maybe it’s just another one of these hints that life provides you from time to time; there are things in life that will lead to more self-discovery. We gravitate towards the events that will alter our self-healing and further our worldly endeavors. After all, it was my first TED event back in 2010 that ultimately changed my life.

This was definitely a memorable trip. I find that as I grow older, good memories are harder and harder to come by; what was once extraordinary now becomes a mundane act that we are too accustomed to. This trip was different, though. It provided me with not just a glimpse of the jungle life, but also many memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  The understanding of jungle farming, skinny dipping with thirty other people, horseback riding in the jungle, rock diving in paradise hole, and a sweet ending that took place on a rooftop party on New Year’s Eve with friends that I’ve bonded over past week was nothing short of an amazing time.

The lesson I’ve learned from the trip is that inefficiency must often be present in order to find real connections and a genuine experience. Unlike many other TEDxAdventure attendees that post in the group, I didn’t really build up much anticipation for this event.  My life had been too efficient and redundant to the point where I simply have to get up and finish my work on time, and all the other hassles in life such as laundry and cleaning life will be taken care of.  My food intake mainly involves blending fruit and vegetable shakes, so that I can provide myself with more nutritional meals in a shorter period of time.  After our first night of arriving at Kalu Yala Camp, I’ve realized that a routine lifestyle can be counter-productive in life, leading to a void that can only be filled by genuine contentment. I continue to harbor the belief that in order to obtain friendship and human resolution, you must save yourself time to do things you love rather than become swept up in having a corporate conduct in all aspects of life. We live in a world with so many stories to reap, so much knowledge to absorb, so many people to genuinely bond with, and so many memories to live.

The experience I gained at the TEDxAdventure left me with memories to last several lifetimes. As Salman Rushdie once said, “Memory is a way of telling you what's important to you.”  May this adventure be a marvelous memory for all those who took part in it.

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Hiking | Inspiration | travel | Zen

Alaska trip, a peek into Mount Mckinley and catching up with friends

Mount Mckinley

Mount Mckinley has been on my to-do list ever since I picked up mountain climbing.  This year, the mountain has been very kind to climbers, allowing over 83% of its mountaineers to reach the summit.  Although I am out of shape due to lack of exercise and the time I’ve spent in preparation for my new startup, watching the mountain itself gives me inspiration for the future.

I had always wanted to visit Alaska, to enjoy its beauty and feel the untouched wilderness around me.  Life finally gave me a chance to explore the wilds while at the same time catching up with my college friends - both my friend Hong and former co-founder Kash came with me on the trip.  The tales of Alaska’s “midnight sun” had been just a story to us, but daylight at 2am truly shocked me into an understanding of the actual situation.  It is very hard to fall asleep when the sun is out for pretty much the entire day.

There were many highlights on that trip to Alaska, but there are three amazing experiences that I will forever remember.

Denali National Park was one of the most impressing features of the trip.  The bus system that travels through Eielson visitor center runs every hour or so, and at the visitor center you can see the north face of Mount Mckinley.  Animals roam freely through the park, without any fear of human beings.  It creates the feeling of humans being the visitors, and the animals being the hosts.  

Another fantastic experience was interacting with the Native Alaskans.  I've always been interested in different cultures, and learning about Native Alaskan culture was no exception.  As there seem to be no restaurants that serve their food, finding a place to taste dishes like moose, whale, or seal meat (black meat as they call it) seems virtually impossible.  In Fairbanks, we met a woman named Pixie Alexandar, who was the director of the Athabaskan cultural center.  The visitor center was intrigued by our genuine interest about learning their culture, and also provided a very hearty home-cooked meal where we got a taste of moose soup as well as beluga whale.  During the dinner we also learned the history of the Native Alaskans and were impressed by the way they can live off nothing but the land around them.  In their hunter-gatherer culture, nothing is wasted, and everything goes back into the ecosystem.  During the winter there isn't much transportation to the outside world, and so they must live off the land to survive.

