Friday, January 29, 2010

Snowshoe to Reyes Peak

With the recent higher elevation snowfall amounts, I decided to dig out the snowshoes for a 14 miler up Chorro Grande and Reyes Peak.  At 4000 feet, this trailhead is a little over an hour's drive from my house, on the next ridge behind our Coyote Two Moon/Ojai Ridge.  With elevations exceeding 7000 feet, I was hoping for enough snow that would make bringing the snowshoes worthwhile.  I wasn't disappointed. 

After climbing 3000 feet in 5 miles, I intersected the summer road and got a good view of Reyes Peak.  Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands were visible to the west.  It was a very sunny day with temps in the 50s.  Sunscreen mandatory!

Save for the beasties, no one had been up here recently; the snow was untracked and beautiful.  There was even some natural snow art:

As I gained elevation, the trees gained height and girth.  Lots of grand, stately pines. 
(Sorry but I love taking photos of big tree bark.)

Also some unnatural "art."

No animal sightings but saw fresh tracks of fox, coyote, little critters (squirrels, etc.), deer, mountain lion (!), and these of a small bear:

This pine seems to be joyfully spreading its wings!

Dinked around with the camera timer in order to show the scale of this snowdrift.  Hard to imagine a winter storm this extreme in Southern California.

All in all, a wonderful, quiet day alone in the woods...
...and a nice start to regaining my snowshoe legs for an upcoming adventure later this winter.  :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Generally I cringe at this annoyingly overused word, but in Monica's case I make an exception.  Check it out!!  Chris and I look forward to seeing her at #5.  :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ten days on the East Coast (or,brrr...)

On January 10 we left sunny and warm California for a work trip to Washington, DC.  The first few days were bitterly cold, at least by mid Atlantic--and definitely southern California--standards.  It was windy.  Oh yeah, that drill:  tights, hat, gloves, jacket...  Boo.  Yuck.  Even after spending 30+ winters in Vermont, I'd forgotten how much laundry results from one rather average winter run.

But enough whining.  We did some neat things with some cool people:

- While checking into the hotel, Chris ran across a '97-'98 C4P (then Mugu 50-50) runner, Kathy, who also happens to be a Chi Running instructor.  The three of us went for a late afternoon run on the Mt. Vernon Trail and Roosevelt Island (wearing above-mentioned ensemble).  Knowing nothing about Chi Running, Chris and I got to observe this intriguing method up close and personal.  Another day we ran a section of the C&O Canal Towpath.  (I would be running the same trail a little later in the week.)

- I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History for the first time in about 15 years.  My favorite exhibits this time were Julia Child's Kitchen, especially the video of her preparing a beef tongue (um, yum?), and the lunch box display, only because they actually had my 2nd and 3rd grade Campus  Queen one, above.  Alas, no such luck with my sis's Bobby Sherman model.  (I mean, really!  Bobby Sherman doesn't rate?) Afterward, after having tried a couple of times in the past, only to be discouraged by long waiting lines, I finally got to go up the Washington Monument (the tall one--there are actually two).  This time it was so cold and windy that there was NO line.  Yippee-ki-yay!  But the major accomplishment of the day was flying solo on the Metro--I'd never done it before, and [SEGUE: Yes, this IS the same woman who would feel perfectly at ease venturing into the wilderness solo for weeks on end] was quite intimidated by the whole process.  But I did it!  That small victory thing...   (And may I add that the Rosslyn Metro Station has THE longest, steepest escalator I've ever ridden.)

- Midweek I ventured up to Lancaster County, PA, and spent two days with my sis and her family, especially enjoying (and at the same time oh-so-freaking-thankful that I myself never produced one of the little rug rats) my 3-year-old great nephew, and enduring quizzical stares by the buggy-riding Amish as I ran their quiet country roads.  We went to Chilis for dinner one night, and I have just one question:  How can food that looks yummy taste like...  nothing?  Seriously, there was NO TASTE.  Except for Dunkin Donuts and Cracker Barrel (yes, I suppose that makes me a redneck) I tend to avoid chains.  The most recent experience at Chilis further reinforced my resolutions to (a) avoid chain restaurants, and (b) never eat Mexican east of the Rockies.  It's usually very disappointing.

- On Saturday, thanks to my sweet husband's willingness to crew, I finally accomplished something I'd first heard about many years ago on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike:  the Quad State Quad Buster, 44 miles on the AT from the Pennsylvania border, through Maryland, the 3 or so miles in West Virginia to the Virginia border.  The weather had moderated somewhat, with midday highs in the lower 50s.  (Being a California wimp now, I still donned tights and gloves.)  There was still some snow on the ground here and there, but more annoying were frost heaves, whereby one or both feet would break through the dirt crust and sink ankle deep.  I referred to them as land mines.  Where there weren't land mines there were rocks.  But it was a fun day, "fun" in the ultrarunners' sense of the word; I just couldn't progress as quickly as I would've liked.  I looked forward to, and thoroughly enjoyed, the almost 3 smooth miles of C&O Canal Towpath into Harpers Ferry--hey now, THIS is running!--while trying to figure out how many times I've run the Boonsboro-to-Weverton JFK50 section (sadly, more than a dozen).  Chris got in over 20 miles himself.  Oh, and that other Washington Monument--the first one?  Yes, I did take the little detour to climb it.

