Hiking

Mount Adams Climb

This last weekend, I took a break from writing up my North Cascades Backpacking Trip to climb Mount Adams with my friends Michael and Margie. Michael was the leader of the trip, having done the climb several times and having the most experience of us all. This was Margie’s second time to the summit (she has also been to the false summit several times). I was the noob of the trip, having never climbed a mountain before.

The trip started very early on Saturday morning. The goal was to leave my house by 4:30a to get down to the ranger station in Trout Lake to secure climbing permits. Michael slept in a bit, so we were actually on the road 1/2 hour later than anticipated. The drive was around 5 hours or so – we took the “shortcut” through some unpaved forest service roads that were a little rough, but nothing my big truck couldn’t handle. The drive did offer some views of the mountain, which helped amp up the excitement level.

We checked in at the ranger station and found out that the mountain was going to be quite crowded for the weekend – 170 climbers already had permits! Well, it is a big mountain, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, and in hindsight, it was a good thing.

The route for the trip was the South Climb and is considered a non-technical route, although we still needed to use crampons and ice axes. Our goal for the first day was to hike up 4.5 miles to Lunch Counter and set up camp. On day two, we’d get up at 2:00a head for the summit, and then all the way back to the truck.

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Last year there was a big forest fire on the south side of the mountain, and the first couple of miles of the trail are through the burnt out landscape left behind. There is no water and really no shade to escape the heat.

In the picture below, you get a good feel for how the early trail felt. Michael is pointing out our route up the mountain, which was currently covered with clouds. Fortunately the weather was forecast to be improving over the weekend.

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Even though the trees were dead, there was still enough food to support the wildlife. We passed a small buck early on the hike up the mountain. He really didn’t seem bothered by us at all, and allowed us to take his picture.

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As we hiked along, the weather around the mountain improved, and we started to get great views. In this picture, the highest point is actually the false summit (Piker’s Peak – 11,657’). Our basecamp was just behind the ridge on the right side.

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At our first water crossing, Margie took the first tumble of the trip – she did a nice slow motion fall to the ground. Of course I didn’t ask to help her up, I was too busy taking a picture!

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The trail became more difficult as we ascended. It turned into a sandy, rocky, slippery mess.

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There were still a few easier section interspersed along the way, like along this ridge.

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and there were some purple flowers.

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Eventually, we made it to the first glacier and took a quick rest break. This was the beginning of the area where people would camp before attempting the summit. Our goal was higher up on the mountain. From this location, the view of Mount Hood was pretty awesome (you can also see a camp down the hill a bit).

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The hike up this glacier wasn’t too bad – it wasn’t steep, and because it was the afternoon, the snow was soft. We just kick stepped up without using crampons. There was a little rock to traverse, but not much.

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Eventually we made it up to our campsite. The prevailing winds come from the west, so people have created rock wind blocks in all of the good camping areas. We found an area without any other campers and set up our tent. We had a great view of our route up to the false summit from our site.

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While Margie and I erected the tent, Michael filled all of our water bottles and started boiling water for our freeze dried dinners. Yum!  After filling up on food, we had some down time to relax before bed, and I ended up getting a couple of pretty cool sunset shots of Mount St Helens.

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Then it was off to bed! We slept in all of our climbing clothes so we wouldn’t have to get dressed at our 2a wakeup time. With all of the gear on, and three people in the tent, it got a bit warm, even though I was using my lightweight sleeping bag – I’m glad I didn’t lug up my expedition bag.

2a came pretty quickly, we got up for a quick breakfast and started heading up the hill! It was a clear night, and we almost didn’t need our headlamps to make our way along. Even with the moon out, you could see tons of stars – the advantage of having less atmosphere above your head.

This was my first time in crampons – we had discussed various techniques for going up and down, and I was warned about not rubbing my feet/legs together (so I wouldn’t shred my pants). It was kind of scary as we started up. The snow was very icy – you absolutely needed the crampons on to get up the hill. I constantly thought about keeping two points of contact with the ground (two legs or one leg and ice axe) – and I still lost count of the number of times I messed this up. Eventually I developed a rhythm, and was a little more comfortable.

