June 7, 2016

OOO (Out of Office)...

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Ever looked into someone’s calendar and see the OOO message – and wondered where they were? Well, here are some of the places we (Paul Allen, Senior Integration Engineer at Perforce and Sven Erik Knop, Senior Technical Specialist at Perforce) ended up on our visits to the Alameda office in California. Having explored downtown San Francisco to excess, we decided to expand our horizon and explore the national parks in California. 

Mt. Shasta

First on the list was the big daddy, Mt. Shasta, a volcano that at 4,322 m (14,179 feet) feet stands out like a sore thumb in the landscape of Northern California, 5 hours north of San Francisco. It was the beginning of June and, this being California, we expected to be able to stroll up the mountain in shorts and T-Shirts.

Or not.

Turns out we were greeted with 2 meters (7 feet) of snow at the trail base. Thankfully we were paranoid enough to bring our snow gear, rented crampons and set off.

We did not make it quite to the top, a blizzard with gale-force winds blowing down the mountain finally forced us down an hour from the summit, but we had a great day out anyway.

Lake Tahoe

Two years later, we decided to take an easier route and travel to Lake Tahoe instead. Wanting to maximize our weekend, we drove straight up after landing at SFO. Since both of us live in the UK (time difference of 8 hours), when we arrived at midnight, our body clocks insisted it was 8am in the morning. Not the best start for what turned out to be a more difficult hike than anticipated.

See, if you hike with Paul, snow is always an option, even if it does not look this way to begin with.

Still, the scenery rewarded us for the efforts of an 8-hour hike. We completed the trip the next day with a nice (and gentle) bike ride along the lake.

Yosemite

The next year I put my foot down: no more snow. Instead, we were joined by our colleague Jason Novecosky, Director of BC Operations at Perforce from our Canadian office, and we decided to travel down to the famous Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountain and were greeted with spectacular views.

Lassen Volcanic

The “failure” of reaching the summit of Mt. Shasta wouldn’t let us rest- we wanted to reach the top of a volcano. So we set our sights on a slightly smaller mountain: Lassen Peak in the Lassen Volcanic National Park. At 3,189 m (10,457 feet) this was considerably less challenging than Mt. Shasta and was also in a much more forgiving environment with respect to the weather, but there were a lot of forest fires.

We were told that we would not see a thing if we climbed up the peak because of the smoke. Turns out the advice was wrong- we had some spectacular views again.

On the way back to San Francisco we drove to the coast, now through thick smoke and haze due to the fires on our visit the redwoods (the tallest trees in the world). If you have a list of incredible drives that you want to take in your life, add the Avenue of the Giants. Simpy mind-boggling.

Sequoia

Redwood trees are great (literally) but compared to Sequoia trees they seem tiny. Sequoia trees are the largest trees (by volume) in the world, and the best place to see them is in the Sequoia National Park (5 hours south of San Francisco), also in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They did promise us snow again (thanks, Paul) but in the end, it turned out to be just rain and fog.

We ended up being unable to see many of the views, but we did see some very big trees. 

Next trip?

We only just scratched the surface of the fantastic outdoors California has to offer. If you have any comments about our trips or if you have any suggestions where to go next, give us a shout at @p4sven or @pallen_tweet.