Thursday, March 31, 2016

California Dreamin' - Adventures in Santa Rosa (Part 2)

I've been spending the past couple of days in the heart of California's wine country visiting the city of Santa Rosa, where I've been discovering all kind of amazing, active adventures that visitors can partake in when they're not visiting the local vineyards. It turns out, this part of the country is not only blessed with lots of great places to grow grapes, but some fantastic outdoor adventures too, making it the perfect destination for those who want to mix an active escape with some relaxing downtime. 

After a very active day yesterday, I was eager to get my last day in Santa Rosa underway. With a busy schedule ahead, I knew I'd have to keep moving if I wanted to take it all in, but I much prefer a packed, active schedule over too much downtime on the beach or sitting by the pool. So, after a light breakfast, I hit the road early for the town of Occidental, which sits roughly 40 minutes from Santa Rosa. My destination was Sonoma Canopy Tours, which is yet another option for those looking to spice up their trip with an adventure.

Sonoma Canopy Tours opened in 2011, and has been a popular attraction ever since. Their original zipline course includes three different lines – the longest of which is 800 feet (244 meters) in length – as well as a number of sky bridges spanning between platforms in the trees. It remains a very popular outing with visitors, who often reach speeds in excess of 25 mph (40 km/h) as the fly through the magnificent redwood trees that are so common in this area.

But I wasn't here to do the original course. I'd come to take on the new Challenger course, which just opened last fall. It includes a single line that exceeds 1500 feet (457 meters) in length, on which zipliners can reach speeds of more than 40 mph (64 km/h). That's the first line of the day, and it is one heck of a way to get things started.


The second and third ziplines on The Challenge course aren't nearly that long, but they are still quite fun. But to spice things up even further, the sky bridges on this course have been built to test your balance and determination as well. Each of them has a unique design that will offer different challenges for crossing, and while you're never in any real danger – you're clipped in the entire time – it is still a bit unnerving to walk out into open air.

Perhaps the most fun part of the entire course were the two rappels that must be made along the way. The final one returns you to your starting area, and is more than 40 feet (12 meters) high. While I've done plenty of rappelling myself in the past, not every member of my group was quite so experienced. This led to a few interesting moment where our friendly and knowledgeable guides had to coax them off the platforms a bit.

All told, The Challenger course takes about three hours to complete, but it was definitely a fun experience. Families in particular will enjoy a visit to Sonoma Canopy Tours, as it is something that everyone can enjoy. It also provides a nice adrenaline rush before heading out to any of the local wineries for the afternoon.

By the time I wrapped up my canopy tour, I was more than ready for some lunch. So, I hopped back into my car and headed back to nearby Sebastopol for a visit to Woodhouse Brewing Company, a local beer brewhouse that is giving the wineries a run for their money. I had a chance to test out a flight of seven different beers, and came away very impressed. The company's founder – Seth Wood – has an extensive background in wine making, and he brings that same level of sophistication and care to his beers as well. I especially enjoyed the Sour Farmhouse, which is light and tasty with some surprisingly fresh tastes. The food was excellent as well, and with plenty of outside seating, it made for a nice place to relax after swinging from tall trees all morning. 

After lunch, I was ready to burn off some calories, so I changed into my trail running gear, and drove out to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. This beautiful wilderness is another wild and remote place that can be found about 45 minutes from Santa Rosa. The multitude of trails are great for hiking, and give visitors a chance to wander under the spectacular redwoods. 

Not content to just go for a hike however, I set off on a run that was made all the longer thanks to me getting lost on some of the more remote trails. I also discovered that some of those routes wander up and down steep hills, particularly if you want to get away from the crowds and reach the backcountry. Be prepared to work you ass off to reach those places, but it is more than worth the effort. Some of the views from the high ridges are amongst the best I've seen here in California, and once I got away from the visitor center, I seldom rand into anyone else on the trail. 

There is definitely something magical about trail running under the redwoods. It was a bit like visiting the forest moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi, which was filmed in a very similar setting. Those giant trees are impressive to behold, and have a way of making you feel very tiny. Especially as you're running up a steep trail, drenched in sweat and gasping for breath. 

After a couple of hours in the Armstrong woods, I managed to stumble back to my car, and get on the road to Santa Rosa once again. By now, it was early evening, and I had another dinner appointment to make. I barely had time to return to my room at the Flamingo, grab a shower, and head back out. My destination for the evening was Belly Left Coast Kitchen, a place I had been told had excellent food cooked up by owner and executive chef Gray Rollins. Gray is known as the "rock chef" because he has often served as the tour chef for a number of major bands, including Motley Crüe, KISS, Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, and many more. 

