Saturday, February 25, 2017

Junior Jeff Swegle shares an amazing day and week in his life at Stanford


Hey everyone, my name is Jeff Swegle, and I’m a junior on the team this year. This week, I’m gearing up for the Prestige at PGA West. Right now, it’s Monday night and the team leaves on Friday. On my plate for this week: 2 psets (“pset” is short for “problem set”, what we call homework assignments), a midterm, plus lots of golf and a little bit of socializing. My goals (in order of importance):
            --Get my game in shape/make the starting 5 for the Prestige
            --Do the best I possibly can on my Phil 151 Pset
            --Turn in my Physics 41 pset (preferably on time)
            --Survive Japanese (after this week, just 3 weeks left)

A Week in the Life, Day 1.

Monday, February 13, 2017.

7:15. Jake’s (my roommate) alarm rings. He’s on the volleyball team and is off to morning weights. I roll over for another 15 minutes of sleep before my alarm goes off.

7:45. I stop ignoring my alarm, but am too tired to get up. I open my phone and watch 10 minutes of Roger Federer highlights on YouTube to wake me up ( By 8:15 I’m out of the shower and doing some last minute cramming for a Japanese in class midterm. I need to be able to communicate that I want to do something, that I have done something, that I am planning to do something, list things that I have done, and some other stuff that I don’t remember now.

9:00. Downstairs to breakfast. My first class is at 9:30, so I need to move a bit quickly. I eat quickly with my friend Leah (who, fun fact, took two gap years in Israel and plans to join the Israeli Defense Forces after she graduates) and then head to the first class of the day, Phil 151.

9:27. Phil is the class that I like the most/care about the most this quarter, so I get there a bit early. During lecture, I alternate between focusing on the content (First Order Logic) and trying to place geographic region of his accent. Today we are wrapping up our discussion of Sentential Logic, and moving on to First Order Logic.

10:20. I leave Phil 151 and head over to Physics 41 lecture. I’ll spare you the details, but the highlight of the lecture was when our professor returned the class to the topic of Work (as in, w = F * s) by saying, “Ok, time to get back to work.” There are few things Stanford lacks, but one thing I could do with less of? Puns. Looking at you Mav. (ICYMI: Mav is notoriously punny.)

11:30. Off to my Japanese midterm. Spoiler alert: I pass, but get the worst grade in the class. On the one hand, I’m disappointed to get the worst grade in the class; but on the other hand, my goal in the class is to get better at speaking Japanese, which doesn’t necessarily coincide with getting a good grade on a written exam. I’ll shake it off.

12:20. I get out of my midterm and head to Siebel (the team practice facility). From there, I head over to qualifying at Crystal Springs, which is about 25 minutes north on 280. We play 9 holes, but ultimately conditions force us to halt play. However, this doesn’t stop Isaiah from finishing birdie, birdie, birdie, par, eagle (a holed-out 7 iron from 180 yards) to lead the team at -4.

17:30*. I return from qualifying and head directly to my Phil 151 section. The section is only supposed to last 50 minutes, but I’m the only person who shows up; and so my TA and I end up spending more than an hour discussing the theoretical scaffolding of First Order Logic.

            (*Note the use of military time. I made the switch this quarter, after I accidentally set an alarm for 8:30, failed to notice the distinction between AM and PM, and consequently slept through my two morning classes.)

18:45. Time for a quick bite to eat and then Phil 151 section. The dining hall cooks up so nice salmon, which I compliment with a side of chocolate ice cream.

19:30. Physics 41 section with teammate Brandon Wu. Not much to say. I return to the dorm around 21:00.

Now: Currently, it’s 22:06:20. Two of my teammates, Henry Shimp and Madie Chou (technically from the women’s team) are hanging out in my dorm room doing some Math51 homework as I type this. Pretty soon I need to go downstairs to practice some piano for my music12A class tomorrow so I can avoid minor (that’s for you, Mav) humiliation.