I always enjoy visiting a port town, and Seward is exactly that.  My friends were hoping to enjoy the fresh fish of Alaska: salmon, halibut, rockfish and many others.  But I didn't care nearly as much about the food, mostly just enjoyed the experience.  We also took a one-day guided tour to Kenai Fjord, where we got to see the glacier.  Sea otters, whales, puffins and other animals roamed freely in the ocean.  The glacier in this area isn't retreating nearly as fast due to global warming as some stories say, but each glacier seems to have its own personality and is affected differently.

There isn’t really a single take-away message from the trip.  The only real challenge we had was finding Native Alaskan food, which we managed to acquire through the hospitality of the locals.  I'll be going back next time to watch the aurora during the winter.  For those who are seeking untouched nature and pristine wilderness, Alaska is definitely one of the best places to find it.


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Hiking | Inspiration | travel

John Muir Trail Lessons

I’d like to share a story with you guys.  Last year about this time, my life devastating, my career wasn’t working out, the company I started wasn’t going anywhere, and most important of all, and my 4 year relationship ended in gruesome breakup.  Nothing was going right, and I was experiencing some of the hardest time of my life.  I felt depressed, hopeless, like a failure, disappointing the very people whom I loved, my parents, my peers, the people who looked up to me, and my best friends who quit their full time jobs to start a company with me.

So one day I decided to change my perspective, I realized that I didn’t have any kids, didn’t have any addictions, in fact, i didn’t have any responsibilities at all.  And the best part is that I’ve saved up enough money for me to last a year or two without working.  So I’ve went into the wilderness and experienced some of the best times of my life.  Out of all the experiences I went through, the one that affected the most was a solo journey of a 240 mile hiking trail, the John Muir Trail.

I don’t have a lot of time, so I am going to tell 3 lessons I’ve learned from that trail.  First lesson, I’ve arrived a beautiful lake named Squaw Lake, surrounding the lake there was 4 mountain tops.  Upon sitting by the lake I felt the mountains were alive, almost as if they were gods, I kept trying to get it’s attention and yet the mountains stayed still.  And looking down I’ve seen a couple of ants, trying to get my attention and I simply could not care.  I felt insignificant, just like the ants in front of me.  And if I was insignificant in front of eyes of gods, then my problems are not really problems, and I felt relieved all of sudden, that I am no longer center of the universe, I was merely an ant in eyes of god.

My second lesson is by a place called Muir Hut, the King’s Canyon have not received rain for months, but that day it was rolling thunder.  Coincidentally, just by the time I arrived at the hut the thunderstorm started and I was the only one in the hut.  It is a historical tournament and you can’t stay in the hut unless you are avoiding the thunderstorm, and that’s exactly what I was doing.  At that moment, I realized that there are so many random factors in my life to happen for me to be in that hut at that time, the situation presented itself so perfectly that I felt that I am suppose to be in that hut at that specific time.  Therefore when things are not meant to be, they are simply not meant to be, and when timing is not right, we’d just have to be patient to see what life has to offer for us.

My third lesson.  I was alone throughout the entire trail but I didn’t feel lonely; the wilderness can be scary but I was not scared; the hike was the most exhausting trip I’ve ever had but I was not exhausted.  I was out of food, and when a trail maintainer shared some of her food with me I’ve cried, to truly experience the generosity of human nature.  I was so tired sometimes,  that simply sitting down became such a luxury.  After finishing the trail on the summit of Mount Whitney, I’ve finally understand the meaning of “appreciation for life”, that best things in life have always happened in front of me, that I just chose to ignore it, but no more.

While I was on the trail, I remembered of a quote by John Muir “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” And I hope the nature will help you as it has helped me.

