Sunday, February 23, 2014

Alex Snow Biking In The Sierra Nevadas



Song:  The Eagle And The Hawk

Artist:  John Denver




Today, Alex and I went back to Royal Gorge to Snow Bike.

We were going to go to North Star...
but, although they allow Snow Bikes there...
they don't rent them.

As Royal Gorge is on the other side of the summit of the Sierra Nevada mountain range...
the nearer we had gotten to the summit...
the closer some low flying clouds became.

We left early in the morning and the temperature nearing the summit was 28 degrees F.


We drove into, and finally through, the clouds.


It was crystal clear from here on out.


That is not a lake...
but the top of the clouds we had driven through as we neared the summit.


The Snow Bikes have very large low pressure tires.

It wasn't much different from regular mountain biking...
other than having to feather the front brakes...
and carefully controlling the speed of descent.

This was the starting point of...
what was to be...
a very tiring journey...
one which we shall not repeat.


There were many trails which we could ride...
all of them winding and going down hill for miles...
which was, of course, fun during the first half  :)


You will notice the groves in the trail...
they were for Nordic Skiers.

I was amazed by those skiing past us...
on the way up!








One of our many...many rest stops on the way back up.

We were starting to heat up...
so Alex and I put some snow in the helmet air slots so it would melt
to provide cooling water over our heads as we rode.


During some of the ascents...
we had to walk the bikes uphill...
as our legs had felt like rubber
(this wasn't one of the many steeper inclines...but we were pretty fried by this point).

It took us 45 minutes to ride down the mountain...
and it took forever to go back up.

Our curiosity has been sated.
We are going to try something else in the future.
That long haul back up the ski trail cured us  :)



Right near the end.
We had to walk the bikes the last 300 meters or so.

They are training some beginner Nordic Skiers in the background.


On our way home.

Alex was so exhausted that he had nodded off in the car for awhile on the way home.

It had taken much longer than I had anticipated on the uphill trail...
and so, Alex and I had just enough time to grab a shower...
and then we were off to his Sunday math club.


Later this night...
we tried a new nearby Mexican restaurant.

Alex tried the "Ono"...
a type of white fish...grilled.

It was ok...
but we are going to go back to our old favorite...
"El Pescador". 


Soon, we will be off to new Winter adventures...
ones NOT involving long uphill travels.

Perhaps...
Snowmobiling  :)

















Friday, February 21, 2014

Alex's Poem: "The Spelling Bee"



Song:  Our Destiny

Group:  Liquid Cinema



After Alex's disappointing loss at the County Spelling Bee...
when he later got home from school...
he announced to us that he would be writing a poem about his experience.

It is for extra credit in his English class...
and for submitting it to a poem contest...
he will earn points of credit...
and if he wins...
the credits will double.






Alex has always dealt with disappointment in his life by writing a story about it.
This was the first time he had written a poem.

Many years ago...
when he had witnessed his mother swatting a fly...
he got very upset...
even though his mother explained that they can transmit disease.

Alex feels deeply about all life...
so he had written a many page story about a fly...
and he gave the story a happy ending  :)


The poem could only be 500 words maximum.

His poem is 497 words.

I think it was a very imaginative effort on his part.

He wanted to turn a disappointment into a victory.

A valiant effort indeed!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Supplementary Math Contests For Alex



Song:  Dancing Mad

From:  Final Fantasy VI


Alex is taking another math competition test in the morning.

He is also registered for a math competition at a University in California
for highly advanced Middle and High School students.

We hadn't known of its existence until he found out that some of his
math club members had just gotten back from one at Stanford University.

Alex asked if he could be on the next team going to the next competition.

He will be going next month to one at another prestigious University...
and hopefully many more.

He will be competing in the individual and team rounds.

Alex always gets excited about competing in math competitions...
and he is looking forward to going to this one.




This is a picture from last year's competition at this University.



Below is a sample of questions from last year's competition for the individual category.



Below is a sample of questions from last year's competition for the team category.



They are both, similar in structure, and problem complexity, to many of the various 
math competitions Alex regularly competes in.

These competitions are great for stimulating drive in the math student.

The young math students from the San Francisco Bay Area
are some of the best in the nation (as proved at the ARML nationals last year).

Alex will be competing against them.

This competition will be very high speed as he will be competing with mostly 
highly advanced High Schoolers.

Alex wants to enter as many contests as he can.

He wishes to constantly hone his math skills by frequently 
entering the intellectual arena of combat.

Although the intellectual warrior gains his skills in his training halls...
it is in the arena of combat that he may truly learn how effective his training is...
and it allows him to learn how to perform under the pressure of competition.


Once again...
although Alex has the heart of a warrior...
it is his gentle and giving nature which makes me the most proud.













Monday, February 17, 2014

Alex Snowshoeing At Royal Gorge




Song:  Walking In The Air

Composer:  Howard Blake



We decided to try out a nearby Nordic Ski area (Royal Gorge).
We were originally going to go Snow Biking...
but there hasn't been enough snow lately.

When we arrived...
we decided to go Snowshoeing instead.

I've always wanted to have Alex try Snowshoeing...
as we plan to do some snow camping in the mountains in the future...
and we will have to pack some snow shoes and our mini boards in our back packs.


We are on our way 
(It took less than one hour to drive there).




Royal Gorge is at approximately 7,000 ft. base level.


We just went for a short hike along one of the trails.









We rested on a nearby rock for a while at about the halfway point of our walk.


When Alex started making snow balls and throwing them...
I knew he was ready to start walking again  :)



The arrow points to the snowball Alex had thrown.







One final rest for Alex before returning to the head of the trail.


I wanted Alex to know the feeling of walking in snow shoes...
of how it alters the walk some...
before we try longer distances, with much heavier packs, in the future
(we will be getting larger and sturdier snow shoes for that).



On our way back home from Royal Gorge.


We are planning on going back to North Star...
for some Nordic Skiing, Snow Biking...
or perhaps...Snowmobiling.

The weather hasn't been optimum for these activities lately.

It has been unseasonably warm...
with very little snow.

We will have to see.

We finished off our day in the snow...
with one of our favorite restaurants...
Naan and Kabab.



Maurice...the owner of Naan and Kabab (in the chef's hat).
He usually walks around and checks to make sure the meal 
is up to the customer's standards.


Alex had his favorite meal here...
Salmon Kabab.


I am hoping for more snow soon.
There are many things I would like to show Alex.

Hopefully before this weekend starts...
we will get much more snow...
if not...
then I will have to search for snow activities in the higher elevations.

Alex loves every new adventure...
and I am planning many more snow adventures for him...
hopefully, a new place or new adventure every weekend.

I am also waiting for some new snow before we go back Alpine Skiing.

Perhaps we will go night skiing before the end of the season
(to which my wife nervously replied when I told her of our plans...
"Aren't you afraid you will get lost"?  :)











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