Monday, August 18, 2014

First Ride in Tasmania

I can't ask for more --- my first weekend in Tasmania, Jeremy took me on a ride with Edith, Dave, and his brother Mike on the North-South trail.  We did it just about as epic as it gets in Hobart.  There are great trails all around here, but this is the one everyone should do, if they are here.  This is a most excellent group to get to ride with at Junction Cabin on Mt. Wellington.  What a great day!  Thanks all! 

12 Hours of Mesa Verde

 I had the good fortune to ride the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde race for the first time this year with my team --- Lonna Thelan and Krista Bohlen (Lamista) --- and the teams of Melissa McMartin and Stephanie Ward, and Jackie Eckenberg and Shannon Dunn.  This was a super great weekend.  It was all I had hoped it would be.  Lucky for me, I double booked and planned a symphony concert with my mom for mother's day in Denver the same weekend when there was a monster storm. 
So most of the group went in the Dunn Suburban.  To the left, all the bikes.  I am still amazed I made it to Denver, just in time, when we took the snow tires off the car.  Yet I made it!  Below, the start.  Andrea Bruder is more prominent, but I'm in there.  Thanks to Alison Dunlap, Steph Surch, Darius Rydahl, Andrea Bruder, Lindsey Watson, and the SRAM crew (Sarah, Jessie and others) for hanging out with us and making for a great day!

5 minute plank and the 4 minute workout

O.k. so this is a short one, and a bit of a digression.  I found an online plan for the 5 minute plank, and I made it!
And these days I'm working on instituting the 4 minute workout in lots of versions ala Tom.  The 4 min. workout is 20 seconds on/spring and 10 seconds rest/walking.  Introduced to me as running, but Tom recently challenged me to do it with situps and pushups.  I can do it alternating (situps and then pushups).  Working my way toward doing the full 4 minutes with each.  Need a challenge? 

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I'm working a bit back in time now.  Some catching up.  While I'm in Tassie now, Tom and I made it to Scotland in May.  We had a great trip of wiskey (Scotland spelling) and some running here and there with some castles thrown in.
Tom has all the pictures of our run up Ben Nevis, so all my photos are of castles and wiskey.  Left Tom is in a Cannon a the castle in Edinburgh and right is the view from Coal Ila, our first of many distilleries. 

 To the left is a view of Coal Ila.  I'm just feeling enamoured with the fact that we are on Isla and in Scotland.  Really?!

Below is a panorama from the beginning of our "Water to Wiskey" tour with Laphroaig.  One of the best things we did in Scotland.  More photos to follow, it was that cool.  Here we are walking across the land to get to the river where they get the water for their wiskey and to eat lunch while drinking excelling wiskey and drinking the water.

As part of our Laphroaig experience we went out and cut peat.  Just as they do.  Tom volunteered to go first.   The reward was more wiskey!

On nearly every tour we walked through the room with the barley they were malting and saw the peat fires.  Somehow, on this tour I had the time to take pictures!
We got to taste wiskey at EVERY stage on our Laphroaig tour.  This meant that when we tasted the "fresh" spirits (just put into the oak barrel) we had to put the bung back in and Tom got the priviledge.

Below to the right is the barrel room at Laphroaig.  It was extra packed!  We got in extra special like.  To the left is the guy filling bottles at Kilchomen a small farm distillery on Isla.

We got some great photos as Kilchoman distillery.  Its a small farm distillery --- how they all started --- off the beaten track on Isla. 
Our rule for buying wiskey was that it had to be something we really liked and something we could not, no way, get in the US.  When we went to Bruchladdich we tried several wiskey's and one was a single barrel --- so you fill your own bottle from the cask, label it, etc.  It is amazingly delicious --- you are eating peat.  By this stage of the trip I'm in love with this wiskey.   So it is the first bottle we bought.  Thank you Tom!!!  Looking forward to cracking it open... (along with the others). 
There are only a few celtic crosses in Scotland and one is on Isla!

On our way to Ben Nevis we found this split rock.  I love Tom's use of the rocks!  To the right, Tom is crossing a bridge which is, basically, a wide wire and some thinner ones for your hands.  This is WAY scarier than it looks, especially with gloves on.

Above and left Umpqua Castle outside of Inverness.  Above and right is the Cairngorm Hotel with Tom and the bagpiper.  They had one room left.  It was a wild night!

Left is the Moulin Brewery in Moulin --- near Pitlochary (possibly our favorite town in Scotland, not on the island of Islay).  It is here that I ate haggis, tatties and neeps.  The folks at our shared table talked me into it and it was FANTASTIC!

To the right is one of the few remaining Pictish crosses.  We had some good adventures to get there and away.

Reinvigorating the Blog --- Tasmania

Having let my blog lapse, I see two major flaws in with my blogging plan hatched in Summer 2012:   (1) naming it based on my sabbatical, which is long over and now I'm chair and (2) writing too much.  We will all need to get over both.  Since I last posted --- Nova Scotia --- Tom and I have made a few trips to Bend, OR and Laramie, WY, had some good times with family and friends, traveled to Scotland and now I'm spending 6 weeks as a visiting scholar in Tasmania.

So to get us started again, I'm going to start with my adventure to Freycinet National Park, Tasmania. This is  bit of long one.  I can't help it.

 Driving in, the weather was looking perfect and the view from the West/North side of Oyster Bay is pretty awesome.  Headed to those mountains in the distance, but stopping at a few of the vineyards on the way home (the one below was closed, but I stopped at one across the road from this one.

Below, I'm just getting started --- about halfway up Mt. Amos.  Already amazed.

