Feb 20, 2017

Instructions for successful cabin-ing

Find: cabin at the limit of weekend driving distance (4-6 hrs), friends who own it (awkward if you show up without owners) and a winter sport (or two).

Dec 24, 2016

FKT Military Ridge


As I write this I realize that as much as I love running it is one of the most boring sports to blog about, much less create a stunning adventure video, etc. But here we go. Yesterday I prepared for Christmas gluttony by running Military Ridge from Camp Randall to Barneveld reversing course from my run with Justin of Fall 2015. My friend Shana assisted me on the pavement portion to the edge of town in the dawn hours. Above, leaving the Capitol view.


 At the edge of town I bid farewell to the pavement. The snow section from Fitchburg to Verona was really rough and I was expecting to have to bail at Verona at the first open coffee shop or bar. Though there had been a lot of snow bikes and skis out, there was not single line of good footing so every step was a struggle. At Verona I thought about life a bit and figured I would continue on, hoping that as I got into the snowmobile zones there would be packed down snow. I was very lucky that the 11 mile section from Verona to Mt Horeb was indeed well packed down and the snow was gone in the center of the sled tracks in many sections. So I was back in business!
The weather was good and it was fun to see the sections that I'm used to biking in the summer, now in full snow.

Who knew that snowmobiles can go 55 mph AT NIGHT? Does this sign imply no daytime speed limit? At Mt Horeb I considered quitting again but had no good excuse. And by then I could break the run into two five mile sections, and worst case scenario I end at Hooterville (my favorite rural bar).  The Mt Horeb-Blue Mounds section was really rough because of wind exposure and crappy footing. But once I made it to Blue Mounds I figured it would be lame to quit four miles from the self-imposed "finish line" in Barneveld. 
Above: the overlook (beer stop on a typical bike ride) in the snow. Below: trail conditions. 
In a very uneventful finish, I took a proof of completion photo at the Barneveld trail stop and ran down the street to my in-laws house which was warm and contained a lot of cookies and beer. The 50k run took 5 hours and 41 minutes and I hereby proclaim it a Fastest Known Time! Sometime when there is less snow I will try to improve on it.


Nov 29, 2016

Boy's Climbing


Apparently, there was a boy's climbing weekend in Jackson Falls, Illinois. I don't have many details, as I was not there because I am not a boy. And what little has leaked about the events isn't very telling... I think whatever happens in Jackson Falls stays in Jackson Falls. All I can tell you is what I found in these photos Devon took.

Oct 20, 2016

Where is Abu Dhabi?

If you asked me two years ago where Abu Dhabi was, I might have guessed it was in the United Arab Emirates but I am certain I could not have placed it on a map. Oh how the last year has increased my knowledge of maps! I spent a week in Abu Dhabi for an awesome solar conference. Notwithstanding the embarrassing fact that we all traveled from very far places, contributing significantly to our annual air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it was a really worthwhile renewable energy conference.

Aug 24, 2016

Adventures in China

Here are various 'best of' photos that I don't want to forget from my time in China. 

Jul 27, 2016

Lucky American

I really enjoyed my trip to China and met some great people. But coming home I am very appreciative of my good luck to be born here. Where I don't have to open a website several times a day to see if the air is clean enough for me to go for a run or if I should stay inside.  Below: Picture taken in poor air quality.

Signs of China

No China trip is complete without documentation of interesting signage. Here are my interpretations.
No trumpets!

Jul 6, 2016

China: Things I Like

Eventually my optimism returned and I started making a list of things I DID like (even prefer) in China.

China: adaptation phase & food

The study abroad handbook we give our students describes moving from initial excitement, to confusion, to adaptation. For me adaptation phase revolved around food access.

Jun 29, 2016

China apartment

I moved into my apartment on campus a few days after we arrived. It was a big improvement - more space, nice green view, separation from students, etc. 

Welcome to China?

I want to be a good world traveler. I think of myself as a fairly open minded person. But I did not feel very happy to be in China for the first few weeks here. So I'm just writing with that honest emotion though I am not proud of it.

May 22, 2016

Crag Dog and other Miscellaneous

This spring we've been pushing it to the limits with our crag dog. First time out: pretty annoying as he whined while we climbed. Second time: Major began seeing the benefits of all of the attention he could get from other climbers and hikers. Third time was a charm: we tired him out really good ahead of time and he mostly napped cutely at our feet while we climbed.