A Week in the Life, Day 2.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

6:46. My alarm for team workouts wakes me up. I quickly turn it off, hoping my roommate doesn’t wake up, and get down from my bunk bed. I quickly change in the dark, and head out to the curb by Faisan (my dorm), where Bradley Knox, another Junior on the team, is idling in his car, a 1992 Nissan affectionately nicknamed “The Great White.” Franklin Huang, the other Junior on the team, is already inside. I hop inside, The Great White swings by Bob (a co-op house on the row) to pick up Mav and V, and then we’re off to workouts.

7:11. Team workout are in a gym called “Mini Maples,” inside Maples Pavilion. Team workouts officially start at 7:15, but it’s an unwritten rule that people should get there earlier than that to stretch out. By now, everyone is here so we get started. Today we warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, then head to the basketball court for some dynamic motion patterns. Then it’s back to Mini Maples for today’s lift: a weighted split squat super set with a jumping pattern, and a single arm bench press super set with slow motion sing armed rows.

8:30. After lift, The Great White drops me and Tank off outside Faisan. I start heading to the dining hall, but don't make it. Instead, I’m greeted by a Valentine’s Day surprise courtesy of the Faisan RA’s: 6 boxes of Krispy Kreme Donuts, 2 gallons of milk, a gallon of orange juice, and French press coffee. I end up eating breakfast in the lounge with Jarrod, my RCC (Resident Computer something), Leah, and Sasha (one of my friends in the dorm) while listening to the Beatle’s Red Album on vinyl (courtesy of my RA, Paul).

9:15. I leave from Faisan to go to Old Union, a building near the center of campus, where I have an appointment with my Japanese tutor. I practice my Japanese with her for 30 minutes and feel pretty good about it. I’m definitely making some big improvements, despite not doing so well on the exams.

9:45. Last evening I did not practice piano as anticipated, so I return to the dorm and post up on the piano in the lounge. I practice from 9:45 to 11, working through the repertoire that I’m supposed to know for class. As I practice, friends from the dorm intermittently walk through and say hi. All in all, its been a great morning so far.

11:30. I head to Japanese class, where I get my midterm back. Not much to say.

12:30. I leave Japanese, grab some quick lunch and then bike to Siebel to warm up. We have 9 holes of qualifying today to make up for the 9 holes we missed yesterday. I spend an hour and half warming up: stretching, hitting balls, putting.  The weather is perfect; about 70 degrees, sunny, no wind. I’m excited to play.

2:30. I get a ride with Franklin to the course.

2:50. I tee off with Henry, David, and Dakota (the three freshmen this year). I stripe my first drive just barely into the left rough. Feeling good.

5:00. I finish up the 9, shooting a solid -1. Brad led the team today with -4; about half of us break par. After a quick huddle with Coach Ray, we head back.

5:30. I get a long dinner with Brandon Wu, Isaiah Salinda, Madie Chou, and Sierra Kersten.

7:30. After a bit of socializing, I make it back to the dorm room and settle in for some homework. I need to get a good start on Phil 151 in order to ask the professor questions in class tomorrow, and I have some Japanese to do as well. I’m very confused with the Japanese, so I get some help from my friend Scott (who speaks fluent Japanese) who explains everything in less than 5 minutes.

12:20. I finish studying for the night. I got through about half of my Physics 41 pset, working together on it with my friend Emily, but was unable to answer anything substantial for 151. Luckily, I managed to come up with enough questions about proof strategies for 151 that I feel confident that tomorrow I should be able to knock out some of it out.

Day 3

8:30. My alarm rings; time to get going for the day. On tap: 3 classes, plus qualifying in the afternoon, and then some PSETs to work through in the evening.

9:00. I’m downstairs, showered, and ready to get breakfast. As usual, I eat with my friend Leah. Pretty normal.

