Sunday, December 25, 2016

Video: Hiking Cascade Head, Nature Conservancy Trail

Here's a video of me and Ben hiking the Cascade Head, Nature Conservancy Trail. Very foggy in the morning, but it cleared up when we started heading down the path.

To read more about this video, check the accompanying blog post here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-cascade-head.html


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Video: Battle Rock Park State Park

Here's a video of me and Ben briefly visiting Battle Rock.

To read more about this video, check the accompanying blog post here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-vista-pub-and.html


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Video: Hiking Jedediah State Park

Here's a video of me and Ben exploring Jedediah State Park.

To read more about this video, check the accompanying blog post here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-jedediah-redwood.html


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Video: First Time Riding ATV

Here's a video of me and Ben riding ATVs for the first time.

To read more about this video, check the accompanying blog post here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-dune-city-and-atvs.html


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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hiking Siphon Draw to Flatiron Summit, Superstition Mountains, Arizona


Trail Description

Length:  6 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation:  2,080 ft.
End Elevation: ~ 5,000 ft.
Difficulty Assessment: Moderate
Trail Type: Out and Back

The Hike

Siphon Draw to Flatiron summit hike is a popular hike in the Superstition Wilderness that is both challenging and rewarding. As a comparable, if you are capable of hiking Camelback without difficulty, then Flatiron should be within your abilities as well.

The trail begins at the Lost Dutchman's State Park where you'll have to pay an entrance fee of around $7. From the entrance, I suggest parking at the very last lot where the Siphon Draw trail begins.


From the parking lot to the basin, it's about 2 miles. After an additional mile, you'll reach the top of Flatiron. To the basin, the trail passes through some campgrounds and is clear to follow. Only after the basin can it get a bit confusing. From the parking lot to the basin, it's about a 1000 ft elevation gain.






After the basin, you can decide whether to head towards the first summit which is an additional half hour of hiking or continue on towards flatiron. If at that point you're still physically fine and are not struggling at all, continue on to flatiron summit.

Between the the basin and flatiron summit, the path seems to increase in steepiness and at some points, requires some amount of scrambling. The elevation gain from the basin to flatiron is an additional 2000 ft.



If you find yourself scrambling of loose rocks like in the picture above, it means you took the wrong turn. After the basin, you should begin to see man-made markings on rocks to help guide you. Look for white circles on rocks (the colors may change).


But once you're at the top, the views are worth it, and is a great place to enjoy a lunch.





Trail Resources

For more information on the hike, check out these sites:

1) http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arizona/siphon-draw-trail
2) http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arizona/flatiron
3) https://www.theoutbound.com/arizona/hiking/hike-siphon-draw-to-flatiron-summit
4) http://www.summitpost.org/flatiron/151062
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My Climbing Roots


These days, it would be an understatement to say that I like climbing.

No, I don't like climbing; I absolutely love it. Most of my free time is consumed by climbing and my thoughts throughout the day often return to projects in the gym I've yet to send.

It's a funny development because years ago, my friends tried numerous times to get me into the sport and each time I left unimpressed.

I remember my first time was during college at the University of California, San Diego at a small indoor rock wall hidden in a corner of the campus. This was back in 2007-2009 (I can't be exactly sure). I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, I was bored. I didn't go back.

Flash forward to my return to the Bay Are from Phoenix, AZ in 2013. My friends guest-passed me in to the local climbing gym, Planet Granite, in Sunnyvale. Once again, I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, I didn't go back.

At that point, it seemed I was done with climbing. I'd given it a shot and it didn't stick.

Then came 2015.

In 2015, my coworkers at Genentech invited me on a trip to Bishop, CA for some rock climbing. It wasn't the climbing that attracted me, it was the combination of getting to know my friends better and camping that sold me on the idea.

For those of you who don't know, Bishop is considered a mecca for bouldering. There are other types of climbs there as well, but Bishop is typically referenced as an incredible place to go for bouldering. For one reason, the catalog of problems available there is amazing. For another, the size of area is large enough to accommodate many, many groups.