And then it happened…about three quarters of the way up the first snowfield, my left crampon came off. I assessed the situation – we were on a steep section, but there was a “bowl” nearby that I could sit down in and adjust things. Margie was nearby, and moved over to help me out while I fixed things up.

And then it happened part 2…Now we are on a steep part of the snowfield and the crampon comes off again! Now I panic – I am screwed. This was steep and icy, and I had nowhere to go to fix things. Margie saves the day! She climbs below me and fixes things up as best we could on the side of the mountain.

We eventually made it to the top of this snowfield. We then had to cross a small sandy/rocky scree section, and I notice that my right crampon is coming loose, so I tighten that up before we attempt our assault on the last snowfield before the false summit.

And then it happened part 3…On the very steepest part of the entire climb, my right crampon comes off. Now I am extra screwed – I can’t go anywhere, and Margie really can’t drop below me to fix things up. This is where it was fortunate that the mountain was crowded. A nice fellow named Christian caught up to me and helped get the crampon back on.  As he follows me up, he notices that the torque on the crampon when I am sidestepping is causing it to loosen up, so he suggested that I climb straight up, using my toes – I gave that a try and although I could tell my crampons were loose, they did not come off again before I reached the false summit.

I have to admit at this point I was pretty discouraged (There were a couple of other less stressful crampon incidents I did not write about). The altitude was getting to me a bit, and gear failure frustrates me to no end. However a quick break at the false summit helped me reenergize a little bit. Looking at the rest of the route to the summit, it didn’t look like I would need the crampons on until the very end, so I opted to put them away until they were absolutely needed again. Then I broke out the camera and enjoyed the views for a bit before we moved on.

Mount St. Helens – the shadow in the lower left hand corner is the shadow of Mt Adams. I should have taken a picture of the whole shadow…but I didn’t.

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This is the view down to our basecamp. There is a relatively flat “point” of rocks on the right side of the picture. Our camp was where the flat section backs into the taller rocks.

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Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, and The Three Sisters.

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From the false summit, we crossed a relatively flat snowfield before going up a steep rocky and sandy section of the mountain. As we approached the top, it became apparent that I would not have to get back into the crampons, which greatly reduced my stress level.

I began to reflect on the climb – would I really do something like this again? was I having fun? I was still discouraged/frustrated by the crampon issue, and my mind was in a bad place. Then I crested the summit and saw this…

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Now that is a really wide angle picture, and doesn’t do the view justice. Mount Rainier was absolutely spectacular as we came over the top…at that instance everything was worth it. My frustrations went away – I was simply in awe of the place I found myself.

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Mount St Helens

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Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson

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It turns out that in the 1920’s, someone made a mining claim to the sulfur on the summit. They built a horse and mule trail to the top and  built a shack on top of the mountain. The project was abandoned because the quality of the ore was too poor. The shack is still there, and apparently when it melts out there is a book you can sign on the inside. It was just starting to poke through the snow, so I had to settle for a picture on top.

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Another advantage of having lots of people on the mountain – we found someone to take a picture of the three of us with Mount Rainier in the background.

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We tromped around the summit for a bit and found the official summit marker – the elevation has either eroded away or was never stamped into it.

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Then it was time to head down…but our adventure wasn’t done.

Getting down to the false summit was a piece of cake. There really wasn’t any snow on the slopes, so we had to hike down, which is much faster than hiking up. At the false summit, the glissade chutes down the snowfield were very steep and full of rocks. After speaking with some other climbers, we decided to take a “trail” down a steep rocky section instead.

Part of the way down the hill, Margie slipped and fell – to the downhill side! This was a super scary moment – I watched her body make a full revolution before stopping (I couldn’t believe she stopped after just one – it was very steep). As I moved down to assist her, we discovered that her backpack had hung up on some rocks, otherwise she’d still be rolling down the hill. I helped her stabilize on the hillside as another group caught up to us. It turns out it was Christian – who helped me on the way up, and Christian also happens to be a doctor! After getting checked out, it appeared that Margie had a severely bruised hip, but could continue down the mountain under her own power. Michael helped her navigate to the bottom of the scree field at which point we glissaded almost all the way back to our basecamp.

