Monday, February 25, 2008

Bicycle Photo Essay

I must make these.

There looks to be something terribly wrong with this picture.

Apparently, I was wrong, and this is more common than I thought
Families that bike together, stay together

I will spend the rest of my life looking for this bike at yard sales.

Make mine a double

Make mine a double

Add this to my list please.

Life is way too short list

With the advent of long gray string of hair that is growing directly up (not with, really up) from my head I decided there are a few things I really need to do this year. It is a short and not comprehensive list.
  • Ride my bike some sick distance (that would be a century for me)
  • Lobster crate race (see my previous post for more info on this)
  • Enter more mountain bike races this year (last year I was at two)
  • Go on vacation
  • Bowl a 205
  • Finish five road races this year

A little eclectic, but manageable. I'll keep you posted of course.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What you should have done

Jump a little

Scrambling up the side of a granite quarry for a jump into the deliciously cold waters below sounds easy- until you are there, with your toes gripping the edge of the cliff and you look into the black abyss beneath.

“Man, you’re all set. Just make sure you jump out so you miss the ledge down there. The water’s wicked deep.”

You’ve heard all the calls to do it, the recommendations on how to do it, the where to land, the where not to land. It doesn’t seem to make any of it better. It doesn’t seem to calm your racing mind, your pounding heart. The smell of cigarettes and sun block mix together to create the potent olfactory mix that you know best as summer.

Suddenly smoking sounds really good, hell, drinking sounds even better. But maybe that is not a good mix- drinking and jumping off a forty foot cliff into the black water of a quarry. All you can think of is stupid little things.

You should have left the cat more food.

You should have told your brother to take your dog for you.

You should have bought those stupidly expensive tickets to see the Sox.

Made up with your friend, had a second helping of ice cream, gotten up and danced on the hood of your truck at the drive-in, watched less TV, gone biking more.

Pain shoots up your ankle as the icy water envelopes around you and you surge back up to the surface. You dinged your foot on the way in. But that is okay, because you should have done this. You should have done this all along.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

These would make for some mighty fine camping

I think they glow in the dark too.

Gear that just sounds funny

  • I am supposed to smear this where?

    Cat Crap

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who is that Wonder Underdog Anyway?

My truest sidekick, the one that can really keep up best with me is Misty the Wonder Underdog. Yup, while she may be in her civilian clothes here, she really is a superhero dog.


Let’s start with the basics. What we know is part mystery, part factual since we got her from a humane society in New Hampshire. We picked her up when she was one and half years old and she had obviously recently had puppies. Her paperwork shows that three months before that she had a litter of nine puppies (I wish I knew where they were, because I would love them), been transferred from a Tennessee shelter, adopted once and brought back. Her breed was listed as hound mix at the shelter, but from various research, I can say she is most certainly part German Short-Haired Pointer and another type of hound mix. I also think she is either blue tick or American or English hound as well.


Can you believe someone actually gave her back to the shelter? They said their other dogs were too aggressive to her.

So now you know that she speaks with a Southern drawl and is right around two years old. She loves other dogs so much it is silly, cats too. She literally gets happy to see the cat when we walk back inside. She is extremely submissive. When she sees another dog coming on the trail, she will crouch down real low (some people think this is a sign of aggression when they see it) and say hi. Other times if she is up ahead I will find that she has lied down on the ground until the other dog approaches.


She stays with us when we hike, although once on the top of Mt. Wonalancet she kept going and we thought we lost her forever. She is learning that come means come and what sit, down, and stay mean.

If you ever happen to meet her while she is out doing superhero type things-saving kitties from trees, and rescuing small children- you will find that she seems like a mild, confident dog. This is a big change for her because when we first got her she was a big scaredy cat. She was afraid to get in cars, couldn’t sit in the back seat, afraid of bridges, water, loud noises, sudden movements, just about anything. We really tried to follow what the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic suggestions and not reward the behavior we want to change. Instead, we literally ignored her when she was scared. We walked confidently with her over bridges (on a leash), brought her around things she was afraid of (and we didn’t pet her and say don’t be afraid), in fact we brought her everywhere and that helped.

She had mange when we got her. Sounds nasty huh? It is just mites and none of the other animals got it from her.

When she is a civilian she rolls over frequently for belly rubs, will do anything for a treat, and never ever barks.


As a Wonder Underdog she has climbed a fence well over 15 feet tall, escaped from small open windows, and expertly handles all terrains.


As she would say, “it’s all in a day’s work ya’ll.”

21 Miles in a day, 21 Miles in a day, take one down..

Crashing through the snow with each step I thought about how much I despised coffee with sugar in it. Smashing my shin repeatedly against the icy crust of the snow, I thought about how much I hated having to go to work on Mondays. Falling into a snow covered dry stream bed up to my waist and I started to wonder why was even putting myself through this.

It seemed like well concocted idea when my friend and I were discussing it in her well heated living room. Hike 21-miles in one day, because it was there and we could. Sure it was the dead of winter and the start of a cold snap. Sure it wasn’t just 21-miles on a nice level road, but instead 21 miles up and down seven assorted peaks. Why couldn’t we hike it now with it covered in two plus feet of snow and only a skimpy 8-9 hours of daylight in a day? We weren't deterred.

At 4:30 in the morning we left the comfort of our warm cars at the trail head, powered up our headlamps, finished off our coffees and headed off on this one way 21-mile throughway along the Wapack Trail in southern New Hampshire. We decided to keep it as light as possible and not bring snowshoes. From the small sections we had scouted the week before, the trails were previously packed by snowmobiles. Things were looking great with the temperature sticking around the high teens.

We began our decent down Watatic Mountain just to see the sun rise through the trees. Things took a sharp turn at around 10:00 when we discovered that the little used middle portion of the trail had yet to be broken. Already approximately five miles from our cars, we figured we would soon hit a section that had been packed down. I’m sure we would have too, but the snow conditions had crusted the snow top with just enough ice so that you would almost not crash through and then--smash-- you would. With each step our shins nailed the hard ice. We couldn’t keep this up, it had taken us twenty minutes to cover less than a quarter mile. We needed to bail.

And bail we did, down the side of some little known foothill. We managed to get cell reception to call our ride and arrange a pickup five and half miles from our car and 15 and half miles from our goal.

Sidenote: While I didn’t manage to complete the Watatic Trail in one day on this particular outing, I did manage to with a male hiking partner of mine that same winter. Ironically we didn’t even have to take our snowshoes off our packs.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Piper Peak Picked up Misty

Sunday we managed to sneak up Piper peak next to Belknap Mountain in New Hampshire. We have managed to keep Misty completely off of iced over mountain tops this winter, since we are a little unsure of how she will handle it. Although none of these photos show the ice well, there were many good patches that she scrambled right over. I guess dogs from Tennessee are pretty adaptable.

Misty on Piper Mountain

Skirting the top were one-sided ice trees warning us of which way the wind likes to come in.

Piper Mountain

Piper Mountain

Misty was quite sure that we should continue onwards even though her doggie treats were heading back down.

Piper Mountain