When I arrived at Belly, I found a loud and raucous crowd. Apparently the restaurant has a popular happy hour, and it was most certainly jumping. I found a spot at the bar, ordered another Sour Farmhouse beer from Woodfour and some foot. The menu had plenty of great options to choose from, and to be honest I had a hard time selecting what I wanted. I finally settled on macaroni and cheese with beef brisket, which was very tasty indeed. On my way out though, I caught a glimpse of the fish tacos, which looked delicious too. 

After another long, and busy day, I was ready to head back to the hotel and crash for a bit. My legs were definitely feeling the combined effect of yesterday's mountain bike ride and today's long trail run, so some downtime was in order. 

Tomorrow, I'll drive back to San Francisco and catch a flight home. But I'll return with a new appreciation for the Sonoma and Napa region of California. While I already knew that those places were wonderful destinations for wine lovers, I now see there is plenty to offer active and adventurous travelers too. I think a return trip will definitely be order and next time I might even make it to one of the wineries. 

Find out more about what Santa Rosa has to offer ant VisitSantaRosa.com.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

California Dreamin' - Adventures in Santa Rosa

If you saw my post from a few days back, you probably already know that I'm in California for the week spending some time in Santa Rosa and exploring all of the travel options it has to offer. The city  is nestled in the heart of wine country, and is surrounded by a landscapes of rolling hills and lush grasslands. But best of all, it has plenty of things to offer the adventurous, active traveler too, including outstanding mountain biking, road cycling, and much more.

I arrived in Santa Rosa late Tuesday afternoon after flying into San Francisco, grabbing a rental car, and hitting the road. It took about an hour and a half to drive to town, where I first checked into the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, my base camp for my stay in the region. The Flamingo is a unique hotel to say the least, which a retro chic design that is both charming and fun. Sure, there are plenty of other places to stay in Santa Rosa, but I'd wager few of them have the character of this place.

After getting settled at the Flamingo, I had to run across town to the Trek Store of Santa Rosa to pick up a mountain bike for a planned ride the following day. The friendly and very helpful staff at the bike shop hooked me up with a Trek Fuel EX 8, and plenty of great suggestions on trails to ride in the area. Their knowledge and experience would come in handy when I would hit trail in Annadel State Park on my second day there.

On a side note, if you want to check out a fantastic bike shop when visiting the area, the Trek Store is one of the best I've seen. They have a great selection of bikes both for sale and rent to meet the needs of just about any kind of rider. There is also plenty of cycling apparel, accessories, and other items too. If you have some time to kill while in Santa Rosa, it's worth a stop even if you're not going to be riding.


After collecting my bike, I rounded out my first day by grabbing dinner at The Pullman Kitchen, a trendy and tasty bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. The menu included some light, healthy options, along with a good selection of local wines. After all, vino is what this part of California is best known for.

On my second day in Santa Rosa would definitely be a more active one. After grabbing a light breakfast, I drove over to Getaway Adventures, a local outfitter that specializes in organizing cycling and kayaking tours of the area. Getaway has been around for more than 25 years, and offer customers such options as the Velo 'n Vino wine tour and Pints and Pedals for beer lovers. But on this day, the company's owner – Randy Johnson –  took me on the Jenner Coastal Kayak tour, a paddling excursion that takes travelers to the place where the famous Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Jenner is a small town located about 45 minutes from Santa Rosa. It overlooks the river and the scenic Northern California coastline. The paddling is easy and relaxed, with plenty of wonderful things to see along the way. The highlight of the trip is watching the Pacific Harbor Seals sun themselves on the beach. And since it is early spring, they have started to give birth to their babies. Were able to spot a couple of the pups from the water as they mingled with the rest of the herd.

As we paddled along the edge of the river, the curious seals came closer to our kayaks, occasionally bobbing their heads above the water to get a closer look. It was clear that they wanted to know who we were, and what we were doing there, but we were careful not to start too close to the main group, as they are easily startled and will quickly dash into the water.

At one point of the tour, we pulled our kayaks onto the beach and got out to take a look around. The beauty of the California coast was on full display, with rocky outcroppings, towering cliffs, and roaring waves crashing against the shore. It was worth the entire trip out Jenner just to take in the view.

