Monday, June 13, 2011

Hike and Weather

Last weekend my wife attended an all day belly dance class (taught by the lady in pink).  This gave me the opportunity to go on a long hike.  I decided to walk to the top of Devil's peak.  This 3000 ft peak stares me in the face every morning when I walk to work and figured it would be a good time to make an attempt.  
I started around 9 a.m. and headed to the Newlands forest since I saw a map showing a trail to the peak.  Two hours in I realized that this was a mistake.  There are many official and unofficial trails in the forest and I couldn't find the right trail.  I gave up on this route when I ran into two shady looking individuals who gave me the heebie-jeebies.  I decided to trust my instincts and cross over to the north side of Devil's Peak which overlooks the city bowl.
Taken from Signal Hill on a different day

After wasting these two hours I easily made it to "King's Block House", and then the fog started rolling in from the north.  I could hear traffic below me but couldn't see the city bowl.  I kept going up until I couldn't see more than 20 ft in front of me. Alas I decided to abort the mission for another day.  I didn't want to become another story about a tourist having to be rescued on Table Mountain.  Below are a few of the pictures I could take on the walk back.

Heading back towards the Southern Suburbs
I turned back when the visibility was worse than this.

Above the fog looking down towards the city bowl
Overlooking Mowbray, and Rondebosch.  I should have filmed the clouds.  The low lying clouds were traveling south and the higher clouds were blowing north.

Other than this hike, my life has been pretty boring.  I have been settling into my life as an academic and I must say that it is a little painful.  Most of my days are monotonous.  I get up, walk the quarter mile up my hill to work, I stay there for several hours, walk home, make dinner, watch videos, go to sleep, and repeat.  Nothing worth blogging about, which should explain my lack of posts over the last month. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Newlands Forest

Went on a 8.5 km run this morning (according to my phone's GPS which sucks).  I started around UCT and ran up to Rhodes Memorial, followed a trail south and ran into Newlands Forest (map of trails below). 
Fell in love with all the trails and thoroughly enjoyed the mist which persisted all morning (see picture below).  I saw all kinds of dogs on these trails and had a moment of inspiration.  When I came home I convinced my wife that we should go later and take the dogs. 

I was so excited that when packing up the dogs and the gear we took I had a little SNAFU (an acronym I learned in the military which stands for, Situation Normal All F&**#$d Up).  After I made sure the girls (Etta and Reeses) were in the car I closed the door with the keys inside.  I didn't know that the car we are using automatically locks the doors if it detects the keys are inside the cabin.  I don't understand why this design option is useful.   After the SNAFU was fixed by the owner of the vehicle we were off on our first adventure as a family.  I was so proud of Etta our big (~10 year old 50 kilograms rottweiler bernese mountain dog mix).  We walked a long way and she didn't complain one bit.  We also experimented with having both of them off the leash and they performed well.  I was proud of them.  Below is a picture of Reeses on a tree stump.  We tried to take a picture of Etta with a foot long drool but didn't quite get it. Be sure to check my wife's blog for her take on how the day went.  I'm sure she will have a different perceptive. 


Over a week ago, a friend showed us a flat they are moving out of. I really like the kitchen and bath, and I think we can afford to live there. The only problem is that the place is a few neighborhoods away from work and I really like to walk or bike. A friend told me about a trail which goes most of the way so I decided to check it out. The Google Maps video below (sorry you have to download the Google Earth plugin)roughly follows the run. Parts of the run were really nice, going through the edge of the Newlands Forest and other parts followed the sidewalk next to a busy street. I think that it would be a doable commute, but not on a daily basis. Too bad the whole way isn't bike friendly. If more of the way was like the trail close to UCT, I definitely would be hounding my wife about moving there. Unfortunately I would have to deal with traffic.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Woke up pretty sore this morning.  Ran a nice flat 4.5 mile run, taking two laps around Rondebosch Common at an easy 10 minute mile pace.  This is a 100 acre park in the middle of Rondebosch and provides a wonderful view of UCT. Took the picture with my iPhone, so the quality isn't great.  I also saw a large flock of some kind of bird.  To me, they resemble a female wild turkey.  After a month of not running much, my hip flexor is starting to feel better when running.  I hope this continues as I start adding mileage again.   

For review of a recent trip my wife and I took to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, see my wife's blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Dissertation- Turned in my final-ish copy of my dissertation today, and hoping the format nazis overlook any minor mistakes.  I am so ready to be done with this thing and I hope I never look at it again.  Unless I am working on an actual paper coming from it for publication.  

Running-  I didn't know if I would have time for running today so instead of riding a bus or taking a cab to a meeting with a collaborator at his office, I ran there.  Two miles in less than thirty minutes, wearing jeans, a button up shirt, and carrying my backpack.  The cab drivers going up Main road towards downtown couldn't help but stop and make sure I didn't want a ride.  I still can't help but admire how hard these guys work(described in an earlier post), of course I declined. 

Taste of America-After the meeting, my wife picked me up.  On the turn out of his office, there is a McDonalds, we both noticed it, and for some reason we both had a craving.  Since we've been here we haven't eaten much fast food and haven't stepped into a Mc and Donalds, as my little niece calls them, since we took her to one back in late January or early February.  I had a Big Mac meal and my wife had chicken nuggets and fries. I was surprised at how similar the products are even here in Africa.  Everything from the marketing, to the silly uniforms, to the taste of the food.  This was the first place we have been to which actually provides real ketchup with the fries.  Most places provide tomato sauce which is an awful imitation of ketchup.  The only difference I saw was the accent of the underpaid worker.  My wife did notice that the nuggets were "smokier" and barbecue sauce was different and didn't like it.  Personally, I didn't think they were smokier.  I did get into some trouble, she wanted to taste the hamburger but I ate it all even though she told me she wanted to taste the secret sauce.  Apparently I'm a pig and don't listen.   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28th

No work out today.  I'm very sore from the many lunges I did two days ago and the run I did yesterday.  Besides that, I've been working virtually nonstop since 3 a.m. this morning on the final revisions to my dissertation.  I think I should say semi-final revisions since I will probably be rejected, not by my committee, but by the graduate college at least once for formatting errors.  Oh yeah, my adviser approved my revisions today.  Wish I could celebrate this but can't since revisions need to be turned in to the graduate college by Monday.  Wish I could be done already.  Anyhow, these are the joys of being an academic. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today's Run

Today was a holiday called "Freedom Day" here in South Africa.  I still went to work but observed the holiday by taking a break and going on a run around campus.  I think I might start posting some of the routes using a web/smart phone based program I use called MapMyFITNESS.  Figure 1 provides a neat fly over of the route I took.  If you play Figure 1, I started my run at UCT and ran to a monument called Rhodes Memorial.  From there I took a trail down a ravine.  In figure two you should see a decrease in elevation.  This decrease in elevation is me running down that ravine.  Once I was done with that descent, I headed north towards the city bowl.   At around mile 1 there is a clearing to the right where I saw some zebras.  Once I reached the top of the next ascent I could see the bay and the Eastern portion of the city bowl.  I then started my return to UCT by heading back towards Rhodes Memorial and finally back to UCT.  The run was a bit challenging due to the steep inclines.  As you can see in Figure 3, my heart rate was high despite my 13 minute per mile pace.   

Figure 1.  Map of the route.

I'm also going to include the results of my heart rate monitor and elevation/climb information from the MapMyFitness website.
Figure 2.  Changes in elevation.

Figure 3.  Heart rate data.