Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trip to Apostle Islands

So, before school started Miriam and I went on a four day kayaking trip up to the Apostle Islands. We had some pretty rough seas one of the four days and barely missed being caught in a squall, but it was mostly great. Actually, even the bad weather was kind of fun. The water was surprisingly warm. There were bald eagles everywhere. We even saw a few little black bears on the last island we camped on. Miriam was a great sport and helped paddle maybe a third of the time. Her only moment of grumpiness was when she was asleep and a wave came over the bow and splashed her in the face. Anyway, here are some pictures.

These were really cool sea caves, but none of the pictures really came out. It's hard to get a sense of perspective from inside one kayak.

This was our campsite on day one, York island. There was a nice beach.

Rasberry Island on the way out to Rocky. There was a cool lighthouse. We got there just before a crazy squall with 30+mph winds. Then it was a long paddle (8 miles) out to Rocky island with 3-4 ft waves. Kind of crazy, but fun. I kind of love the folding kayak in that kind of weather. Appreciated it's stability and flexibility.

Campsite day 2, on Rocky Island. The south end of the island had a really cool bog. There was also a yacht anchored offshore. That would be fun too.

Sea caves on the north side of Oak Island. Kind of an accidental find, but very cool. There was a more extensive one a little further down we swam in, but no pictures.

Campsite at Oak Island. We did a death march (4 miles each way) across the island and swam on the other side. When we got back to our campsite on the far side we were starving and exhausted.

Had an incredible sunset. This is where we saw the bears. One was ambling down the beach at dusk. And the other was on the point above our campsite the next morning when I went on a hike and let Miriam sleep in.

Back past Rasberry Island on the way home. So tired. The kayak is kind of a beast to paddle by oneself. It was pretty hammered by the end too. The skin needs to be retired, or needs a lot of work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

National Popular Vote

Is anyone else interested in this? Vermont just passed the National Popular vote law, which brings us 29% of the way to 270 votes needed to make it work. (Hawaii was also one of the first to pass it.) I found out about it from Hendrick Hertzberg's blog at the New Yorker, where he has a great discussion about it here. So then I had to go check out the website and see how it was coming along in the rest of the states. And be mad at the Governator, again, for vetoing it in California when it was passed by both houses. Any chance this will happen before 2012?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beard, Jobs, etc.

So here is what is happening in my life, in no particular order.

So, I didn't get the job in New Zealand. I was not that surprised at that point, since it had been so long, still, I was a little disappointed. (Right now, I kind of just want to move back to Hawaii and start some sort of business.)

I was growing a beard for a while, but it was way too itchy, and I kept waiting for it to stop itching, but it didn't, so I shaved it all off except the goatee. My hair is longer than it's been in a while, and I am not sure how long that is going to last. Maybe not until the weekend. The beard was kind of a response to the hair, so shaving one may affect the other. We'll see. I may post some beard pictures and let people vote for their favorite look. Maybe it is to make up for the fact that I don't wear a tie to work.

The Beard.

One more day of classes. I am kind of burnt out, so that is good. I am almost finished with my current list of job applications, although I am sure there will be more. Just finished one phone interview that went well, but I find I am not always the best judge.

Just went and got an Indiana drivers license since my California one expires on my birthday. Not sure how I feel about that.

We just found out yesterday we have mice. The girls opened up their advent calendar bags to find that someone had been helping themselves to their chocolate. Bekah responded by buying one of just about every kind of mouse trap, poison, bomb, projectile weaponry in the store.

Although, I can hardly blame them for coming inside. It's been snowy here, and this week dropped into the teens and twenties. More snow this weekend.

We're really forward to Christmas at Enoch and Amy's, although I have kind of a lot of work to do before the next semester starts.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Zealand Trip

Okay, so overall impressions of New Zealand. I hardly know where to begin. Everything was nicer than I expected. The city, the university, the houses (I saw), and beaches and hikes were all beautiful. All of the flowers were blooming everywhere. There were clear little streams running through the campus and the city. The campus was full of little paths along the rivers and through the ferns and blossoming foliage.