Sadly, our paddling excursion had to come to an end, and after grabbing a quick lunch in town, we were back on the road to Getaway Adventures' headquarters in Santa Rosa, where they had other clients waiting and it was time for me to move on. For me, the tour was over far too quickly, but my day was far from over. After saying goodbye to Randy and his very helpful crew, I was off to Annadel State Park for the mountain biking portion of my tour.

This magnificent outdoor playground sits just 15 minutes drive out of Santa Rosa, and yet it has miles of trails for every type of rider. Whether you like twisty and technical single track, smooth and wide fire roads, or something in-between, Annadel has you covered. There are grueling climbs, and breathtaking drops. White knuckle descents and rocky routes can all be found there, with some fantastic views to be had along the way too.

I stared off by going up the North Burma Trail, a difficult climb that left my legs and lungs screaming out for relief. Near the top, it levels out nicely and become easier, but if you want an easier ascent, I'm told that South Burma is the way to go. Eventually I made my way over to the Lake Trail, which circles Lake Ilsanjo, one of the park's hidden gems. After that, I pedaled over to the Canyon Trail for a fun and fast – albeit rocky – descent back to the parking lot.

All told, I spent about two hours riding around Annadel, and came away very impressed. Not only is the riding fantastic, but there are trails for every style and experience level of riders. Best of all, the proximity of the park to Santa Rosa makes it easily accessible to anyone living in or visiting the town. We should all have such a wonderful natural resource so close to where we live.

After my ride, I zipped back into town, dropped off my bike at Trek Santa Rosa, and returned to the Flamingo for a quick shower. As you can imagine, my busy and active day helped me build up quite an appetite, and it was time to refuel. What better way to do that than with a big steak and a glass of local wine? I'd heard that Stark's Steakhouse was the best in town, and after one meal there it's hard to argue with that. The prime rib was delicious, especially when paired with the restaurant's truffle fries. Following a long and busy day, it definitely hit the spot.

Following a good meal, it was back to the Flamingo for some rest. Tomorrow is another busy one filled with more adventures, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what else Santa Rosa has in store for me.

Monday, March 28, 2016

California Dreamin' - Headed to Santa Rosa for the Week

Just a quick note to regular readers to let them know that I'm off to Santa Rosa, California for the week. Over the next few days, I'm going to get an introduction to everything that this enticing city – located north of San Francisco – has to offer outdoor adventurers and active travelers. 

My schedule will include such fun activities as kayaking, mountain biking, and zip lining, so of course I'm looking forward to my little escape. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to learning about this part of California that I haven't been too before. I also hope to share daily updates of my experiences as well, provided I have the time and Internet access to do so. Otherwise, expect some good reports on my time out there starting next week. 

While I'm off having some fun adventures, I hope you'll be doing the same. Spring is definitely in the air here in North America, and it is time to start taking advantage of the shift in seasons. I'll be back before you know it, with lots of exciting stuff on the horizon to talk about. 

Video: Iceland - Land of Fire and Ice

For those of us who can't get enough of Iceland, this video is sure to be a favorite. It takes us back to that country to give us another glimpse of the amazing landscapes that can be found there, including sweeping vistas, snowcapped peaks, rocky coastlines, and crashing waterfalls. And of course, a visit to Iceland wouldn't be complete without some great shots of the Northern Lights too. It's all here. Enjoy.

Iceland - The Land Of Fire And Ice from Rodrigue El Hajj on Vimeo.

Video: Wingsuit Flight Down an Italian Mountainside

In this beautiful wingsuit video, pilots Uli Emanuele and Dario Zanon make an amazing flight from a mountain top above Lake Garda, approaching their launch site by first hiking through a cave. Their helmet cams capture some fantastic footage as they fall back to Earth, with the final challenge being a tricky landing on a small shoreline along the lake itself. Pretty impressive stuff all around.

Himalaya Spring 2016: It's Departure Week!

Despite the fact that some teams are already climbing on Annapurna, this week will actually mark the official start of the spring climbing season in the Himalaya. As I write this, hundreds of climbers from across the globe are putting the last minute touches on their planning, packing, and organizing. For them, it is a busy, exiting time during which they are saying goodbye to friends and family, with the next stop being Kathmandu!

Most people don't realize it, but from the time they leave home, until they return post expedition, an Everest climb takes about two months to complete. This week, the the mountaineers will start arriving in Kathmandu, where they'll most likely spend a couple of days getting to know the other members of their team, organizing their gear, and preparing to head out to the Khumbu, or other regions of Nepal or Tibet. They'll probably go shopping in the Thamel district to get some last minute items, and they'll enjoy a few good meals before they depart for their respective mountains.

