Nick Murphy (previously known as Chet Faker) LIVE at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle.

Kick ass show.

|Song 1: Talk is Cheap|

|Song 2: Fear Less|

|Song 3: Believe Me|

|Song 4: Medication|
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Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

VLOG #2: What’s da Happs & Mid-week Update

A mid-week recap of my sobriety, progress, challenges and just me talking about the weekend. Enjoy… Or don’t.

(Header pic taken at Showbox SoDo in Seattle after the Nick Murphy / Chet Faker show on Saturday)

I may have been slightly over-caffeinated for this VLOG.  Also, Vlogging is the least cool thing I’ve ever done, but what the hell…

 

Full Nick Murphy / Chet Faker video edit coming once I have to sit down and put it together.  I know I promised it earlier this week, but PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH ME!!!

Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

Taking on Distraction & Changing Habits: Quest Progress & Update

Journal-type entry. Update on my quest’s progress. The difficult task of a complete rewiring of the brain.

So, changing habits is harder than I thought it would be and this challenge is exactly just that; a big mothef*cker of a challenge.  But, that’s okay because that was the purpose of it.  So far I have found that it is easy to keep focused on a new activity for a couple of days, but trying to simultaneously turn all these different objectives into new habits and practice them daily, bi-daily or weekly is a demanding process and requires a total rewiring of how I’ve operated over the last couple years, in some instances, over the entirety of my life.

For instance, getting into the gym and exercising daily has been pretty easy so far.  However, only moderate success has been had when trying to facilitate running, weights, hiking, yoga, etc., into a balanced exercise routine.  I find that I can do one or two of these extremely well, but when I do the one well the others don’t get prioritized properly.  And that’s just within the Physical Health vertical that I have, so far, seen the most personal growth within.

Below is how I have done in each category so far this past week:

My Sobriety:  So far, so good.  I haven’t touched booze, and have very little, if any, desire to do so.  It is harder when out and about on town.  Drunk people are definitely more drunk than funny when you are not on their level, which tends to make you want to drink, but I don’t foresee this really being that difficult.  With that said, staying out late with people who are partying hard will likely get clipped from my routine.  After spending Saturday night out with the girlfriend until approximately 2 AM, I was not pleased with how tired I was on Sunday and the lack of productivity that came along with that exhaustion.  Yesterday I was a bit crabby and irritable because of this.

Physical Health:  Killing it so far.  Weight lifts are going up across the spectrum.  My weight is down about 10 lbs.  My stamina and intensity is increasing quickly.  I leave the weight room feeling simultaneously destroyed and euphoric.  I was able to easily hike 19 miles with 6000′ of elevation gain and 7800′ of loss last week (see posts on The Enchantments), and even ran the last 5-6 miles.  I need to put more emphasis on stretching and yoga, although I have been stretching in the sauna, shower in the morning and between sets at the gym.  That is going to be a higher priority this week.

My neck and shoulder are giving me pain on and off… Need to resolve this.  It’s been going on for months.  Also is why I am putting such an emphasis on yoga.

Mental Health:  I practiced some light meditation throughout last week, but not as much as I had hoped to.  One time-save I found is to do my meditation in the sauna after a hard workout.  Doing that pretty much clears the mind and leaves you feeling on Cloud 9 afterwards, plus it kills two birds with one stone.  I would also include my hike through the Enchantments as a boost for my mental health.  There was a drawback though, after doing that physically taxing of a workout I was left in somewhat of a mental fog throughout the middle of last week.  My energy has been pretty good since, however.

My general attitude was mainly up last week with a couple of lulls.  Waking up this morning I felt like I could take the world on, so that’s a good place to start..  There’s definitely been an underlying feeling of stress from outside forces that I am letting have a negative impact on me and that I need to put to rest.  The resolution would seem to be to either cut off the artery that is feeding the stress or face it head on.  I think that is dependent of where the stress is coming from, outlets like media should be easier to control.  But financial or relationship issues should be taken on aggressively to a place of resolution.

Basically: Stop f*cking procrastinating, dipsh*t.

Creativity:  I have mainly been blogging and editing videos for this vertical, but that has actually seemed to give me a creative edge over my prior self and reawakened my desire to write.  I, honestly, think I would like to write a book at some point and  am planning on launching a podcast as well.  I’ve also spent a lot of time brainstorming business ideas and those ideas seem to be getting stronger and better articulated.