9:27. As usual, I get to my Phil 151 class a few minutes early. After lecture, I have some questions left over from my first attempt at the Pset last night, so I ask the professor if he can help clarify some things. I end up discussing the proof strategies I need to employ to get through the Pset with him for 30 minutes.

10:50. I walk into Physics 41 20 minutes late due to my long discussion with Prof Hawke. I walk in during a demo with a rope and string which seems mildly interesting. Today we discuss force done by a string. 30 minutes later, and I’m heading to Japanese.

11:30. I arrive in Japanese class to find three people I have never seen before sitting in the classroom. They are exchange students from Tokyo University, who have volunteered to help out in class today. Class starts with 25 minutes of conversation practice with our guests. Afterwards, the three of them head to lunch and we have a class conducted as usual. The professor reminds us that we have a vocabulary quiz on Friday, which reminds me that I haven’t started studying for it yet. Probably should get on that.

12:20. Japanese gets out; I bike to my dorm, hopping in my car, drive to Siebel to pick up my clubs, and then drive to Los Altos Country Club with Franklin, where we are qualifying today.

13:15. Franklin and I head to the putting green with the rest of our teammates. The weather is perfect, and the course looks like its in great condition. The greens are fast and true. I’m excited to play.

13:30. First swing of the day, and I stripe it down the middle. Hell yeah.

18:30. The last group putts out on 18 green, and we circle up to talk over the round and compare scores. I have the low round of the day, 69 (-2). For the most part, LACC wins today.

19:00. Franklin and I drive back to campus.

19:30. I drive to Pieology (kind of a build your own Subway-style pizza place) to get dinner with one of my friends, Colin. (One thing I’ve learned since I’ve been at school: no matter how busy you are; you should always be able to make time for dinner with friends.) We eat pretty quickly and head back to campus, as we both have a fair amount of school work to do.

20:00. Back in the dorm room, its time to start in on some psets. I have a few things on my to do list: I need to practice some Kanji characters for Japanese, put in my stats from the round today, get through my 41 Pset, and get through my 151 Pset. I take care of Kanji and stats in 30 minutes, and turn to my psets.

21:00. It quickly becomes apparent that typing my proofs for 151 will be nearly impossible, as every character I need to write is going to have to be copy-pasted form the internet. I ask one of my friends, Arianna, for help setting up Latex on my computer (kind of a computer language for typing up math psets that makes your work look nice, and includes all the characters that I need). Eventually I decide to put that on the back burner (I’ll figure it out tomorrow) in favor of actually doing the pset.

23:00. After 2 hours of work, I’ve made barely any headway. First Order Logic is very confusing. I brew a cup of coffee and head to the lounge to work on 41 with one of my friends in the class, Shelby.

00:30. The 41 Pset went smoothly, and we’re almost done. Shelby goes to bed, and its time to turn my attention back to 151.

1:30. An hour later and I’ve still made barely any headway. I write a long email to one of my TAs. The subject line might as well be S.O.S. I’ve done all I can tonight, and I need some rest.

1:50. I brush my teeth and head to bed.

Day 4.

6:45. My alarm rings for workouts. I get out of bed and quickly change and head for the curb, where The Great White is waiting idly. The team workout outfit for today is red shorts, grey shirt; but due to a sudden and unexpected laundry crisis, I find myself team libero.

7:12. Everyone is at least 3 minutes early, so we start the lift. We have a guest appearance today from Coach Ja-mo, which is exciting (Ja-mo swings by team lift once every week or two to check in on us). Coach Cory has a great workout devised for us today. We warm up with some tissue work, then hit the basketball court for some dynamic movements, then return to Mini Maples to pick up some weights (and then put them down after that).

8:15. We wrap up the lift, and sophomore Chris Meyers delivers an inspiring break down.

8:30. Bradley, Tank, V and I return to parking lot prepared for the return journey in the underbelly of The Great White.

