A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Jul 11, 2017

Manila Phillipines

I'm on a work trip to Manila, Philippines right now.  I'm going to talk more about the trip itself than the work stuff, since I'm not asking people permission to post their pictures and there's some sensitive information.  Also, work is boring.  :)

I left on Saturday at about 12:30p and arrived in Manila at about 8:30p on Sunday.  The trip is a long one, but not as long as that might imply; you lose a day by flying over the international dateline.  As a result, we are +15 hours relative to Pacific time.  

This is my second trip to Manila and although security is much tighter as a result of world events like Pres. Dutarte (and I'll refrain from getting into any political talk beyond that), I'm really enjoying myself.  It's been neat to see all of the team members from work that I met last year and to make new friends.  Also, because I have some context for the Philippines now, which is definitely a developing country with its share of global-level poverty, I'm less shocked by that, and I can appreciate the other aspects of the city like the culture, the way most Filipinos live, etc.  

One of the aspects of the culture that really hits you is the friendliness of the people here.  I can appreciate that as a visiting business person from the US (who looks the part) I'm probably not receiving the same kind of treatment that another might.  Even so, in both trips I have not had a single experience of a local that wasn't over-the-top friendly.  This even includes security personnel and etc.

As part of my daily meditation practice I contemplate something I'm grateful for and my intention for the day.  For the last few days my intention has been to be as friendly and kind as everyone I meet.  

Manila itself is about 1.8 mm people in a city about 17 square miles, and as a result it is the most densely populated city in the world.  Here was the view when I got in Friday night:

Here are some views from the office:

On Monday we had a long day and dinner with the team.  Tuesday was a 14 hour day that included a conference call with some folks in the office in Portland.  Today will be better, with a chance for me to relax and get some precious "Dave" time in, and Thursday we will be meeting in the morning and touring local museums in the afternoon, so I expect to have more photos then.  Friday I fly back home in the morning, arriving back in Portland the same day (again, because of the international dateline).  

Jul 4, 2017

Bolt Camp Shelter

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but there’s no reason to bore either of us with an explanation. Acknowledgement is sufficient.

I think what I will be doing for the summer, though, is posting brief recaps of trips, whether it’s camping or whatever, because experiences are important, fun to share, and fun to read about. A lot like politics. Er, wait….

This particular trip ended up being a bit different than we had originally planned. Jen and I had made a general plan to hike the Lewis River Traverse over July 2nd and 3rd. As the time for the trip approached, though, we realized that we hadn’t lined up care for the dogs, Sebastian, our Pit/Lab mix, and Belle, the Chihuahua. This isn’t a big deal and we last-minute the dog situation all the time, but this time it didn’t work out. So we needed to make an adjustment.

After talking through what we were each trying to get out of the trip, we identified the following goals. Jen: go running, spend time together, spend time with the dogs, read. Dave: sleep outside, disconnect from electronics, read.

Based on these goals, we decided to make life a little simpler to accomodate the dogs and to aim for the Bolt Camp Shelter, about 2.5 miles into the hike, and to set up a basecamp there that we could operate from. We’d spend a night or two and then hike out. Not great training for my PCT hike in 2019, but sometimes fun is fun and we don’t need to devote every waking moment to preparing for another.

As we hiked in, we were relieved to see that there were a few good open campspots available on the way in to Bolt Camp Shelter (BCS) from Curly Creek trailhead. The information I had read said that this place was pretty remote and unused, which I thought was important given the holiday weekend. There were quite a few other hikers around, but few enough that you knew when you were alone and when someone else was approaching. My thought was that if someone was already at the BCS we could have some other options. Luckily, we were the first-come and therefore the first-served at BCS.

I had brought my new “Colorado Flag” hammock by Kammok, and after inspecting the shelter carefully we decided that it was structurally sound enough to be our swinging spot. I’m a huge fan of the hammock and will definitely be bringing it along for my more “camping” (i.e., less “hiking” and being on the move) trips. With a puffy for a pillow, this is an ideal reading setup.

Happily, the fire threat is low and I felt comfortable getting a small fire going.

Campfire is my TV

Jen went running the first afternoon and I did camp chores and read. That night I slept well, although Belle was crawling all over Jen making it hard for her to sleep. Sebastian slept tied up to a tree outside the tent on my tarp, and didn’t make a sound all night.

I woke up early and while Jen slept in I started a new fire, filtered water, etc. I made breakfast and Jen woke up to join me. I have been reading this book called Behave by Robert Sapolsky which is great and fascinating, but is not a casual read. Lots of information comes at you 100 mph and as a result it’s not a book you can read for hours on end. Jen had just finished a book in two trips called The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, so I thought I would give that a try. It is an incredible book about a hermit in the woods of Maine who lived without human contact for 27 years. I read the entire thing that day.

Rocks integrated to root system

While I was tearing through the book Jen got in another run. While she was out Belle and I took a hike a couple of miles north. On the way, I saw the underside of a tree root structure that was cool… the area is really gravelly and the tree had grown around the gravel, integrating it into its root structure. The tree this root system supports was probably about 50-60 feet tall, impossible to show in pictures.

On the way back Belle made me carry her, for a half mile or so, but when I put her back down so that I could have footing on the mud she was revved up and wanted to lead the whole way back. I spent the day doing camp chores like filtering water and tending the fire and reading. Ideal.

When Jen got back we decided that spending a second night would put too much strain on our Tuesday July 4th because we have a number of errands to run and etc. We packed up camp late in the day (around supper time) and hiked out with the dogs.