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Life Happens

Last year Cal & I experienced phenomenal memories, witnessed immeasurable beauty, and suffered tremendous loss.  We frolicked in the snow with our dogs, ate amazing nachos at the Grand Canyon, explored local hiking spots. We ran our first 5K, drank butterbeer until our heart’s content at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, revisited Yosemite and our favorite non-camping lodgings in the Eastern Sierras: The Yosemite Bug Lodge.

We saw a Bollywood extravaganza, old-time Americana, and fireworks at the Redlands Bowl. We bought a new van, and as a test drive, drove from California to Utah, with visits to Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. We competed in our first Questival, where we laughed, rode, and explored San Diego.

We had plans to blog about it all. Then, the day after returning from San Diego’s Cotopaxi Questival, I got news that my mom passed away suddenly and life came to a standstill. Actually, it was quite the opposite. It was chaos.

I replaced plans to explore with arguments with my siblings. I replaced work with calls from sobbing family. I replaced time to think with meetings with mortuaries and cemeteries. But I also soon replaced a deep sense of loss with an overwhelming sensation of love. Cal held me as waves of emotion tumbled me around. A friend from college wrote an original composition for a photo gallery. Another brought me baked goods. Some friends sent flowers, some friends sent cards, and others showed up at my doorstep, one to take us out to sushi, and another with nachos at the ready.

It’s been four months since this happened, and I still tear up at how absolutely amazing Cal and my friends were during this time.

Then, in mid-December, Cal’s dad, Scott, passed away suddenly. But rather than the gamut of emotions running rampant among my family, there was an overwhelming melancholic celebration of Scott’s life. We told stories of bad puns and ridiculous tales of Scott’s misadventures.

Raucous laughter over Cards Against Humanity, all-you-can-eat sushi, and exploration of local hiking spots filled our time, while the continued outpouring of love filled our hearts.

We’ve recently begun the process of figuring out how to best honor the memory of our parents, and it begins with distilling their best traits and trying to amplify them. My mom took care of others, so I’ve been trying to be more conscientious of agreeing to help people, even if it is inconvenient. Scott never stopped learning, so we want to continue to explore wilderness, go fishing, get out, get lost, and figure it all out.

As we do, expect new articles (and plenty of pictures), as well as a few post-dated articles as we catch up on some of the experiences we had in 2017. Thanks for your patience, fine readers. Here’s to now.


Skip The Funeral. Take a Walk, Instead.

My wife and I often joke about what to do with our bodies when we die, as discussing the topic without humor is, well, AWFUL. My usual go-to is “stick me in a hemp suit, dump me in a hole, and plant a tree on top.” Death is hard to talk about, and the idea of someone planning my funeral is tough. So, instead of joking, I’m going to change it up because of a Kickstarter alternative to caskets or urns. Yes, yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.

A Dutch team has come up with the Totem of Life and Death, or TOLAD. I think that if you are here and reading Bristlecone Journal, the concept will appeal to you just as much as it does to me.

The premise is pretty simple: Scattering ashes is messy, generally over in a second, and not a particularly dignified way to dispose of the remains of those closest to you. The TOLAD, to put it bluntly, is a large, hollow walking stick/ash dispenser. In goes the ashes of your beloved friend or family member, and off you go to their favorite location. As you walk, a plunger at the bottom releases a small amount of ash, allowing you to take one last journey with those you love.

As the video below shows, the TOLAD can be passed around, allowing each of the bereaved to have an active role in the process. This helps give each person a more profound sense of closure, which so many of us need when losing someone.

(Turn on the CC, it’s in Dutch)

And, whereas gaudy caskets can cost thousands of dollars, the TOLAD is asking backers for less than $100 for each one.

You can check it out for yourself here: TOLAD on Kickstarter.


Ohana Means Beach Vibes at the 2nd Annual Ohana Festival

Ohana Festival Lineup Poster

I freaking love music festivals. I hate music festival weather. It’s usually in a 110 degree desert, where you end up with dry desert sand in all your nooks and crannies and you blow black snot rockets for two weeks. So, when I saw the Ohana Festival, with their amazing line up and their amazing, ocean-side location, I was STOKED.

I’ll admit, it’s weird to see Social Distortion playing with Fiona Apple or The Pixies with Jack Johnson, I’m still pretty interested in seeing them all. While the lineup is out for the September festival, the “attractions” are still yet to come. I’m guessing some kind of surf wax competition and loads of vegan food trucks, both of which I’d be on board with.

AND they’ve also partnered with the California State Parks, San Onofre Parks Foundation, California Coastal Commission, Ocean Institute, Surfrider, and the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association.

But, with sponsorship partners like Tito’s Homemade Vodka, Krave, Kind, Bai, Hydroflask, OluKai, Sambazon, and World Surf League, I have a feeling it’s going to be one helluva party for hippies and hipsters alike. I mean, filling a Hydroflask with Tito’s and Sambazon’s açai juices, nomming on some beef jerky while wearing weird sandals and listening to Ray LaMontagne sounds like as perfect a festival vibe as you can get.

Unless… Want to go nutso and spend rent on a Treat Yo Self weekend? The VIP tix at Ohana Festival get you the following:

  • Dedicated VIP entry
  • Exclusive VIP laminate
  • Ohana VIP Giftbag
  • VIP viewing seated platform

Access to Ohana Festival Dana Point VIP Lounge, which includes:

  • 4 drink tickets (valid in VIP lounge only, 21+ and over)
  • Live streams of music stage
  • Comfortable lounge seating with shaded areas
  • Cabanas and hammocks to hang out and relax in
  • Access to VIP Cash Beach Bar
  • Expanded Private Restrooms
  • Complimentary Bai and Bai Bubbles beverages
  • Complimentary Wahoo’s Taco bar from 3pm-6pm
  • Sunscreen Bar provided by Epicuren

If you don’t wanna spend the extra dough, I understand. You can come hang out with me. You’ll find me wherever the free samples are.

What: Ohana Festival
Where: Doheny State Beach
When: September 8-10, 2017
Who: You
Why: Because it sounds rad.
How: Tickets Available HERE
Weekend General Admission: $335 w/ fees
Weekend VIP: $1260 w/ fees
1 Day General Admission: $120 w/ fees
1 Day VIP: $539 w/ fees