For those climbing Everest on the South Side, that means flying to Lukla, where they'll begin the trek to Base Camp. That trek alone will probably take them anywhere from 8-10 days depending on their objectives and how well they'll begin acclimatizing to the altitude.

Mountaineers heading to the Tibetan side of the mountain, the expedition will begin with a flight to Lhasa or a drive across the border. On the North Side of Everest it is possible to drive to Base Camp, although it still takes a few days to do so, as the gain in altitude is significant.

BC will be their home for the next 5-6 weeks as they start the acclimatization process in preparation for an eventual summit bid. But first, they'll make several rotations up to the higher camps, letting their bodies slowly become accustomed to the thin air. Once that process is complete, which typically comes around early to mid-May, they'll wait for a proper weather window to open that will give them access to the summit, which is when all of their hard work, patience, and persistence pays off at long last.

But that point is still along way off, and there is much to be done before anyone can think about going to the summit. As the last two years on Everest have shown us, a lot of unexpected things can happen over the course of the season. Hopefully this year things will be different however, and the climbers will see a sense of normalcy return to the world's highest peak.

To all my friends preparing to set off for Kathmandu this week, I'd just like to say good luck, stay safe, and enjoy the ride. This will no doubt be one of the most memorable and challenging times in your lives, but the rewards will be immeasurable. We'll be watching and following along closely in the weeks ahead, and we can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Let the new Himalaya climbing season begin!

Russian Team Designs Vehicle to Drive to the North Pole

Designing a vehicle that can withstand the rigors of driving in the Arctic isn't easy, but is exactly what a team of Russian explorers set out to do with the "Burlak," an amphibious truck that is currently being tested in a remote region of the Ural Mountains, with the intention of eventually driving to the North Pole.

ExWeb has the scoop on this amazing looking new vehicle designed and built by Alexey Makarov. The Russian explorer has a history of creating such trucks, having designed previous vehicles that have been used on motorized expeditions into the Arctic and all the way to 90ºN. Those other models were used in expeditions in both 2009 and 2013.

The Burlak weighs 4 tons and is more than 6 meters (19.6 ft.) in length. It stands 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) high and 2.9 meters (9.5 ft) wide. It is based on a Russian amphibious military vehicle called the BTR-60 and the Toyota Land Cruiser, although ExWeb says that the transmission and transfer case are completely unique. The cabin of the Burlak includes four beds, a kitchen, a sink, and a shower. It has also been insulated with special materials and it pipes heat from the engine into the interior to help keep it warmer.

Makarov says that he built on his previous experience driving through the Arctic, creating a more safe and secure truck for such motorized expeditions. He is currently testing the prototype model of the Burlak by driving from the coast of the Kara Sea, through the Russian Arctic, and ending at Baidarata Bay. Another model of the truck is expected to be built following this rolling test.

Then, in 2017 the two vehicles will be driven to the Russian polar station located  on Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago in anticipation for the start of their first true test in the Arctic – a 2018 drive to the North Pole and back again from the Russian side of the ice.

The fact that this vehicle can cross open water, drive on rugged terrain and ice, and survive in the extremely cold temperatures of the Arctic makes it an intriguing expedition option indeed. It's still two years away from taking off on its journey, but it should be fun to see how it performs when it does.

Who else wants one of these?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Video: Over the Enchanted Land of New Zealand

Filmed back in December of 2015, this video takes us to New Zealand, where filmmaker Richard Patterson traveled for his honeymoon. He had the foresight to bring a drone with him, and as a result we get these fantastic images of one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. Sit back and enjoy this one. It's a perfect way to go off into the weekend.

Over Enchanted Lands // New Zealand from Richard Patterson on Vimeo.

10,000th Post!



The Adventure Blog has reached a major milestone today. This is the 10,000th post I've made on this blog, which I started more than 10 years ago now. When I launched this site all those years back, I had no idea how far it would come, and how it would impact my life. It has allowed me to meet some fantastic people, visit some amazing places, and witness some dramatic things. It has been a real honor and a pleasure to share all of these stories with my regular readers, who I want to thank for showing me so much support and loyalty. The Adventure Blog wouldn't exist without you, and I appreciate you dropping by from time to time. Here's to another 10 years and 10,000 posts! Thank you all.

