Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer weekends.

The past few weekends have been fun. Last post covered climbing on the North Shore. The weekend following was scheduled to be a sort of dude-reunion from my college days, also on the North Shore, but it fell through at the last minute. But my friend Nate and I, who still wanted to go, did anyway, and got our wives to come with us, and it ended up being a great trip. We camped, ate, hiked, ate, swam, ate, hammocked, get it. Relaxing in the North woods. And that pattern actually started a couple days before that trip, as Alison and I were at her family's lake cabin in WI vacationing with her side of the family. There was even some kayaking done there. I want one. First a garage though, I suppose, as we are in a one bedroom apartment with six bikes right now. I'm not sorry. :)
This past weekend I headed out to Portland, OR to check out the OR Brewfest, a festival of craft beers, with a couple friends from my days in Minot, way back when. A hot day filled with beer sampling sure tires a guy out but I wasn't complaining. My favorite of the day was from Grand Teton Brewing- an ESB called Bitch Creek. I have to admit we tried it just because of the name, and it turned out to be the day's best. I hope I can find it in St. Paul, or better yet clone it at home.
This weekend, I can't decide between Salt Lake, the North Shore again, or actually staying at home, possibly to do a big road ride and catch up on things I haven't done in the midst of all my playing. In case you're wondering I have been working like crazy during the weekdays; I'm not that lucky. :) But pretty spoiled non the less.

Paddling on Big Bearskin Lake, WI...Alison is pointing to four otters that decided to swim up and grunt at us....

Lunchtime along the Temperance River....

Enjoying sunset in Grand Marais...

Cairns stacked at Artist's Point, Grand Marais, MN...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Roped in on the North Shore in July

With airline travel benefits, I have to admit that I've been neglecting the outdoor locales up north in my current state of residence.  It's cheaper for me to get on an airplane and head to the Wasatch Range or California than it is to drive to MN's North Shore of Lake Superior.  But this weekend I decided to finally get back up there, and did some climbing on Palisade Head and Shovel Point.  We did some North Shore trad classics- Danger High Voltage, Bluebells, Phantom Crack, and the several variations of Dance of the Sugar Plump Faeries (ranging from 5.7-5.10c).  It was great to get out.  Every time I visit the shores of Lake Superior I am impressed.  It is a different kind of awe than the one found in the vertical venues of the West, but it's still awe.  I would love to buy a sea kayak and travel the shorelines of the big lake someday.  And it reminds me that I have quite a bit of mile left to backpack on the Superior Hiking Trail.  And a bike tour along as much of the Lake as possible would also be entertaining.  Too much to do and to much money to earn during life.  I can see why people become dirtbag hippies that live in their cars.  :)  But the weekends away from the office keep me going in my more responsible life.  Sorry I don't have any actual climbing pix from the weekend.  There were only two of us, and belaying duties preclude photography.  All I have to offer is a mediocre shot of me setting up over Phantom Crack on Palisade Head, with Shovel Point seen in the distance.  Come visit me in MN and we'll go climbing!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Rough ending

Coming home from SLC last weekend, I walked up to the back of our apartment building not suspecting to see the brutal end of a puppy dog's life:

Life can be harsh.

SLC Weekend

Alison and I actually had a weekend off together last week, so we elected to visit our friends Kelly and Julie down in Salt Lake City.  It was a good time to get out, cuz the weather in STP was hot and humid.  SLC was just hot, but not bad at all.  There's mountains to head into there where the temps are cooler.  
We spent Saturday in Little Cottonwood Canyon, where we end up pretty much every time we go to UT, seeing as it's awesome.  Alison and I climbed Pentapitch, while Kelly and Julie climbed Neuromancer, just to the left of Pentapitch.  It was good trad leading for me after being in the gym so much, and it was Alison's first multi-pitch climb.  Even with the light grade, it was challenging for both of us mentally.  For Alison, it was the length of the climb, and for me it was the airy crux on lead, which involved the worst protection and most committing climbing on the route.  Nothing unsafe, just mentally taxing as a fall would be exciting.  
After climbing we had a great evening of chilling out and eating in Sugarhouse, the part of SLC that our friends live in.  I think it's the St Paul of UT, as parts of it remind me of here.  
Sunday was pretty relaxed, as we did church in the morning, then slacklined with a Jamba Juice visit till it was time to head to the airport and return to MN.  
Definitely a good weekend, and we didn't miss the humidity.  

Our butts hiking up to the Pentapitch area:

Little Cottonwood is always pretty:

Slacklining in Sugurhouse Park:

Finally learned to sit on the line:

Thursday, July 02, 2009

ND Bike Crossing Link

I've finally finished putting together an account of my bicycle crossing of North Dakota.  I put together a tour journal on  Rather than copy-pasting all the different portions onto this blog, I'm just supplying a link to the journal here:

Crossing My Home State

Thanks for being patient as it's taken me a while to write everything down in the midst of returning to work.  I hope you enjoy the account!