Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tarzan - Rock Climbing

Tarzan - Crow Hill

A strenuous but fun climb. I've been wanting to climb Tarzan ever since first I saw it when I started climbing at Crow Hill for 6 years ago. Most of, if not all, the climbs are very intimidating for short person like me. But today I got to finally give Tarzan and try and loved it! I didn't get to finish it, but so happy I got on it and am really looking forward to trying it again. Thanks to Udai for the beta and belay!

I was glad I could fit my entire left side into this bit of off-width crack. It's such a fantastic rest spot for me.

Our Gary group including Dan, Scott, Andrew, Dan, Zheng and Jane met up at Crow Hill. Here's Dan (left) on Tarzan and Dan (right) on Buttress.

It was Andrew's first time outdoor climbing and he crushed it! Here he is on Intertwine.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Connecticut Rock Climbing

Shaka from the top of Wiessner's Slab
Ragged Mountain, Connecticut

Spent the Memorial Day weekend with Nicole and climbing in her neck of the woods. It was amazing and I learned a lot and got to spend time with a badass climber chick!

On the first day Nicole and I went to Ragged Mountain. I wanted to lead a slab so Nicole showed me the Wiessner's Slab. I quickly learned their slabs aren't the same as the slabs I'm accustomed to in NH. 

Nicole didn't want me to miss an opportunity for an on-sight - what a cool partner! So I lead Wiessner's Slab and it sure was fun. There were a couple of hand and finger jams as well as a couple of foot jams to satisfy my crack fix! LOL!

Right: bringing Nicole up!

Rain the second day so we shopped at REI. It was cool to see Wilson hanging out!

Afterwards we headed over to Prime Climb climbing gym to do some indoor climbing. There are two crack climbs (in the wall) and I got on both. They're both narrower than the crack I get my lessons on, but I was able to climb both several times. Still fun and it satisfied my urge to climb crack!

The last day we climbed at Pinnacle Rock. I followed Nicole up Double Crutch. She did a stellar job of leading this climb. 

Nicole at the belay up top!!

Then I saw this crack that I just had to lead. What appealed to me about the route was that there are solid ledges for standing on to place pro. It's located on a section of wall between the Emerald City Slab and the A Frame Wall. I can't find it in the guidebook nor does it list it in MP. Anyways, If I had to guess, by CT standards this crack is a 5.3/5.4. The start was tough and a reachy for me. It was wide in the beginning and my small hands and feet weren't jamming. But there were good foot places at the back of the crack and the crack was wide enough for me to fit up to my calf. However, as I got higher the crack narrowed and I was able to get a few (shallow) hand jams and a 4-finger slot. Near the top and at the end of the crack I was able to get a couple bomber foot jams in as well. It was an amazing weekend!

Bringing up Nicole on this Unnamed Crack!

Pano from the top of Pinnacle Rock, Connecticut

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

North Pack Monadnock - Hiking

Wapack, Miller state park, hiking, summit, shaka
North Pack Monadnock summit
Summit Shaka!

North Pack Monadnock (2,276ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,350 feet
Trails: Ted's, Cliff and Carolyn's
Distance: 5.6 miles roundrtrip

So much fun rock scrambling in the rain! Gray skies couldn't keep us away from hiking. Got together with 4 others of the Metrowest Retirees (or not yet) Ready For Adventure meetup group for a rainy day hike to the summit of North Pack Monadnock.  Great hiking company, peaceful woods, wildlife surprises and fantastic lookout views near the top more than made up for the challenge of the brutal mosquitoes. We hiked in the clockwise direction taking Ted's trail to the Cliff trail to the summit, then descended via Carolyn's trail. Enjoy some photos of our fun, rainy day hike!

This is my favorite photo of our group as we ascended. Although foggy, I really love the background. A marvelous hike! 

Fun rock scrambling in the rain

Waterfall at mile 1

So many gorgeous views from the lookouts! (3)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kaukau Las Vegas, NV - Food Review

hawaiian, dessert, island flavor, las vegas
Guava Chiffon Cake - broke da mout!
Island Flavor, Las Vegas, NV

Besides climbing, I love food! Well to be specific, I love Hawaii local food, with Hawaiian and Asian food coming in at a close second. There aren't any eateries here in New England dedicated to Hawaiian food, unless you count the "Poke" eateries. Poke is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer. In Hawaii, traditional Poke consist of cubed Ahi, Maui onions, Inamona, Limu, green onions and maybe (little bit kine) sesame seed oil. There are many other variations, but my second favorite is Shoyu Ahi Poke, in which the cubed Ahi is marinated in shoyu, specifically Aloha Shoyu!

I have yet to see a Poke eatery here in New England that has nailed the traditional Ahi Poke. Most, if not all, offer bowls with choices of white or brown rice. But there many other "extras" that can be heaped onto that bowl of rice. You can express your "Poke" and create your own bowl. You can even create one that doesn't have raw fish, but cooked chicken. And it's still called a Poke Bowl even if it's not recognized as Poke anymore. As for Poke Burritos, I've never tried one and not too sure if I'd want to. I'll stick to the traditional style of Poke over any of the fusion styles.