Video: From Sea to Summit in Norway

Last spring, Colombian adventurer Douglas Del Castillo and dutch climber and adventure racer Wouter Huitzing set out on quite an expedition. The plan was to travel completely self-supported above the Arctic Circle in Norway, going from sea level into the high mountains found there. The duo found plenty of challenges to overcome along the way, but those difficulties were over shadowed by the amazing landscapes they discovered there. This video takes us along with them into the Norwegian wilds to get a small taste of this wonderful adventure.

Gear Closet: The RinseKit Pressurized Portable Shower

Every once in awhile a piece of gear comes along that sounds good on paper, but it doesn't necessarily click just how useful it can be until you've actually tried it. That was exactly the case for me with the RinseKit, a personal, portable shower that is one of the most interesting pieces of kit that I've seen in a long time that I'm convinced is a great addition to anyone's gear closet.

I first heard about the RinseKit last summer, when the product was first being introduced. Reading about it, it sounded like something that would be really useful for many outdoor enthusiasts in a wide variety of circumstances. I became convinced of that when I first saw the product in person at Summer Outdoor Retailer in August, so of course I was eager to get my hands on one myself, which I did a couple of weeks back.

The concept behind the RinseKit is a simple – but brilliant – one. The idea is to use natural water pressure to create a steady output of water that can be used for any number of purposes without the need for batteries or pumping. The product itself is pretty much a portable tank that can hold up to two gallons of water inside a rugged plastic case. The entire thing weights 9 pounds when it is empty and 24 pounds when it is filled with water, which makes it easy to carry around just about anywhere, although you won't be lugging it into the backcountry.


Popping the top on that case reveals a hose, nozzle, and a special adapter for connecting the RinseKit to the same water spigot that you use with your garden hose. (An optional adapter for your kitchen sink is also available) With that adapter installed, you simply remove then nozzle, hook the hose up to the spout, and turn it on. It takes about 20 seconds to fill the tank, which builds up pressure from the water spigot as you go. That same pressure is used to pump the water back out using the nozzle once you're ready to use it.

The nozzle resembles something you'd also use on your garden hose, although it has multiple settings to allow you to dial in exactly the type of spray that you'd like to use. For instance, it has a shower setting that is perfect for hosing yourself off after a long day on the trail, while other settings provide a higher pressure setting for other activities. When completely full, the RinseKit can provide up to four minutes of spray before it needs to be refilled again.

This is one of those items that you'll probably find more uses for the longer you own it. For instance, I've had mine a couple of weeks, and I've already used it to clean my grill, wash off my mountain bike, and give my puppy a bath. It will also come in handy later in the summer when paddling season starts and I get the chance to test a new stand-up paddleboard that was sent my way.

Surfers, fishermen, and car campers will love the RinseKit. It provides high pressure water for a multitude of uses, and it provides the opportunity to truly clean off at the end of the day. It is actually impressive how well this product works, and I think it is an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal.

The RinseKit is priced at $90, which probably sounds like a lot for a water tank that holds two gallons of liquid. But it is the other functionality that makes this a product that really stands out. Being able pump out a steady stream of high pressure water without the need for batteries or pumping   comes in very handy, and I think you'll find it just as useful as do.

Check out the RinseKit in action in the video below, and find out more at RinseKit.com.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One Man's Trash

I am always trying to get rid of things. I probably go through my closets once every month or two months and throw things away. When I moved into the new home and moved my old stuff out of storage last May, I tried to ge through each box as I unpacked it and to get rid of what I could then. I probably gave away a half a dozen bags full of stuff then. I definitely tried on all my clothes and threw away anything with holes, that was too small/big or that was completely not even close to my style anymore (huge Rage Against the Machine t-shirt....okay, actually I kept that to sleep in but I did give away the Nirvana shirt).

However, I somehow still have a ton of stuff and much of it is things that I have not worn for months or years, is expired or that was given to me by someone and just isn't something I would use (or that I need). So I decided to join Lisa in the February Purge Project. Her goal was to get rid of as many things each day as the number of the day that it was. For example, on the 1st, you give away one thing. On the 19th, you give away 19 things. And so on. That ends up adding up to 425 items. While you may think that there is no possible way you could get rid of 425 items, it is surprisingly easier than you would think!

So many old t-shirts!

I did not get it all done in February. I also did not really finish my sorting and purging (I still have the garage to go through! Ack!) However, I did get about halfway through, and in total so far, I have given away or thrown away 333 items. The majority of the things, unfortunately, are smaller things. For example, my biggest category was office supplies. Next biggest category was accessories. Here's the breakdown.