“FINANCES & CAREER” CATEGORY HAS BEEN CHANGED:
A good friend of mine, Erik, made the point that finances and career do not go hand in hand and suggested I separate the two of these verticals.  I further liked what Ray Dalio had to say about the topic in his book Principles, how money wasn’t his objective but what followed his passion.  Thus, I have changed Finances & Career to reflect Learning & Career, a category I find that goes hand in hand.  Also, although financials will be a piece of my self-improvement process I will rarely going to post about this vertical, as somethings should be kept private and off the internet.

Learning & Career:  I spent some time reading last week, but have much more improvement to make in this category.  I guess creating the habit of reading is an important step in the process.  This week I will be focusing on this much more than last week.  Also, last week’s mid-week hike kind of threw off a lot of my schedule.  I will not have that same problem this week.

Relationships:  Last week was an interesting week under this vertical.  One of my best friends, Nate, is moving to San Diego for a massive career change and opportunity.  I am beyond stoked for him, however, I am a bit saddened.  His girlfriend, and a good friend of ours, Jocelyn, is not going to be going with, but instead, she is moving in with us.  It will be great having her around and I expect Brandi and her to have an awesome time living together.  Also, I have been trying to make more time for certain people who I have been seeing less and less over the years.

One thing I have been contemplating is:  “What do I bring to the table for my friends?”  I don’t know the answer, but it is something to think about.

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(Picture of Brandi (right), Me (middle), and Nate aka Naterbator aka Babybody (left) – this picture was taken prior quest, don’t judge the beer in front of me.)

Overall, this last week was a lot of fun and I achieved some great things.  I do need to focus more on the overall goal here though.  I have actually come up with an idea to make sure I am “Leveling Up” properly.  The idea is to make a point system where if I accomplish something during the day, I get points based on what it is that I accomplished (i.g. Under the Physical Health vertical:  lifting weights = 1 point; yoga = 2 points; etc).  Then I add them up at the end of the week and see how I did across all verticals.

My biggest challenge so far has been to remove simple distractions that suck the time out of my day.  Getting on Twitter or Flipboard can easily suck hours out of my day and I need to control that impulse.  Once I conquer that, I think there is a lot more I will be accomplishing per week.

Alright, time to take it all on.  Thanks for reading!

Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

 

 

 

The Enchantments in a Day: a Documentary of Sorts (Video)

A goofy and shaky handed attempt at recreating our hiking experience through Washington State’s Enchantments near Leavenworth. At the very least, the views are stunning and larches golden.

On Tuesday, October 12, 2017, my buddy Austin and I recorded our trip through the Enchantments (see prior post).  Here is the footage from that trip.

Follow my YouTube channel, a Life to Summit, for other videos that may or may not make it here.

Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

a Single Day Trek Through the Enchantments

Yesterday was an incredible experience and we happened to catch that experience at the exact right moment; right before the snow started falling.  The Enchantments is a hike normally split into a multiple day backpacking trip, and, rightfully, it should be as it is one of the most gorgeous places you will ever lay your eyes on.  We, however, did not have a permit to camp and instead hauled ass through the entire hike in 11 hours and 15 minutes.  I’m no marathon runner, but this seemed like a pretty solid time to hike approximately 19 miles and 6000′ of elevation (reports differ, but it’s at least 18 miles) especially considering the breaks and photo ops we took during the trek.

There’s something about mountain therapy that really refreshes the mind and connects you to your surroundings and nature.  This summer, partly due to wildfires and weddings, I didn’t get into the hills as much as I normally do, so this was a great last hurrah before the season turns overly snowy and it becomes time to throw my freshly waxed skis on my feet.  Which I am also extremely excited for.

My friend Austin and I reached the Stuart Lake Trailhead around 10:30/11:00 PM on Monday night.  I slept in the back of his truck in the open and, notably, cold air.  4:45 AM came quick and we were up eating a big breakfast, drinking cold brew, and packing our daypacks before we hit the trailhead at 6:05 AM.  A little slower of a start than we anticipated, but early enough not to fret.

The first section of this slog is just a foot in front of foot hike to the stunning Colchuck Lake which is seated at the bottom of Aasgard Pass.  I think we arrived at Colchuck around 8:00 AM.  If I’m not mistaken it is about 5 miles to the base of Aasgard and approximately 2500′ of elevation gain from the trail head.  It’s another 2000′ of elevation gain from Aasgard to the Upper Enchantments in a single mile.  We stopped for a bit and ate a quick second breakfast, which for me was a banana and Clif bar and for Austin was half a turkey sandwich and a banana.  We chugged some water, finished off our cold brew, threw on some microspikes, I took a poo in the woods, and we started up the pass around 900 AM.