So there I was at the Happys, waiting on a rock as my friends got ready (putting on shoes, putting on tape), when I noticed an attitude shift. Not from them, but from myself. Something was different. The moment I touched the rock, I knew something was different. There was now a curiosity in me that didn't exist before. Curiosity in the holds and curiosity in the techniques required to send a problem. From that day forward, I was smitten by the sport, and the speed at which I embraced the sport was embarrassing.

The week after I returned from Bishop, within a day or two, I immediately signed on with a climbing gym, bought a harness, chalk bag, and shoes. Before I knew it, my routine became 2 hours at the gym, bouldering 3-4 times a week.

Since then, I've never looked back.

I started climbing in 2015, and I was 27.
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Video: Clam Beach and Fern Canyon

Slowly taking my sweet time putting these videos together. I took a lot of short clips on my trip and part of the learning process while making these videos is identifying what I think might be interesting for people to see and what's excess.



To read more about this video, check the accompanying blog post here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-trees-of-mystery.html
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Hiking Butcher Jones Trail, Tonto National Park, Arizona

On Tuesday, Simone took me and Mandy on a wonderful hike around Saguaro Lake. To enter the park, there is a $6 fee.  The address to the park is: Butcher Jones Trail, Fort McDowell, AZ 85264.

There are two ways to do the trail and both ways follow the same route. One route is a 2.5 mile (5 mile round trip) hike from the parking lot to Peregrine Point. If you choose to continue beyond Peregrine Point, the hike increases to a 4.5 mile (9 mile round trip) hike.



From the parking lot, the trail begins east of Butcher Jones Beach and follows the lake. Along the way, as you hike alongside the Salt River, you should pass by Peregrine Cove, Camper Cove and Burro Cove.





There are several side trails that lead to the shoreline in case you want to fish. We saw a lot of people on boats fishing that morning.





The return to Butcher Jones Recreation Site is along the same route.

For more information on the hike:

1) http://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/arizona/butcher-jones-trail
2) http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tonto/null/recarea/?recid=35461&actid=50
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trail Running at Cave Creek Regional Park, Arizona

Last Sunday, I found myself at Cave Creek Regional Park running trails in the hills. I didn't know what to expect but I wanted to get back into shape after weeks of projects and studying, and running seemed like a good start.

I assumed the group would run somewhere between 3-4 miles, but we ended up doing 6.72 miles of mostly incline instead. To be fair, I had the option of doing easier routes. However, I wanted to challenge myself and see where my fitness level was in terms of running.

I used to run a lot. I ran for cross country. I played a lot of soccer and basketball. I even dabbled in track briefly. But then I got burnt out and my knees started really acting up during college. So I stopped.




From the parking lot, we started on the Slate Trail. Then we connected to the Quartz Trail, heading north. Finally, we jumped onto the Go John Trail and ran counter clockwise all the way back to the lot. Our trail run looked something like this:


At the end of the day, although the trail was incredibly tough, it was very fun. There was a lot of variety to the trail that I appreciated and the views were nice. The sights weren't breathtaking or anything, but they weren't boring either.

Will I run this trail again? I don't think so. My knees just can't handle it. Near the end, there's about half a mile of decline that destroyed my knees.

For healthier individuals, I highly recommend this trail.

Here are some additional stats from Auden's fitness tracker:




For more information about the park, go here: http://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/cave-creek-regional-park/
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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Video: Hiking Founder's Grove

Video of my visit to Founder's Grove.

The video doesn't really capture the beauty of the place. Some of fault lies in my ability to take useful videos and some of the fault lies in my ability to edit. I think I'm under utilizing Adobe Premier Element's capabilities.