Apr 24, 2016

DANGER: Ladies weekend

Inspired (for me at least) be adventures with Katie, Marilla, and Cheryl last summer, four ladies back here in WI arranged a ladies weekend. Though any outdoor activity would have fit the bill, we decided on climbing at Barn Bluff near Red Wind, MN.

Jan 25, 2016

Hiking: not so lame after all?




About six years ago Devon and I attempted to backpack a portion of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, failed, and officially proclaimed we hated hiking. I've held onto that belief since then, with small confirmations through lame day hikes I was forced to attempted in the interim since our proclamation. However last week I took two other hiking-haters with me and we went for the Grand Canyon. It just seemed like something one should do. 

Jan 24, 2016

A Wedding

Sometimes I don't know what's with weddings anymore. The forces of tradition work against the wishes and personalities of the couple and in many cases the couple ends of losing. Well I am happy to report that Mitch and Marilla did a pretty darn good job of keeping society of it. This wedding was originally proposed as a climbing wedding, and the forces only did so well as to get them a bit dressed up and out hiking instead of climbing. There was no catering, no dancing, no parties, in fact no friends were invited to the ceremony at all. Parents, siblings, and grandparents attended. It was a perfect event in Sedona.

Jan 23, 2016

Time travel

In January I (Ana) traveled the slowest way possible to Arizona - via rail. Slowest but quite possibly the most relaxing and scenic way also. I like to think of it as time travel because you see the world in a different way and it feels like it can't possibly be 2016. In Chicago the ride begins at 3PM through the industrial rail yards. Not much to see. Here are some pictures of what rolled by my window in the next 30 hours.

Dec 22, 2015

There are going to be some Major changes around here.

On October 17, we became dog people. Actually - correction - Devon was always a dog person. But I became a dog person on October 17th. If I begin to smell less than ideal and constantly have a coat of canine hair on my clothes, please call me out on it.
This little guy came into our house at 12 pounds and now several hundred dollars (who know about the dog gear?!?) and 2 months later he has just about doubled in weight.
Above: OK we never saw him when this tiny, he was fostered until 8 weeks. 
Above: Major portrait.
Above: Little Major.
Above: Major's first snow.
Above: Major takes obedience training and then pulls the certificate off the fridge for a snack.
Above: Major ready for first squirrel hunting trip (in dog voice: "You better not leave with out me Devon!!!")
Above: Major doing some serious squirrel hunting.

Above: Major in hunting vest, lest he is accidentally taken for a deer.
Major loves food, people, kids, dogs, and any living creature that might pay attention to him. Sometimes Major gets the hiccups. When he's not biting at my pant legs, tearing my gore tex rain jacket, or being annoying, we love this little puppy. The other fun fact about Major is that we didn't know he was part pit bull until it became obvious in his face and ears. I guess the rescue doesn't want to advertise that!

Aug 6, 2015

Golden Summer Part IX: Multi-pitch mania

Approaching summit of First Flatiron.
For my last weekend in Colorado, I went on a 24 hour climbing spree like I have never done before. Between 3PM on Friday and 3PM on Saturday all I did was hike with heavy climbing gear, climb, rappel, talk about the next route to climb, and sleep. Oh and there was one beer in there too! A good way to end this "trip" to Colorado. 

Aug 4, 2015

Golden Summer Part VII - Aspen!

Wildflowers in Aspen!
Photography in Aspen: the easiest thing ever! You don't even have to try to get a good photo!

Aug 2, 2015

Golden Summer Part VI - Recreational Hangover

Karin and John were in town the weekend of my 31st birthday. They helped me celebrate by putting me through a punishing series of intensive activities, beginning with hiking a 14er. 

I've found this summer that I pack my weekends so full of physically intense activities that come Monday morning I usually feel hungover from it. I usually get home Sunday night about 6PM dead tired from too much sun and too much fun outside, and still have a car of camping gear to unpack.   It's like a recreational hangover. I'm not sure if I'm complaining about this or not - it's kind of a great thing but kind of exhausting. At any rate, Karin and John's visit was definitely one of those weekends.