Seattle and Olympics NP

In July I went to Seattle for a company Hackathon event, so I got to visit Seattle city for the first time, and went to Olympics National Park for a weekend trip.

Seattle city felt pretty small to me. When I took a Uber from Space Needle to Pike Place Market, the driver gave me a look and said “you know you can walk there, right?”. And these are pretty much the only 2 areas I visited in town. Pike Place Market is a tourist trap for sure, but it indeed has awesome seafood and fruits. I had some wonderful rainier cherries and king crab legs there for a quite reasonable price. Space Needle itself took a long wait so I didn’t go to the top, but we did enjoy a free rock concert on the lawn in front of Space Needle. And we visited Chihuly Glass Art Museum, an interesting and super photogenic place.

We went to Olympics NP on Sat morning, stayed in the gateway town Port Angeles for one night and returned on Sun morning, so it was basically a full-day trip. If I arranged it again I would definitely give it one or two more days, because Olympics NP is huge! It’s famous for its variety: you can see mountains, rain forests and beaches in this one park, however it takes a long drive from one place to the other. A nice itinerary is to do a large loop that will take at least 3 days. Unfortunately I only found this out after booking the trip.

We went to the mountain part first, Hurricane Ridge. It was a cloudy day. The higher it was, the more cloud there was. In most time we could barely see snow peaks faraway. But the fast-moving cloud mist has its own beauty.

We did a light hike to the Hurricane Hill. The highlight was mountain goats. About half way to the top we saw a mom goat with a baby goat. They were eating snow for water and weren’t afraid of people. The baby goat was super cute and always following its mom closely. Near the top we started to see more and more goat families, at a time I think there were a group of 10~12 goats in our view. Babies were playing and fighting with each other while moms were busy eating and doing a bit social.

Then we drove downhill because it started to rain on the mountain. It was still early afternoon so I drove all the way to the rain forest area. We hiked the Sol Duc Falls trail. It was a totally different view than the mountain area. Rain forests are super wet… although it wasn’t raining, there was water dropping everywhere and it almost felt like hiking in light rain. It was an easy hike and the falls were very pretty. We tried to take a different trail on our way back but found it was wrong and way longer than we thought so had to turn back… the only bonus for that detour was a “half bridge” which looks like being cut in half.

Overall I think Olympics NP was OK based on my experiences. It has a little bit of everything but none of them is that superior. Maybe the cloudy weather played a role in my experiences. I wouldn’t mind visiting it again if I visit that area again and have enough time for a longer trip.

Photos at https://goo.gl/photos/LjsQyB4pr69StSLW7

Yosemite, Jun 2016

仔细数了数这应该是我第六次去Yosemite(优胜美地)国家公园。多年前第一次去的时候是三个新手摸黑露营还有爬Upper Yosemite Fall Trail累到脱线;到后来跟队暴走两天爬上Half Dome还半夜遇熊;到现在有名的trail基本都走遍,也能带朋友去露营混充一下老手,也算是成长显著。

这次的行程兼顾了经典景点和一些我没去过的路线,徒步强度中等,驾驶时间略长最好有两个司机轮换。

Day 1

早上开车从湾区去Yosemite,在Menteca的Black Bear Diner吃了顿早午饭。实际到达公园的时候大约已经中午了。第一站是Bridalveil Fall,这个大瀑布从停车场走个一百米就能到,对于初到Yosemite的人来说是个不错的开胃菜。注意如果瀑布水大的话不要爬那些湿的岩石,会有些危险。。

然后我们直接上了Glacier Point Road,在接近Glacier Point的一个trailhead停下,走了Sentinel Dome/Taft Point Loop,这条trail全程5英里左右,由于起点很高所以不需要走太多路就能登上几个很高的观景点,性价比很高。从Sentinel Dome到Taft Point的那段是著名的Pohono Trail的一部分,要穿过树林,注意防蚊。。。我们去的时候蚊子超多,简直要被生吃掉的感觉。在Taft Point我们神奇的遇到了一个走钢丝的人,他是徒手走的,有保护绳。我眼看着他迎着夕阳走了一趟,那根钢丝看起来无比耀眼且越晃越剧烈,我一度以为他要摔下去了,但他大吼了几声之后居然还是稳定下来走过去了。

