Monday, February 27, 2006

tahoe again

j. and i and her friend j.o. went up to tahoe again this past weekend. we left saturday morning and spent the afternoon cruising around (and up and down) the mountains at carson pass.

j. and j.o. were on tele skis and i was on snowhoes. the sun was out, the snow was great, and i don't know how far we went, but by the time we got back to the car the sun was down and we were all pretty worked.

on sunday we hiked up to eagle lake, and then drove back down 50 to echo lake, where j.o. went skate-skiing, and j. and i ran around on snowshoes, and tried not to get blown off the ridge we were on as a storm came in.

i'm starting to remember why i used to like snow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

24 hours in the wilderness

the weather sucked on saturday; cold, grey, and rainy, so instead of going running j. and i went climbing, then out to brunch, and then lay around watching bad movies while we tried to convince each other that we didn't feel guilty for not running.

sunday morning we packed up our gear, jumped into j.'s truck and drove down to big sur to go camping. our plan was to hike about 10 miles into the ventana wilderness and camp near some hot springs, and that's what we did.

what with one thing and another we didn't start hiking until 2:00, and our packs were heavier than they would normally have been because it snowed the two previous nights, and we had all kinds of warm gear.

the trail was beautiful, winding up and down ridges and in and out of canyons, giving glimpses of snow-covered peaks and moss-drenched gullies, and all the while we could see one mountain ahead of us with a dark cloud sitting on top of it, and snow-covered flanks slanting down out of it.

we made good time, and even though we lost the sun early because were down in the canyons, we reached the hot springs with a little time left to find a campsite before the light faded.

that turned out to be a bit of a problem; the mountains in ventana are STEEP, and there's not a whole lot of flat ground to be had. what there was had already been claimed by other campers on both sides of the river, and it was starting to look like were were going to have to wedge into a table-sized nook for the night.

after a little running around we spotted a nice flat, sandy site right by the river, and away from the other campers. the only problem was that it was on the far side of the river, and the only way to get there was to wade through the absolutely frigid, thigh-deep water.

it hurt but we did it, and were rewarded with a great site with plenty of wood for the fire, and great natural stone bench to sit on.

by the time we'd had dinner and wine it was late, and we went to bed, bundled against the cold.

we slept late, and then had to scramble to hit the trail because we had a reservation at the teahouse spa in santa cruz for a hot tub and sauna session. we double-timed it back out and managed to cover the 10 miles in just over 2.5 hours, which put us back at the car exactly 24 hours after we left, gave us just enough time to get to santa cruz.

on the way back out of the wilderness, perched on a steep slope, we saw a santa lucia fir*, the rarest fir tree in the world. i'd been wanting to see one for some time, and it was a nice surprise to stumble across one so unexpectedly.

we drove up the coast as we left santa cruz, watched the sun set over the pacific, stopped in el grenada for dinner, and were home, tired but happy, early enough to be in bed by 8:30

so of course i dorked around until 9:30 and paid for it when my alarm went of at 5:00 the next morning.

(there would have been pictures of the trip since i remembered to charge my camera battery AND pack the camera, but i forgot to make sure the memory card was in there. sometimes i'm an idiot).

*the site i'm trying to link to seems to think that blogger is some kind of spammer, so the link gets redirected. i emailed them to ask what was up, but until they respond, you can copy and paste the link the get there

Sunday, February 12, 2006

neener neener neeee-ner!

it's sunny and about 65 degrees out, i just got back from a bike ride, stuffed a bunch of food in my face, and am going out for another ride with j.

meanwhile, there's two feet of snow on the ground in new york.

i like california.

UPDATE: so, on my way back home from the second ride i got in an accident. i was on a bike path that crosses a street at one point (the panhandle one, where it crosses masonic), and had sped up so i could make the light.

i was in the middle of the crosswalk, with 2 seconds on the countdown timer, and a subaru outback in the far-right line edged into the crosswalk, leaving me nowhere to go.

i didn't even have time to yell; i slammed on the brakes, and somehow the bike slewed to the left, so that when i hit the front quarter-panel of the car i was mostly parallel to it.

this turned out to be a good thing, since my hip and shoulder, (and a little bit of my hand) took the brunt of the impact, and saved me from going head-first over the hood.

the woman driving was totally aplogetic, j. was a little freaked, and everyone who saw it (including the driver and her passengers) agreed that it was completely her fault.

the upshot is that i'm a little banged up, but nothing major so far, my bike is a little dinged up, but i'll take it to the shop on tuesday to get a full dx, and i'm drinking a beer.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

snow, skis, and my sore ass

friday night j. and i and her friend j.o. drove up to south lake tahoe where j. has a share in a ski house for the season.

we got there around 12:30 and found the place was packed; there were people sleeping everywhere, and floorspace was in short supply. j. and i took over a walk-in closet, j.o grabbed half a bed, and we crashed.

we woke up far too soon to the sight of windy rain coming down pretty heavily, and groans of disgust at the weather from the other folks in the house.

since skiing seemed to be out, we piled in j.'s truck and drove up to higher elevations where the rain morphed into something resembling snow, strapped on snowshoes, and headed out along the -- mostly -- frozen echo lake.

as long as we stayed sheltered behind trees or ridges the weather wasn't bad, but as soon as we found ourselves exposed we got blasted with wind carrying a stinging load of ice crystals which scoured exposed skin like sand. we toughed it out for a few hours, then went back to the house for lunch and power naps.

the sun was out when we woke up, so we went back up the mountain again to find a place where j. could practice telemark skiing (she set herself the goal of learning to tele-ski this winter).

while j.o. and i goofed around on snowshoes, j. practiced her turns for a while, and we managed to stay out until about 5:00.

we went back to the house, made dinner, and then sat around talking to some of the other people in the house while j. and i put a sizeable dent in a bottle of scotch.

sunday dawned cold and clear and cold, and after breakfast we pilied in the car again and drove to the resort where j. and j.o. planned to ski. since it's been may years since i've skied, i planned on renting cross-country skis because the risk of injuring myself seemed smaller.

once i got set up with the skies i took off along one of the many truly beautiful trails that run through the woods, and other than falling down on the exact same place on my ass every time i had to go downhill and turn at the same time, things went well.

i took a break for lunch, and went back out again, and by the time i was done i'd covered about 30k, and was completely whipped.

all the cool kids seemd to be doing this new-fangled skate skiing thing, which was a lot faster than what i was doing, and looked a lot more fun, so i'll probably try that if i go up again.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

endogenous chemicals

i finally feel like i'm getting back to normal after the holidays. the weight i put on is mostly gone, my muscle tone is coming back, and my climbing, while not back where it was, is starting to improve again.

i've got a decent workout schedule going (it needs a little tweaking still, but it works for now):

mon: climb
tue: san francisco bootcamp, work bootcamp, climb
wed: run, maybe ride
thu: san francisco bootcamp, work bootcamp
fri: climb
sat: run
sun: ride, or off

it's made me realize (again) how much better i feel about myself, and things in general, when i get regular exercise.

on top of all the endorphin-y goodness i've got going, i started dating someone a couple weeks ago, and have the happy brain chemicals that come from that as well. she's arguably more sporty than i am, gets up early, kicks my butt running hills, likes to drink beer, and is cute as hell. perfect!