Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Hiking Devil's Bridge Trail, Sedona, AZ.



Trail Description

Length: 4-5 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 629 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Very Easy - Easy
Trail Type: Out and Back

Half an hour northwest from the quiet center of Sedona, Arizona, lies the iconic Devil's Bridge, the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. Because of how easy it is to get to and do the hike (0.8 mile one way), Devil's Bridge is normally crowded with visitors all throughout the week (think: Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley).



To get to Devil's Bridge trailhead, you have a few options:
  1. Park in the parking lot immediately off of Dry Creek Road and FR152 (Vultee Arch) and hike along the unpaved FR152 for an additional mile to Devil's Bridge trailhead (3-4 mile roundtrip hike).
  2. Park in the parking lot immediately off of Dry Creek Road and FR152 (Vultee Arch) and hike on the Chuckwagon trail to the Devil's Bridge trailhead (5-6 mile roundtrip).
  3. Drive past the Dry Creek Road parking lot and onto the unpaved portion of FR 152 directly to the Devil's Bridge trailhead (1.6 mile roundtrip). FR 152 is a very rough dirt road so if you do decide to drive directly to the trailhead, it's recommended that you have a high clearance vehicle.
  4. Or, continue driving past FR152 for a minute or two to the next street, Long Canyon Road, and park at the Mescal trailhead. The Mescal to Chuckwagon to Devil's Bridge is a 4-5 mile roundtrip hike.
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hiking Camelback Mountain, Paradise Valley, AZ


Caution: hiking Camelback Mountain during the summer is not a joke. Bring an abundance of water. Do not underestimate this hike.

Trail Description

Length: 2.6 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation:  -- ft.
End Elevation: -- ft.
Elevation Change: 1253 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Medium
Trail Type: Out and Back

Camelback Mountain is one of the most iconic hikes in Phoenix. Located in the city of Paradise Valley, Camelback's popularity seems to stem from its centralized location in the valley, its balance between difficulty and time required to complete the hike, and of course, the view.

All throughout the week, the trail can be seen teeming with hikers of all shapes, age, and sizes.

There are two ways to approach the hike: the Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. Which one is tougher seems to depend on who you ask. For this particular post, I will be talking about the Cholla Trail.

During the summer, the best time to hike is either in the early morning (6-8am at trailhead) or in the evening (after 5pm). But even then, you have to be careful. People underestimate how difficult Camelback is due to its trail length; but it's not the length you need to be wary about, it's the extreme heat, the lack of shade, and crowds that make this a difficult hike. Be diligent in your preparation and mindful of how much water to bring.

In the winter however, any time is fine. Remember to still bring water though. Cooler temperatures can trick you into thinking you're not as thirsty as you should be.

The Hike

To get to the Cholla Trail trailhead, you need to park on North Invergordon/N. 64th Rd (they are the same road, depending on which direction you are coming from).



Park anywhere between East Jackrabbit Rd and Camelback Rd. Pay attention to the signs.


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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Bouldering at South Mountain, AZ

A few weekends past, Liz took me and Brandon to South Mountain for some bouldering. To get there, park at Pima Canyon trailhead, Maricopa Trail, Phoenix, AZ. There is a developed lot with bathrooms and picnic area. Be mindful of the time as the park gate closes between  certain hours (typically near sunset).

To get to Pima Canyon Trailhead, park at the following address:



From the parking lot, get on the National Trail. Walk along the National Trail for a mile or so until you pass the old stone Ramada. At this point, walk off the path and follow the dried river bed for another half mile towards Pima Canyon (the coordinates where you should start looking for the dried river bed: 33.360756, -112.004855). It might be best to go with someone who has been there to find the river bed path. But here's a snapshot of where I got off from the Ramada.


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Why I Climb


I enjoy climbing for many reasons. And although I believe some of those reasons are subconscious, I'll try to the best of my ability to speak on the things that I can think of.