之后我们开上了Glacier Point看了一下日落时分的Yosemite峡谷,便开下去在Upper Pines营地宿营了。这段路比想象的长很多,日落是八点多一点,我们到达营地的时候已经是九点多点,天全黑了。好在访客中心的超市开到十点,我赶紧去买了啤酒,其他几个人搭起了帐篷然后生火做饭。烤了些鸡翅还不错,烤了块牛肉不怎么行,还烤了香肠玉米红薯之类的,可惜忘了买棉花糖。我觉得野营做饭的要义就是要搞一些比较容易烤熟也不用掌握火候的东西,以及要多搞一些,这样有些东西败了也还有的吃。。如果要认真做饭比如煮咖啡炒蛋煮面之类,还是带个气炉比较靠谱。

Day 2:

第二天早上起来先是磨磨蹭蹭的又一次生火做了饭,煮了方便面,把前一天晚上丢在灰堆里面的红薯拿出来剥一剥吃掉能吃的部分。然后出发去看Yosemite Fall。这次虽然有各种警告,我们还是走了一段非官方的路线爬到了一个离瀑布近一点的可以看到两段Yosemite瀑布的地方。这段短短的Lower Yosemite Fall trail几乎是每次来必去,到了瀑布下面很好看,但是照片是远一点拍起来好看。

之后走了Mist Trail去看Vernal和Nevada瀑布。这条路强度不大又有特色,似乎已经要变成Yosemite最平易近人的Featured Hike了。个人建议的路线是从Happy Isles出发,沿Mist Trail上到Vernal瀑布顶上,然后继续往前走一段可以看到Nevada瀑布的远景,再沿较缓的John Muir Trail下来。这样重复的部分比较少,John Muir Trail虽然没有Mist Trail那么有特色但也有不少很好的观景点。全程大约在5 mile左右。

Hiking完之后去入住Half Dome Lodge,吃了晚饭。等天黑下来之后开车去Glacier Point观星。虽然八点多天黑,上去之后就会发现天边的余光直到九点多都还很明显。差不多要到日落时间之后一小时才黑到能看到很多星星的程度。Glacier Point上晚上观星的人还挺多,三五成群的铺个毯子坐在地上或者直接坐在石头上,每组之间会有个一两米的距离。大家说话都很小声,跟白天游客熙熙攘攘的景象很不一样。星星很多,但并没有多到能看到银河的程度。往山下看能看到Yosemite Valley里面的灯光。山风很冷,很适合穿睡袋。

Day 3:

第三天去了我以前没有去过的White Wolf和Tuolumne Meadows一带。从Crane Flat转上Tioga Road之后路边很快就从峡谷转换成了高原景色,视野开阔,路边不时出现成片积雪。先走了一个比较简单的Lukens Lake Trail,走着走着就变成在雪中间找路了。还好路程不长,胡乱走了一会儿也找到了那个湖。

继续开车路过Tenaya Lake,高山湖景十分漂亮。我们在那儿吃了些东西权当午饭。路过的话推荐在这附近玩一玩,湖边有不少可以停留的地方。再开下去到达Lembert Dome,在这里走了一个小trail去看Soda Spring,一个带气泡的喷泉,路上有幸看到了几只肥肥的地鼠(gopher)趴在石头上晒太阳,倒也不怎么怕人,我们走到只有一两米的距离它们才会很不情愿的钻到石头下面的窝里去,人一走远就又会跑出来继续晒。这个区域的trail风景跟峡谷里很不一样,到处是积雪和小溪,远方是雪山,阳光强烈视野开阔,人也比峡谷里面少很多。去Yosemite有时间的话不妨也来玩一下,往返大约会多加个四小时的车程。

总的来说在我去过的十几个国家公园里,Yosemite是我的favorite无疑。

Finished Fire Emblem Fates

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Started with the Conquest (Black) version, casual mode, normal difficulty. Breezed through and enjoyed it a lot. I like this game much better than the last one (Awakening), which I didn’t finish. The battle system especially the paring system is much more enjoyable. And you are not required to fight those annoying grinding missions, you can stick to the story missions if you like. I really like the traditional SLG style that you work with limited missions and enemies and try to maximize and balance experiences you can gain. Grinding in a SLG game seems off the point to me. I’m glad Fates fixed this part.