For HQ pictures and a detailed account of my visit, check the following blog posts: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-founders-grove.html


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Video: Hiking Alamere Falls, California

School has taken a lot of my time so finding the time to put together the videos I took on my roadtrip has been difficult. That said, here is a short clip of the first day of my road trip and my visit to Alamere Falls.



The accompany blog post can be found here: http://hikerrific.blogspot.com/2016/07/west-coast-roadtrip-alamere-falls.html
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Variable and Absorption Costing

This week in Managerial Accounting, I learned about Variable and Absorption costing.

Variable costing is when you only take into account the manufacturing costs that vary with output. This includes direct materials, direct labor, and the variable portions of manufacturing overhead. Under this method, fixed manufacturing overhead is not treated as a product cost but rather is incurred the period that a product is produced.

Absorption costing is when you treat all manufacturing costs as product costs, regardless of whether they are variable or fixed. This includes direct materials, direct labor, and both the variable and fixed portions of manufacturing overhead. Because absorption costs includes all manufacturing costs in product costs, it is frequently referred to as the full cost method. Sometimes, the net income under absorption costing can be higher than that calculated by variable because the product costs is capitalized in the inventory until sold.

An example of setting up an income statement for the two cost methods:







From what I can gather, both methods have their benefits and drawbacks.

The advantage of absorption costing is that: 
  • It hides details when you need to report to external investors.
  • It takes into account indirect costs. 
  • And some argue that it paints a more accurate picture of a company's economic health. 
The disadvantage of absorption costs is that: 
  • Because it bundles fixed and variable costs into the same product, it can be difficult to truly discern what is a product "cost." 
  • You can also hide costs in the inventory to make net income larger.
  • If fixed overhead costs vastly exceed variable costs, it can be hard to see the effects of production decisions.
The advantage of variable costing is that:
  • Fixed cost effect is transparent on the income statement.
  • Takes into account total cost of investments. When you finally sell your products, you may experience surplus net income.
  • Enables cost volume profit analysis.
  • Clear income statement
  • Correctly identifies variable cost effects
The disadvantage of variable costing is that:
  • Difficulty separating fixed and variable costs
  • Loads costs heavily early on. Even if you don’t sell all the products you make, you must deduct the full cost of fixed overhead.
  • Not GAAP.
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Climbing in Lower Devil's Canyon, Glitterbox Area, Superior, AZ

This past weekend, I found myself back in Superior, AZ for some climbing.


On Friday, I arrived at Oak Flats Campground around 8-9pm after rushing to finish as much as I could for school. The drive from Tempe, AZ to the campsite was surprisingly fast. The last time I drove to Superior, I had the impression that the drive took 2 hours. Knowing now that it only takes an hour or less, it definitely changes how I feel about climbing in Surprise.

The campsite was standard and developed fire pits were available. Ample space to set up tents. Beautiful view of the stars. For more information about the campgrounds, consult the following:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recreation/recarea/?recid=41746&actid=29

In the morning, we cleaned up what we could at our site and then began preparing for the day ahead of us.



To get to the approach, you need a vehicle capable of 4-wheel drive because of all the loose rocks on the road and how steep some of the roads get. If necessary, people can drive from the campsite closer to the crag and then leave their cars at the turnout if they plan to leave earlier. But from the turnout to the parking lot for Lower Devil's Canyon, it's still a bit of a drive, making it inconvenient for the person who will have to shuttle people back to their cars. However, the turnout is indeed a closer alternative than driving all the way back to the campsite if necessary.



On the way there, one of the trucks unfortunately suffered a blow out during an attempt up a steep hill. The tire was replaces, the truck was parked, and we all packed into the other vehicle. Given the space constraint, we got real creative with how to fit 9 people into one car.

The trail to Lower Devil's Canyon, specifically the Glitterbox Area, is straightforward. Simply follow the path leading up and towards the canyon. A sign that you're going the right way is when you pass through the barb wire fence.


