Hiking: Harts Cove

Last week before Christmas a group of us drove up 101 past Cascade Head (we hiked there earlier this year) to try out the Harts Cove Trail.

Harts Cove Trail

Karen woke up wanting to take a “mad hike”, whatever that is. We came to learn this means running as much of the trail as possible. The entire crew included, left to right, Karen, Mike, Powell, Julie, Dave, Lisa, and me (taking the picture).

Group Shot Before the Hike

The first 3/4 of a mile or so is straight down via switchbacks, about a 900 foot drop in all. We started the trail with a brisk walk, but soon Karen turned it into a jog and Mike and I joined her. We ran for about the first 1.5 miles or so, slowing down as we started to encounter a lot of tree fall. The trail closes down on January 1, and I see why as the trail will soon be impassable. The trail passes through beautiful stands of giant sitka spruce and groves of the ferns all too common on the Oregon coast.

After about 2.5 miles, the trail opens into the final meadow revealing the coast and Harts Cove. Karen and I continued down to the volcanic rocks bordering the rough coastline.

Chris, Mike, and Dave

You can see the stream flowing into the cove in the background of the picture below – this cascading stream is how Cascade Head got its name (Harts Cove is on the northern side of Cascade Head).

Chris and Karen Near the Falls

On the way back we walked for about a mile then Mike and I resumed our jogging. I fell twice, bruising my knees, and twisted my right ankle something fierce (it swelled up into a baseball sized lump later that night) but managed to run about a mile or so and walked the final death march back up the car. A fun but difficult hike and highly recommended.

Podcast Roundup

I continually tweak my podcast subscription list based on interests, quality, word of mouth, and time budget. I posted previously giving an assessment of the boardgame-related podcasts, but the landscape has changed quite a bit and my subscriptions have expanded. One of my favorites has disappeared completely… will it return?

Gaming Related

This remains my favorite category and occupies most of my car listening time.

  • The Dice Tower – Somewhat begrudgingly, this is my favorite podcast. Tom and Joe grow on me and I believe they are just genuinely good guys and fun to be around. They are diligent about their production schedule and I like their top 10 lists. If you can get past the mispronunciations, there’s a lot to like about this show.
  • Boardgames-to-Go – Mark has tailed off during the holiday season but I’m confident he’ll sustain a good production schedule in 2006. I like his intelligent, self-deprecating approach and meeting him at BGG.Con only confirmed that he’s such a nice guy with interesting things to say about games.
  • Have Games Will Travel – I’m glad I discovered this one, as I get more out of Paul’s RPG reviews and commentary than boardgames. His reviews are encouraging me to consider leaving the D20 realm with my RPG gaming group as soon as the kids are old enough to explore some more advanced themes and systems.
  • Pulp Gamer – A bit too much of a beer-and-pretzels game focus, but I love the interviews they’ve landed (James Ernest, Margaret Weis) and the show continues to improve.
  • Geek Fu Action Grip – On the fence here, as Mur is a bit too much on the comic / sci-fi fringe for me. She’s an outstanding writer though and her essays keep me coming back. I wish she would do more game reviews.
  • Board Game Speak – Where art thou?

Digital Photography

I’ve committed to myself to increase my photography skills dramatically in 2006, both on the shooting front and digital dark-room post-processing front. These podcasts along with some reading study are helping me along the way.

  • Tips from the Top Floor – Still my favorite photography podcast, somewhat reinforced by the fact that I got to meet Chris in Germany last December. I am concerned that Chris spends too much time on meta-speak about the podcast itself – he needs to stay focused on photography and his tips, perhaps putting meta-speak at the end of the show.
  • Secrets of Digital Imaging – This one got off to a rough start, with Dennis having similar meta-speak issues, but this one gets better and better. I especially enjoyed Dennis’ workflow series and I even bought his Photoshop Elements workflow reference card. Keep up the good work!
  • Two Minute Photoshop Tricks – A nice podcast focused on Photoshop, it would be better if I would listen to it while at a computer instead of in the car.

Technology

  • Ruby on Rails – Whoa, this one had a rough start in terms of audio quality and content, but Geoffrey Grosenbach continues to improve with each show. I especially appreciate the recent post on Smalltalk / Seaside, a nice change from the “cult of Rails” insularism that may be imminent.

Comedy

  • Ricky Gervais – I’ve listened to a few of the shows and give it about a B. I’ll likely unsubscribe to this as I just got… an XM radio for my birthday! Woot!

If there’s anything else I should be listening to based on what you see here, post it in the comments!