125 Office
73 Accessories
52 Home
43 Clothing
22 Books
18 Toiletries

I have to admit, I still have a lot of boxes from my move that I have not thoroughly gone through. When I began this purge, I started with a couple of them and either threw things away or put them in the Goodwill pile anything if I had not used in years or in many cases, if they no longer worked. For instance, I had so many old pens!

I will not read these again.

Doing this kind of thing takes time, especially when you are talking about some of the things that carry memories, as they are hard to give away. However, over the years I have become better about throwing or giving away things that I am not using or looking at or enjoying and probably never will. As much as I cherish that tchotchke that my grandmother gave me, I really don't need it and it will either sit in a box in my garage or it will just be another thing to dust on the shelves in my house.

I try to think about three things: Does it work/fit? Have I used it in the last 6 months (or year for certain items)? Is it worth passing on to someone at some point? The first two are easy, as they are quantitative. The last is not as easy and is where I often run into snags. The tchotchke is worthless to everyone but me, who associates it with a memory or a person. However, it sitting in a box is worthless as well. So why not enjoy it or give it to someone who may, whether they are a faceless Goodwill customer or a friend. So that is what I am trying to do.

Next up: the garage. I will have an update on that later!

Do you do a yearly or monthly purge? What strategies do you employ? How many dried out or non-functioning pens do you have? 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Fun Day

Happy Friday everyone! I am glad this one has rolled around, as I feel as if this week has been a bit of a whirlwind. Here's to a calm Friday and a great weekend to boot!

The high of my week was installing a ceiling fan in my bedroom without electrocuting myself! I pretty much did it by myself with the help of a friend for the "brawn" portion of the task. I could not have held it up and installed it at the same time.

The low of my week was when tub decided to not drain. This has not been fixed yet and taking a shower has become of the ship variety (as short as possible!) as I try to avoid flooding the bathroom.

The past week's workouts consisted of two rainy 12 mile runs in the Marin headlands, one great long run in Point Reyes and a wet and wild and dark street run last night at the last minute (one that I wanted to flake out on). All my runs last week were with someone else, which is a new thing for me, and is one that is keeping me honest!

This week I am reading A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin. It satisfies my "collection of essays" category for the Read Harder challenge. I am not a huge fan of short stories and/or essay collections, but it is entertaining. However, I am getting through it a lot slower than I normally do.

This week I am listening to this Freakonomics podcast about what it would be like if restaurants went to the "no tipping" policy. They have actually implemented this in some San Francisco restaurants already.

The best money I spent was on a beer and a meal out on Tuesday night. If you have never tried this beer, you should, and if you are ever in Santa Rosa, you should check out the brewery too! They make excellent IPAs and sours!

Plans for the weekend include fixing my tub draining issue, working in the backyard to get everything ready for planting, spending time with my family (I have dragged them into the yard work duties), running and probably making a nice meal to celebrate the fact that the tub has been fixed (biggggg fingers crossed here).

How do you feel about the No Tipping policy? What are your weekend plans? What was the high of your week? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Looking Back: February

This month felt shorter than normal! Ha. That was a joke... Really though, February did go by fast, but that is what happens when you are working on the weekdays and are active on the weekends!

Sunrise over lake Tahoe

Running: I felt like I did a lot of running in February, but I ended up with 84 miles of trail running, 50.5 miles of road running (including Jed Smith) and 4 miles on the treadmill for a total of 138.5 miles. I also had 9 miles of cycling, 20 miles of snowshoeing and 20 miles of skiing. This is not keeping in track with my yearly goals for either running or cycling, so I need to pick up the pace!

Reading: This month I only ended up reading three books, but all of them satisfied a category on the Read Harder Challenge.

The Taming of the Queen by Phillipa Gregory (4 stars)
Euphoria by Lily King (3 stars)
The Lake House by Kate Morton (4 stars)

Travel: In February, I went to Tahoe twice; the first time was with the family, where we went skiing and snowshoeing on the TRT and we watched the sun rise over the lake in the morning. The second time was with a group of running friends, where we trekked up a steep mountain the first day (to 10,000 ft) and over a frozen lake the next. Both trips were really cool and it was fun to get some winter cross training in at the same time!

Going down Round Top Mountain

In addition to all of the above, I also spent a lot of time digging in the yard. I am trying to get the backyard ready for spring and my to do list for that is quite long. I built a wall out of cinder block so that I can have a place to plant more stuff and now I need to set up the drip system and possibly build more raised beds. Each thing takes longer than expected, so of course, the going is slow.

The new wall. This corner is a work in progress! 


How was February for you!? Did it seem short to you? Have you started any spring projects yet?