Phuket

Day 7 rolls into Day 8 as we are now stranded at the Kunming airport. The agent at the check-in counter had told us that our flight no longer exists and that we are to check with the international supervisor. Then, we are told that we had been rolled over…

Reception in China

The flight from LA to Shanghai is uneventful, but this would not be the case for our travels through China. Before the flight, we had downloaded the jetlag conversion app, Entrain. After plugging in the parameters, the app puts out a schedule of when to start light and dark exposure.…

Yosemite and LA

This first day of being married begins after catching up on much-needed rest. The wedding ceremony yesterday and the reception last night went exceptionally well, and just about everything went as planned. This morning is beautiful. We stand on the balcony to take in the crisp morning air. After a…

Wedding Day

Of all the previous hectic days leading up to this big day, none can compare in terms of hecticness. After getting engaged, the initial rush was to get the invitations out. That, we thought, would be the biggest milestone to check off. Little did we know that that was only…

Sailing to Anacapa

It’s exactly four weeks until the wedding, and my best man brother Andy put together an amazing guys’ sailing trip. Everything had started with a text message from Andy about doing a bachelor party. Coincidentally, on one of my surgery days, the anesthesiologist Brent suggested that we go on a…

The Proposal

This most beautiful Valentine’s Day starts out with all the makings of a perfect day, and as it turns out, the day could not have unfolded in a more perfect way. It’s a bright and warm Sabbath morning. After church, Danny says to Yan, “Just stay in the same outfit…

Tiramisu in Shot Glasses

Assembling this dessert in shot glasses is similar to making tiramisu in a pan. The only problem was that all the stores were out of ladyfingers. Apparently, those ladyfingers are seasonal. This time, instead of using store-bought ladyfingers, I made them into disks instead of fingers: separate the yolks from the…

Cooking on Boxing Day

This holiday season came with a lot of cooking. Tonight’s menu: Red pepper, root vegetables, and smoked gouda soup with oregano Grilled portabello mushrooms, marinated in red wine, olive oil, and rosemary Roasted beets, Brussel sprouts, and shallots Quinoa with pine nuts, onions, and garlic

Christmas Lunch

Christmastime is here! Although we haven’t really had a holiday tradition, the closest we’ve come to having some sort of tradition is in the kitchen. On this year’s menu: Satsuma mandarin salad Vanilla avocado and kale smoothie with brown sugar Cranberry almond spinach salad with honey mustard vinaigrette Puttanesca pappardelle…

Pumpkin Ravioli

Here’s an experiment in cooking for Thanksgiving potluck. Find some scrap wood. Carve out indentations for the ravioli mold. Make dough with 00 semolina flour and eggs. Cut pumpkin from the garden patch and cook. Mash pumpkin, and mix in Parmesan cheese. Roll out dough into sheets. Lay pasta sheet…

Joshua Tree

It’s been many years since my last climbing trip. I was a college student then. Now, my residents think that I can still do this, and Lucas set me up with gear. My main reason to go out to Joshua Tree was to get some Milky Way shots. But at…

Gazebo Seat Project

This second of three projects for the year (the first being the cabinet) was dragged out over too many months, but I’m so happy that the gazebo seats overlooking the pond are finally done: the designing, joining, sawing, assembling, painting, and cleaning. The lumber was a combination of maple for…

Family Vacation: Jackson

Having left Yellowstone National Park, we reenter the Grand Tetons from the north, passing by Jackson Lake before reaching Teton Point Turnout for sunset. Far to the east, storm clouds build; there is a faint rainbow amidst the rain spouts. I think there are more angry clouds beyond the western ridges, since the sunset colors are not what I had hoped for.

Family Vacation: Yellowstone

Approaching through the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park, we first visit vast and expansive Yellowstone Lake. Mud Volcano basin is interesting, and Andy is drawn to Dragon’s Mouth Spring, which spews a sulfurous breath to all who approach.

Family Vacation: Grand Tetons

After Boston, I fly directly to Jackson Hole. The plane circles in from the north and tucks in under the blanket of clouds. Below, the valley is beautiful, dotted with golden cottonwoods and aspens in a two-colored mosaic. Upon landing and after getting the car, I rush to the Snake River Overlook for a sunset shot. The color had vanished from the sky, but the valley floor still resonates with the feel of autumn.

