We toured around Chiang Rai with V’s father for 2 days and then drove the scooter back to Chiang Mai. Wow. That was a huge drive on a scooter.
We spent the rest of the month working and getting strong at Chiang Mai CrossFit. After 3 months in Thailand we flew to San Francisco, California.
Our good friends Kimi and Declan had an amazing wedding in wine country, Napa Valley. Seriously, they have a cool group of family and friends and it was a magical celebration.
We then enjoyed horseriding and croquet with family and friends in Reno, Nevada. Also wakeboarding at Pyramid Lake.
I don’t know how everything worked out exactly, but next we flew to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, because my friend Dane was marrying Miriam. It was great to see old friends and explore the beauty of the island.
The Nomad Cruise picked us up from the capital and southern part of the island, Phillipsburg. We spent the next 10 days cruising from St. Maarten to Lisbon, Portugal. On that ship we met a LOT of really, really cool people.
David, Lily, V and I had a really massive power tour around Lisbon. Miles and Melanie joined us for some of it too. That was an epic day. I haven’t even made that movie yet.
We took a massive journey from Lisbon, Portugal back to Reno, Nevada because we thought we were needed at a party that had been cancelled unbeknownst to us. That was hilarious. V didn’t think so.
Next we moved to the Bay Area to house and dog sit. I met Seth Godin in San Francisco during Udemy Live. We explored the city and flew David’s drone alot. That was really neat.
Then we moved to San Francisco and our good friends Jel and Sam visited us from Australia. I also studied really really hard to get into App Academy in San Francisco. Software Engineering is not easy.
I was accepted into Hack Reactor and App Academy in San Francisco. All that work studying software engineering paid off. It was a tough choice, but I went with App Academy. Getting accepted into that program was a really proud moment.
The program wouldn’t start till November so we took a road trip down South to Los Angeles and Huntington Beach after David invited us to the Magic Castle. We had a really great time. David took V on a private plane and I went surfing with John. We did a lot of cool stuff. Thanks for being the host with the most David. You Rock!
After we got back from So Cal V’s twin sister Vanessa and her husband Mark came to visit us in Reno. We celebrated the twins birthday and had a really fun week.
V went riding with her sister, I went riding with my sister.
We wakeboarded at Pyramid lake and did high speed aquatic push up competitions.
Then we went rock climbing with friends, Roxy, Jake, Brian, John, Vanessa and Mark.
Things got weird in November, but I wrote about what I’m grateful for that election cycle. But a lot of cool stuff happened too. We spent alot of time with family and friends. We also went on a boat ride around the Foster City canals with the family for Thanksgiving.
Despite studying as hard as I could, I failed out of App Academy. That was a big bummer, but life goes on.
V and I got caught in a snow storm but managed to make it back to Reno just in time for the holiday festivities. That was the first Christmas we had with my family in a really long time. Three years to be exact. We spent Christmas Day skiing with the family. It was a blast.
We’re back in San Francisco Bay Area for the time being.
Zion National Park in Utah is my favorite of the national parks in the USA. This is a bold statement when we consider Yosemite, Yellowstone, Badlands and hundreds more. The contrasting look Zion has is the most astounding in my experience.
If you’re planning a trip to Zion, check out the video below. I tried to make it interesting for those planning their trip.
Zion National Park Camping
Finding official camping in Zion National Park is expensive and there is a very low inventory with a lot of demand. Making a reservation through the Federal Government’s reservation website is also a painfully slow process.
It drops queries all the time and I couldn’t find a single opening this year. Also, I think it’s kind of a bad deal to spend $30 to go camping. The good news is that this doesn’t matter.
It’s 100% legal to camp on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The government calls it dispersed camping and you can learn about the specifics of the regulation here. The area around Zion in Utah is full of BLM land.
When you’re getting close to the park. You can pull off the main road and drive down a road with less traffic. From that road, you can pull off to a dirt road. Many of these dirt roads have signs like the one pictured to the right. If you find these, you’re in good shape and can camp there legally.
We did our backcountry camping about 15 minutes outside of Zion for free. It was quiet, we heard coyotes and owls and in the morning we drove into the park and were able to go to the Narrows and Angel’s Landing.
That makes for a really good trip.
Zion National Park Images
Zion National Park Hikes
I’ve only done two hikes at Zion National Park, but they were both two of the best hikes of my life. Here’s my breakdown of both.
To do the Narrows you need to go to the last stop on the shuttle. To get to Narrows you take the Riverwalk, which is a lovely walk alongside the river. Narrows is a river hike so be prepared as you will get your feet wet. You can rent shoes at the park which are specifically for trekking through water, get your own sneakers wet, or do what we did and go barefoot! It’s beautiful and it’s alot of fun. We hiked deep into the canyon, just beyond the first fork in the river.
If you watch the video above, we mention the specifics here.
When hiking to Angel’s Landing you’ll experience a very fast change in elevation. The reports say it’s a 1,488-foot (454 m) climb. It’s a very well trodden path so there is little to no chance of getting lost or going the wrong way. Even though there are some REALLY scary spots because of how tall the cliffs are, there are no places where you need to be an expert climber.
There are chains on the last .5 miles, along all the portions that are more dangerous, but I don’t think I ever actually needed them. You can easily walk the whole thing without using the chains.
That said, it is scary, especially if you’re afraid of heights. V was a bit freaked out up at the top of the landing, being that we were standing on a ginormous rock nearly 1,500 feet high and overlooking the entire valley.
Zion National Park Shuttle
The shuttle is actually really great. There is an audio recording telling the history of the park so you get to learn while riding. The shuttles run so frequently that you never wait more than 10 minutes to get on one. It’s an excellent system and it takes away all the hard parts of driving your own car around and parking. Honestly, I would take the shuttle over driving from place to place. The shuttles are actually the only mode of transport to get to each trail during high season, so this makes things really easy.