Everything is more expensive there. Milk was $7 nzd for 3 liters, so $5 US. Gas is a little bit more, about 1.89/l. I guess it would be like Hawaii, where you would be paying for more the lifestyle and only spend your money on the basics. (Houses, although more than Crawfordsville or Lewiston, are much cheaper than in Hawaii.)

The city has its own composting program and recyles everything. There are bike lanes everyone and lots of people using them. The public transportation is great. There are even nine members of the green party in parliament. As a liberal, I felt a little irrelevant. Especially in contrast to Crawfordsville, where I count my visible bike riding a minor public service. The lady running the restaurant at the hotel assured me that their conservatives were more liberal than President Obama. Who knows, maybe, in New Zealand, I would actually be conservative.

On the lifestyle, it seems pretty ideal. I found surfing, rockclimbing, hiking all within a half hour from the city.

There seems like a pretty incredible amount of adventures within three hours, and the entire south island within 7-8 hours. Alpine treks. Week-long kakaying tours through island or fjords. Hotsprings. A system of mountain huts were you can stay inexpensively in the back country, some with hotsprings. Seriously. Where do I sign? My only complaint, and, after living in Maine, I feel like a whiner even bringing it up, is that is was kind of cold. Like it would never really be warm enough to want to jump in the ocean without a wetsuit on. Like Santa Cruz (another pretty near ideally situated city). They feel like it’s cold too, but I think because it is colder than everywhere close by, like Australia or Oceania, they feel like it is colder than it really is. They aren’t comparing it to Maine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Triathlon Training Update

This is a kind of narcissistic post, but I thought since I announced that I would be trying this on my blog, I should at least provide some kind of periodic follow up. I have been training very inconsistently until we got here and now I have settled, more or less, into kind of a training schedule.
My basic problem is that I am not very good at pacing myself. I am agro for a while, but then I am really sore, so I back off, and then get lazy and miss workouts, and then try and pick things up again, and so on. Basically, I try and get up around 6:20, but sometimes it takes a while to get out of bed. We are on the far western edge of the eastern time zone, so it is still totally dark out. Sunrise is not until 7:30 or so.
So my basic schedule is run about 8 miles on Monday and Friday. Swim a mile or so on Tuesday and Thursday, and then play ultimate in the afternoon (if there's no faculty meeting). Bike ride or some other exercises on Wednesday, and a longer bike ride on Saturday. The last two weekends, it's been a fun 38 mile loop I found. It takes me a little over two hours.
Anyway, when I actually push myself, I am pretty much always sore. My swimming has been pretty slow, since I am working on my technique with a book I have, but I don't know how much progress I am making. Some laps feel much faster, then the next I will totally be floundering. My old stroke, though slower, was very consistent. Biking is weird. It doesn't feel very cardiovascular at this point, maybe because my leg muscles are weak, but it is kind of novel and I like getting out into Indiana. My most beautiful Indiana scenes, misty morning pastures, sunrises over cornfields, etc, have been while biking. It does get boring though, so last Saturday I downloaded a bunch of learn Portugeuse podcasts. That was distracting in a good way, although it was hard to listen with the wind and I didn't as much out of the scenery, and I was little bit slower. Also, I was worried I wouldn't hear the semi's coming up behind me, but I guess if one were to hit me, there wouldn't be a lot I could do anyway. (The podcasts will probably be key in the winter, when a lot of this will move indoors). I kind of hate running, although after the endorphins kick in at 20 minutes or so, it becomes pleasurable in a weird kind of way and doesn't hurt as bad. Still, it always takes some effort to go do it and always feels like an accomplishment when I get home.
Anyway, so what I need is a partner, who is about my level, but is really obsessive about the training aspect of it, how far to run, what kind of weight training or drills to sprinkle in, what to eat, so I can just show up and do it, and be more motivated and feel like I am moving forward. A personal trainer, I guess, but for free. I bought a couple of books, but they are all a bit much. I need to get a heart rate monitor for example. (Someone gave me one a while back, but I thought, Why would I ever need one of these?, and gave it away and am too cheap to buy another). Anyway, I keep telling myself I should just sit down and figure out a plan, but I have so many other things to do right now, I don't see it happening. Any suggestions, volunteers?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ultimate faculty meeting