To sum it up, I love climbing because it speaks to my love for the outdoors, competition, and community.

Ever since I was young, it was a tradition of sorts for my family to go hiking on the weekends. At the time, I hated it. I hated waking up early for anything that wasn't cartoons and I especially didn't like spending my weekends hiking. Whether it was a cultural thing or simply something my parents enjoyed, it wasn't until years later that I organically took to being outdoors.

Climbing reinforces that love for the outdoors. Aside from the gym and metro locations, climbing typically takes place in the desert, forests, beaches, or mountains. Whether its sport leading, trad-climbing, top-roping, or bouldering, they all can take you off the beaten path to areas seldom explored. The journey to the start of the climb can vary. A climb can be as easy as parking and walking for 5-10 minutes, or it can involve scrambling, hiking, and even some "creative" exploring for an hour or more. It's this latter element of adventure that I enjoy.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Climbing at Echo Cliffs, Santa Monica Mountains, CA

On Friday, we all packed ourselves into one car and made our way towards the Santa Monica Mountains. Our destination: Echo Cliffs. To get to Echo Cliffs, you park at the Backbone Trailhead. The address is:

Backbone Trail
Malibu, CA 90265
Coordinates: 34.114173, -118.918171

Mountain Project Link: Echo Cliffs

Park at any of the two gravel parking lots and begin on the trail head. For about 2 miles, hike on the Backbone Trail until you can see Echo Cliffs. Then, you take the river shortcut down to the base of the cliffs. I can't really describe the river shortcut, and you may need someone whose been there to point it out, but you can try to get an idea from my pictures.



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Debt vs No Debt (AKA good MBA versus cheaper MBA)



During the decision process, some applicants will have to decide whether to go to a better ranked school with limited financial aid or go to a lower ranked school with a very attractive scholarship package.

So what is the right choice to make? The answer is: it depends.

If you're an incredibly ambitious finance person and the MBA is the natural next step in your career, then it's almost a no-brainer to go to the best ranked school you can get into. Especially if you're making around 100k or lower.

However, if you're a career changer, that's when things get complicated. There are simply too many variables that can determine your success or failure during your journey. Regardless, at minimum you need to fully explore both possibilities before pressing forward. Only when you have a pretty good objective idea of the pros and cons of either decision, can your choice be vindicated.

Some pros of going to a high ranking MBA program with little/no scholarship:

1. Connections will help you get an interview
2. Name brand will help you get an interview
3. Access to top education resources and career center
4. Alumni network will help you get an interview
5. If you get the job, you can leverage your education for a high or higher salary.
6. Recruiters

Some cons of going to a high ranking MBA program with little/no scholarship:

1. Debt. Perhaps around 100-140k debt.
2. No guarantee of getting high paying job.

Some pros of going to a lower ranking MBA program with full/large scholarship:

1. No debt.
2. Smaller class size, potentially higher quality education experience for you.

Some cons of going to a lower ranking MBA program with full/large scholarship:

1. No brand recognition, perhaps the brand will even hurt you when people see your resume.
2. Lack of connections and alumni network.
3. Limited access to educational resources like a good career center.
4. Lack of companies during recruitment

In essence, the main con of going to a high ranking MBA program with no scholarship is the danger of graduating with a lot of debt and no job or a low paying job. Debt is no joke and you absolutely need to devote time into deciding whether you're capable of dealing with it. At the end of the day, the people who advise you will not have to pay the banks back, you will, so think carefully. You may even end up taking a job you don't like in order to pay off your loans quickly. On the flip side, if you fully take advantage of the resources available to you at an amazing program and leverage it correctly, the experience can pay dividends almost instantly. So, high risk, high reward for career changers.

In my opinion, for career changers whose previous work experience is a complete 180 degree shift from their new MBA concentration, going to a great school guarantees you the interview, but it doesn't guarantee you the job. I worry that previous work experience will be an important final determining factor in the end.