Back at basecamp, Margie was a bit sore, but could still continue on. To help out, Michael took a ton of her gear and then sent her down the mountain while we broke camp. Heading down was probably the hardest part for me. Moving through the snowfields wasn’t too bad and we caught up to Margie right as we cleared the last of the snow. I had decided to just wear mountaineering boots for the whole trip…the bottom of my feet were screaming at me all the way down! Big mistake – at this point I was really wishing that I would have just carried the extra weight!

Eventually, we did make it all the way back to the truck…and it was awesome to get those boots off my feet – I’ve never had my feet hurt so bad!

Overall, the trip was a ton of fun, and I’m glad that Michael and Margie had me along!

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North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #3

It is taking me way longer than expected to update the blog for this trip. My crazy summer schedule combined with the large number of photos is slowing me down. Hopefully these posts will get more frequent, or I’ll be writing until December.

Day #3 of our trip takes us from the Deerlick Backcountry Stock Camp to the Rainbow Point Backcountry/Boat Camp – a total of 11.5 miles with 1600’ of elevation gain. The gps file for the route can be found here.

I also did a Google Earth screenshot of the route.

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In my last post, I said that I did not get any pictures of our campsite at Deerlick. Well, it turns out I did, I just didn’t take one until the next morning.

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We knew that today was going to be a long day, so we were up early and ready to hit the trail. I did not heat up water for breakfast, just had a couple of Clif Bars so we could get on our way. Michelle and Trent were up and ready to go!

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As we started out, we were a bit demoralized from the first day. Kim had big blisters on one of her feet, Michelle’s hips were severely bruised from her pack, and the trail was pretty boring.

At least today didn’t start with an uphill! We went down for the first half mile or so and crossed Lightning Creek. At the bridge, there was a small cabin that wasn’t marked. I couldn’t tell if it was a backcountry ranger shelter or an old artifact. Unfortunately, the pictures I took from this section did not turn out, and I forgot to ask the ranger when I returned our bear canisters after the trip.

From the creek, we started uphill again and climbed along the southeast side of Desolation Peak (6080’). The trail through this section was still in a dense wooded area. We did see some cool moss growing on the trees.

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As we started to come around to the south side of Desolation Peak, the trail started to get more interesting as it moved along a steep hillside, almost cliff-like at times. This also allowed the view to open up a bit, and we could see more of the awesome beauty of this park.

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Some pictures of the trail along the hillside.

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Eventually, we made our way around Desolation Peak and the lake came back into view.

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You could even see a few kayakers out on the lake.

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A big view of a glacier.

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As we approached the lake, we could see the suspension bridge across lightning creek.

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Then we gave up all of the elevation that we had gained, bringing us back down to the lake. Immediately thereafter, we walked across the suspension bridge.

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The view up Lightning Creek was spectacular. It would be so much fun to be up here in a Kayak or Canoe to explore. The water was super clear and there were fish everywhere!

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After the suspension bridge we stopped at the Lightning Creek Stock Camp for lunch. There was a big dock with a picnic table and a fish cleaning station. Since we didn’t really enjoy the first day of hiking, we decided that this would be a better place to start.

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As I mentioned above, there were a ton of fish around! They were thick along the shore the entire hike.

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Trent decided to try to get some spear fishing in…

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While we ate lunch a small sailboat came in to check things out. There was a guy and three kids on board. We were fortunate that they stopped by as we tried to forget our map on the table when we left, and they caught us before we were on the trail again.

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The trail moved away from the lake again, and we came to the most treacherous stream crossing of the trip – a log with no hand rail!

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The trail came down to the lake again, and we crossed another suspension bridge at Devils Creek.

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The estuary for Devils Creek looked like another cool kayaking area.

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From here, the trail followed along the edge of the lake, often times carved out of a cliff. I found this section of the trail to be the highlight of the day (and it was a pretty awesome day to this point).

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We also encountered some more wildlife while along one of the more narrow sections.

