Saturday, January 30, 2010

Point Reyes

This past weekend was spent in California, a decent enough place to warm up in Jan. Although the locals complained the whole time of how bad the weather was (rain, wind, temps in the 50s). The original plan was to get out on a bicycle tour. Many things prohibited that from coming to reality- lack of time, travel logistics, family health related issues on my biking partner's side, wedding planning (also Ed's of course), and a bike not yet purchased. Not a problem, we'll just go hiking we said. True. Edward and I headed up to Point Reyes National Seashore for some trail experience. We day hiked two days (should have backpacked, but the food in town was really good) in the rain and wind of CA January shorelines. It was great. The Park staff told us we wouldn't have any fun and that not many people were heading out at all. They then asked where we were from. I said MN. They then replied- "Oh, well then you'll have a great time." Our winters precede us I suppose. The Bay area folks are spoiled and only like to hike in sun apparently. We did run into a couple hearty hikers while out though, including one dude who was hiking from Point Reyes all the way down to San Francisco via the shoreline/hills. Nice. Said he had a week and a half's worth of food and not much of a real plan. Freedom.
We hike just over 20 miles over two days. Not a spectacular distance with day packs, but enough to get out a see some things and feel like we'd gone somewhere. The first day we hiked the Sky Trail to Mt. Worthington (no view at the top, not sure I recommend it, but nice walk through the woods on the way, especially in the fog/rain). There were better views lower where there wasn't as much tree cover. Later in the afternoon we headed down to Limantour Beach and hiked out to Coast Camp and back. Windy, rainy, sandy, and sweet. Be careful of the tides however. There were recently two missing people in the park, both presumed to be swept to sea nearing high tide by sneaker waves. Read up on beach safety before hiking for sure.
The next day we hiked from the Bear Valley Visitor Center down to Arch Rock, and explored some excellent beach area. We had everything from mossy forest with deer (and apparently mountain lions according to park staff) to starfish and clams. Variety.
It was a nice weekend in a part of the Bay Area of CA newly discovered to me.

Hiking the Sky Trail...

Running from waves on Limantour Beach...

Where Bear Valley meets the Coast and Arch Rock...

Arch Rock and the Beaches below...

These starfish seemed to be sneaking off to somewhere important....

Up on Arch Rock...

5 year vintage

So I realized something looking at this blog recently. As of earlier this month, it had an anniversary. I started it on a very cold Grand Forks January night in 2005, making it five years old. Not bad, considering the number of personal blogs that tend to start with high hopes only to fizzle out in the first year or two. The other thing that makes me feel good about treadnorth making it this far comes from its general purpose. I write about mainly about my outdoor pursuits and adventures, and seeing it survive this long means I’ve had a good five years of fun outside. There have been great trips, both local and distant that have kept me entertained over the past five years, and I intend to have many more to share. Many of you reading have been a part of them. Thanks!

Looking to the future, I’m excited for good reason. Over the past several years I’ve had a lot of great experiences cycling, hiking, climbing, running, etc., and each trip has taught me a bit more of what I’m capable of, and what’s out there waiting. The world is whatever size you make it. If you spend all your time at home, it may be pretty small and routine (although not necessarily- I am not speaking poorly of home, just stating it’s wonderful to get out and see things). If you worry about the limits of your fitness, you’ll never stretch them. A decade ago, I was nervous at the idea of a 50-mile bike ride, much less a 530-mile loaded tour. I was a 5.8 climber, not working 5.11’s. I was an excited backpacker but hadn’t been out that far, and didn’t know enough about my gear/clothing. Now I’ll walk in most any weather for as many days as I have available. I hated even the idea of running, and now despite being very new at it, I’m regularly running several miles a week in a barefoot style, and enjoying it all. I was restricted to the areas I could get to by way of an unreliable vehicle stationed in the prairie (and how much gas I could afford was definitely an issue.) Now I have free/(or almost) air travel to much of the country/world due to my job. I am mentally and physically stronger, with a larger taste for adventure than I started out with. I’m ready for more., and you should come with me.

What does 2010 have in store? I have many ideas as usual, and need to set some goals. So far on the tentative menu several possibilities are listed out.: a climb of Mt. Adams; much more of the Superior Hiking Trail (either backpacking, dayhiking, or trail running); the Maah Daah Hey Trail via mountain bike; backpacking the Na Pali Coastline in HI; more UT trips as much as the Paasch’s will have me (thanks); a possible cycle-tour in TX (Big Bend area); a 200 mile one day bike ride? (been dreaming of that one for a long time); longer runs of lengths not yet figured out; whatever rock climbing I can get on the schedule; winter camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior before winter is up (plenty of that left as of now); more weekends with the Long Haul Trucker; riding the full Headwaters 100 with Alison for her first century; whatever else sounds fun outside on a moments notice. These are just my ideas from the first couple weeks this year. More to come for sure.