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(Photo One: Me, pointing up at Aasgard Pass from Colchuck Lake
Photo Two:  Austin on the way up Aasgard Pass
Photo Three:  Austin in front of Colchuck Lake
Header: Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass Panoramic Photo)

I threw some music on my cell phone that seemed to fit the mountainous Alp-esque setting, folk artist Austin Basham, and started the climb towards the top.  The trail was well defined but we did, somehow, get off of it at one point and just hiked straight up the gut.  We also stopped more than a couple times to take some pictures, drink some water, and record some video.  Honestly, it was an absolute cakewalk compared to the ice skating rink the pass resembled at the same time last year (we did this hike October 13th last year) and it was not even remotely dangerous in comparison.  We reached the top at 10:40 AM and were greeted by the glaciers and peaks of the Upper Enchantments.

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(Photo One: Me, heading up Aasgard Pass
Photo Two: Photo of the prominent peak next to Aasgard Pass
Photo Three & Four: Upper Enchantments)

We passed some hikers at the top who had hiked down to the beginning of the descent towards Snow Lakes (the end of the Enchantments) but turned around due to conditions.  They said we should be fine with our microspikes but they did not feel safe without them.  We chatted with them for a few minutes and then enjoyed a lunch in the Upper Enchantments under some craggily peaks and ice covered lakes.  From there we started down to the Core Enchantments after talking to some campers and observing a billy goat.  All the while I was logging it on video, with Austin’s help, and taking plenty of pictures.  Going from lake to lake we took in the scenery and the awesomeness of our surroundings.  Then came my favorite part of this hike; the descent from the Core Enchantments to the Lower Enchantments.

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(Photo One: Prusik Peak with Golden Larches
Photo Two: Me with Prusik Peak in background
Photo Three: Austin with Prusik Peak in background
Photo Four: One of the Lakes of the Core Enchantments – I’ll update this properly)

We hiked up a vaguely defined trail to the top of a large sloping rock/mountain that falls to the lake below.  At this point you are right in the center of it all.  Here, peaks engulfed me in every direction, Prusik Peak sat right behind me with climbers in a saddle near the summit, waterfalls and streams spit water into the lakes below, and the yellow larches speckled the intermittently snow covered slopes of the surrounding mountains and edges of the lake beds.  I am 100% positive that this was NOT the actual trail that we were on, as I did not see any cairns, but it is a spectacular way to descend and alone made the hike worth every step.  This is also where my left knee and feet started bothering me.

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Once at the bottom, another banana was consumed and we prepared for the hour or so descent from the last lake in the Enchantments, I believe it is called Lake Viviane (DISCLOSURE:  I thought it was Vivian, but Google was happy to correct my inaccurate assumption) to the Snow Lakes far below.

I despise this part of the hike, it is grueling on the body and will make the strongest hikers knees, hips and feet hate them.  It took about an hour or so to get down to Snow Lakes and we lost the path at one point and had to scramble down a sketchy cliff face without ropes or proper gear.  In hindsight, it would have been smart to put the microspikes back on the boots and break out the rope Austin had rolled up in his bag.  There’s always next time.

We got down to Snow Lakes and continued our hike around to the end of it, which is about a mile, where we stopped for our last refuel.  The snow started falling on us here and it got quite cold.  We were relieved to be down from the top as we watched what looked to be a storm rolling in, but were very aware of the miles still ahead of us.  It was about 3:15 PM.  We decided that once we got past Nada Lake, the last lake (or first depending which trailhead you enter from), that we would run for a bit.  Once we got there, we put our poles away and started running… We didn’t stop except for the occasional breath to take pictures and video of the crazy colored fall foliage.  At 5:20 PM we reached Snow Lakes Trailhead, completely stoked at the time we had made.

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Today, according to the weather, the snow moves in and I do not anticipate the conditions to be as easy as they were yesterday again until next year.  A full video edit is underway and coming soon.