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The reason I mention that it was one of the narrow sections – the girls were in front and kinda freaked out about the little snake. I made my way past them to take a picture, and to let them know that it was not going to hurt them. As I walked by, Kim tried to push me over the edge into the water…

There was also a very large frog/toad in the water but I didn’t get a picture. The fish continued to be thick along this section – and quite distracting, I almost walked over the edge because I was too busy looking at the fish.

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Well, 11.5 miles makes for a long day, particularly for the women who were nursing injuries from the previous day. But we did eventually make it to our camp at Rainbow Point. There were three sites at the camp, and the one nearest the docks was already occupied. We picked the middle camp as it had views of the lake in two directions. The camp itself was not that private, but even when the third site was taken, you really didn’t notice the other people. This site also had a picnic table and a bear box, which made it kinda nice.

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Nice mountain view to the south.

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Trent and Michelle relaxing on the dock.

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We had a deer sneaking through camp right before dinner…this was the best picture.

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after dinner Michelle went down to the lake on the north side of the point, and saw a fire in the distance. Later I found out that this was caused by a lightning strike in a very remote area of the park.

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Today proved to be another tough day. The hiking was much more interesting than our first day, but the bugs, bruises, and blisters had taken their toll. As a group, we decided to stop when we reached Highway 20. My Dad was planning to resupply us for the second half of the trip, so I coordinated with him over an InReach SE (I was testing it for him on this trip) to make sure he brought his truck to bail us out instead.

We all went to bed that night knowing that tomorrow would be our last day on the trail, but not the last day of our epic adventure…

North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #1
North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #2

 

North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #2

Day #2 was our first day of actual backpacking. The route for the day was to go from Hozomeen to the Deerlick backcountry stock camp (GPS route can be found here), the entire day was away from Ross Lake.

Here is a 3D screenshot from Google Earth. It shows how rugged the terrain around us was, but doesn’t really give a good idea of our total elevation gain for the day (about 1800′).

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We were all up early – a bit after 5a. I fired up my Jetboil and made some yummy maple-brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast and then we broke camp to start off on our adventure.

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The trailhead was about 1/2 mile from the campsite. About halfway there, Michelle asked for the time. I reached down for my Fitbit to check the clock, and it was gone! So, I walked back to the campsite and started to search. After making two loops around the site, the outhouse, and the water spigot I gave up. No step counting for me Sad smile.

Like all hikes in Washington, it started by going uphill Smile. The very beginning of the trail was lightly wooded through exposed granite, which I thought was pretty cool. This rapidly turned into a thick forest without much of a view.

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We did pass a tree that looked like the victim of a lightning strike.

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The trail was clear all the way to the first intersection. This was a large tree that had been recently cleared. I should have put something in the picture to give a better reference to the size.

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The intersection to the Hozomeen Lake trail was about 3 miles in. Just prior to this intersection, we passed a group of about 10 kids heading back to Hozomeen. These were the only people we saw the entire day…In the picture below, everyone is still happy and having fun at this point.

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The first of many trees that we needed to crawl over.

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The first stream crossing.

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I was in the back while we were hiking along. Sometimes I got to hear interesting conversations like:

“What was that?” followed by “Don’t turn around!” and “Get out the bear spray” then a bush next to the trail erupting while a grouse took off. I guess Michelle wanted to add some pepper flavor for dinner…

Did I mention that the bugs were nasty so far? This was the intersection that went off to the Willow Lake Campsite. The bugs were the worst along Willow Lake – we went through half of our bug spray by this point. I can’t imagine staying at this camp…would have had to hide in the tent the entire time.

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The trail along the lake, this was typical of most of the day. trees everywhere and not much to see.

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View of Willow Lake through the trees. This was the best view of the lake from the trail. Still pretty tough to see.

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Trent at a quick rest break.

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We are now about 5 miles into the hike and the girls are ready to be done. Here they are voting against continuing after our resupply point when we cross highway 20. They were already coming up with a plan for sun bathing back at Lake Chelan.

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Navigating over one of the larger logs in the trail.

