Tag Archives: hiking

A great training weekend!

Well, my post is going to be upstaged a bit, since Jeni’s race certainly takes precedence, but a week earlier, we got together for one of our best training day(s) we’ve had in a while…

Friday morning, J and I left for the drive to Missoula, complete with inflatable kayak in the back of her baby Subaru, play boat on top, paddles, bikes, running gear, camping gear etc. for 2 days of adventure.

We met Morg at “Trails End,” a great gear shop on Front street in Missoula, and after a bit of mandatory shopping, we headed northeast out of town toward the Blackfoot river and the Ubrecht Experimental Forest, site of the upcoming Grizzlyman Adventure Race.

Now, as balmy as it was in Spokane/CDA (ha ha), the mountains in northwest Montana still had snow… we went to drop Morg’s car off at the pull out point of the river, and his little pip squeak front wheel drive got STUCK. Did I mention Subaru’s are the bomb? Yup… we used Jeni’s baby to tow his WPOS out of the slush.

We put the boats in at “Round Up,” and after a lightning fast twenty minute transition as we figured out wetsuits/kayak suits etc, set out on a great paddle down the class 2-2.5 rapids of the Blackfoot.

It was a magnificent, sunny day, with temps in the mid-40’s (maybe even 50!) and with tons of ice along the banks, a few icebergs, tons of deer and bald eagles, it was a beautiful paddle, with just enough rapids to make it exciting and interesting!

For those who haven’t done it, paddling whitewater, especially kayaking,  is substantially different than flat water, and even different than rafting, so be ready for some excitement and fast hands.

We pulled the boats out at the exact right spot (part good guess, part sort of knew where we were) and literally PULLED them up a bit of a bank… say, 50 feet or so, muddy, and straight up. (Step, step, dig in, grab dirt, heave kayak 2 feet, repeat…)

After that, we lost Morg for a couple of hours as he went off to be gainfully employed, so J and I biked back to the forest and the race start at Paw’s Up! Resort, about a 10 mile, hilly trek through snow, mud, dirt and lake Winnapawsocki… (There was a puddle in the road that was so wide there was no way around it, and so deep it was over the bottom brackets of the bikes, so wet feet you had – twice).

We reserved a house for the race, looked around a bit, and biked back, as it was starting to cool off as the sun dropped.

We set up camp on the bank of the river and got our fire going just as the sun went down. Morgen joined us a bit later, and we shared Jet-Boiled dinner, snacks, and, in general, had a great evening… the stars were amazing, and even though it was down in the 20s, it was a blast to be away from everything.

Saturday, Morg was up and gone early to a meet, and after we packed up camp, we headed back to town, got some directions, and set off on a “little” bike ride that took 2.5 hours, over a honkin’ big mountain, and a part so steep I didn’t make it (which pissed me off wonderfully, I must say). It was actually great to have a LONG ride over a mountain, since my mountain has been unrideable since December… and the downhill after was pretty exhilarating!

To finish it off, we hiked up Mt. Sentinel (the one with the big “M” on it).

After that, we had a nice lunch at the Iron Horse, looked at a couple more gear shops (I got a Thermarest! (Thanks, Jeni!!)) and headed back to CDA…

This weekend, we’re going to do a similar thing with a full-time Morg, we hope, and hopefully get two days of paddling in as well.

The race is only 2.5 weeks away, so time to put the rubber to the road, so to speak…

Good training, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you all!

DA

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Filed under communication, cycling, gear, kayaking, races, Trail Running, training, uncategorized

New Year’s FART Training!

On December 30, several of our FART teammates and future FARTS arrived at the North Pole in CDA for New Years, and some good training!

Kelley, Jeni, Morgen, Andy, Liz, and Zeb all made it through the lightly falling blizzard just as Dave finished his 3 hours of shoveling, and settled in for the New Year’s Eve festivities. Andy and Austin went up to Schweitzer for a magnificent day of skiing, and Jeni and Dave got out for a great bike ride.

On the 31st, we spent much of the day prepping for the party, except for a nice 4 mile run on the local “skating rink” we call a road. It was a stretch of black ice that the Detroit Red Wings would have been proud of! Andy and Jeni each had received new ‘Stabilicers” that are like little studded tires for your running shoes, and fared better than the rest of us, who would have preferred skates!

New Year’s Day dawned bright(ish) and clear(ish) and after the traditional “Dave Skillet,” Dave, Andy, Morgen, Jeni and Lizzie geared up for a day of outdoor adventure, while Lisa, Zeb and Kelley got ready to do the Loop.

Now, for our outdoor adventure, we didn’t choose just any trek… it was a balmy 29 degrees and just after noon as we headed out.

First we biked to Farragut from FARTquarters through 8 – 12 inches of new, soft snow on top of the black ice, which made for some interesting biking, let me tell you! It took over 30 minutes to ride the 4 miles (mostly downhill!) to the park, where we met up with Michelle and Corey Haustein, who are going to be a huge part of Adventure Week 2009, and are both Ironmen and XTERRA athletes.

After the biking, we had decided to do some snowshoeing, which was new to several members, but didn’t even slow them down!

We started out into the park using the established trails to begin with, and then making s cross-country hike to the head of the Highpoint trail.

It was very interesting to snowshoe along trails that we run and bike so often during the rest of the year: your normal landmarks are muted, and distances are thrown off, but the snow makes everything look like a real winter wonderland!

At the edge of the park, we decided to make our way to Scout rocks, which we had been to countless times on foot, but never in four to five feet of snow! We were warned that if we continued, there were no more directional signs, and no groomed trails, which suited us perfectly, and off we went.

Dave, Corey, Michelle, Morgen, Liz starting their snowshow leg

From left: Dave, Corey, Michelle, Morgen, Liz starting their snowshow leg

The trail, if you can call it that, is mostly uphill to the rocks for about 3/4 of a mile, and the fact that we were walking was more than made up for the fact that the snow laden branches were now at face level.

Once we got to the base of the rocks, we started our way up the near vertical cliff, covered in feet of snow, with crevasses, roots, and boulders hidden underneath! It was awesome!

After a fairly strenuous climb, we reached the summit, and paused for a few minutes to enjoy a Jet Boiled snack, just as the weather began to change for the worse… the weather report was warning us of an approaching cold front, with accompanying snow, and since darkness was just over an hour away, we decided that no matter how well we were prepared (and we all had substantial packs and safety gear), it was time to get off the mountain.

We dead reckoned our way off the mountain, eventually meeting up with our original trail, and making it back to the ranger station just as darkness arrived!

The FART Support team arrived shortly after, and except for being a bike rack short, all was good… Dave and Morgen volunteered to do the ride back home, and thankfully, it had been plowed, so it wasn’t a bad ride.

Dave cooked up a pasta and lamb chop dinner, the hot tub was on, and by 10:00 p.m., everyone was pretty much asleep!

This morning dawned snowy, with almost 12 inches having fallen, providing Andy and Austin another great day of skiing as the Missoula crew headed home, and Dave started shoveling!

With the weekend coming up, we hope to get in at least one more snowshoe day (hopefully with Lisa this time!) and Austin might get another ski trip.

All in all, a great weekend!

Michelle, Corey, Zeb and Liz will all be great assets for the FART and FARTlette teams next summer… Liz was the surprise of the weekend, as she really held her end up through a couple of tough outings!

Looking forward to getting out and doing some cc skiing as well as snowshoeing… might even combine it with biking, and make it a little winter triathlon next week!

Love having the team in town! I only wish the rest of you could have been here! Thanks to Jeni for the great photos!

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Filed under Adventure Week, communication, cycling, gear, photos, safety, snowshoeing, training