 This may not look like the route up Mt. Amos --- clearly this route includes some "baby" rock climbing and that is the route up --- straight up the rock there.  The standard for this route is 3 hours return.  The visitors center, upon discussion with me, predicted 2 hours return.  I did it in 1:11 and I'm pretty sure I wasn't pushing hard enough and I had to do some route finding up and especially down!  While it was not "nothing, " it was compared to the river bashing off of Mt. Feife in NZ and it seemed considerably easier than Mt. Eliza (but maybe that was because I did it first).  But if you are reading this, thinking about the ascent, make sure you have a dry day like I did!  This is key for this route.  They are not kidding!  I'm pretty sure Mike Steel and Tom Sohayda and others I know could do it in around 45 minutes return. 

Below is a panorama from the top of Mt.
Amos that includes Wineglass Bay/Beach, the "ithsmus" and Hazards Beach.  Later in the day I'm on both beaches and I cross the Isthmus. It was pretty amazing up there. 

Selfie and the hazards signs. I have a weird weakness for these.  I just think they are funny, see the guy slipping.  The best part is that they are NOT KIDDING!  This route should not be done in the wet.  But it was a dry, sunny skies day for me (at least until I was off Mt. Amos).
 The route over the saddle to get from the car park to Wineglass bay.  I saw a family with a boy with a bloody shin --- I say to the mom, "wow that looks like a bummer" and she says, "I think it is broken."  I then stop, throw her big eyes and suggest I help.  She waves me off and says they don't need help.  Really?!  What do you do?  I double checked she said no again and I moved on.  Right thing? (arguable for both of us).
 O.k. biology friends.  WHAT IS THIS?????  My foot is for measure.  It is definitely organic.  Appeared to have gills on the other side (I can send/post other photos).  New to me!
 Above there is a selfie of Wineglass beach from the top of Mt. Amos.  The flat, lumpy looking mountain in the background is Mt. Amos.  So this selfie is of Mt. Amos from Wineglass beach.  Apparently Wineglass Beach is named because they used to catch and gut so many whales in the area that the bay was the color of wine... I went whale spotting, but failed. 
 Biology and Tassie friends.  Round 2 --- What made this?  There were lots of tracks that were obviously  bird.  But this is a Tassie mammal --- I'm sure.  Which one? 

I finally got a photo of a Bennet's Wallaby in the wild.  I see these guys nearly every day here.  Almost like deer at home.  But they are super shy (not like deer at home) and I have been finding it hard to get photos in the wild, but today I did it!  These gums leave a really desolate landscape, loads of room for the wallabies to hang out. 

Left, a water bird.  Anyone know which one?  Right, a view of Wineglass Bay and the hazards from Cape Tourville. 
And the last one on the right is the view to the north of Hazard's beach. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia

 We did a sea kayaking trip with Nova Shores around Cape Chignecto in the Bay of Fundy.  This was by far the highlight of our trip and one of those moments where I just can't choose between all the possible photos.  So this is a longer post, but I'll do my best to cull.
 Our first stop came pretty early because the waters seemed quite calm here, but as we adventured out to see if we could do the Cape on Day 1 (waters were predicted to only get more rough) our guide deemed the waters too much for that day --- seem calm here, but as we neared the Cape, much more.

Tent site #1 and a photo of our guide Anthony from South Africa.

One of the best parts of the kayaking trip was "living the Bay of Fundy."  The tide changes are so huge we planned to launch and stop at as close to high tide as we could so we would not have to carry the kayaks 30 vertical feet or more up the beach!
 Breaking down camp on Day 3 (the order of the photos are bit off for a long list of reasons).  We got our only rain on Day 3 ---  you can see Tom's and my tent site in the photo (the dry spot).  We had to move our tent to that spot because Tom, the guide and me all realized, after we first set our tent, that the tide line was dangerously close.  I woke up around 1am with high tide and watched it lap near the edge of our tent --- even in the new sight.  During the photo is is very far away...
 At each site we had a chance to explore the park we were kayaking around.  The next few pictures are Tom and I out for an afternoon run...
 The 3 sisters from the trail we were running.  The next day we were kayaking right up near these rocks. 
 We are exploring a beach at low tide which has very little available space during high tide.  Look on the right side of the photo and you can see the dry sand...
 We did some fun bouldering on the rocks at low tide!

 Running on the beach at low tide.  This is all covered in water at high tide --- past the photo on the left!  It is hard to show.  You need to live it.

 In high tide this is all covered in water.  You can see the tent in the distance.  When we landed, that tent was right were our boats landed on the beach.  See where the water is!
 It is just so pretty in the Bay of Fundy.  These are all pictures from the first night.  Each of these photos are related views of the same thing showing different levels of the water.  One of the most striking is this photo to the right and the center picture below.  They are of the exact same rock, but in the lower one, the water was still well under our feet.  In the one to the right, the spot where we were sitting is on the center left, where there is no water!

 Our guide took some excellent pictures of us in the boat on days 2 and 3, especially as we rounded Cape Chignecto. 
 Here you see the guide taking a picture of the top of our paddles at their peak.  We were in 3-4 foot swells.  For us this was rather exciting!
 Still in the photos as we worked our way around the Cape.

 We were starting to get really good on Day 2 and our guide encouraged us to work our way through some narrower, rougher areas in the rocks.  We are actually passing through and below, just through one of the, but we did several and this was not the most exciting!

 The sisters are behind us --- the sisters were in the running photo above.  We also saw a bald eagle around this time that sat on a rock and watched us as we watched it.  We also saw a number of seals and other birds.

The whole group:  us, the guide and Martha and David on the last day as we finished! We would definitely go back and kayak with Nova Shores again.  Everyone should do this, if they get the chance.