Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back in DC

I am sadly back in DC. I really enjoyed my stay out in Utah. The trip was not nearly long enough and I am not sure when we will be able to get together again for the next few months. I really did not want to go back to work today, but at least I have kayaking tomorrow night to look forward to. I also have so much stuff to take care of from the gear show I just got back from. I have to email a bunch of people and get more viewers to the site.

I have never really noticed the humidity before here in DC as I mostly grew up with humidity. But after spending more then a week at relatively low humidity, I am finding it is quite humid here. As my flight was delayed in Houston, I got back later then I expected. My duffle weighed in at 50 lbs and my pack that I used as a carry on was also quite heavy. I must have had about 80 lbs worth of stuff to pug back to my apartment. Good thing the bus stops right in front of my place. Because I got back so late, I haven't had a chance to get any food yet. I have some stuff in the apartment so I might have to hold out on fried rice and noodle stir fry until this weekend when I will have time.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bryce Canyon and Calf Creek falls

We managed to get out of the OR show fairly early and we packed up and hit the road. We ended up going down to the dessert in an effort to see if I could be warmed up. I haven't been really cold but I do find I am cool enough that I carry long sleeves with me just in case. Zip apart pants are my best friend right now. We made it down to Bryce a little late but we found a nice site, set up then walked out to the rim to watch the sunset. Too bad it was cloudy and there was smoke from a forest fire, but it was still beautiful. We prepared and ate supper on the rim enjoying the cooling evening. We again planned really well by leaving the headlamps back at the camp site.

The next day we hiked down into the canyon among the hoodoos. It was really surreal. I have never seen anything like them before. It was also pretty warm out. I was finally warm for a change. We had an afternoon sprinkle of rain but nothing too big. We had to change campsites twice because the camp ranger didn't tell us that loop C was reservation only. We got lucky and found an open spot on C the first night but didn't know we couldn't just move to another site. We found a site later in the day on D. Imagine how upset we were when we left the next morning to find no one had stayed on the site they had kicked us out of. Oh well.

We drove over to hike in to see Calf Creek Falls. It was amazing and although a very hot and dry hike in, well worth it. There were few people because of the heat. The sun beats down into the canyon and there is very little shade. We made it to the falls and have time to enjoy it alone before a few others joined us. We hiked back in a gentle rain which cooled the area down and made the hike out more pleasant. I am not looking forward to going back to DC tomorrow. I really don't want to go back to work either.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer OR show

I thought the winter show was pretty big and crazy but the summer show while about the same size had more area being covered, like paddle sports. There were just as many parties and seemed to be just as many people crowding the aisles. I was running from appointment to appointment and when I didn't have scheduled appointments I was trying to meet with retailers to set up appointments or to pitch the new watersports section of the site. It was a crazy week and I think I will be feeling the effects of it for a little while. I will have to email tons of people and try to set up gear to be tested on the site.

It turned out to be a really great show in more ways then one. Not only was I pitching my own site, but I won a few nice items while I was there. I won a very nice messenger bag from KEEN. I also won a wool top from Icebreaker. I won several pairs of shows. And the big win was a kayaking trip for two to Baja, Mexico to kayak with the whales. I was really surprised to hear them call my name as it was really a last minute addition to the drawing. I was there to talk to the retailer and he entered my name in the drawing. So I was understandably surprised that I had actually won. Who wins these things? Apparently people do win them. So we are now all psyched up to go on this amazing trip. I really can't wait.

Tomorrow is the last day of the show and I don't really expect to have too much to do. Mostly I have a few little things to do and we might even be able to get out before lunch and hit the road early for more trail time.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Over 10,000 ft

We did the Brighton Lakes loop hike this weekend. We didn't have a ton of time left on Saturday after driving back up from Eureka and getting everything packed up for backpacking. We did make about 5 miles up to the last lake and found a nice place to camp. It was really nice except for the droves of mosquitos. I thought I was going to go crazy with the humming and the biting. Of course we planned really well by leaving the DEET in the truck. I only had Badger Balm bug off and it didn't work so well against the droves. We pitched the tent and got water in a hurry then rested behind the netting until dusk slowed them down.