Now, on the other hand, the main cons of going to a lower ranked MBA program is typically connections and name brand. Once you graduate, or even during recruiting, you may need to work a bit harder at getting your name out there to companies that interest you. Your campus may not attract that many companies, or it may, it depends. But there lies the beauty of a heavily subsidized education; worst case scenario is that you lost time and a little bit of money to this MBA endeavor. You could always fall back to your previous occupation. More attractively, you're free to explore what job interests you without the shadow of debt on your back (depending on the size of your scholarship that is).

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Ask people their opinions, try to get a good mix, not just people who echo what you want to hear. Gather everything you can find, and try and objectively identify the drawbacks and benefits of each decision as it pertains to you. Then make a decision. As long as you make an effort to really flesh out each possibility, I think whatever choice you make is correct. After all, this is your future not that of other people.
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Simple ROI Calculations on MBA


The return on investment (ROI) of getting an MBA is a calculation that roughly predicts how many years it will take to pay off getting a MBA.

ROI Calculation: ((2-year opportunity cost) + (Full program cost)) / ((Theoretical Post MBA Salary-Original Salary))**

**This equation is an extremely basic predictor that leaves out many important variables, such as additional costs of living, and aims to primarily gives you an idea of who should and who shouldn't pursue an MBA from a salary point of view.

Original Salary (USD)40,000.00
2-year opportunity cost (USD)80,000.00
Theoretical Post MBA Salary (USD)90,000.00110,000.00120,000.00140,000.00
Salary difference (USD)50,000.0070,000.0080,000.00100,000.00

Program Cost Annual (USD)Full Program Cost (USD)Full Opportunity cost (USD)ROI on 90,000 (years)ROI on 110,000 (years)ROI on 120,000 (years)ROI on 140,000 (years)
0.000.0080,000.001.601.141.000.80
40,000.0080,000.00160,000.003.202.292.001.60
50,000.00100,000.00180,000.003.602.572.251.80
70,000.00140,000.00220,000.004.403.142.752.20
Debt Payback on 90,000 (years)Debt Payback on 110,000 (years)Debt Payback on 120,000 (years)Debt Payback on 140,000 (years)
0.000.000.000.00
1.601.141.000.80
2.001.431.251.00
2.802.001.751.40


Original Salary (USD)50,000.00
2-year opportunity cost (USD)100,000.00
Theoretical Post MBA Salary (USD)90,000.00110,000.00120,000.00140,000.00
Salary difference (USD)40,000.0060,000.0070,000.0090,000.00

Program Cost Annual (USD)Full Program Cost (USD)Full Opportunity cost (USD)ROI on 90,000 (years)ROI on 110,000 (years)ROI on 120,000 (years)ROI on 140,000 (years)
0.000.00100,000.002.501.671.431.11
40,000.0080,000.00180,000.004.503.002.572.00
50,000.00100,000.00200,000.005.003.332.862.22
70,000.00140,000.00240,000.006.004.003.432.67
Debt Payback on 90,000 (years)Debt Payback on 110,000 (years)Debt Payback on 120,000 (years)Debt Payback on 140,000 (years)
0.000.000.000.00
2.001.331.140.89
2.501.671.431.11
3.502.332.001.56


Original Salary (USD)60,000.00
2-year opportunity cost (USD)120,000.00
Theoretical Post MBA Salary (USD)90,000.00110,000.00120,000.00140,000.00
Salary difference (USD)30,000.0050,000.0060,000.0080,000.00

Program Cost Annual (USD)Full Program Cost (USD)Full Opportunity cost (USD)ROI on 90,000 (years)ROI on 110,000 (years)ROI on 120,000 (years)ROI on 140,000 (years)
0.000.00120,000.004.002.402.001.50
40,000.0080,000.00200,000.006.674.003.332.50
50,000.00100,000.00220,000.007.334.403.672.75
70,000.00140,000.00260,000.008.675.204.333.25
Debt Payback on 90,000 (years)Debt Payback on 110,000 (years)Debt Payback on 120,000 (years)Debt Payback on 140,000 (years)
0.000.000.000.00
2.671.601.331.00
3.332.001.671.25
4.672.802.331.75


