Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hiking with my dad

Last month, my dad and I went hiking in southwestern Colorado. Specifically, we spent one day in Black Canyon of the Gunnison and one hiking Grand Mesa. Dad and I hadn't done a trip together, just the two of us, probably ever. And I learned a bunch of stuff about myself, my dad, and a part of Colorado I had not experienced.

Black Canyon may lack the size of Grand Canyon, but is certainly not lacking in grandeur. The sheer walls of black volcanic rock, cut with pink stripes of quartz monzonite, are striking. My photographic skills really don't do it justice.

The vertical drop is so precipitous that the river bed at the bottom shows no evidence of human occupation, ever, even as the Ute Indians lived all around the canyon rim for hundreds of years.

The only way down to the bottom is down some very steep trails (the park service won't even use the term 'trail' to describe them) with pitches up to 60 or 70 degrees. At one point, they have even installed an 80-foot chain to help you descend or ascend a particularly steep section.

We only went about a third of the way down because we didn't have enough time. That was enough, however, for me to be as impressed with my 77-year-old father as I was by the natural surroundings. That's him working the chain ...

The next day we hiked Grand Mesa, the largest flat-top mountain in the world. Because the mountain top is nonporous lava rock, water is trapped on top of it, forming 300 lakes. Dad grew up in the area and used to go fishing up there.

There are miles of healthy forests, with no sign of the beetle-kill that has ravaged Colorado. And almost no sign of people either. It's quite a treasure that I had never seen before.

As I described in my previous post, Dad was a hiking stud. Those two days of hiking wore me out, and overall it was a terrific four-day weekend with my dad. We're going to have to do it again next summer.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Just keep picking 'em up and putting 'em down

When I was in high school, my dad took me backpacking. I remember it as a great trip, but also a long trek with a heavy, uncomfortable pack. I also remember Dad telling me to "just take it one step at a time" as I grumbled and whined about the load. "Just keep picking 'em up and putting 'em down." It drove me crazy.

Then, a few weeks ago, he and I went hiking (more on that in another post). It turned out to be a long hike, about 5 or 6 hours, and he was telling me a story about leading his Marine squadron on long hikes with 90 lb. packs. You know how he did it? He just kept taking one more step.

So, this weekend, I was hiking with Ryan and he was complaining endlessly about being tired and wanting to quit. I told him that when I'm riding my bike up a mountain, I never focus on the top or how far I have to go. Rather, I just concentrate on turning the pedals over one more time.

Of course, that didn't do any good, and Ryan just kept complaining. I think it really just drove him crazy.

And that made me realize one thing. I realized that, in so many ways, I am clearly becoming my dad.

I think that's a good thing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Looking for companies that get it

On Sustainablog, a recent posting said:
A North American organization of energy experts issued a report that found that building more green buildings is the best way to cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), one of the major contributors to global warming. In fact, green buildings could cut emissions more deeply, quickly and more cheaply than any other global warming mitigation effort.

So what’s stopping the change? The report found that capital and operating budgets are often kept separate, instead of a government or other institution taking into account the lifetime budget of a construction project. This separation creates a disincentive to build green.
This is a problem we deal with every day at Albeo. Albeo's LED fixtures present an opportunity for terrific operational savings in energy, maintenance, inventory, and disposal costs. However, they're relatively expensive compared to traditional lighting, and the investment in the fixtures would be a significant capital expenditure. Getting capital approved for operational efficiencies can be surprisingly challenging. Some companies get it, some don't.

We just need to find those that get it.