Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ridge walk

Yesterday was pretty fun! On Sunday I bought a new, cheaper, camera that I could take to India and not feel as bad as I would if my SLR was stolen. So yesterday my plan was to go for a hike and test it out.

I bought a Cannon Powershot A590, which was the cheapest camera that I could find that had aperture and shutter priority as well as a fully manual option. I have been very pleased with the camera so far.

The day was perfect for a hike. When I started out from the end of Canyon road, it was perfectly sunny with four to five fresh inches of snow over a thin crust from the previous snowfall. The trail was absolutely gorgeous with fresh snow hanging on all the trees. For the first hour or so I had been following someone's tracks up the trail. It turned out that it was a my friend Danielle and her dog Bean! They had hiked out to Rabbit lake and back for Columbus day. We were both commenting on how there was enough snow at this point that we should have taken our skis rather than crunch along up, and down the trail.

Heading out from the car

Fresh snow!

Soon after running in to Danielle, I reached the section of trail that was just below the saddle between Ptarmigan and the ridge leading back to Flattop. My goal was to get up to that saddle then hike back on the ridge to Peak 3, then down to the car. Just as I was about to gain the saddle I looked up to find that I wasn't alone. There were three sheep hanging out just at the crest to the saddle grazing away. They weren't scared at all and I could get within 20 meters of them and get some great photos.

North Suicide

Looking back at all the fresh snow!

Working on gaining the saddle

Upper Rabbit Creek Valley

Sheep with Avalanche Peak in the background

My three companions under Ptarmigan

As I continued up from the saddle to the ridge, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the wind began to blow. It was really refreshing to have the slight nip of winter on my face. There was plenty of snow on the leeward side of the ridge. In the sections where there was still a base from last winter you could have gone skiing. It won't be long until we will be back country skiing in Anchorage! The ridge was awesome. The sky was clear and you could see Denali and the Alaska Range quite clearly!

Ptarmigan, North and South Suicide, and Rabbit Lake

Anchorage

Anchorage with Denali on the horizon

It was a great 3 hour hike in the fresh snow. It was different to look down from the ridge and see skiers down there skiing back and forth on the power line. Its been really nice to do different stuff like this than the traditional ski training this summer and fall. I have really been enjoying the change of pace since deciding to ski recreationally this winter. Perhaps I'll get the bug to race fast again, but for now this is the life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Intervals

When I woke up this morning I didn't think that I would end up doing intervals up the gas line. Today the UAA men's ski team was going to start an interval block with their up hill time trial. However, their plans quickly changed with the inch of fresh snow that Anchorage received last night. My plan was to meet them half way to chear them on and take pictures. Shortly after they ran by my position, just just before halfway, they stopped and started running back down the hill as if they were running intervals. It quickly occured to me that the time trial was cancelled and they were doing up hill running intervals. Karl was quick to ask if I wanted to jump in. My first thought was, "No way! I am not in nearly good enough shape to hang on with you guys.". But on second thought I figured, "Well, I've got my running shoes and tights on under my pants. Why not? I can just stop if they are destoying me." So next thing I knew I was chasing the boys up the hill.

Suprisingly enough it wasn't as hard as I thought to hang on with them. However, I did jump in halfway through completely fresh and up hill running was always my strong suit in fall training. It was really reassuring for me that if I really wanted to, with a little bit of work I could get back where I was. Here are the few pictures that I took thinking it was the time trial.


The team with the mascots


Raph


Max, all smiles despite flying up the hill


Lex (front) and Trond (back)



Trond


Karl, running out of the fog


Karl with Erick coming down the second to last step.


Karl

Saturday, October 11, 2008

South Fork of Montana Creek, Equinox Expedition

The South Fork of Montana Creek is a pretty cool run. It is really laid back with some cool drops. The week after John and I ran the creek I took my old man out there on the equinox. We were all about the Flip video camera he had and went crazy that day taking video. We were able to catch all the major drops, and even the name sake for one of the drops (Paddle Chalk, I bet you can't guess which one). So after my Dad slaved away on the video, here is the final project. Enjoy!

video

The paddling season is pretty much over now and we are in limbo up here in Alaska. It is a bit too cold and the water is too low in most places to go kayaking, and there isn't enough snow to go skiing. I finished up my internship at the USGS at the beginning of the month and have been kicking around trying to figure out travel plans. It looks like I'll be taking off for India on the 28th of November instead of the 15th of October. Until then stay tuned. I've got nothing better to do than go find fun stuff to post.