So I hope to continue treadnorth in the same style, reporting on many adventures I enjoy with many of you over many more years. Thanks for reading…

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Chilly commute

So yesterday, Jan 8th, 2010, the high in STP was lower than the low in many many places. Low of -6 in the morning (something like a -18 wind-chill if I recall), and a high of 9, with similar wind-chills due to slightly more wind. I biked to work. Not for any sort of congratulations; most people considered the act foolish. I just like to ride my bike, as you know. I've been very tired of not doing much riding since Christmas, as we had a day of rain then after much snow, and this has left the roads in STP worse than I've ever experienced. I don't have any pictures of them below, as I was too focused on not falling when passing over them. I had no problems whatsoever with staying warm. Most people would conjure that as the biggest challenge to riding on this type of day. Actually, I had to ditch a layer a couple of times due to getting sweaty. -6 is really not terribly bad when you're moving. I'm not seeking it out or anything; I'd prefer low 70's and sunshine, but that's not what I have here in MN in January, so I deal. Adapt. Thrive? Probably not that one. But adapt, yes. I need to do some more adapting, by purchasing a set of aggressive studded tires, but I'm afraid the cost is going to prohibit that for a little while longer, and then spring will be here. With the amount of rutted chunky, crash-inducing ice bonded to MN's urban roadways right now, it's near impossible to "control" a bicycle in places. Which at times during a commute induces a "hike-a-bike" scenario. "What is this, mud on the Maah Daah Hey, steep grades in the La Sals, road biking into a plains wind?", my mind thought as I pushed through the strain yesterday. But I had to answer it- "No, you're just riding in a major metropolitan area on the way home from work." "Why does it hurt so much?" Welcome to MN in January. Cheers. I won't stop.

Getting to work. 8 am. -1F. Wind chill -17F.

What would be a very boring place if not injected with equipment used for better times...

Arriving at my apartment. 7pm. 4ish degrees. Wind chills, well, still friggin' cold.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Holiday notes...

The past couple weeks have been a ride. Many family holiday events, work events, getting over my yearly bout with getting sick around Christmas, planning bike tours, and getting a bunch of valuables stolen.
First off, it was great seeing family on both sides, the Hovde clan during the week of Christmas, then my family coming to visit here in STP this week. There was quite a mix of in-house holiday evenings and going out to many various eating establishments in the Twin Cities. Running, climbing, and snowbiking will have to be on quite a bit to cancel out all the gorging.
Work took me and the other ground instructors out for a "moral boosting event" this past week amidst all the doom and gloom the airline has been suffering. It was a good and bad day. The actual stuff planned for the day went great- going out for sushi/hibachi, snow tubing; drinks. The unplanned part sucked, and that was getting two of my bags stolen out of a coworkers car. Among the lost items were: my trusted Timbuk2 messenger bag that I essentially live out of, our new auto gps, my iPod touch, my airport security badge, my brand new prescription eyeglasses, patagonia merino wool sweater and brand new hat, smartwool balaclava, co2 bike pump, Brooks saddle cover, lock, first aid kit, nalgene, and other odds and ends. Big lose for me, good haul for some snowboard brat at Buck Hill "ski resort" in the south MSP metro. I've never been a fan of midwestern "ski resorts", and I like them even less now. And I'm sure whatever kid stole my stuff has a rich set of Minneapolis suburb parents that could easily buy them all the things they chose to steal from me. Whatever. Sometimes in life you get hosed, and Monday was one of those times.
Other hosings of note are more job losses. Another climbing friend of ours just got laid off from, guess what, a pilot job. Go figure. Out of the four of us that climb together regularly, I'm the only one who hasn't lost my job. This recession has been an absolute butthole. It needs to end now.
On a good note, there is still bike touring coming up, I hope. We're talking about 2 tours now, one in CA, the other in TX. The CA could happen very soon; we have to get some dates down on the calendar and pull the fun trigger. I can't wait. It's reached the clear skied sub-zero January pain weather here in MN, and CA via bike sounds great. I can handle the cold just fine, and the northern winters have some amazing experiences to offer, don't get me wrong, but if CA is one the same menu, sorry MN winter, you might not get ordered.
For now it's time to get cleaned up and head to REI, big surprise. Always prepping for future stories.