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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Revisiting Mormon Trail to Hidden Valley Loop in South Mountain, Arizona

Saturday night I felt compelled to go hiking. Partly because I have a big hike in two weeks and I haven't broken in my new hiking shoes yet, and partly because I was feeling restless. So Sunday morning, I drove out to South Mountain and hiked the Mormon Trail to Hidden Valley Loop in South Mountain.

To get to the hike trailhead, get on the 10E and get off at Baseline Rd. Driving south from the north, you make a right off the Baseline exit and continue down the road until you see 24th street. Drive all the way to the end until you are forced left where you'll see the parking lot on your right. If the lot is full, look for legal street parking.

Map:




A rather easy hike, I started on the Mormon trail until I hit the Hidden Valley Loop. Since its a loop, you can go either clockwise or counterclockwise. There really isn't much of a difference but I prefer counterclockwise. It just seems more interesting to me.


In total I suspect the trail is about 2-3 miles, somewhere near the lower end of that range. The beginning will be tough for some people as it is all incline, but the trail quickly tops out and the remainder of the hike is a nice, casual, meander through the valley.

The Mormon trail to Hidden Valley is a great beginner hike because it is slightly challenging in the beginning, easy near the middle and especially near the end, and offers a unique hiking experience.


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Saturday, October 15, 2016

2016 38th Annual NBMBAA Conference in New Orleans, LA

This past week, I went to the 38th annual NBMBAA Conference in New Orleans, LA. More information here: http://www.nbmbaaconference.org/


It was my first time at a conference and the experience was pretty cool. Just the sheer size and number of companies present at the NBMBAA conference alone left a very positive impression on me. Some of the things that I enjoyed about the event were walking through all the different booths and mustering the courage to talk company representatives.





Overall, I feel as though the event is probably best for people with a lot of experience or relevant experience. In comparison to on-campus recruiting, the convention seemed like a less effective source of internship opportunities for career-changers. There are just too many people at the event with great personalities, creative backgrounds, and relevant experience vying for those 1-2 positions.

But although I wasn't able to convert most of my booth visits into an interview, I personally still felt as though the experience was worth the price I paid to fly to Louisiana. And this is where future first-year MBA students who are also career changers will have to make their choice. If money is an issue, then going to this conference may be a 50/50 decision. I didn't see a lot of career changers (like art to finance type career changes, not engineering to supply chain type career changes) get interview opportunities. If money isn't an issue, then definitely go. There are other things you can get out of the event in addition to interviews. At the end of the day, for me, at the very least, I was able to practice and refine my 30-second pitch, I was able to work on my ability to adapt to different booth dynamics (some booths wanted you to get to the point, some booths wanted to talk), and I was able to walk away from the event more knowledgeable on what to expect and what to bring next year.



Looking back at how I prepared for the conference, I definitely over-prepared and focused my time on the wrong things. I spent the days leading up to the conference studying leadership questions and making detailed company profile word documents when I should have been working harder on my 30-second pitch and how to market myself within a short time frame. On the convention floor, I quickly discovered first-hand that there wasn't going to be enough time for each applicant to gush over how much they knew about the company.

So, a lot of discoveries and developments over the past week.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Climbing at The Pond, Queen Creek Canyon, Arizona

After weeks, if not an entire month, of climbing neglect, I finally found myself outside climbing again. Unsure of what laid in store for me, I took the opportunity that presented itself to me and jumped in with my gear. The plan was to do some sport routes which to be honest, made me a bit nervous. I was nervous because at heart I'm mainly a boulder guy. Only on occasion do I rope climb, and even then, mostly on top-rope. I can lead and do some amount of trad climbing, but I don't do it often.

Originally, the plan was to climb at Atlantis which was located in Queen Creek Canyon. But upon arrival, we found the lot packed with cars and people already on the walls. So we drove further down the road and settled on The Pond instead.

For information on The Pond, check Mountain Project (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/the-pond/105788092)


The approach is a fun shimmy up rocks and an artificial ladder of sorts which you get to after pulling yourself up using a sling. After that, about 10 minutes of additional hiking to the crag.