We have been playing around with different meals on our trips as I am not a huge fan of Mountain House meals. I had a bad experience with them at the beginning of my thru-hike and have avoided them almost ever since. I was eating a lasagna and the vegetables tasted moldy, what a turn off. I have tasted some since and haven't had this issue come up so it might have just been a bad batch. My boyfriend doesn't care for the Lipton Noodle or Rice sides that I eat so we are trying to find common ground. It might just be that we each eat what we can and enjoy each other's company instead. We ate asian noodles this trip and while we both thought they were okay, they weren't okay enough for us to keep going back to them. We will have to keep looking, but I am starting to think that dehydrating our own meals might be the way to go.

The first day we had a fair amount of elevation gain and I was really feeling it towards the end, but we pushed on to the top lake and had a great evening with great views as seen through bug netting. The following morning left the option of making a run for one summit then heading back down the way we had come or pushing for the summit and finishing the loop. I decided I was up for the loop so onward and upward we went. It was my first time hiking up over 6,000 ft. Mt. Washington was the highest I had ever hiked. Sad but true.

It was absolutely breath taking, and the views were stunning too. I wasn't so bad off, but we did have to take frequent breaks. There were still some patches of snow and we ended up having a snow ball fight started by me. I was surprised it was perfect snow ball snow, sticky enough to hold together. I ended up on the lower ground and got some snow kicked at me. But it was fun none the less. I'm glad I decided to push for the summit. It was a hard climb up but well worth it.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Seeing Eureka

I really didn't do anything yesterday other then try to get all the little computer things done. They have been slowly piling up until I had time to work on it. Yesterday was my first real chance to get it done. I fixed up the website and worked on some of the little tweaks I wanted to do. I think everything is set for that for now. I even had an afternoon nap to try to get over the jet lag. I have been drinking tons of water to stay hydrated but I feel like I have to clear my throat much more then my usual annoying amount.

After supper, we had time to go out and hike to the top of the mountain overlooking Eureka. It isn't very high and the road was graded, but again the elevation is higher then I am used to so it took a while to get up to the top. The views were great, although there wasn't much town to see. It is a small town. But it was cool to see it from above. I think the one day of rest helped me to acclimate a little as I didn't get a big headache, just the hints of one.

I notice the area has an austere beauty. It is different from the east coast. Not as many trees covering the mountains down here. There is a lot of shrubbery though. Sage brush and stuff. I can't wait to see more of the area.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I arrived safely in Utah. The taxi driver had my cell number wrong but luckily I saw him waiting. I can't believe there is now a surcharge for putting bags in the trunk, that is ridiculous. Oh well. I arrived at lunch time so it was off to lunch for us. It was so nice to finally see my boyfriend in person and get a real hug. Skype is nice but it can only go so far.

We ate some Mexican for lunch then decided to hit the hills. I am not used to the higher elevation and so I was soon huffing and puffing like crazy. We were trying to get up to Cecret Lake, but I wasn't able to make it. I had no problems going downhill it was the uphill that was killing me. It wasn't so bad until I started to get the accompanying headache. I am trying to drink water like crazy too as I am not used to the dry heat. I actually found that while the temperatures are about comparable, the lack of humidity makes me feel cooler. We met family for supper then it was packing, a food run then down to Eureka for a few days.

