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Monday, July 20, 2009

It ain't no bibler

It's amazing how comfortable my bilber tent is to me. In the four years I've had it I spent over 100 nights in it, had two different grizzlies take a swipe at it, gone through 2 tent poles that broke from downdrafts, exposed to freight train winds of 50+ mph, rain and snow... all the while keeping it like yellow sunshine inside the single wall piece of artwork. Family camping is exponentially more difficult especially without a bibler. Luckily Hahnah slept fine in a portable crib but me... the dark interior, drafty, leaky, mosquito letting netting, wind flapping bad boy had me out the single entrance door taking deep breathes at 2, 3, 4 and finally for good at 5am. Add in a little PTS from my little bear incident and voila!! Instant wakefullness.... all night long.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Attack of the ..... birds?

The most apparent threat on the beach are not necessarily bears, though fresh tracks are always a heart thumper, it's birds.

This is the view I get when attacked by seagulls or arctic terns. Want to spend a nice evening on the beach running or walking, think again. These birds don't just swoop in for a scare but actually have pecked at times. Wave your arms around trying to spook them just makes it worse and they call in reinforcements to harass you the whole stretch of beach you want to run on. The chainsaw temporarily drives them away but I still keep a wary eye out. Usually, as the summer wears on the baby terns and seagulls mature and the protective parents aren't as vicious but this year more people are out on the beach (gathering wood) and (I think) more irritated (birds not people).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A day in the life

Wake up, enjoy the morning with the family then decide what to do... Sunday was the day I could have a solid bunch of hours to get out but over the years I have become extremely selective, almost snobbish, what to do since I can't just disappear for a few days like I used to. It has to be fun and new and challenging.

I look at the current weather, forecast, various weather stations in the area and of course the wind. On the ocean or away? Bike or kayak or row? Too windy and I won't make many miles on the ocean but the wave action is exciting. Which direction, start against or with the wind. Objective goal, exploration or just a work out. Too little wind and interior trips will be buggy.

As much as I enjoy the ocean I opted for some kayak exploration / workout. I've been wanting to check the route out of Safety Sound from the Flambeau river when we pack raft it later this summer with the Buster Creek trail connector. As you go up the sound there are various creeks and three rivers that empty into the sound. This makes it rather marshy, swampy, with lots of dead end ponds, sloughs..

and this stuff under the water....

I am not particularly fond of sounds or lagoons as they tend to be (kind of boring) extremely shallow with quicksand type mud unless you know the "road". Luckily the kayak draft is pretty tolerant so I had no issues this trip. It was a beautiful day in the 70's and just enough wind to thwart the mosquitoes, which are incredible back here in the swamp.

All in all it was a fabulous 7 hr paddle and my GPS logger showed about 27 miles even with all the dead end ponds I ran into. I finally found the route to the river though I didn't know it until I returned and checked my google earth with my GPS coordinates.

When I returned in the evening around 9:30 the weather actually got warmer and I wished for a longer trip. Instead I took a dip in the ocean and cut a little wood before returning home. All in all a great day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Never to early... learn kayaking. We went to the beach to cut wood and play in the kayak. Gotta love the daylight in the summer, this was taken at 9 pm. Hahnah had a great time in the kayak and running on the beach and it sure made me want to do a big day tomorrow on the water. I've been biking quite a bit so it'll be nice to get out on the water again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rescue s'more

I received a message on my phone Tuesday evening from Audun, the Norwegian who was attempting to row to Diomede, or thereof. I was surprised to hear from him and knew it couldn't be good if he was already back in Nome. I caught up with him the next day and found out he had to be rescued by the coast guard.... second in a row for the CG. 0/2 for the international kayak / row team and 2/0 for the coast guard. Apparently, after patching his boat he rowed to Brevig then Wales and then made the effort to Diomede. What many folks don't realize is that the Bering Strait is a natural funnel squeezing the Bering Sea between less than 55 miles of land with Diomede in the middle. The current is tremendous and highly volatile. There are three different currents that flow around the island, throw in some wind and you have a dangerous cocktail. Even in good weather it's sketchy. I'll never forget passing the cape toward Wales in a kayak and my GPS said I was going 8 knots and I wasn't even paddling. In any case Nordun was getting in over his head with waves and said he was getting blown towards Siberia (southwest). After struggling for 15 hours he decided to activate his emergency beacon. It sounded like the Hercules plane buzzed him, dropped flares and then a helicopter swooped in with coasty swimmers and put him in the basket. He said it was just like on TV and actually I found a website that documented it, pretty cool. I will try to hold judgement on the ongoing debate of the taxpayers paying for these rescues. It's a double edged sword. Anyway, I wish I was writing my adventures instead of others...

picture taken previously as the boat is currently lost at sea.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nome International

Nome is many things but it also happens to be a stopping station for many wild eyed adventurers dating back at least to Roald Amundsen. Always interested, I have met a fair number of them in my time here and some are pretty out there and some pretty grounded. The latest is the french kayaker who got plucked from the Bering sea about 40 miles from the St. Lawrence island. He seemed really grounded and has done some amazing things, such as paddle solo across the Atlantic. My friend Tyler interviewed him for the nomenugget paper and was a pretty neat guy so invited home for dinner. Sarah, Hahnah, myself and a few friends joined them and was really pleasant.

On the Norway side of things.... since last fall I have had this boat sitting on my trailer. The gentleman from Norway finally arrived last week. While, I felt his boat needed some work he did not seem bothered by it and asked if I could drive him to Teller to start his journey to Diomede, maybe across the strait? I'm really not sure what or where or how long he intends on going. Tyler and I dropped him off with the boat and he rowed towards Brevig Mission where he knows the pastor. We heard, however, through the grapevine that his boat started leaking and he ended up in Teller for the weekend fixing it. I certainly wish him the best.

Another month past and still, plans for any big summer venture to satiate the ember of misadventure fails to rise. Or rather, it fails to come together. I had a number of ideas that burned then fizzled; everything from the Yukon1000 to an Iron Man and most recently the Colorado Trail Race . I have been both encouraged and discouraged to bike the CTR and it certainly has appeal to my kind of race (epic-esque). There are quite a few logistical issues but I won't rule it out just yet as I sorely need a solid bike race to use as a training module for another attempt at the full ITI next winter.

Last weekend I was easily coerced (for some reason) into running the annual 12.5 mile Anvil Mountain race. I think this is actually my longest legitimate running race and I am by no means a runner. It starts at sea level in town and at about 4 miles around the 100 ft level it climbs rapidly ~1000 ft in about a mile, levels off then drops on the tundra straight down for a mile or less before hitting the road back into town. It was surprisingly fun and was happy to finish it in 1 hr 28 minutes. Though I do need running shoes, ever since my first ITI in 2008 my feet grew (or something) and most of my footwear is too tight. My poor feet felt the pain.