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October 25, 2006

Oppositions

Oppositions are all around us. It might be the weather on our way to class or how a particular building opposes gravity. Being surrounded by oppositions, there is one opposition that sticks out to me. I don't have a car so a major opposition for me is man traveling on the metro transit system efficiently.

There are places that I would like to go that by car are only ten to twelve minutes away but according to metrotransit.com are 35 or 40 minutes away. For a college student that has to balance classes, homework, work, friends, sleep, and other commitments 40 minutes is a long time to spend one way on a bus. If I need to go to say Target I'm going to spend 70-80 minutes getting there? No Thanks.

The other opposition with using the metro transit is the space on buses and trains. Every time I have ridden the bus or gone to the Light Rail they have been crowded. I don't mind sometimes, I understand that it is public transportation but it is packed on some of those buses and I haven't ridden at the "busy" times.

A resolution to the problem would be expanding the Light Rail system. I was in Germany not to long ago and stayed in the city of Cologne, which is just over a million people. Cologne is very spread out a lot like the Twin Cities however they have a much bigger train system. The train system is bigger but still simple. The city is broken up into a square split into four smaller squares. The trains run around the perimeter of the city and between the smaller squares. Within those squares you can take a bus ride, which from end to end is less than twenty minutes. I rode this public transportation system at all hours of the day and it was only crowded one time. That instance was on the way to a soccer game, which you can expect with 80,000 people traveling to the same stadium for a game. For these reasons expanding Minneapolis' Light Rail system would greatly reduce the travel time on metro transit and reduce overcrowding on the buses.

October 11, 2006

Phenomena

A phenomena that I witnessed three summers ago while backpacking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior was the Moose. The Moose is a large animal standing on average about 6.2 ft tall and waying about 1,100 lbs. The males have antlers spanning up to 64 inches across. They have a rough, furry coat and feed off of leaves of willow and birch trees or fallen nuts in the winter. Even though they are massive animals they can reach speeds of 55 km/h when they need to and can swim at a speed of 10 km/h for up to 2 hours.

The moose has several different frameworks. It has a large bone structure that supports its tall, heavy body. It has an extensive system of muscles that allow it to run and swim high speed. The big hump on the back of the moose is caused by the muscles that run over its veterbrae. The moose also has organs to think, to pump its blood and digest the different kinds of food it eats.

The moose also has a set of clockworks. The clockworks of the moose keep its heart beating and keep its digestive system going. The clockworks of the moose keeps neurons running through its body telling it what it's feeling, tasting and thinking. If the moose did not have its clockworks it would not be able to function.

The phenomena of the moose is: how can the moose be so big but still run fast and be able to swim at high speeds? Another phenomena of the moose is its ability to dive underwater or to eat underwater without gills.

October 3, 2006

Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy: Cimarron, New Mexico; Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains; elevation 12,441 ft.

baldy1.jpg

Several summers ago I took a nine day backpacking trip. The highlight of the trip, the place everyone else who had ever been there always talked about, Mount Baldy.

The mountain can be seen from miles away. I remember the first time I saw it. Hiking along a ridge, surrounded by trees, knowing Baldy is several days away, when suddenly everyone stops. Through a break the trees, there it is. Still far in the distance you already recognize the place. A mountain with such an abrupt tree line could not be mistaken. Taking your pictures you continue on, seeing the mountain for a few minutes before it is once again blocked out by the trees. The memory stays with you. Knowing that soon you will make the ascent from Baldy Town to the summit (2,449 ft. to be exact).

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The day is finally here. It's just after 3:30 a.m. You're a little groggy like everyone is when they get up and it' still dark outside but you still feel refreshed because you went to bed just after dinner. You break camp in the dark although it's nearly a full moon so there is plenty of light. You start out on the trail for Baldy Town; just a few minutes away. You store your bags only bringing some water, breakfast and your cold weather clothes. It's shortly after four. You begin the climb trying to make it to the summit before sunrise. The anticipation makes you climb faster. There is an energy surrounding you. That feeling of being so close to something you have waited for. You're anxious. The trees break. You can see it now. The rocky slope lies ahead. The last steep climb and you're there. You climb the slope, trying hard to keep your footing amongst the loose rocks. You're there. The view stretches out into the darkness. The sun is just starting to come out. It's windy. A cool mid fifties night 2,449 ft. below you has turned into a frigid, wintry morning. There's no snow but you almost feel like there should be and it's the end of July. You relax and wait for the sunrise. It begins to paint a picture straight from a painting. As tine goes on it gets warm. The rocks heat up. You take a knap. The soothing warmth on your legs and back. Mount Baldy: Cimarron, New Mexico; Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains; elevation 12,441 ft.

baldy2.jpg

The Genius Loci or "spirit of the place" is almost magical. The feeling of anticipation. The feeling of accomplishment. The stories, the sights and the sounds. The view. It all contributes to an energy in this place. There is nothing like it. Being there and experiencing it all. It's special what you feel. You want to stay there forever but eventually you have to leave. You feel renewed almost different. It's hard to describe but the spirit of being at the summit of Mount Baldy is magical.