I woke up as we arrived. Not much to see late at night. Boy is it dark here. The bed and breakfast is nice, what little I saw of it. I am very tired from the very long day.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About to leave

I did my last minute laundry yesterday and am trying to finish up the last minute packing today. I have to pack not only the stuff I need to the OR show, but I also need to pack some stuff to go backpacking while I am out there. It seems like I have so much to do and I just can't wrap my head around it. I do know that I will be coming back with a lot more stuff then I went out with. I was able to pack everything I needed in the large green duffel with my clothes in a carryon that fits inside the duffel. This way I can either expand the duffel or remove the carryon and have more space. I am really looking forward to this trip. I haven't seen my boyfriend in too long. While this will be a short trip, it will be nice to see him again. I really can't wait. I'm off to bed as I fly out extremely early in the morning.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One week

One week until I get to take time off of work, fly out to Utah and enjoy catching up with people I met the first time I was out there. And more trail time. And a backpacking partner I actually like to backpack with. I am leaving it up to his Utah experienced hands to pick out some nice places to show off. I fear that he has too many to chose from and will be wracked with indecision. Guess it really depends on how I take to the altitude when I am out there. But I have two weekends out in Utah and hopefully will be able to hit some nice trails. I am looking forward to a change of view and change of pace. I have been doing so much kayaking that I fear I might be out of backpacking shape.

I also can't wait to get out there for the big gear show that is happening. I went out to the winter version of the show and it was awesome. I am ready to be wow'ed again with what I hear is the bigger summer show. I also can't wait to check out all the kayaking stuff. I have been reading that they have class III rapids below the reservoir to play in with the white water boats. I am just barely comfortable with the Class III on the Potomac here so I am not sure I will hit the white water out there, but I am definitely going to be hitting the water on the reservoir and have fun playing on the flat water.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Time to hit the trail

I have been on the water so much the last month that I think I am starting to feel a little water logged. Not only did I do the week long kayaking training certification but that weekend I taught two classes. One class was one on one instruction as only two people showed up and two instructors. I have also been running a lot of social paddles as well as peer paddles both during the week and on the weekend. Last week I ran the gorge with some friends and was so excited to be trying out a play boat that I forgot to change from my glasses to my sun glasses with the strap. Needless to say, I left my glasses on the bottom of the Potomac. At least it was only my glasses. The boat was so squirrelly that I kept capsizing it. So I really got in my rolling practice that run. I am waiting for my new glasses to come in. I decided to just order a few off the internet and I hope I can get the lasik done on my eyes at the end of summer.

So after all that paddling, it is time to go hit the trails. I have a nice gravity filter to play with as well as a sleep system by Therm-A-Rest that I can't wait to try. The system is supposed to feel more like a bed then a body bag. I hope I can sleep better. Only problem is my hiking partner is not here and I am not sure I want to carry the big tent. I am waiting for a lighter tent to arrive but in the mean time I think I might just tarp tent on this trip. I cam bring the hammock and optionally if there are good trees I can swing for the night.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Crabs and fireworks

I was invited to join some people for the 4th of July celebrations. I hadn't really done anything either here in DC or any place I lived for the 4th so I wasn't sure but I figured these were people I was paddling with and a good time would be had. And I was right. I knew a few of the people at the party and met others which was nice. We talked about kayaking and watched some kayak porn videos as well as one girl showed off her Africa pictures from when she hiked Kilimanjaro.

The day started off with moving boats around and getting them down to the put in before the streets were closed off. After that we sat around talking about the Africa pictures while snacking on all sorts of junk goodness. We enjoyed a crab boil and dessert before walking down to the put in. It was very strange to be walking against the crowd dressed for kayaking but without the kayak. We had several comments, the best of which was a remark about expecting that much rain. We paddled out around Roosevelt Island to where we could see the monuments and parked ourselves. With one sea kayak and about 8 white water boats, the sea kayak held the beer stash. The fireworks were great, coming up from behind the monuments. I shot some video, a bit shaky from the current but still cool. We paddled back in the dark with the flow of traffic this time. Loaded up the kayaks and gear and walked back. We ate more food and stayed to watch more kayak porn while waiting for the traffic to die down. What a great time. It makes me sad to think that I didn't do this last year because I let my self get talked out of it.

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