Thursday, February 26, 2009

A homebrewers meeting

I was invited my a fellow homebrewer to a meeting of local DC homebrewers. I had been to another event of homebrewers but not this particular group. This group is younger and seem to still be mostly in the entry phase of homebrewing which is cool. This time I opted to bring some mead as I still have a large amount slowly aging away. It is actually still in secondary as I wait for it to stop actively fermenting. I hope to bottle it soon. I did put some in a bottle and brought that with me. Not beer, but it was homemade. Everyone loved it. Many of the people who tried it had never had mead before and it was well received by everyone. This was really nice to hear. It is a little disconcerting to get so much praise from people but it is nice as well. It was really odd that I was the only female in the room. Oh well. I had a really good time and it is nice to meet fellow homebrewers in the area. I have been getting back into the homebrewing swing of things so these meetings are really nice to go to.

On a good note, my other appointment with the doctor just proved I am still normal. I did have to drink some foul stuff but all is well. I think at this point the diet change is helping but time will tell. I've only been on it for one week.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hiking attempt two

A few weeks ago I tried to set up a hike at Difficult Run. Unfortunately the weather was so nice that the parking area was packed to overflowing. So instead we went down the road to enjoy Scott's Run instead. Today I reran Difficult run and the parking situation was much better due to the cooler weather. This is a great local hike that overlooks the Potomac. Since it is so close, I can run it as a half day hike and still have the rest of the day to get other things done, or go to pool session. I have been running this hike as often as possible over the winter to help keep the group active and meet more of my members. I think it has been working well as I do have a small core group but each time I get to meet new members. My guest is still in town and enjoyed the hike. We made it all the way to Great Falls overlook and watched some kayakers playing in the waves at the bottom. I always look forward to running this hike.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm normal, w00t!

At least that is what the doctor's are saying. Guess that is a good thing, but it doesn't explain what is wrong with me. They do want me to go back for another procedure to verify but I suspect it will not show much more. But since I am clean as a whistle it is time to switch over to the new diet plan. I have opted to go onto a raw foods diet for a while as I have heard good things about it. I am hoping that by restricting my diet to unprocessed foods that whatever was wrong will heal or work itself out and I can slowly start reintroducing stuff once again. I am going to try to be faithful to the new diet and follow it as closely as possible for a least a few months then start phasing things back in. I hope it isn't too hard as this is a basically vegan diet plan ( I guess I can technically eat non-rich based sushi and steak tartar). I have, over the last two months been eating a few of the recipes to test drive them and now have a few dishes I can prepare that I know taste good. I have already been making some really god and wholesome granola bars which I have been eating for breakfast and as power bars while hiking. I really love these bars but find they still need a bit of work. Sometimes they hold together fine and other times they are loose. I definitely have to keep them cold so they stay together. I will have to work on them a bit more and hopefully I can post a final recipe. These really do make great trail bars when they hold together. They have lots of nuts, seeds, oats and crasins in them. Like trail mix in a bar form and all raw.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

In Pursuit of Snow

It is funny how I keep moving further south put then start spending more time seeking out snow in the winter. As my attitude towards outdoor activities has changes, and my personal life too, I have been seeking out more to do over the winter to stay active and fit. My summers lately have been filled with kayaking, some day hiking and a few backpacking trips. Since I don't have the equipment to kayak in the winter I have been turning more to hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing. But were is a person to go for snowshoeing in an area that rarely gets snow? Why West Virginia and Pennsylvania of course! So it was off to Pennsylvania this weekend to find some snow. Unfortunately the area had a warm spell over the last week and the 12 inch snow base out in PA had melted down to nothing. Sigh. Oh well. Winter hiking it was. I hadn't been feeling well over the last couple of days leading up to the hike and was barely eating this trip but I felt good and was able to still hike at my usual pace. I did discover that drinking on a really empty stomach results in almost instant drunkenness. Walking on rough trails while drunk without tying of boots is bad. Hilarity ensued as I had to be walked to the bathrooms to prevent falling into the cold water on the trails. Oh well. When you gotta go, you gotta go!