Rock on peeps!  Thanks for reading ✊ 🤙

~Dane

According to the Forest Service: 

The Whole Core Enchantment Loop, Stuart Lake Trailhead to Snow Lake Trailhead: approximately 19 miles / 6000 foot gain and 7800 foot loss

a Kick Ass Weekend; This Coming Week

This weekend was pretty productive and well-rounded.  Friday night I spent the evening with my lovely girlfriendi at the movies.  Blade Runner 2049 was incredibly well done and kept me locked in through the entire movie.  I don’t say this about many movies, but I will definitely have to re-watch that one.  After getting home, I wrote in my journal until about 2 AM; I was pretty wired from having a coffee later than usual and wanted to get some thoughts onto paper.  I think I will publish what I wrote on here later this week.  I was letting the pen just run and found myself  touching on some ideas that came to me about humanity and the environment while I was watching Blade Runner.  Maybe I’ll add a little more to it first.

I started off Saturday with some writing followed by a solid upper-back workout at Gold’s Gym.  Soooo many pullups!  My overall strength seems to be climbing and I’m starting to up the intensity of my workouts.  I then followed some advice from Dr. Rhonda Patrick (if you don’t know her, Google her and check out www.FoundMyFitness.com) and made sure to sit in the sauna for 15 minutes afterwards.  I try to do this after every workout, barring the ones when I run to the gym because that seems really out of order and too damn sweaty.

I got cleaned up after I got home, did some chores and headed to my friend’s, Erik and Story’s, apartment where I spent the night having some awesome conversation while watching both WSU and UW smash their opponents on the football field.  Honestly, I’m not that into sports anymore so I was only half watching, but I had a blast yukking it up with my dude and dudette.  It was really fun to see them since I don’t get to very often.  Erik received a huge promotion at work and is now the Executive Vice President of his company.  I’m super proud of what he’s accomplished.  He also had some solid advice for this blog and my quest this year that I am pretty positive I will be implementing.  I’m going to think more about this and elaborate later as I make some further changes.

Today my friend Lauren and I went for a 15+ mile bike ride out to Woodinville, WA (from Redmond, WA) and back.  It was a pretty great ride except for the parade of children who were participating in a biking event and nearly got themselves killed multiple times by randomly coming into oncoming traffic.  Oncoming traffic being me on a bike.  I don’t know the math but I think 5 year old kid on bike meeting a 200 pound man on a bike going 30 miles per hour equals SPLAT.  It was less than ideal, but, to find the silver lining, it made the ride harder going from full speed to a near stop and back to full speed every quarter mile or so.  My quads will thank those lil’ rascals later…

Next week I have some things I need to get done in all of the five areas of my quest.  To help overcome areas where I am falling short, I have set five easy goals to help me get there:

1.) Time block 5 hours at least once this week for doing some sort of creative project or brainstorming session.  I did get some brainstorming done through journaling and conversation this weekend, and writing and doing this blog gets some points in that column, but actually getting into a 100% flow state is something I need to achieve and aim for.  Also, something I need to time block for as it’s not as easy to just get wrapped up in hours alone these days.  I think Friday afternoon could be a good time for this.  Monday evenings also, since it could set a creative mind state for the week.  Thought: Experiment with this.  I’ll start with Friday this week as I have a lot on my plate and will move it to Monday next week.

2.) Take care of loose ends and issues that I’ve been procrastinating on because they give me anxiety.  Face those fears and check the items off the list.  Taking care of some personal issues will definitely help with my overall mental health.

3.) Meditate daily, no exceptions.

4.) Yoga AT LEAST once per week.  This is the missing link in my physical health routine so far.  Diet could improve as well, but I’m doing moderately well there.

5.) Study.

Two more items I need to get to this week are rearranging the five key areas of my quest and giving this blog some structure.  The five key areas were well intentioned but they’re just not quite right to me yet and need to be further adjusted.  This journal style blogging is also not exactly what I want to do here, or maybe it is and I just haven’t quite found the right voice yet.  Either way, I am going to spend some time thinking about what I want to write as I go forward.

One thing I am looking very forward to this week is day hiking the Enchantments.  I did this last year and it may have been one of the hardest things I have physically done in my life.  With the craggy peaks and the neon yellow larches… It’s seriously like walking through the Lord of the Rings.

I would like to write more but I got tied up making dinner for the lady tonight and almost put this off entirely.  I’m getting quite tired now and want to get up early tomorrow to get a start on the week.  Goodnight world, I’ll catch ya soon enough.

🤙 ,

~Dane