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Tassajara Work Period Sept 2012

Tassajara has always been on my List of Places to Visit ever since I started practicing zen. In addition, knowing that many of my idols like Steve Jobs have practiced here before furthered my interest in being a part of the practice.  The trip was undoubtedly worthwhile, albeit some very unexpected twists stemming from the self-discoveries and universal understandings I experienced.

I gathered three very important concepts of knowledge from this trip.  The first is my realization that some things are just meant to happen. On the way to the zen center I made a quick stop at the gas station, and indulged in a hot dog composed of questionable ingredients. I contracted food poisoning shortly after, and my decision to trust that a gas station would serve decent food haunted me for my first two days of practice. My stomach was anguished and the fact that many of the foods in Tassajara contain dairy products did not make my lactose-intolerant condition any more tolerable. However, after partaking in several meditation exercises, I was overcome with the epiphany that maybe I was meant to endure this trial. I began to alter my perception of the nature of random occurrences: my newfound belief is that people are not always victims of coincidence. It is possible that in some circumstances, the order of events are set up to be experienced in order to further an individuals being, whether that be tested in the form of knowledge or patience, and in my case, possibly my ability to accept a circumstance without judgment or complaint.  

My second lesson was brought on by my constant expulsion of diarrhea. I volunteered to dig the septic tanks to ensure that I would always have access to a bathroom in proximal range. After almost two days spent digging out all the tanks, I was assigned to clean the restrooms. I began conjuring up negative thoughts about the demeaning task: I came here to meditate and obtain enlightenment, not to take up a janitorial position. But within these thoughts grew one of a more modest nature: I realized that for the past two days I had used the restroom more than anyone else at the center, and if work were to be distributed by utilization then I should be the designated person to do it. That simple rationality permitted me the knowledge of the difference between my ego and me. It is easy to get caught up in the whims of our egos, but I have learned to understand that we must be wary when the ego speaks because it does not represent who and what we truly are.

I spent one of my mornings preparing cauliflower in the kitchen, and when dinner came around I realized that the same cauliflower was being served in the soup we were having for dinner. This made me think about how the restrooms I cleaned the previous day were being utilized by others in the practice now. It was during this reflection of my tasks that I realized the full extent to which actions influence the people around me. In a small community, everything we do has some sort of effect on others. In a larger society our actions permit the same effect, but we are almost always unable to perceive this impact due to the larger scope of the project. With this understanding of the degree of my influence, I simultaneously acknowledged the individual potential that we each hone; I am my own person but I am also an influential entity to others.

As winter is approaching, only the resident monks will stay for the season.  I’ve learned a lot about myself during this trip, and I hope that I will come back sometime in the future to further my practice.

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Blog | Essay

Spreading love


I was watching my Facebook and the subway ad in New York City really caught my attention.  It seems to be very easy for people to spread hate, to draw attention upon our vulnerable mind.

We all claim that we are able to love, and yet we always put hate in front of us.  There are so many ways to love, love for humanity, love for nature, love for perfection, love for innocence, love for joy, love for intimacy, love for appreciation, love for the freedom, love for just being in the moment, and many many more.  Love can be spread endlessly, just by giving homeless people some food you'd starting to appreciate life more; love can be contagious, by smiling at a baby, everybody around will be smiling too; love is mesmerizing, the moment you are zoned out into a piece of art of the sound of music, you have just been seduced by it.

We were built to love, from the day we were born to the day we die.  And it's from love that gives us the creativity and courage to protect this world and to build upon this world.  So next time when you see something hateful, just remember that who you hate has a mother, a father, and was loved by someone in this tiny little world.