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We all found the hike for this day to be pretty boring. Most of the time we were in the woods that were very thick and unable to see much. As we descended from Willow Lake, we did hit a very cool section of trail that went along the outlet stream from the lake. This short section went through a narrow valley with several small waterfalls.

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We were all carrying bear canisters for holding all of our scented items. I had mine strapped on the bottom of my pack, and it kept falling out, making for endless Donkey Kong jokes.

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Nightmare Camp was the next site we passed along the way. The bugs were starting to thin out at this point. It would have made a nice place to spend the night.

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Crossing Lightning Creek.

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Lightning Creek.

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For some reason, I did not get any pictures at the campsite. There were 2 sites and an area for horses – one of the sites had some makeshift benches, but did not have a good area for our tents. Being the only group at the campsite, we used this one for dinner, and set the tents up at the better site. To get our water, we had to hike 100 yards down a steep hill to a creek. We spent part of the afternoon hanging out on a gravel bar. It was hot outside, and the creek was very cold.

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Along one side of the gravel bar there was a nice slow channel. Trent and I took a quick dip in it.

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Dinner was the usual freeze dried fare. We ate and then were off to bed relatively early. It was an early start to the day and the 10ish miles we hiked took a bit out of everyone.

North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #1
North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #3

North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #1

Last fall, Kim and I got together with our friends Trent and Michelle and talked about hiking the Wonderland Trail this summer. We spent tons of time planning our route, watching conditions in the mountains over the winter and spring, buying the latest and greatest equipment, and filling out our permit application. Needless to say, we were severely disappointed when we did not get permits.

After being bummed for a bit, Michelle came up with a more awesome alternative – an epic hike in the North Cascades. (check out the map here to make things easer to follow along). The plan – take a seaplane from the town of Chelan to the north end of Ross Lake, backpack 80 miles through North Cascades National Park to Stehekin, relax for a night in a lodge at Stehekin, and then float plane back to Chelan. Oh yeah – get all of this done in 7 days of hiking.

At 5:30a on July 23rd, Kim and I drove to Bellevue to pick up Trent and Michelle to begin our great adventure. Our early departure got us in Chelan an hour before our flight was scheduled to take off, so we found a café in town to have our last “real” food for the next week.

After our “last breakfast”, we made our way over to Chelan Seaplanes to load up our backpacks.

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Warming up the plane.

Here is the crew getting ready for takeoff.

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Once the plane was warmed up, it was time to go!

Our pilot has only been flying in the Chelan area for the last couple of years. Prior to flying down here, he was a bush pilot up in Alaska. He still did a great job of pointing out the sites for us. At one point, he tried to point out some Bighorn Sheep, but none of us actually saw them.

A view of the orchards along the NE side of Lake Chelan.

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Cruising up Lake Chelan

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Along the way, the mountains are already starting to look rugged…it is gonna be a tough hike!

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We also got a little peek at Glacier Peak (10,520’) – the jagged snow cap barely in the picture.

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Occasionally our pilot would “dip” one of the wings to give us a better view of something. A couple of times, he did this without warning, and kinda freaked us out!

We also got some awesome views of Mount Baker (10,760’)!

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Hwy 20 cutting through the park…ok, technically this part of the highway is already outside the park.

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Rainy Lake is on the right, Ann Lake is on the left. You can see a trail on the hillside above Ann Lake. Rainy Pass on Hwy 20 is the leftmost portion of the road in the picture.

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Ross Lake Dam

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Waterfall coming off of Jack Mountain

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Suspension bridge over Lightning Creek. The dock at the bottom is the Lightning Creek Stock Camp. We had lunch there on our 3rd day – it was a very cool camp.DSC01853

Almost there. The small hill at the end of the ridge is Little Jackass Mountain (4387’), the jagged peak near the middle is Hozomeen Mountain (8066’), and just off our wing and out of the picture is Desolation Peak (6102’). Our first day of hiking is the valley between Hozomeen Mountain and the ridge in the foreground.DSC01857

Hozomeen Mountain

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Our approach to the campground. As we clear Little Jackass Mountain, you can see the boat launch dock where we were dropped off.

Plane landing.