After Conquest I played Birthright a little bit, classic mode, lunatic difficulty. Soon realized this basically becomes a chess game and needs lots and lots of retries to figure out a feasible solution. Sometimes it can be extremely challenging and requires lots of defensive maneuver. A mission that takes 5 turns in normal can easily take 30 turns in lunatic, and classic mode means no mid-battle save. After finishing 6 missions, I’m facing the dilemma of either continue to only play the story missions to torture myself, or grind… I chose to give up that game and let Wen play Birthright..

So I bought the DLC Revelation because it reveals the “true story” and finished it now at hard difficulty and casual mode. It was very enjoyable too. Note this is a DLC that recommends to be played after you play both sides of stories, or if you don’t want to play those anymore, because apparently the “true story” made the original stories from both sides sound silly. It’s the same length as either Birthright or Conquest. The difficulty is tuned to be similar. I still stick to story missions although there are grinding options. Level design turned out to be very satisfying.

Wen played Birthright in a very different way than me.. She did grinding missions hard and was more interested in the marriage and child system in the game. I felt she was playing a breeding game…

Recommend to anyone who wants a good Japanese SLG. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a good one.

一拳超人

似乎每年都会找一个少年漫画/动画来看一下。今年看的便是一拳超人了。短短12集讲述了一个主角一出场就天下无敌的故事,有点没头没尾,但只要战斗打得爽就好。值得一看。

上个月为了街霸5和黑暗之魂3入了PS4。卖家附赠了个Black Ops 3于是就顺便玩一下战役模式,结果烂的简直让人要吐,bug又多还毫无新意,我都没玩完就决定卖掉了。

黑魂3开了个头过了一个boss以后意识到这游戏不仅动作难还要背版,而现在这种一周五天三四天晚上有电话会议的状态让我觉得很难commit开始玩这么high demand的一个游戏,于是反而是玩街霸5多一点。

买了一个Mad Catz的摇杆感觉很不错,比当年在鼓楼买的那种100块钱的摇杆好用太多。SF5虽然没有Arcade模式但是可以training可以网战,我觉得还可以了。玩了这几天不禁有点怀念当年读研的时候周末一堆人背着摇杆来我宿舍聚会玩格斗游戏的日子。那会儿有的晚上屋里人多得都坐不下,就开着宿舍门把椅子摆到门口,小小一间屋子里三台电视在战各种格斗游戏。我当时的宿舍还正对着楼梯口,时常引得上楼的群众驻足围观。当年玩得最多的先是KOF 97后是GGXX。下个月GGX Revelation PS4版就要出了。。应该去骚扰一下当年一起玩的战友们。

西安

上次回国周末两天去了趟西安。到那儿的第一天大清早就得知了波波的消息使得整趟旅行都笼罩在悲伤的情绪里,回来之后便也不是很有兴致写游记一直拖到现在。

西安这个地方走在横平竖直的街道上往往会有恍惚在北京的感觉,一样的北方城市,一样的一环二环钟鼓楼。各种地方会看到长安、西京这些词儿,旧都气息颇浓。看陕西历史博物馆则是到了唐就戛然而止的感觉,不禁让人唏嘘。

这是我第一次去西安,两天时间也就简单去了几个游客景点。兵马俑算是值得一看,虽然体验方面人挤人又过度商业化,但东西还是挺厉害的。觉得有点惊讶的一点是兵马俑是五十年代才发现的,难怪在国外的知名度并没有长城故宫那么高。古城墙是亮点,从前包围城市的东西现在反倒被包围在了城市之中,被修缮得很好,宽厚广阔,视野开阔。骑车环游一圈还满舒服的。大雁塔是个小土塔,没太大看头。去看了一场青曲社的相声,还挺不错的。

去西安其实主要的游览项目是吃,但一个人去吃个两天能尝到的东西很有限。。这些西北的东西都很占肚子,不是纯肉就是面食,吃一种基本就饱了,吃两种就要撑到走不动,完全不像南方小吃那样可以一次试很多样。主要的游客聚集地是回民街,虽然看了些攻略也去找了些回民街以外的地方吃,但感觉回民街还是个挺集中的地方如果时间不充裕就在这附近找也不错。吃到的里面好吃的几样是老刘家的羊肉泡馍,志亮灌汤蒸饺的八宝稀饭,子午路张记的肉夹馍和凉皮,还有在马奎胡辣汤那儿随便买的腊牛肉夹馍。

照片在Google Photos(需翻墙)。