Hiking John Muir Trail, est 240 miles

Life has it's weird ways to send you messages, and sometimes I believe in fate for what it has created for me, and other times I believe in my own destiny for what I can achieve, but once in a while I do strange things to get out the cycle of what I considered both fate and destiny.  Lots of things happened in last couple of month, mostly what I've considered crappy things, bad things, or things I just didn't really want to deal with.  Relationship, jobs, friends, stress, health, trust, anything problems you can possibly think of as a human being, I've probably faced it at that time in it's worst form.  And funny part is that they all happened together, like an unavoidable storm, it was what I considered the worst part of my life for a little bit.  After a long jouney of being down, I've decided to take some actions and take my journey to yellowstone in June, I did it completely out of randomness and didn't really want a reason.  And that's where I began my love for nature and wilderness, after climbing the Grand Teton, I took a hike at Whitney, and realized that the only way to see the entire beauty of the High Sierra is by doing the entire John Muir Trail.  

After changing perspective, what I've considered to be worst part of my life has just became the best part of my life, a life without hassles and responsbilities, a life full of adventures and mysteries, a life that's worth living for.  On the trail I endured through pain that I have on my hips, knees and swollen feet.  I was testing my own will power, endurance, commitment and dedication. I was trying to find out who I really am, what I am built for, and why I am here. By the end of the trail I still couldn't answer those questions, but I got more than what I came here for, and I can be proudly say that I finished the entire John Muir Trail.  It felt like that song by U2, "I have climbed the highest mountain. I have run through the fields. Only to be with you, but I still havn't found what I m looking for."

The beauty of the scenary was unmatchable by anything I've seen, I had felt deeper connection with people I met on the trail than any other social gathering since TED, and I started to feel how John Muir felt about the connection between God and Nature.  During the trail I've got a taste of immortality, and after the trail my body just started to collapse, as I've headed to my massage therapist before going home, got bunch of herbs, and slowly rebuild my body through resting, different type of physical therapies and yoga.  If you ask me "Was it worth it?", I'd say




List of equipment:

Osprey kestrel 58 Liter bag

North Face Cat's Meow 20 degree sleeping bag

North Face Simple Bivy

1L Water bottle and 2L water bag that can be carried in the backpack

Columbia Convertible pants

Columbia rain jacket and rain paints

Merell waterproof hiking boot

Casio Pathfinder watch (includes temperature, compass and altitude meter)

Solo Bear Canister

Nikon D90 with 18-105mm lense

Puma polyester T shirt

A hat

Polarized sunglass

Steripen Adventure

Cell Phone


Cards and stuff

John Muir Map

Thermacrest pad

2 Poles that I bought cuz I forgot my Leki ski poles at home


A string

Roll of toilet paper

Sport Towel

Sunblock stick/toothbrush/toothpaste/feet relaxing cream/Lip protector/


Day 0 Thursday 7/26/2012, started at Happy Isle, ended at Little Yosemite Valley

Drove to Yosemite Valley, changed my pass from Friday to Thursday around 5PM, parked my car and ate dinner and left trail parking around 6PM.  Got to Little Yosemite Valley, met 2 guys at Nevada fall, Adam and Alex, and I ended up having campfire with them and slept in their camp.  Got a really good shot of Half Dome over Nevada Fall.  If I didn't get here tonight then I'd have to sleep in the car and rangers wouldn't really like that.  I've lost the lottery for half dome over a week straight, and what I've found out is that if you are doing John Muir Trail, then you don't need to enter the lottery, they'll just add it to your permit for $5 extra.

Day 1 Friday 7/27/2012 ended at Sunset campground

Got up at 6:30AM, and headed to Half Dome at 7AM.  I summited Half Dome and got back to the trail at 11AM, met Steve, Sophia and Lili on the way.  at 5:30PM my feet was super tired so I decided to stay at Sunset, met a group that's doing John Muir Trail and they were willing to share their whisky, this is where I found out I am suppose to drop my food at Muir Trail Ranch and there is a resort in the middle of the hike called VVR.

