Posted in Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: February 26 – March 3

This past summer in Yosemite Valley, California, I sat in a meadow and watched the clouds pass over half dome. The valley was slowly but surely starting to cool once again. Late summer brings way to fall. Soon the waterfalls would be drying and frozen. Snow will come and cover the plants with perfect ribbons of white. I want to be there now, I close my eyes and I can almost imagine it. It is in my dreams and it is engrained into my DNA. It is the place that changed my life forever.

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Posted in Living in...

Hiking Out of the Dust and the Fog

Hello,

Today three friends and I went for a hike in the San Grogonio Wilderness. The San Bernardino Peak stands at 10,649 feet and it is a 16 mile round trip with 5,100 foot elevation gain. It is a very doable day hike if you are equipped with crampons and maybe even one ice axe or pole. We made it to the halfway point which was about what we expected considering we only had a half day. Round trip it was eight or nine miles of oak and pine forest which comes as a very high recommendation.

The hike consisted of mostly packed snow and a little bit of ice. Lower down and mid-way you also still have much access to the dirt trail. The hike has many beautiful views and rest points as well as many photogenic opportunities. The parking lot was surprisingly full, however, we did not come across more than three or four groups along the way. The trail is steep at times but time goes by fast once you focus and really start hiking.

The above image is of the San Barnardino Peak. This picture was taken somewhere around halfway on our hike and around a quarter way to the top. It does not  look too bad from this point, but the trail becomes knee to waist high covered in hard, slippery snow just after the halfway mark. Current trail conditions considered, it is incredible that there is such amazing access to these elevations in february! Hopefully tonight and in the coming week there will be snowstorms as indicated by the hazy look to the valley bellow.

We got to our eventual turn around point. My guess is that we were around eight or nine thousand feet. Next time hopefully I will get to go to the top, maybe even do a timed run or speed hike to the top and back. We will see…until then i will be doing more yard work and trying to move to Arizona. I hope whatever you are doing makes you happy and gives you inspiration!

-Kyle Simmons

 

Posted in Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: February 19-25

Hello Again,

I just got back from a somewhat trying trip up to Lake Tahoe. Life recently has seemed like a blur, going from one suitcase to another. But soon things will be normal (as normal as it gets at least) when I am going to school in Flagstaff, Arizona! But until then I will keep trying to enjoy the little things like the beauty of flight. On the plane from Reno to LA I snagged a quick takeoff image. Hope you enjoy it!

Posted in Living in...

Yard Work

Hello All,

When I am in town I have some friends who’s parents pay me to do occasional yard work. All throughout high school and years past they have accommodated our group of friends at their house parties, and have let us cause shenanigans all summer in or around the pool. Hell, they even rented a house to us once! (Which anyone that knows anything about that house can tell you, it was a huge success.) These kind folks have a pretty amazing house of their own, and recently I have done some work for them. It was such a nice day I decided to take a few images of the progress.

The backyard is a very open and grassy area which is host to games like kung fu soccer and the “ball throwing game”. On one side of the grass sits the pool and covered outdoor patio. On the other side is the garden which is home to a variety of produce including grapes, tomatoes, peppers, fruit trees, herbs, and even chickens that lay eggs on a regular basis. Next to the garden is a nice elevated deck that they built last year that overlooks the house and gives you a great view of our local mountains.

The chickens proved to be somewhat of an issue early on because they kept getting snatched up by hawks! But they have seemed to figure out how to keep them safe quite well now. Every time you walk over to the chicken area they start making all kinds of noises in hopes of some new food. Projects are always happening in the backyard. Two new ones in the works are the addition of a poolside deck and fire pit and the introduction of two baby chicks to the chicken coop.

 

One day i can only hope to have a place of my own to work on and improve. Until then, I always enjoy helping people with their interesting home improvements. Thanks for stopping by!

-Kyle Simmons

Posted in rock climbing

Pushing Your Threshold

Hello,

Today I climbed at the Treshold Climbing Gym in Riverside, California. Threshold, while undergoing many changes, has seen great improvement and growth in the last few years. With a large array of classes and training facilities, there is something for everyone. The atmosphere is one of competition, but also very healthy. Someone is always there to help you with beta and push you to climb your hardest.

When we walked in, the rout setters had just finished the back bouldering wall area. This was the focus of the crowd as everyone raced to conquer the new boulder problems. We also hopped on a few of the top rope routes, which were very compelling and challenging.

After many hours of climbing I always look forward to going upstairs to get REALLY tired. This, among others, is a major reason I choose to return to Threshold. The upstairs area is filled with helpful workout equipment including hangboards, treadmills, pull-up bars, and weights. This upstairs area gives climbers an opportunity to do a number of supplemental workouts and get strong quick. Next to the workout area you will find a very comfortable lounge. This section of the gym is perfect for studying, reading, watching television, or simply resting between climbs.

 

With an array of opportunities to advance your climbing strength, Threshold is without a doubt one of southern California’s premiere rock climbing gyms. If you live anywhere close to it, or are making a trip through the area, it is worth checking out. And with the low price of five dollars if you come before 3pm, Threshold even appeals to the poorest climbing bum. Hope to see you there soon!

-Kyle Simmons

 

Posted in Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week: February 12-18

In Santa Barbara, California there is a skate spot called “The Bank” where bikers and boarders alike come to shred. My friend Jeff is a master of the slide, and he was kind enough to provide me with this visually appealing portrait. The “Peace of Mind” written on his shirt emphasizes the simplicity of the landscape, and the bright yellow line marks the edge of the steep bank.

Posted in Living in...

The Place to Be

I just recently got back from an incredible trip to Flagstaff, Arizona. While I was there I had the opportunity to do many things and go to many places. One of the places I went was Lake Marry. At this time in the year the lake is a quiet and serene place to be. The shores are coated with a layer of untouched snow and the water is black with threats of a deep chill.

A short walk around town proved to be quite photogenic when I came across an old graffiti art wall that I had forgotten even existed. Every time I see the wall a new work of art shows itself on the left side. However, the right side of the wall stands the test of time, and rightfully so. With the old man staring on the wall staring at anyone who chooses to notice, he is slowly aging with the wind and the rain. The colorful song birds around him add a sense of beauty to the bleak portrait.

After a short climbing session and some movies at my friends house, it was time for my trip to come to an end. On my way to the train station, I looked around the town. The snow was gently falling as it had been all week and the town was quiet. The beauty of Flagstaff shows itself wherever you look, and I will be back soon.

At the train station, I stood outside with my friend Greta. Little did she know, having her there made the wait for the train that much easier. I did not want to leave, I never do. But as my train pulled up I had no choice but to loosen my grip from around her waist and wait to board. Goodbye Flagstaff, for now, because I surely will return soon. And hopefully I will manage to stay and appreciate all is has to offer this time.

Until then, I will patiently wait here in sunny southern California. The chill of the Flagstaff air becomes an inviting symbol of winter that I have come to miss. And the friends in Arizona are unmatched. To be back in Flag would be a privilege and soon it will be a reality.

For now,

Kyle Simmons