academiamarginalia

The life and self-reflections of a professional mathematician

Category: outdoors

Sea Kayaking

Sea kayaking, La Jolla, San Diego
September 08, 2012

Redwood Forest

Perhaps Northern Californians (and Oregonians!) would not agree, but for me personally, everything to the north of San Francisco is, in fact, already Oregon :) For “southerners”, California and fog are two mutually exclusive notions. Heat, drought, and earthquakes are ok, but not the fog.

On the very north of California, in the fog, there is a national park, Redwood. As it does not follow from the name, above all, the park is known for its very tall and very old sequoias. That the trees are red is a secondary thing. A few sequoias are more than 2,000 years old. This makes them the oldest living organisms on Earth. Some of the trees are more than 100 m tall. To make a long story short, if you want to know how it feels to be a hobbit, Redwood forest is waiting for you.

01. The “beginning of Oregon”

02. Hobbit in Redwoods

03. Initially I wanted to make it to the top,
but then wisely decided to stop halfway through.

04. Sunny Redwood

05. Thin and thick

06. Fern

07. I like bridges. There is something in them…

08. Another bridge

09. Liza and I

10. Hobbit’s parking

11. Redwood is a home for about 40 species of mammals and other animals. We were particularly interested in black bears and mountain lions. Unfortunately we did not see any (interesting, how many mountain saw us?). We saw only two different types of animals: the first one is elk (many elks actually), and the second one is…

12. Banana slug!

13. Interestingly, although I truly enjoyed visiting Redwoods, I have realized that I like deserts most of all. This conclusion has nothing to do with the fact that, as we have learned later, redwood sequoia dust is toxic. The toxins were strong enough to cause headaches after a few hours of easy hiking. Be careful, little hobbits!

Kauai, Hawaii

A tree near  the Russian Fort  Elizabeth
Kauai, Hawaii, May 15, 2012

Wilderness First Aid

Last week, there were three lectures, numerous office hours, two important and fruitful meetings, papers, drafts, proposals, soccer, floorball, etc. It looks like I deserved a good and quiet rest on this weekend. And what did I get instead? The 16 hour 2 day Wilderness First Aid course provided by the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)! This was a great basic course with very enthusiastic instructors, where bits of theory were followed by scenarios and case studies. “Hands on” style of learning worked perfectly. Now I know how to assess a patient, how to recognize spine and head injuries, how to treat wounds, and many more. How to treat shoulder dislocations I knew before, from my own experience :-) But the most crucial piece of information that I got is how little I know about this important topic.

In  less than one hour, a new week will start. What will it bring?