Day 2 Saturday 7/28/2012 ended at Lyell Canyon right before Donahue Pass

Got up at 6:00AM and started heading to Tuolumne Meadows, went through Columbia Finger and Cathedral Peak, got there at around 11:30 and ate my first meal that's not in the wild, I've chatted with Ian King and he drove me through the area and told me how employees gets treated there.  After leaving TM I just realized that I should've ate at least 3 of those grilled chicken.  I took my first bath in the river in Lyell Canyon and washed my cloth, but I lost one of my convertible legs from my pants while washing it.  I hiked to the lake right before Donahue's pass and decided to call it a night

Day 3 Sunday 7/29/2012 ended at Shadow Lake

Got up around 6, went through Donahue's pass and first entered Ansel Adams wilderness, just like Ian said, this place looks like Dr. Seuss, it was beautiful in such an odd way, where trees meets tiny rocks over the mountainside.  After getting through Island Pass, I've realized Thousand Island Lake is a lot further than just 2.8 miles.  The lake was beautiful afar, and you get to see an awesome view of Mt Ritter and Banner Peak.  Upon reaching the lake I've found out it was too cold to jump in, I met 2 girls with a light pack and was curious where they hiked from, they started to give me attitude and it was really the last thing I needed after 4 days of sleeping in the wild.  I decide to head my way out.  Garnet Lake was another one that looked really pretty, and I've met a guy that looks like John Muir on the way.  I thought Shadow Lake was Swimable considering that its 1000 feet lower than Thousand Island Lake, but upon reaching it I found out it was too cold.  at 7PM my body was exhausted, although I wasn't suppose to camp at Shadow Lake but I was just too tired to go another up hill at this moment.  Put on my bivy and slept for the night, in the middle of the night I got bit by a spider and that was end of the day.

Day 4. Monday 7/30/2012, ended at Duck Creek

Woke up at 5 and started out at 6, hiked to a wood bridge and met Scott, Kelly and Eileen.  I was in Devil's postpile just earlier that month, so I really didn't want to see the same stuff agian.  Luckily the JMT didn't really go through Devil's postpile trail so I got a view of Devil's Postpile from afar.  When I got to Reds Meadow I've met Scott's team again, we ate a double burger and that tasted so good, I really wanted to have a second one but decided that I should be on my way.  The shop didn't have much that I can restock, so I moved on.  at Upper Crater Mdw I met Scott's team again, I told them I needed to get to VVR so I decided to finish the 5.5 stretch without water by end of the night.  I got to DUck Creek by 10PM at night, lucky found a really nice camping ground and stayed there for the night.  I did some star gazing and that was so relaxing.  This is when I started to apprciate everything in life, even if it's just laying down in the sleeping bag.

Day 5, Tuesday 7/31/2012, ended at Pocket Meadow.

Got up at 6:30AM and went towards Tully's Hole, knowing I would not get to VVR until 10PM, I've decided to go a little slower.  At Squaw Lake's entrance there was a stone chair, and that chair almost asks me to sit on it, so I sat on it for an hour and ate lunch.  Squaw Lake has it's own beauty, it felt like mountains were gods protecting it and I was in middle of it facing them, I asked the mountains for blessing and went on to the SIlver Pass.  I stopped at Pocket Meadow at around 6PM and started campfire for the first time since it's lower altitude, so I was happy.

Day 6, Wednesday 8/1/2012 ended at VVR.

This was a short day, went through mono creek trail to vermilion, the trail seemed a lot longer and the views just plainly sucked.  VVR water shuttle was off since the lake was out of water.  Over here I met the own Jim who was very helpful, Ravi from Stanford who carries a pressure cooker, and many other fellas.  And I've see Scott's group as well as Steve arriving after me.  I also met a guy name Richard Peterson who is doing high Sierras, suggested me to go to the top off seven gables and check out the bear lake.  I had a double burger for lunch and steak for dinner, this was the fullest meal I had for the entire trip, and I only wish if I had more.  It was such a luxary to take a foot bath in epsom salt water before dinner, and everybody here seemed to have an interesting story to tell.  For the first time in a while I felt I am on a same journey as everybody else, being independent journey but at the same time everybody else is there on the same journey.

