Friday, February 28, 2014

Quicky to Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is located in central California just south of Hollister and I had hear about it a few times for the large amount of unimpressive climbing that it offered. Being only two hours away from Oakland meant that we just had to make a weekend trip to check it out.

During the drive down we made a stop in Hollister to eat some tasty Mexican food and get ripped on on firewood. We paid $17 for a block of wood!

Being the Sunday afternoon of President's day weekend I though that there was no way that we would get a spot and that we would be left to drive all over the area looking for a spot of dirt to pay someone to sleep on. We got lucky and there was a spot at the campground, as well as we got free entrance into the park because of the holiday!

After setting up our camp Kimber and I checked out some of the nearby climbing and did a few quick routs. Nothing to brag about but fun none the less. The first was a single pitch trad route that included a large roof called, "Tourist Trap".  Next I sent a quick bolted route on the same wall. It felt great to get on some rock again. The area is known for having loose rock, thus the helmets. Both climbs could be seen from the busy hiking trail and during the few evening minutes that we were climbing we could hear groups asking each other how we got the rope to the top. They obviously missed us using our 100ft long telescoping stick clip to hook the rope in at the top.

Due to fire restrictions we weren't allowed to burn our overly priced firewood and spent the night sharing one headlamp while we cooked our dutch oven dinner ingredients over a small propane stove in small backpacking pots. Entertainment was provided by what sounded to be two raccoon involved in a nasty throw down in a tree on the other side of our campground loop.

The next morning I took advantage of the many miles of trail in the park and was on the trail by 7:30am (no need to get a up too early). I headed up towards Bear Gulch Reservoir planning to go through the Bear Gulch Cave Trail but had to change course due to forgetting my headlamp. I did an out and back to the top of North Chalone Peak and then finished with a loop over the High Peaks trail. High Peaks had some pretty cool sections where there was narrow roughly cut stairs in the rock with old school railing preventing terminal falls. The views were nice. Not quite the green rough alpine mountains of Utah, Colorado or Montana but something new.

Running States
Distance: 13.8 miles
Time: 3 hours 8 minutes
Elevation gain: Approx 3,200ft

Kimber and I made an attempt to head up and do some more climbing after a lazy morning of breakfast and cleaning up camp but our plan was foiled due to no parking in the upper lot.

Pinnacles, in my opinion, doesn't really deserve the national park status.  It is more in the category of state park. There was interesting rock features and some good hiking but the park was pretty small and not glorious, as most would describe a national park to be. The amount of climbing and the sub 2 hour drive from home might bring me back however. Time will tell.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Playing the Game of Externships

The 4th year of podiatry school requires you to spend 3-5 months working and learning with podiatry residency programs throughout the country. As a student I had some control of where I was required to go by only applying to work with ones that I would consider as potentials for my upcoming 3 year residency training. I ended up spending time in Denver CO, Salt Lake City UT, Albuquerque NM and Portland OR. These "externships", as they are called, are like a month long interview. As students we are constantly being evaluated academically, socially and personally. We had to be ready at all times to be "pimped". Pimping in the process of a doctor asking a student whatever questions the doctor can think of. Questions can be super random facts about authors of research papers to anatomy questions. I am not much of a stress-er but I will have to admit that during this process I did find myself much more uptight and not acting like my usual self.

Then to wrap up the whole process we had our boards part II exam a week and a half before residency interviews. At these interviews every podiatry student and most of the podiatry residencies in the country met in Frisco Texas in one huge hotel. Interviews were kind of nuts. Each floor of the hotel had multiple hotel rooms or suites with chairs out front where you could sit nervously while waiting to be called in for questioning. The interviews could consist of anything; social questions, academic questions, demonstration of surgical skills, clinical scenarios and any sort of critical thinking activity the programs could come up with.  The hotel was full of stressed out students doing their best to act confident and likable and the fact that there was supposedly a huge shortage of residency positions available this year only added to the environment. Most evenings consisted of socials where residency programs tried to entice the top students to rank their program high and the students tried to impress those people who they thought were the decision makers. I interviewed with 12 programs and had 2nd interviews with some of them so it was a busy three days. I am glad it is over. After the interviews the students rank any of the programs that they would accept in the order that they want them. The programs do the same for the students that interviewed with them. These ranking get tossed into a magic box and we get the results on March 20th. So currently everything is out of my hands.

I was away from home for a three month stretch while I spent November in Utah, December in New Mexico and January in Portland. It wasn't so fun being away and living out of a suitcase but it was awesome seeing different parts of the country.

Overnight lodging while traveling through Nevada. 
Beautiful day of climbing up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. 
Court on the traverse up Little Cottonwood. 
Corey sending a climb up Big Cottonwood Canyon while Skyler and Tori stand all amazed.
Running a snow trail up above Layton with Spencer, Steve,  his brother in law and Pete.
Toured up to Wolverine Cirque on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. 

View to the west down into the small town of Alta. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. 
Got a morning of skiing with my attending, Dr. Margiotta, at Ski Santa Fe Resort in New Mexico 
Study break! Running the trails above Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
Sunday drive to Mt. Hood in Oregon. If I wasn't sick I would have been all over that.
Kimber came to visit! Exploring some waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge outside of Portland, Oregon. 

Where will we end up for residency?