While visiting Las Vegas, NV, I've had the opportunity to dine at many places. But whenever I'm in town, I purposely eat at a Hawaiian eatery, because I can't get that here in New England. 

Food - it's an adventure!

Island Flavor -
This eatery but far, is THE BEST place to get authentic Hawaiian cuisine in the Las Vegas area. There are "Daily Specials" and the serving portions are HUMONGOUS! Hawaiian music is piped throughout the dining area to enjoy while dining. Every Friday and Saturdays they feature live music performed by local musicians. Freshly made Spam Musubi goes fast so hurry to get yours before they run out daily! Many, many island favorites here! And the waitstaff is super friendly and attentive. Gift cards also available for purchase.

Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke
(several 'styles' to choose from)
hawaiian, ahi, poke, island flavor, las vegas

Aloha Friday Special - Lau Lau Plate
Served with Lomi Salmon, Haupia, Mac Salad and Rice
las vegas, Lau lau, lomi salmon, haupia, mac salad, rice, island flavor, Hawaiian

Tuesday Special - 
Fried Noodle topped with Teri Chicken
Hawaiian, Island Flavor, Fried Noodle, Teri Chicken, las vegas

Kalbi Ribs
Hawaiian, Island Flavor, las vegas

Hawaiian, Island Flavor, las vegas

Live Hawaiian Music - Island Flavor, Las Vegas, NV

Cinnamon's -
Ate breakfast here the day we left and wished that we had found it sooner! Everyone who has eaten here raves about it and now I know why! The food here is excellent. We were the first ones through the door and to be seated when they opened at 7am (weekday). I love listening to Hawaiian music while we dined. Our waitress was attentive and the owner came over once to ask if she has taken our order. 

Hawaiian, Cinnamon's, las vegas

Guava Chiffon Pancakes (I ordered the Shortstack)
These are just plain Buttermilk pancakes with Guava Sauces
Hawaiian, breakfast, Cinnamon's, las vegas

Portuguese Sausage, Eggs & Toast
Hawaiian, breakfast, Cinnamon's, las vegas

Hawaiian, breakfast, Cinnamon's, las vegas

L&L Hawaiian BBQ -
We ate at several different locations throughout Las Vegas. Known for its "Hawaiian Comfort Food", you'll find fast food Hawaiian/local fare here. Everything from Hawaiian Sun Drinks to Kauai Kookies and handmade Spam Musubi. Punchcard available.

Hawaiian, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Ahi Poke
Hawaiian, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Saimin Spam Bowl (takeout)
Hawaiian, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Kauai Kookie
Hawaiian, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Aloha Hawaiian BBQ
No website for this business but we ate at the 4990 W Craig Rd #4, Las Vegas, NV 89130 location. This looks like L&L Hawaiian BBQ with the same fare. I've tried their "Malasadas" and their version reminds me of Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins rather than the soft donuts I grew up eating. Staff here are super helpful and friendly.

Hawaiian, Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Ahi Poke
Hawaiian, Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Hawaiian, Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, las vegas

Ice Land -
Vegan ice cream - yaaaassss please! Serves regular ice cream as well as vegan/non-dairy! Only ate here once, the prices are a bit high. They also serve Gelato and rolled ice cream. Location is in a very busy plaza at the northeast corner of the equally busy Rampart and Charleston Boulevards. Tasty sweetness perfect on a warm desert night! 

I had the Vegan Coconut cone!
vegan, non-dairy, ice cream, las vegas

Bachi Burger -
Not Hawaiian but a climbing friend highly recommended this eatery and so glad I got a chance to eat here! The food is not something I usually eat, but it was extremely tasty and I found the presentation of the dishes to be very appealing. The waitstaff is very attentive. 

Las Vegas, food,

Bone Marrow Jam
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

Bachi Fish Burger
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

BBQ Bachi Burger
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

Just Fries with Pineapple Ketchup
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

Hot Matcha Green Tea
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

Portuguese Donuts with Coffee ice cream 
and Raspberry on the side
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Quabbin Reservoir - Hiking

A mellow 5.5 mile hike through peaceful, beautiful woods and sights! Joined the Metrowest Retirees (or not yet) Ready for Adventure meetup group for a hike in the Ware, MA area. The Quabbin Reservoir, Ware River, Wachusetts Reservoir and their contributing watersheds supply drinking water to many communities in the metro Boston area as well as the Chicopee Valley area. The reservation is accessible to the public via more than 50 marked gates from around the perimeter of the reservoir. Our hike took us from the Observation Tower, to the Enfield Lookout, and finally to Hank's Meadow. Enjoy some photos taken of our hike.

Quabbin Observation Tower

Views from the Tower

Along the trail

A fine specimen with hair and bones!
(Coyote scat)


Many water crossings

The view from Enfield Look Out
Read here about the underwater ghost town

Pano of Quabbin Reservoir


Along the trail