Day 7, Thursday 8/2/2012 ended at Marie Lake

got up at 7 and ate the PCT special at VVR.  hiked out of bear creek and got to Marie Lake at about 9:30PM, camped and slept.  Apart from the 3 people and 4 girls that came from VVR I came with on the shuttle, I didn't seem to see anybody else that day.

Day 8, Friday 8/3/2012 ended at the beginning of King's Canyon

The water from Marie Lake had little red things with atennas moving around, I decided not to drink that water.  This is around 10000, mosquitos still seems out of control.  I passed seldon pass in the morning and got to Muir Trail Ranch at about 12.  I've met Ian and Erika from the Grand Canyon, gave me some really good hints on what to hike from there.  Seems like I m gona be visiting Phantom Ranch, Cottonwood, and Indian Garden when I get there.  I restocked and ate some really nice hiker barrel food.  It took me a wile to find the hot spring but I stayed there for 2 hours and hiked out to King's Canyon, my knees started to hurt and I simply decided to camp down there.  Over here I met Steve again.

Day 9, Saturday 8/4/2012 ended at Muir Hut

Weather in the mountain is always unpredictable, and I've faced that here today.  I got up at 6 and found out Steve already left.  The group I met here last night gave me hot water to brew tea.  I had knee pain so I've decided to compress it with a piece of cloth.  The cloud started forming so I asked the ranger I saw on the way whether I can stay in the Muir Hut, he told me it's not recommanded but no accidents has happened there since it was built.  I went through Evolution Canynon with my knee pain, and this was one of the most beautiful place I've ever been to, Mt Spencer under sunlight where everything else was covered in cloud made it look like it was a blessing from god.  The Sapphire Lake was so blue that it feels being enchanted.  As I got to Muir Hut with intention of taking photos, thunder and lightning started.  Knowing that there isn't any lightning rod in the hut, at this point my life is truely depdned on the nature.  But another thought striked me, it feels like I am bound to be here by fate, that I am suppose to be in this hut on this particular day when there is a thunderstorm outside.  With that in mind, I felt like if God(nature) wants me to die, there is simply nothing I can do.  So there is no point of resisting, just submit to my fate for the day and accept whatever the outcome there is.

Day 10 Saturday 8/5/2012 ended at upper Palaside Lake

The morning felt good, after getting up at 5AM and saw Steve, he was impressed, and it seems that he has avoided the thunderstorm with his tarp.  On the way to Mather pass I met 2 girls from San Francisco who are drying their stuff from the thunderstorm.  My UV SteriRegina seem to have same shoes, same bag, same UV filter, same type of hat and sunglass, and she carries a 4 pound camera just like me, it seemed like that we have the same style, I wonder if she drives the same car and use a Macbook Air as well...  My end goal was Mather Pass, but the Golden Staircase really drained me out.  The Golden Staircase is worse than the 97 switchbacks on Whitney, since you have no idea when it's gona end.  Got to Palaside Lake at around 8:30PM and I've found Steve's tarp, I was too tired so I just camped for the night.

Day 11 Sunday 8/6/2012 ended at end of Woods Creek

Went through Mather and Pinchot Pass, I've seen almost no one for the entire day except at Pinchot I saw Steve again, with 2 guys fly fishing.  There are so many trouts around these lakes that it's possible just to catch them by hand.  Another day of alone in wilderness, I ended my trip at Woods Creek by Castle Dome. There are designated camping areas with bear boxes.  There was a bridge that only support 1 person, that was pretty cool.  Over here I met Ting and Chuck, Chuck gave me 2 pounds worth of trail mix and showed me how military prepares it's food, which just need water for to heat up the food.  Ting is the first Asian girl that I see that is soloing backcountry, she was doing Raes Lake loop, none the less very impressive to see an Asian girl soloing it.  we did some campfire had some chitchat and went to sleep.