The mileage was kept low on this trip as we assumed we would be slogging our way through lots of snow. In the end, we were at camp early and had tons of fun sitting around, talking and playing Uno. Strip Uno was suggested but it was simply too cold. The shelters we stayed at were almost luxury on the trail. There was a real bathroom area (pit toilets), a wood pile provided, fire places at each shelter and a pump for water (potable). Each night was quite cold and I was playing with a 15 F bag. Unfortunately this bag doesn't do anything to keep me warm once the outside temperatures get below 24 F. It got below 24 F and I ended up having to switch bags with someone who had a -20 F bag and complaining they were too warm. I was much warmer after that. Time to get a better bag if I want to keep doing winter backpacking.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Not feeling well

I haven't been feeling well the last couple of days and this has severely restricted my food intake. I am not sure if it is something in particular I am eating that is doing this, or just my diet. I am going to the doctor's office next week so they can check it out but in the meantime I am barely eating anything. While it does seem to be working, I am a bit concerned about how much energy I will have over the weekend for a backpacking trip with at least 5 miles each day. The last day is 2 miles back to the car. I am trying to plan what meals and things I can eat and I have decided to go with plain things like mashed potatoes and homemade granola bars which I have been eating during the last week with few issues. I have decided to do a radical change in my diet after the doctor's visit. I kind of hope they find something so I have something to work with, but I fear they won't.

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Guest in town

A fellow gear tester is coming to town today to stay with me. Just in time to enjoy a trip with a group of us that we have planned this weekend. This should be fun although I fear he will find the east coast quite flat. At least he should be able to keep up. The group is meeting up at a hotel for the night just to make things easy then we will be hitting the trail in the morning once we set up shuttles. It is cool to meet other gear testers and talk about the gear they are testing or have tested. It is also nice to hear about the areas they hike in. I really like the areas described in the gear reports from people out west and hope one day that I can move out there and experience real mountains. So last night was busy and so it today. I had to pack everything up for the weekend trip and load it in the car. Today I have been trying to sort out car pooling and we decided to just go with a third car to make things easier. I am working all day today then I have to run home, get the car then dodge rush hour traffic to get my guest from the airport. Then off to the hotel near the trail head. Should be a fun 3 plus hours of driving. Good time to get to know each other.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Failed hiking plans

The weather was absolutely gorgeous the last few days, meaning snow is in the forecast soon. But back to the nice weather. I planned a group hiking event to Difficult Run in Virginia. This is one of my favourite local hikes and I love going back there whenever I can. As this was the first nice day of the year, apparently everyone else decided they too were going to go hiking. And that meant the parking area was really full. So instead we went back down the road to Scott's Run where there was more parking and did that hike instead. It is a nice hike but not nearly as nice as the originally planned hike. The weather was perfect but the trails were quite muddy. A few people slipped in the mud. Good thing I had the poles with me or I would have taken a spill or three. After hiking along the river section the bottom o my shoes were coated in a thick layer of mud. Good thing there was a small stream we cross over so we could wash the mud off our shoes. Overall though it was a great day and a great hike. I love running hiking events, I just wish I could get paid enough to do this as a full time job.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Writing sessions

I haven't been very good about making it to the weekly writing sessions. I really have to be better at going to those as I really want to do more writing. I am currently in the process of editing the first novel I wrote over the first two National Novel Writing Months that I participated in. Over two months I wrote 100,000. The funny thing, now that I going back and editing the thing was that the two parts were written a year apart and there are some strange comments within the text referring to names because I couldn't remember what I had written. I think the editing is also giving me a chance to go back and make sure there is better continuity between the two parts. On a good note, I have had a few friends read the story to get opinions and the feed back has been pretty good. One friend is even helping highlight things that don't really make sense which is making the editing go a bit better. I still find it is hard to edit my own stuff. Guess I will see what happens. Have to start going back to the writing group though.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

White water pool sessions

I bought a package deal that allows me to go to a pool to practice white water skills in a controlled environment. The pool is a great way to hone skills and learn new ones. It is also a great way to stay in shape over the winter if you don't have the right gear for winter paddling. I don't have the right gear yet, so this is my venue for getting out on the water. I have been trying to stay in shape but it is hard to get a full body workout while hiking and the yoga ball just doesn't quite compare. So needless to say, I was very sore today after my Saturday pool session. I also unfortunately decided to try a new trick. I didn't quite get it to work out but stubborn me, I kept trying. As I am stronger on my right side I tend to practice things on that side first. So needless to say, my right side is extremely sore and I had trouble rolling out of bed this morning. I also discovered that wwkayaking is a full body workout as my butt and legs are also quite sore. At least I got some exercise. Hopefully I will be ready to go on the water in the spring as I really wanted to do lots of white water kayaking this year. Not sure how much flat water I will be doing as I really love the white water side of things a lot.