9:00. Post-breakfast, I return to my room. Before I shower, I take another look at my 151 PSET. Yesterday, most of my toil was directed towards Problem 3; this morning, I glance through the other problems. I’ve already finished 1, and to my relief both 2 and 4 seem fairly straightforward. As long as my TA responds to my S.O.S., I feel optimistic about getting it done in a reasonable amount of time.

9:30. I hit a quick shower, and then its time to head downstairs for some piano practice.

10:00. Ok so no piano. I go downstairs and am about to start playing when I get a dorm email from our RA, Paul, who’s subject line is “Coffee, now, eom.” I need some coffee, and I know Paul is both a genius and a Phil 151 alum. I pack up my stuff and go to his room.

11:00. Paul gives me fresh ground, French press coffee, and helps me with my 151 PSET for an hour; then I get an email response from my 151 TA saying he will be in his office to answer my questions until 12:00. I have Japanese at 11:30, so I rush to the quad to meet him in his office.

11:25. I leave my TA’s office with some of my questions answered. I head to Japanese.

12:20. I officially survive Japanese.

12:30: I eat lunch with Franklin and some of the people in his draw group. After lunch, Tank and I drive to Siebel for practice.

14:00. After a warm up, team practice starts. We divide into 2 and 3 man groups and accomplish 4 tasks that Coach Ray has set up for us; one for putting, one for short game, one for pitching and one for wedges.

16:00. Isaiah, Chris and I finish the team practice. I go to the clubhouse to get the trackman, and then drive to the other side of the range to hit a wedge combine, and then practice hitting 9 iron to distances ranging from 120-150 yards.

17:00. Tank and I return to Faisan. I spend about 20 minutes working on Phil 151, then bike to piano class.

19:20. I didn’t end up practicing much piano this week, so class does not go particularly well; however, with some moral support from Brad (who is also taking piano) I make it through the playing section. The professor lectures for about 45 minutes about minor and major scales, which I find pretty interesting.

19:30. I eat a quick dinner at Flomo dining.

19:50. I put my laundry in the washing machine, and take a 20-minute breather from my hectic day to brew a cup of coffee and listen to some music. I’m pretty tired, so I need to recharge to tackle this homework. I listen to my current favorite band, Glass Animals, and lay on the couch in my dorm room.

20:10. Time to get to work. I start back in on Phil 151. A note on all the work I’ve been doing on this PSET up until now: it has been completely conceptual. That is, I’ve been trying to sketch out what my proofs for each question will look like; I haven’t actually written anything down yet. Gulp.

20:30. My friend, Negi, comes over to my room to work on 151 with me. Negi is a grandmaster chess player, so a low-key genius. Sadly, he’s also finding the PSET rather difficult. We spend about an hour talking about one of the problems, and think we come up with a solution. Time to start typing up some answers.

22:30. Still hard at work. About half of the problems seem pretty easy to prove, but there is one problem in particular that we are stuck on. We keep trying to approach it from different angles but nothing seems to be working.

00:30. Still working.

01:30. Still working. That problem won’t give; we’ve worked on a lot of the others; but we have nothing typed up yet; everything we have done has been conceptual.

02:00. Negi keeps working, but its time for me to call it a night. We leave tomorrow morning and I haven’t packed a thing yet.

Day 5.

7:15. My alarm rings, but I’m way too tired to get up yet. Around 7:30 I manage to get myself out of bed, and I go take a shower to try and wake myself up.

7:35. In the shower, I’m still thinking about the problem that had Negi and I stumped last night. All of a sudden, the answer occurs to me. I immediately cut my shower short and go back to my room to write it down before it stops making sense.

8:00. I ride my bike to Lakeside dining to meet Calli Ringsby (a member of the women’s team) and Brandon Wu for a breakfast PSET session for Physics 41. Wednesday night I figured out the PSET, but I still need to write it up and want to compare some answers with them.