So, one of the brighter spots of life in Indiana has been the bi weekly ultimate frisbee. A group of students and a few faculty play on the quad that is in the middle of the very cozy campus. So I'm out there 4:30 on Tuesday and I notice that Profs. Olofson and Freeze, the two other faculty regulars are not there. Hmmm.
Thirty minutes later, the entire faculty, dean, president, etc, come streaming out of the library.
There I am, sweaty, holding the disc, trying to look inconspicuous.
"Hey. Was there a faculty meeting today?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

White Mountains

So before left Maine back in June, I went on a 3 day backpacking trip by myself in the White Mountains in New Hampshire (or New Hamster as Gwyn would say.) It was gorgeous. I got dropped of Tuesday night, and we hiked together up this little stream. Some of the boulders were white marble and there were lots of beautiful little cascades and some bigger falls.

Then Bekah and the kids went back to the car and I hiked up to a campsite. The trail was very steep and not in particularly good shape and we got a late start, so I got into camp just as it was getting dark. I slept pretty well, except that I could hear some critter trying to get my food and it gnawed a hole in my tent. The next morning I got up with the sun and started hiking very soon after. It didn't take long to get to the hut at the foot of Mt. Madison. Here's a picture.

Then I started my hike across the presidential range. Mt. Washington is in the middle and at 6,288 ft, is the highest peak in New England and also has the worst weather. The highest recorded wind speeds in the world were recorded there, 231 mph and it is regularly above gale force. Today was an exception though, the sky was crystal clear all day and the wind was hardly blowing, even at the summit.

I was pretty careful about my pack weight and my base weight was around 14 lbs. I think I can do better though. There were some last minute things I threw in, like a "Summer Sausage" I bought discounted at Mardens. I ate about 1/5 of it for a snack and it was pretty tasty, but then I kept tasting it and was wondering if it needed to be cooked, or if it mattered that it was six months past date. I also realized that the whole thing was 16 oz. I was carrying a whole pound of summer sausage, and I wasn't really looking forward to eating it again. So a few hours after lunch, I unwrapped it and jettisoned it off a cliff. It felt pretty good and probably made some raccoon's week.

The scenery was incredible. This is the hut at Lake of the Clouds, just past the summit, which was probably the best part.
Near the end of the day, other people who were hiking the whole thing in one day started to catch up with me. I met an older guy who teaches high risk kids in Maine high schools and we hiked together for a couple hours.
Then I found a tiny spot to pitch my tent right before Crawford Notch. During the night it started raining and rained on and off for the next day. I ended up hiking in my stretchy fleece tights and they were awesome. Although they got wet, they didn't feel wet and I felt warm. My patagonia houdini was less waterproof than I had hoped and I got pretty wet. Although I was at lower elevations for most of the day, I passed a few nice lakes and ponds and several waterfalls, as well as a couple more huts. Near the end of the day, I hit a few more shorter peaks, but it was rainy and cloudy so I didn't get to appreciate them that much. I also passed 3 or 4 through hikers headed north on the Appalachian Trail. Most had been out about 4 months at this point. I was pretty jealous. I almost made it to a shelter for the night, but decided to pitch my tent instead, because I figured it would be warmer and most of my stuff was wet.
The last day I got up early again and climbed up to Mt. Lafayette. Although not as high, this long ridge above Franconia Notch had that cool alpine feel with short shrubbery and rocky crags, like these.

Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so there weren't any views to speak of. I hiked down the Cascade trail and saw a bunch of waterfalls. Then I hung out in the campground for an hour waiting for Bekah and the girls. When then got there we hiked back up the cascade trail, since I lost my fleece somewhere. Here's us at the falls.

I think this sequence is pretty classic hiking with kids.

We camped in the state park that night and the next morning did a five mile hike up to a lake and down next to a stream with lots of waterfalls. We did hiking treats the whole way and it was probably Gwyn's longest hike ever. She did great.

Hiking treats. Miriam got to designing fun hiking treat place setting, like this floating one.

This is the last falls near the end. No swimming. (What is this, Japan?)