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Monday, September 05, 2016

Video: Hiking Half Dome, Yosemite, California

This is a really late post, because school has been taking up so much of my time, but here is a video of my trip to Yosemite for the classic Half Dome hike.

The accompanying blog post is located here: Yosemite Hike

Enjoy!


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Friday, August 26, 2016

Concentration Career Conference

On Friday, we had our Concentration Career Conference. The Concentration Career Conference is a workshop that allows MBA students to listen and to ask individuals, typically in a managerial or executive capacity, questions about the field. Each room hosted about 20-30 students and panels were at minimum 3 guests. Of the choices available, I participated in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Business Analytics (BA) panel. The SCM panel included managers from Amazon, Henkel, and Intel Corp while the BA panel hosted guests from Intel, Honeywell Aerospace, and GM.

Overall, I thought the event was quite informative. On one end of the spectrum, I walked away from SCM more optimistic about the concentration than I did walking in. On the other end, I left BA more confused than I was entering the room.

With SCM, my positive impression was the result of everything going well. We had a professional in charge of Supply Chain, Customer Service, and Logistics, we had a guest from Global Strategy and Analytics, and lastly we had a manager from Amazon who was in operations. Not only was their outlook on job demand optimistic but there seemed to be ample vertical movement up the corporate ladder as well as ample horizontal opportunities between functionalities. Most importantly, work-life balance didn't seem to be an issue. So lots of insight that was picked up at the panel.

With BA, all I got out of it was: gain and master as many technical skills as you can.

On the whole, yes, that makes sense. If you're applying for an analytics role, technical skills are going to be paramount, especially the ones that the role is using day-to-day.

But context matters.

Do companies expect the same set of skills from BS/MS data analytic applicants as MBA data analytic applicants?

My gut says no. I imagine the technical requirements for the two are vastly different.

But that's not the message that we heard from our panel. And so now you have to wonder, is this the inconvenient truth of a MBA concentration in business analytics for people attempting a career change? Is there a heavy expectation for you to know and master technical languages and tools? Or was this simply a matter of right message, wrong crowd?

Looking at their profiles in the pamphlet, their message, and their introductions, I'm tempted to believe the latter. I just feel the message didn't intuitively connect with me and some of my peers. But who knows, there's a reason why these successful individuals were invited to speak. Sometimes it's not about what you want to hear but about what you need to hear.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great Wide Open directed by Jared Leto


Over the past weekend, I discovered that Jared Leto released a 5-part series on various National Parks in America. All between 10-15 min, each episode explores a different modern figure in Park history with Leto both narrating and engaging in each episode. The whole series is wonderfully shot and the message in each chapter really spoke to my love for the outdoors. I highly recommend this series to lovers of the wild.

Youtoube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs5NGPin8pTu8imTFo8yQbg

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hiking Half Dome via the Mist Trail at Yosemite National Park, California.

In July, I returned to Yosemite to hike the classic Mist Trail all the way up to the top of Half Dome.


Official Site: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm
Hiking information: http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/half-dome/half-dome.htm
Hiking information 2: http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/half-dome/half-dome-trail-map.htm

As the iconic feature of Yosemite valley, Half Dome is the most popular destination for visitors to the park. At 8,800 feet above sea level however, reaching the top is no small task, with people dieing every year attempting the hike.

Permits




In order to hike Half Dome, you need a permit. To get a permit, use the official park site (https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm) and sign yourself up for the lottery system. Most permits are awarded through lottery near the end of March with additional lotteries later on during the summer. Have everyone in your party and possibly even some friends who aren't going sign up for you to maximize your chances. We had six people in our party go and only one of us won a permit.

If you can't get a permit, a last resort option would be to hike to the base of Half Dome and attempt to join someone on their permit. Permits accommodate at most 6 people (I think) so smaller groups can bring up others if they feel generous.

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