10:30. Finally the PSET is written up and submitted online. I return to Faisan to pack. I take advantage of the packing time to listen to some music, and get through almost an entire album by Glass Animals.

11:15. I’m all packed up, grab my stuff and go to head out to my car; but then I realize that I don't have my car keys. I search my room for 5 minutes, but to no avail. It dawns on me that I’ve been keeping a nearly-to-the hour journal all week for team blog; I pop out my computer and retrace my steps.

11:20. I call V for a ride.

11:25. V arrives and drives me to the course, where I pack up the rest of my stuff and (magically) find my keys in my golf bag.

12:00. The team departs from the golf course en route to San Jose International. We stop by Smashburger, courtesy of Uncle Leland (read; Leland Stanford Jr. University), and then board our flight. We fly Southwest which not only highly unusual and also very disappointing because it prohibits me from pulling rank to get a window seat.

15:30. Our flight lands in Ontario, California.

16:01. My Phil 151 PSET is officially late.

17:00. We get the vans at the airport and begin the drive to where we are staying in Palm Springs, at the McNealy’s house. We had to fly into Ontario, California, due to some inclement weather in Palm Springs, and so we have a roughly two-hour drive ahead of us. The team independently sorts itself into vans based on music preference. (There are two main factions on the Stanford Men’s Golf Team: Team Country Music, consisting of Maverick, V, Shnyds, Meyers, Shimp, Dakota, Knox, and Coach Ray; Team Not Country Music, consisting of me, Tank, Wu, Isaiah.)

19:30. We arrive at the McNealy residence, where a feast of barbecue pulled pork, chicken breast, sushi, and pizza awaits us.

20:00. Ping-Pong begins.
            Ping-Pong power rankings:
1)   Knox. Prestigious forehand and backhand ability. Only weakness is a tendency to go for shots despite being horribly out of position; but as he frequently pulls these off, not much of a weakness.
2)   Meyers. Literally impossible to return his serve, unless you’re Knox; however, hit either forehands or nothing.
3)   Me? Occasionally hit backhand winners; frequently whiff. But it’s my blog so I’m 3.
4)   Wu. Somehow manages to always return the ball, despite having exactly 0 offensive capability.
5)   Tank.
6)   Mav/Dak/Shimp/Shynds/Ja-mo/V.
7)   Isaiah. Celebrates his won points with much vigor. Rarely wins points.
8)   Coach Ray. Tough showing from Coach Ray this year.

20:00. I decide to forego ping pong tonight in order to continue working on this 151 PSET. I’m finally in the mode where I’m crafting all of my proofs in writing. I could do this sloppily, but it’s already late so I might as well take my time and get the phrasing perfect.

21:30. I’m exhausted from the week, and head to bed. I ask V to wake me up at 7:30 if I’m not already awake.

Day 6.

7:30. V wakes me up. I feel incredible after 10 consecutive hours of sleep. I’m excited for the day.

8:00. I head upstairs and eat breakfast as I continue to work on this PSET. The going is slow, since I’m trying to get my responses just right.

10:30. The team packs up and heads to The Hideaway, the course where Coach Ray’s parents belong. Gary Ray has invited the parents of the players to The Hideaway to play with their kids for 18 holes.

11:00. We show up at the driving range and start warming up. Mr. Ray is waiting for us on the driving range, and parents start arriving.

11:30. The entire group, players, parents and coaches, load up from the range and go to the clubhouse to eat lunch.

12:00. Lunch is amazing; we have a private room, and seemingly private wait staff, and 3 huge tables. I sit with my Dad, who is in town for the week, who I haven’t seen in about two months. We have a great lunch, get to catch up, and then it is time to tee off.

12:30. My dad and I tee off with Bradley and his mom, Susan. The course is pure, and the greens are smooth and fast; the weather is perfect; today is a welcome relief from a pretty stressful week.