Plane pulling into the boat launch at Hozomeen.

The seaplane leaving us! Only one way home now!

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Once we were done with the flight, we hung out at the Hozomeen Campground for the the day. It was warm, and Trent decided it was a good idea to get in the water, sneak up on Michelle, and splash her while she was sun bathing on the dock.

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Had to get a picture of a good looking blog author.

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Lunch at the Hozomeen Boat Launch. We tried to stay near the lake to avoid the mosquitos. Unfortunately, the campsites weren’t near the lake Sad smile

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Our campsite was a nice grassy area near the bathrooms, but there were a ton of mosquitos! We chewed through our bug spray.

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We did get to have a campfire to help keep the bugs away.DSC01880

This ended up being a long but very spectacular day. Everyone crashed before it was even dark outside (which was the theme for the trip).

North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #2
North Cascades Backpacking Trip Day #3

Springtime Little Si Hike

Our permit application for the Wonderland Trail has been submitted (at least we hope it has, we had some fax machine issues). We decided to kick off our training today with a nice springtime hike up the Little Si trail.

One of the new gadgets I tried out today was the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip. This cool little device attaches a camera to a backpack strap (or belt) and keeps the camera from swaying around excessively.   The clip consists of two parts – a clamp that goes around the strap, and a plate that attaches into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera. There is a release button that allows the camera to be attached/removed quickly. Here is a picture of my Sony NEX 6 attached to my day pack strap (funky camera angle – used my phone to get the picture).

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The hike itself was not super long – about 4.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain near 1300’. The weather was great – temperature in the mid 50s to low 60s.DSC00812

A short way into the hike, there is a side trail – “The Boulder Loop”. We skipped it on the way up, thinking we’d hit it on the way down. We ended up not doing it.DSC00813

This hike is a little more scenic than Mount Si. There are more things to see – a stream, some cool rock formations, and a small swamp (I didn’t take a picture of the swamp).

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My hiking buddy about 1/2 way up the trail.

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One of the more difficult trail sections. Fairly steep with a ton of roots and rocks. Sure glad I wasn’t trying to ride my motorcycle up this.

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Almost to the top. This is the view facing north.DSC00829

The view of Mount Si from the end of the trail.

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Triathlon Camp–Rambo Hike and Open Water Swim

Not a lot of text tonight – pretty tired and I need to get all of my gear together for the assault on Haleakala tomorrow (I have decided to do all 10,000+ feet, details tomorrow).  Today, we went on a cool hike through a bamboo forest along some streams, with lots of waterfalls.

This is a small stream that we crossed right after starting the trail.

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Looking up into the bamboo.

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Waterfall!

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Another waterfall!DSC00700

I said lots of waterfalls, right?

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This one was cool – you had to swim about 50 yds and scale a small waterfall, then you came to a much larger waterfall basin.  Several people went cliff diving here.

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After hiking, it was off to the ocean for an open water swim!DSC00762

The reef that protected the beach set up a natural swimming flume, allowing the coaches to watch your swim stroke and give you some good feedback. The current flowed parallel to shore away from this picture. It was very strong – I don’t think I could have made any progress against it without training fins on.DSC00766

We’ve finished a triathlon

It only took two days to do it.

Sunday started off with our “warm-up” ride. The beginning of the ride was easy enough, we descended about 1500 feet into the town of Paia.  We then followed the north side of the island along highway 36/360 (the Hana highway).  The road was pretty sweet, there were lots of nice corners and some short hills along the way. The traffic wasn’t too bad.  Our turnaround for the ride was at Kaumahina State Wayside Park.  This is the only place I grabbed some pictures (using my mobile phone).

First is my bike with bottles refilled and ready to go.

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and an ocean view from the park.WP_20130310_003

On the way back I started to get a bit tired around mile 45 – mostly my lower back getting sore.  Then the last 5 miles before Paia, we ran into a bit of a headwind which slowed me down quite a bit. And then there is the problem with starting on a long downhill – you that you get to finish with a long uphill. I ran out of fluids about a quarter of the way up, so I was in pretty bad shape by the time I completed the ride. I had a bit of a dizzy spell when I got off of the bike, but it went away after sitting down for about 5 minutes.  The ride was just about 56 miles with 4800’ of elevation gain.  You can see the data from my Garmin here.