Day 12 Monday 8/7/2012 ended right before Forester Pass

Got up around 6 and headed out towards Rae Lakes, the Find Dome and the Painted Lady was such an impressive view that I really wish I could camp here next time.  Due to the food shortage I had to keep going and finish the trail so I pushed on to Glen Pass.  At Vidette Meadow the cloud started forming and I was walking away from the cloud, and apparently after a while the thunderstorm started but I was already out.  I found a creek at around 11600 feet high and camped there for the night, it was cold and my knees, hips, feet were painful, I just pushed on and slept through.  I covered everything in case of rain, at 3AM in the morning Thunderstorm was right above my head and this time I really have no where to hide.  I just closed the bivy and test out it's water proof ability.

Day 13 Tuesday 8/8/2012 ended at Guitar Lake

Woke up around 5 in the morning to clean up everything, nothing got wet, which was kinda lucky.  Hiked through Forrester Pass and saw Nathan for the second time at around 8AM.  There is a good side view of Whitney from far, but the cloud and thunderstorm seems to happen right there as well, so instead of walking out of storm, I am walking into the storm this time.  Passed through a ranger station where I got hot water to make my beef noddle ramen, I mixed in all the dehydrated vegetables with it, this was the first warm meal I had on the trail, and it tasted so good.  Got to guitar lake around 6:30PM and met Christine, Nathan was there to lend me his water filter.  So this is second time on the trail where I had more than 1L of water.  Slept in a very cold night.

Day 14 Wednesday 8/9/2012

Got up at 5 and ascend to the Crest, this reminded me of the 97 switchbacks on the other side, but this side is just as bad if not worse.  When I got to the Crest I sat down and ate my breakfast in a cold weather.  Steve said this was easiest part of the trail since I am suppose to be at least 25 pounds lighter after putting my backpack off.  But even after 14 days of accimlatation, I was still a little short of breath.  But at least this time I did not have any headaches, didn't feel like puking.  I just didn't really start sprinting like I thought I would.  After got on top of Whitney I saw someone doing mountaineering trail and was heading for Mt. Muir.  I decended and did the same.  My hiking shoe didn't seem to have as good of a sticky rubber as approach shoes, and started to slip while I was trying chimney.  I decided to give up for now.  Got down to Whitney Portal at around 4PM, and ate the best burger that was kept me going for past 3 days.  My journey was officialy over.  It was nice to see a group of Mormons who did Whitney in one day trip, the more impressive part is that 15 out of 16 summited.  They made me feel like I am out of shape again.  They were nice enough to give me a ride to Lone Pine and back to Yosemite Valley with Christine the second day.

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Hiking | Inspiration

I am on my computer 12 hours a day, what you on?

Just saw this video and found it very inspiring.

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Admob disabled, WTF?

Today my boss asks me about mobile advertising, so I was going to show him my admob account after like 6 month of not logging in, due to low activities and not having time to update my "soundboard" apps, I just stopped checking my account.  I haven't gotten any notifce whats so ever, or maybe it just because I havn't updated their latest sdk, but at least give me a warning message or something...

Here it is.

Your account has been disabled for invalid activity or repeated policy violations. Some examples include recurring manual clicks or impressions, violation of our content policies which can be found here, robots, automated click and impression generating tools, third-party services that generate clicks or impressions such as pay-to-click, pay-to-surf, autosurf, and click-exchange programs, or any deceptive software. If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find more information here.

I have not even logged into my admob account for 6 month, I have never made a single fraud click on admob, I don't even have the my "soundboard" apps with admob on my phone, And most important of all, I divert 50% of the ads as "in-house ads" to promote my other applicatiions.  I read through entire policy and could not find any violation of any of the apps I host out there, my ads are placed on top and my actions are always placed on bottom.  I am a little disappointed but at this point I really don't care due to the fact I have low activity rate on those apps anyway.  When I work on my new apps just to draw traffic, I am gona find some better ad network, admob proves to be very unprofessional.

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