6:00. Everyone is officially done with their rounds, and we bid goodbye to the parents for now.  We all load into the vans and stop quickly at the McNealy’s to shower and change before a quick turn around to the Madison Club.

7:00. The team arrives at the Madison Club for dinner. We walk inside and are immediately shown to a massive table for the entire party. As soon as we sit down, large platters of sushi are laid out in front of us; once those are finished, bread and pizza comes out. Once we have polished those off, the waiters bring out menus (despite the fact that we all are already pretty full).

9:00. We return to the McNealy residence, extremely full. I play a little ping pong with the boys, then its time to go back to work. I practice piano for about an hour with Colt McNealy looking over my shoulder (Colt, who is a pretty good pianist, teaches me how to read cords from the bottom up, and helps me understand major and minor finger patterns.)

10:00. I go back to work on this PSET. I’m getting really close to finished.

12:00. I head to bed.

Day 7.

6:00. My alarm rings for our morning practice round. One more day until the tournament begins, and I’ve got a little bit of last minute prep to do.

6:45. We get breakfast at the course, and the go warm up.

7:30. We tee off hole number 2 in the shotgun start practice round. Mav, Tank, and V are all playing in the college am this afternoon, so it is only me, Brad, Dak, Wu, Isaiah and Chris this morning. We decide to have birdie game between me, Brad and Dak versus Wu, Isaiah and Chris. The course is in great shape, but is soft due to the rain from the last few days in Palm Springs. Playing in two threesomes, we get around the course pretty quickly for a practice round.

12:00.  We finish up and compare scores. The birdie count is: Wu 4, Is 3, Meyers 1, Knox 2, me 2, and Dak 1. (Isaiah tells me I should record that he had 9 birdies for the blog.) We get the lunch provided at the course.

13:00. We go practice as Mav, Tank and V go to tee off in the college am. I spend 30 minutes putting, 30 minutes doing some full swing technique practice, and then 30 minutes practicing hitting different shot shapes.

15:00. We return to the McNealy residence. I lay low for a little while, and then (surprise) get to work finishing this PSET. (At this point I would like to make clear that it usually does not take me this long to finish PSETs, but this one happens to be especially difficult, and I’m taking my time since it is already late.) Dakota, Siobhan (Mav’s girlfriend) (sorry ladies) and I have a little study session outside by the pool.

17:30. I am 5 sentences/30 minutes away from finishing this dang PSET and it is time to go to the players’ dinner.

18:00. The players’ dinner is incredible. They provide a buffet with three different kinds of pasta, chopped salad, pesto chicken breast, and some delicious prime rib. An hour later, we leave to return to the McNealy’s.

19:15. Brad, Tank, Wu and I begin a very heated ping pong campaign.

20:30. All ping-ponged out, I head upstairs for the last hurrah on this 151 PSET. Tank joins me; his task for the night is to convert an R script into a pdf.  We join Meyers, Wu and Isaiah, who are also studying in the kitchen. At 21:00, I figure out the final question and provide a very satisfyingly succinct proof (probably and hour of thinking for 5 sentences of writing).

21:12:30. I submit my 151 PSET at long last. Tank continues working on converting his R script to a pdf.

22:00. Tank is still working on this R script, but takes a study break to create a new Ping Pong Power Ranking, as he disagrees with mine.

22:15. Time for bed. I have a wake up call tomorrow at about 7:00, and a tee time at 9:53. After a long week of work, I want to be well rested and ready to compete.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quick Takes Video blog by Maverick McNealy and Isaiah Salinda

Meet the team as they respond to unusual questions by Maverick McNealy and Isaiah Salinda.