Mount Washington

This has been a phenomenal hiking season. Starting with summiting one of the most prominent mountains of Southern California—Mt. San Jacinto, the peakbagging list includes Mauna Kea, Mount Whitney, and now Mount Washington. I’ve read about Washington many times. Visiting Boston for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand…

High Sierra Trail: Day 8

Hikers bidding for the summit trudge by our campsite. Even though it’s barely light outside, I see their headlamps and hear their voices. Then, I hear Mickey. He and Wayne are off early as well. They are going to hike down to Whitney Portal first, where they will unload and clean up, thus avoiding the second morning of wag bag use. Mark is also out of the tent. He’s gone for quite some time. I get myself out of the sleeping bag and do some preliminary packing.

High Sierra Trail: Day 7

The alpenglow foreshadows the glorious day this will be. Hovering above the Great Western Divide, just before sunrise, the band of orange sky washes the entire landscape in a warm hue, in absolute contrast to the nippy cold air. The color of the meadow’s grass looks a bit strange. Of my group, I’m the first to get up. Soon, the rest are up as well, and we have a quick breakfast. I lean on the backrest rock that Mark picked out—he has an obsession about finding good backrests—and have the usual morning French press coffee while watching the sky turn from orange to blue.

High Sierra Trail: Day 6

Like the other mornings, the routine is pretty much the same—hot breakfast, clean up, pack, and head out. We quickly gain elevation on this climb out of the Upper Kern Canyon. Before long, we are looking back down the canyon that is open to the clear blue sky. Then, we join Wallace Creek and hike alongside it. Along the trail, Wayne and I share stories of the meaning of the Sabbath and of relationship. Mark hikes ahead and loses the group. Near the campsite where Mark originally wanted to stay, just before the flat section, we step around a huge pile of bear droppings, bright red from the meal of ripe berries.

High Sierra Trail: Day 5

We’ve been looking forward to this mid-trip breakfast. Even though the powdered eggs turn rubbery when overcooked, the vegetarian bacon bits add enough flavor to the dish of scrambled eggs and hash browns. The little packets of ketchup make all the difference. Along with two rounds of French press coffee, this turns out to be our favorite breakfast.

High Sierra Trail: Day 4

I’m the first one up on this short rest day. The sky is clear, and I emerge from my tent in time to catch the first light on the distant mountains, painting the tops a fiery orange. Moraine Lake is a perfect mirror. I step onto the lakeshore to take pictures, tiptoeing between bear tracks that Mark pointed out to me the day before. Again, we have French press coffee.

High Sierra Trail: Day 3

It’s a lazy morning. We’ve had a tough second day, and to reward ourselves, we decide to not rush it. Mickey had slept under the stars, and that must have been beautiful. Wayne, seated on a smooth boulder, reads his devotional. I take pictures of the stark above-treeline views. Mark pulls out his fishing rod, attaches lures, and heads to the lakeshore. In his first cast, he gets a bite.

High Sierra Trail: Day 2

This would be our hardest day, stumbling into camp around sunset, completely exhausted. But, the start of the day is great. We set off early, climbing through thick forest along the gentle trail covered with soft forest litter. Soon, we arrive at Bearpaw Meadow. The luxury of staying there for $350 per night doesn’t seem worth the price. Mark gets water while Wayne and Mickey check out the restaurant. The chef is willing to make us pancakes. From the restaurant porch, we catch a glimpse of Kaweah Gap. We will be hiking over this pass, gaining 5,000 feet over 3 short miles. From here, it looks towering and daunting.

High Sierra Trail: Day 1

We’re off! Setting out from Crescent Meadow, the trail climbs a gentle knoll through carpets of fern fronds shaded under giant sequoia stands. After about a mile, we emerge from the forest and hike along the open slopes, passing Eagle View Overlook. Across the valley, Cathedral Rocks provide a steady landmark throughout most of the day.

High Sierra Trail: Preparations

It’s all about the luxury items. The scale is actually quite ruthless, and ever since Brad convinced me to try using it before our trip to Rainier, I’ve been letting the scale make most decisions. The pack weighs 1191 g, the sleeping bag 1038 g; and the second shirt 156 g. In total, my pack’s base weight, sans food and water, is 29 lbs. That’s including my luxury items—all the camera stuff, with the body, lens, tripod, and other accessories, making up the extra 7.5 lbs. But the scale can’t really decide our luxury items. I can’t part with my camera. Mark, third year orthopaedic resident, packs fishing tackle and extra fuel to make warm water for baths. I convince him to leave behind his pillow and the ugly pink emesis basin, which he wanted to use for doing dishes and taking warm baths.