Original Salary (USD)70,000.00
2-year opportunity cost (USD)140,000.00
Theoretical Post MBA Salary (USD)90,000.00110,000.00120,000.00140,000.00
Salary difference (USD)20,000.0040,000.0050,000.0070,000.00

Program Cost Annual (USD)Full Program Cost (USD)Full Opportunity cost (USD)ROI on 90,000 (years)ROI on 110,000 (years)ROI on 120,000 (years)ROI on 140,000 (years)
0.000.00140,000.007.003.502.802.00
40,000.0080,000.00220,000.0011.005.504.403.14
50,000.00100,000.00240,000.0012.006.004.803.43
70,000.00140,000.00280,000.0014.007.005.604.00
Debt Payback on 90,000 (years)Debt Payback on 110,000 (years)Debt Payback on 120,000 (years)Debt Payback on 140,000 (years)
0.000.000.000.00
4.002.001.601.14
5.002.502.001.43
7.003.502.802.00

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So what do these tables mean? Lets look at the 70k table for example.

First, Original Salary is how much you are making now. 

Original Salary (USD)70,000.00

2-year opportunity cost is the cost of going to school for two years without pay (ignoring paid internships).  

2-year opportunity cost (USD)140,000.00

Theoretical Post MBA Salary is just a reasonable salary range that a freshly graduated MBA student might expect, depending on their profile and prior experience.

Theoretical Post MBA Salary (USD)90,000.00110,000.00120,000.00140,000.00

Salary difference is the difference between their post MBA salary and their original salary. 

Salary difference (USD)20,000.0040,000.0050,000.0070,000.00

Full opportunity costs is the sum of the cost of the entire program and the two years of lost salary. The cell values descend according to different program costs.

Full Opportunity cost (USD)
140,000.00
220,000.00
240,000.00
280,000.00

And the ROI portion of the table details how long it would take at various post-MBA salaries to pay back your education when you take into consideration the full opportunity costs.

ROI on 90,000 (years)ROI on 110,000 (years)ROI on 120,000 (years)ROI on 140,000 (years)
7.003.502.802.00
10.005.004.002.86
11.005.504.403.14
13.006.505.203.71

However, if you're mainly interested in how long it'll take to pay back the MBA and want to ignore opportunity costs, Debt Payback would be how long it would take for you to pay your loan back.

Debt Payback on 90,000 (years)Debt Payback on 110,000 (years)Debt Payback on 120,000 (years)Debt Payback on 140,000 (years)
0.000.000.000.00
4.002.001.601.14
5.002.502.001.43
7.003.502.802.00

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Take-aways from the chart.

It's hard to write down any defining, all-encompassing, rules to take away from this exercise because there are so many variables to consider beyond just how much you're making now and how much you might make later.

Just take a good look at yourself and be honest with your abilities. That's the first step to getting any value from these charts. For instance, if you're all around just an unspectacular, but not bad, average applicant, making 70k, and expect to make 90k coming out, it'll take you anywhere from 4-7 years to pay off your education. 7-13 years if you want to consider those two years of not working as money lost as well.

However, if you're making 40k only and can land a full scholarship cause you're amazing, it's essentially a no-brainer to pursue an MBA, especially if it adds value to your career. In almost every case you'll be making money instantly after your first year graduating.

Just remember that most applicants are around 28-29 when they enter and 30-31 when they leave. How old will you be when you finally pay off your loan?

As a reminder, the sheet doesn't take into account whether or not an MBA actually advances your career, whether or not it can actually benefit you, or even the type of job you will get coming out, it simply plays around with salary numbers. It doesn't fully embody the cost of living as well. 
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