After returning to the B&B we had a little bit of downtime to recover from the bike, and then we were whisked away to do a run/hike.  Since my bike ride had a bit of a rough end, I opted to hike the trail instead of run it. The location was higher up on the mountain in an experimental pine tree forest.

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The forest was clearly man made.

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Toward the end of the trail, we hiked down some fairly steep swtichbacks

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and at the very end, there were a bunch of caves in a cliff that you could walk/crawl through.

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Following the hike, we went back down to the B&B to have some dinner – the chef here is pretty awesome.  She made a lasagna that I would actually eat! Following dinner, one of the coaches gave a quick talk on nutrition during endurance racing. I was pretty wiped at the end of the day, and we were only done with day 1!

Monday, we drove to Keawakapu to get an open water swim in.  I brought a wetsuit and fins with me on the trip, but only used the wetsuit for this swim. There were three suggested options for the swim (based on easy to spot landmarks on shore)– 1000yds, 1.2mi, and 2.4 mi. I chose the 1000yd option. The swim paralleled the shore, 500yds down and 500yds back. The water was a little bumpy, so I had to pick the correct side for breathing…I only ended up with one wave in the face.  My Garmin file can be found here.

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After the swim, it was off for a nice run in the heat (completing my triathlon across 2 days). Ran along the beach for nearly 6 miles.  My body is definitely not adjusted to the heat and humidity yet. My heart rate was very high, given my pace and the flatness of the trail. The Garmin file for the run can be found here.

At this point, I chose to return to the B&B (instead of shopping).  After grabbing a quick lunch a couple of us went down to the bike shop to have bikes tuned up.  I was having some minor shifting issues on the first ride that I wanted to get fixed.

Dinner tonight was awesome again – macadamia nut encrusted fish.  Following dinner was a lecture on swimming technique. Now it is time to head off to bed – there is another bike ride tomorrow!

Lake Pleasant

After the big race, I decided to stay in Arizona for a few more days.  My parents drove their RV down from Seattle to find the sun, so I hitched a ride on their couch for a few days.  We stayed at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  This is a big park around, surprise, Lake Pleasant.

The campsite was on top of a small hill overlooking the reservoir.

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We brought kayaks along, and my dad and I spent quite a bit of time fishing. As much as I hate to admit it, I did not catch any fish while my dad caught a nice Largemouth Bass and a decent sized Striped Bass.

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I love stargazing while I’m out camping.  Unfortunately, the moon was out making things difficult because it is too bright.  One night, Jupiter was very close to the moon (the picture came out surprisingly well for being a handheld photo).

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There is really only one short hiking trail in the park – a bit of a disappointment given the size.  I spent one afternoon with my Mom following the trail through the desert.

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There were a few critters around, but not as many as I expected to see.  There were a few rodents and lizards around, and the coyotes would howl like crazy at night.

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Overall, the park was ok – it would be better for a one night stay, there just aren’t enough activities to keep things interesting longer than that (unless you want to fish all of the time). This was a great extension to my trip, allowing me to hang out in the sun and relax while my legs recover.

Walking around ASU

Spent the day walking around the ASU campus, getting a quick preview in case my oldest daughter Melissa decides to attend the school next year.

There is a big A on the hillside.

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Walked by the football stadium.  They have it locked up tight, so I couldn’t get any pictures of the inside and had to settle for the big sign outside.

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The UA/ASU basketball game was today, so there were tons of people around.  I should have picked up a ticket and watched.  Here is a picture of the arena:

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The school itself was pretty nice – lots of open “mall” areas through the buildings.

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There are orange trees all over campus.  Student volunteers harvest the oranges and send them out to get juiced.  The juice is returned and sold on campus.

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Horses outside the business school.

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Of course I had to hike up to the A.  Here is the trail map.

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The “A”

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continued to the very top…The river is dammed to create a small lake in town.

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campus from the top of the hill.

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and the most important message of all.

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