Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bike to work, eat a lot...

I finally biked all the way to and from work. Usually, I drive about half way and bike the difference. You may scoff at this, but the fact that my commute is 17.5 miles one way makes a big difference. Despite my sincere love of biking and plan to commute a lot this summer, I just haven't been able to afford the 3 hour roundtrip.
Another thing which always saps my good intentions to ride the whole commute is that the last mile home is a very, very steep hill on a tight curve with no bike path, no shoulder, and speeding cars. I call that stretch of highway, "The Gauntlet."

I got home, ate a lot of moosemeat, drank a beer, and practically fell over from tiredness.

At work, we're shutting down for winter. We're cutting back all of the perennials, both potted and planted, wrapping trees, storing soils and fertilizer, etc. I love this time of year: packing up and finishing the season. On our last official open day, all of the summer's employees show up, we do the final tucking-in of the unsold nursery stock and then eat and drink ourselves silly with a potluck. A great tradition. It's things like this which keep me coming back for another work season. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Waking up in Denali....

We figure the temperature dropped to less than +30 overnight. We woke to frost on everything. Only Frommage slept comfortably, human furnace that he is. This is a shot of some Bearberry plants coated with frost. Everything sparkled in the sunrise.

Breakfast on the riverbed. We sat on our foam sleep pads as the rocky ground transmitted the cold all to well. We had to wait until the sun rose high enough to hit the river....
Ray scraped the thick frost off his tent and had a fun morning pelting us with snowballs.

Small caribou jaw found on the tundra. Wolf eaten? Bear? Unknown.

Hiking out under pure, beautiful blue skies. Three hours and we hit the road to flag down a hiker bus. Two hours back to the park entrance, and we treated ourselves to pizza and beer.

Now, back at home, Cousin Bill and Ray the Brit are on their way to further adventures down south. Frommage and I return to normal life.
After just a few days with my pack, hiking over incredible country, singing, telling stories and laughing constantly at Ray's insane sense of's hard to return to the studio.

Hell, it's just hard to be indoors.

Days of walking on raw earth, breathing clean, fresh air, being purely in the moment. The day's schedule built around making simple meals and setting up a tent in the evening. Good conversation with adventurous friends. These things make me incredibly happy. Posted by Picasa

Hiking in Denali

Three friends and I went into the backcountry in Denali just for an overnight trip---hike maybe 5 miles in, set up camp and explore further before it got cold or dark. (The former stopped us first.) Myself, Ray from London, Husband Frommage, Cousin Bill from D.C.

Cousin B. I had the impression he could hike for about 5 days straight without gettting tired.

Ray at the river. The meltwater coming down from Polychrome Glacier made a braided river in a very wide, shallow drainage. We made dozens of crossings and never got our feet wet.

Frommage and the Pasque Flower. We hiked back into the glacier over tundra covered hills and incredibly beautiful rocky terrain. Posted by Picasa