To watch full sized on YouTube click here -

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sage Senior Advice from Dom Francks

An Open Letter to the Stanford Golf Class of 2020

            In the midst of my last campaign as a Stanford golfer, I thought I’d use my status as a washed-up, crusty old veteran to dispense some advice that you boys may or may not want to hear:
            -First off, make sure you do some work in the gym before you show up in September. It pays to be able to hold your own on the VersaClimber right off the bat (just ask Tank), and Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be a lot more fun if you know your way around a weight room.
            -Take it easy in the classroom your first quarter. Some of the best advice I got early in my freshman year was to “treat getting used to Stanford like a 4-unit class”. There’ll be plenty of time to load up on units or take Math 51. Spend your fall quarter making friends and sharpening your game.
            -Treat each tournament (and qualifying) like it’s Q-School. If you do the math (which I didn’t my freshman year), you’ll only have about 50 opportunities to compete for the Cardinal during your stint. Make the most of them.

            A lesson that I’ve only recently learned is the importance of reminding yourself daily of the overarching goal: to win a national championship. During your time at Stanford, you’ll meet absolutely incredible people. You’ll have friends who will head off to fantastic summer internships, and friends who’ll be spending nearly every waking hour studying and working to excel in the classroom. It’s very easy to feel like you need to compete with them. Resist that urge. Remember what you’re here to do, and don’t get distracted. You have an opportunity that very few have, and I wish I had realized the importance of that opportunity earlier in my career. You have the privilege of being a part of one of the best programs in college golf, and the best athletic program in the country. Remember that every day.

            As Coach Ray is fond of saying, “Stanford Golf is like a train. You get on, and then after four years, you get off. It’s up to you what mark you’ll leave in those four years.” Well boys, my time on the train is almost up. And I’m rooting for you. You’ll know me as I knew guys like David Chung and Steve Ziegler, as a face remembered vaguely from recruiting visits. You’ll hear stories about me, and as a freshman you’ll laugh along with the rest of the team, even though you don’t get the inside joke. You’ll see me at alumni matches and occasionally lurking around before football games, and you’ll be unsure whether I recognize you or know your names.
I do.
            Go get ‘em boys.

-Dominick Francks

Monday, April 25, 2016

Boote Being Boote

Trying new things…

So my fellow senior, Dominick Francks, is the definition of an outdoorsy, adventure man. You only have to peer through his Facebook or bring up mountains in Washington for you to realize this fact. This past November he decided to take first-timers, former teammate Patrick Grimes and myself up the mountains in order for us to experience nature, spectacular views as well as pre-maid packaged food and artic temperatures for ourselves! It was a very memorable trip and over the next few minutes while you read this blog I’ll show you some of my best memories from this trip.

Our goal was to hike up the Yosemite Falls Trail and then camp overnight before hiking back down the next morning. As you can see I was perhaps a little over-excited at the start before realizing the difficulty of the 3.5 km hike straight up Yosemite Falls! 

Despite the difficulty, it was a beautiful hike which took us around 2.5 hours to complete. Along the way we saw some amazing sights, one of which being the waterfall itself! Perhaps the craziest part of the trip was the group of French extreme climbers camping on a ledge next to the top of the falls and tight roping across the top everyday 4/5 times!
As you can see to the left, spirits were still high halfway up the mountain – Grimes must have been checking his sore wrist at this moment!

And finally... We made it!  Here we are having a spot of lunch on top of Yosemite Peak, with an amazing view across to the Sierra Mountains in the distance.  

We pitched our tent, collected firewood and slept through the night in temperatures that went down to the mid 20s (Fahrenheit), but that wasn’t before we saw something fly across the sky, which certainly caught our eyes in an alarming way!

A trident missile test off the coast of California performed by the US Navy was the apparent cause, although I still have my suspicions!

Finally here are my feet, alongside a spectacular view with Half Dome out in the distance, in a pic I took post breakfast and pre-nap on top of the world the next morning.
All in all, it was a great way to spend some of my offseason time trying something different and new to me. Thanks to Dom for showing Patrick and me the ropes!
I would highly recommend anyone thinking of going camping for the first time to give it a go, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would love to do it again sometime!

By David Boote