Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Washington DC

I traveled to Washington DC for a three day conference on clinical trial methodology. This is my favorite conference because it's a nice small group and it's easier to share ideas. I stayed at The Madison, where the conference was held. It was a sophisticated hotel, though the shower could use updating. There wasn't time to explore, but I did have tapas at Panache and a variety of Belgian beers at Brasserie Beck.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Magic Mountain

Branch Whitney, of Hiking Las Vegas fame, has been organizing some challenging hikes for the Meetup group with lots of scrambling and exposure (my two favorite things). I've been aching to do one of his hikes because he always limits them to 12 or so people, but I've been too busy with guests and travel. I finally got to go with his group on the hike up Magic Mountain, the mountain on the right in the picture below. It was a challenging hike with some great chimneys to wiggle up.

There was a saddle near the top that opened into a breathtaking view of Pine Creek Canyon. Bridge Mountain is above me in the picture below.
I wanted to say that I summitted Magic Mountain, so I climbed up this massive boulder at the top.
Unfortunately, I then had to climb down it. It's always more difficult going down. There were no handholds, so Eric got out a rope while Doug tied it around his waist and supported me going down. It helps to hike with capable strong guys.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The cutest dogs

It doesn't get cuter than these two dogs. The prodedure throughout the day is 1) Ajax gets in Bo's kennel and curls up under her blanket, 2) Bo gets in the kennel to aggravate Ajax (this is one of the many reasons she's known as the Bo-agravator), 3) Ajax admits defeat and moves to his pillow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Skiing in Tahoe

Joe and I hopped in his car Friday afternoon and made the 6 hour drive to Reno/Lake Tahoe for a weekend of skiing. We stayed at the Silver Legacy, which had the hardest bed I have ever slept in. We discovered an awesome blues bar around the corner that was a local's joint with great live bands with their own roadies.

We skiied two days at Northstar, which is about 30 minutes away from Reno. The mountain doesn't look big from the road, but it is massive in both vertical drop and skiiable acres. Joe and I spent the days on the backside of the mountain tackling double black diamonds. He is a great skiier and gave me some great pointers. The mountain was entirely too crowded with long waits at the lift lines because it was a long weekend, but the backside of the mountain had no lines.
Me in my hot purple ski pants. These will never go out of style! :)
Joe and me on the top of the backside of the mountain. The view is incredible.
Lake Tahoe in the background.

Here's a small, crappy video of me skiing. Next time I'll bring my video camera.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kraft Mountain Attempt

Mike and I attempted Kraft Mountain, which is right past Calico Hills in Red Rock. We didn't know the route, but we were told to head straight back towards the mountains. That's what we did, but about two-thirds of the way up we came to a vertical wall and had to give up on the summit.
The whole climb up I kept saying that I wouldn't come back down this way, but I had no choice, so the climb down was a little bit tricky.
So we decided to hike around Kraft Mountain instead. There is a great wash that goes behind the mountain. I plan on taking the dogs back there sometime because the scrambling is limited.
We didn't know where the trail was to get back to the cars, so we hiked over the west side of Kraft Mountain, which had rocks full of swirling colors.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Love Flowers

Val and Sheri sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. It was so special to have them delivered to my door, and they had lots of pinks and purples.

Mmm, birthday cake!

My friends Leigh and Brian had me over for a pre-birthday dinner last night. I walked in and saw that they had baked me a cake, and I got teary-eyed. It is so special to have friends like them in town.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

RTI Las Vegas

Two co-workers from North Carolina and a client came to town to conduct cognitive interviews with patients. There is a facility near my house here, which provides the perfect excuse for my co-workers to visit. They stayed at South Point, which is just down the road from me. We ate at the Garden Buffet at South Point (I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, I much prefer the Seasons Buffet at the Silverton), Osaka (my favorite sushi restaurant - I always have their lasagna sushi!), and Trader Vic's (my new favorite Strip destination). We went shopping at the District, and I found a new place to blow my money (Francesca's - they have the cutest clothes!).

On Saturday, the rain and wind held off long enough for us to hike in Red Rock. We took the trail up to Calico Tank. I've never actually been up this path, and I was shocked to see how large the tank was at the end. The girls wanted to see Ajax and Bo, so I brough them with me on the hike. They have never been hiking before, but they loved it and did really well. It was so cute to see them jumping over rocks. I had to pick them up only a few times, and they never tired out during the two and a half hours. It was quite cold out, and they had their jackets on - a bomber jacket for Ajax and a pea coat for Bo. They were adorable!
Ajax "walking the plank" while Bo looks on. She looks so prissy in her pea coat!
Ajax looking back on the trail at another dog. We passed at least 5 other dogs on this hike and probably 20 people.