"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crossroads

The other day I was out running the our local trails. Enjoying the run, really enjoying it not just pretending to like I have been doing quite a bit lately. I came to a "T" and stopped dead in my tracks, not knowing which way to go. Of course I "knew" which way to go, I know every inch of our little trail system so it's not like there was any danger of gettting lost if I chose the wrong direction. Technically it was the start of a loop so either direction would bring me right back to where I stood pondering the direction that would carry me forward. As I stood there I thought that right then in that moment the very next decision I made would be the most important decision I would ever make in my life. I was alone and totally in the moment nothing else mattered and nothing else would ever matter. Such a simple decision that I have made without mention hundreds if not thousands of times but this time being fully aware of the decision, made everything seem more real and I felt revitalized and somehow safe in the knowledge that which ever direction I chose was the correct direction. 
Experiences like that are why I enjoy being out in nature. There is a greater power out there and sometimes you can find it or maybe it finds you. 


In case you are wondering I chose left.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trail Maintenance: The Honeysuckle Horror!

For a long time my Metro Tri Club friends and I have been using the GORC trails out at SIUE for running, mountain biking, and a couple of us have even been geocaching out there.  Last year the club decided make donation to GORC to show our appreciation for all the hard work they put into maintaining the trails for people like us to use.  This year however we were told that while the money was greatly appreciated what they really needed was boots on the ground to actually do the work.  We organized a crew and had a plan.  The only hitch in that plan was that yesterday our scheduled work day was rainy and very wet.  I say it was a hitch but it actually worked out pretty well as we were the only people out on the trails we got to work uninterrupted.  Even with the foul weather we had about 10 club members show up, which was great.

I spent 4 hours out there cutting and removing honeysuckle which is very pernicious in that it will grow quickly and over take the trail.  I am so sick of honeysuckle, I can't express it right now.  we got a lot of work done but there are still miles to go.  The best part is we get to do it all over again once we are finished.  Trail maintenance is a never ending task like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill.

Thanks to GORC for all of the hard (often times thankless) work you do on all of the trails in the area.  If you are a trail user check to find out who maintains the trails in your area and ask how you can help.


I was so busy working that I didn't get any pictures but Super Kate (who was also super late) did click on the picture below to read her post and see some pictures of what we were up to.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dave Cornthwaite and the Big Swim

Image courtesy of: www.davecornthwaite.com
Dave Cornthwaite is coming back to the river!  No not the Mississippi.  This time the intrepid adventurer will be swimming over 1000miles down the Missouri river.  That's right SWIMMING, over 1000miles!
"For 50 days, between August 10th and the end of September 2012, Dave Cornthwaite will be swimming 1000 miles along the Lower Missouri River in the USA, between Yankton, SD and St Louis, MO."
I have entertained the notion of swimming 100miles for the 100+Project, and decided to put it off for another time.  Frankly the thought of swimming 100miles seemed too big to wrap my head around.  When I heard the news that Dave was planning on swimming over 1000miles, my jaw hit the floor.  The I learned that Dave is not really much of a swimmer.  I wish him all the luck, but I fear this will be his most difficult challenge to date.

Dave won't be going it alone though.  You can go with him!
 "For the first time in six years Dave is opening up applications for a dedicated support team to join one of his expeditions; helping to create, document and ensure completion of the most testing acts of endurance in his career."
If you think you might have what it takes to be an Expedition 1000 team member visit Dave's website and learn more.

Trust me, if I could get the time away from work I would be there in a heartbeat.  In fact as he gets closer to the St Louis area I plan to offer any support I can give.  It's not often an opportunity like this presents itself so if you are available don't let it pass you by.

Good Luck Dave!
See You Soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Missouri River: Hermann to Washington

With the MR340 looming on the horizon Mark, Ryan and I decided it was time to hit the river.  We met at Washington and Mark's parents gave us a ride to Hermann.  These river towns are quaint, almost a step back to a more idyllic time that probably never existed.
I was anxious to get back on the river since I hadn't been since last year right before it was closed for recreational use due to flooding.  Back then the wing dikes were under about 15feet of water and Chuck and I were reaching speeds of almost 8mph while we were eating lunch just floating along.  We made really good time but it wasn't a very good measure of actual river conditions.  This time the wing dikes and buoys were in full view and we estimated the flow of the river to be around 3mph.  I was kicking myself for forgetting my Garmin at home.  The plan was to get some good metrics with which to plan our MR340 strategy.  Next time I'll remember.  I did manage to remember my spot tracker, but almost forgot to turn it on.  A long time ago I realized that for me there is a limited amount of technology that I can bring on an adventure and use properly.  The MR340 is really going to test my technological limitations (2cameras, gps, spot tracker, iphone, etc.) as well as my physical and mental toughness.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Spot Tracker map
Mark and Ryan in the little dingy.

Nothing wrong with some river time.

Bluffs, yo!

Mark likes to chill.

Ryan watching for any geese on the attack.

Obligatory bridge picture.

Watch out for the wing dikes!


River view.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool Creek Run

During the "Wild Running" phase over the winter I got to looking at the creek that runs through our local trails and thought, "that is another trail that is always overlooked".  I decided to run it, and while I could get people to follow me off the trail up and down steep ravines through deer trails, over and under fallen trees, they balked at the idea of getting their feet wet in the cold.  I assured them it would be okay, but there were no takers.  I waited patiently for a good time to do it, and finally decided that today would be the day.  I let a few people know about my plan and my friend Jim was the only one to show up.  I didn't know what it would be like down in the creek since we really only get glimpses of it as we run high above it on top of the ravine.  It's one of those things that could have gone either way.  Either way though it would be a good adventure.  We ran a little over 5miles on the regular boring old trails and then descended into the creek.  Jim had said he was feeling lousy and was going to pass on the creek part, but he followed me in without hesitation.  We ended up not running the creek from end to end because the going was getting really tough as we were also trying to clean out some of the garbage.  I had my water bottle, camera, and a bunch of garbage including a glass Clorox bottle in my hands, which made some of the log jams really difficult to cross safely.  When we decided we couldn't carry any more trash we headed up and out.  Next time I'll bring bags or leave the trash.