- We finished up our trip back East by spending a couple of days with some very good friends who shall remain nameless as they would be mortified to see their names in a blog.  Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time, ate some great food, drank an interesting variety of wines, including these folks' 'Chili Dawg' (which must be consumed with canned Cheese Whiz!), and went on a really nice trail half marathon on MLK Day.

- And then it was back to RAINY, COLD California!!  What the...?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Year-End Review

(New Year's Eve 2010, Photo by K. Moehl)

Admittedly a few days late with this, but with the hoopla of Coyote Blue Moon, my birthday, Christmas, and our anniversary all occurring within a 9-day window, a few spare moments for contemplation have been harder to come by lately.  While running CBM the other day/night, I did have some time to reflect on all the adventures of the past year.  It seems to be in vogue to formulate these types of lists at year's end, so here are my own highlights for the year:

January:  Completed the 223-mile Ouachita Trail in Oklahoma & Arkansas w/Chris (crewing).
March:  Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim w/C.
April:  Leona Divide 50m.  Got choked up watching C finish his first 50 miler in a long, long time, w/his atrial fib. finally under control.
May:  Discovered the fantastic trail network of Fruita, Colorado.  Bishop High Sierra 100k -- I ran, C did an aid station
June:  Completed the 252-mile Tuscarora Trail in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, & Pennsylvania in 5 days w/C.  Laurel Highlands 70m. - enjoyed the GREEN!
July:  Sierra trip -- climbed Whitney, Muir, Langley, & White Mtn.  Ran 51-mile Yosemite High Sierra Camp loop.
August:  Month-long road trip to Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, & Colorado w/C.  Climbed high points Gannett, Granite, Harney Peak, & White Butte, also 14ers Castle, Conundrum, Capitol, Pyramid, Maroon Bells, & Kit Carson.
September:  Hiked the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites & spent almost 3 weeks in Italy w/C.

October:  Ran Howloween 50k in Ojai
November:  Chris & I stood atop my final highpoint, Mauna Kea on the Big Island, climbed Mauna Loa.  Trip to Vermont & New Hampshire -- climbed ten 4000 footers and ran some favorite back roads.
December:  Ran Coyote Blue Moon on a gorgeous day/night to ring in the New Year!

Whew.  There is a lot of traveling there, but then, we seem to have a rather insatiable wanderlust and live by the philosophy that "home" is wherever we're warm, dry, and fed.  What surprised me was when I sat down and added up the yearly mileage--and yoga classes--in my (pathetic excuse for a) training log:  2669 miles for the year, mostly trail, and 73 yoga classes (along with 27 books read!).  Huh.  And I'd thought I was slacking.  Funny thing is that this is the first year I've actually added up my miles, so I really don't know how this compares to previous years.

Less "documented" but no less tangible is the fact that 2009 was one of the happiest years of my life.  I don't take that for granted for a second.   :-)

Now to work on the 2010 plans...

Monday, January 4, 2010


We were thrilled to play host to ultrarunners Jennifer and JB Benna and their dog Scooby a couple of nights ago as they passed through town on their 1100-mile coastal tour of California, en route to the Mexican border.  The Bennas are doing this as a fundraiser for the San Francisco SPCA, from which Scooby was recently adopted.  He is an absolute sweetheart!  The shelter animals would appreciate your donation:  Pedal 4 Paws

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Coyote Blue Moon

Aaaah-OOOoooooo...!  Coyote Blue Moon--with versions in Colorado, Virginia, and here in Ojai, California--is now history.  By most accounts, a wicked super-awesome time was had by all.  Thoughts are still swirling in my sleep-deprived brain (way too much celebratory champagne on the ridgetop after running 46 miles and climbing 12,000 feet, followed by a 4,000-foot stumble down Horn Canyon in the wee hours of the morning didn't help matters), so here are just a few highlights.


After Ray Miller'n...  hula hoop'n!

Spending hours on the trail with good friends:  the Canucks and--about to begin the 53 miler--me and Bruce (chilly at the start, but check it out:  comfortable in SHORTS on New Year's Eve!  Can't do THAT in Canada.)

Pop-up aid station...

Oh no!  Blake, aka Mr. Hardrock, is eating the DIP!!

Krissy and Ellen took a wrong turn on the way to their New Year's Eve party and decided to run 50 miles instead.  Wild Bill is confused--but happy!--sandwiched between such feminine ambience.

Umm...  You had to be there?  Tetsuro "weighs" his booty.

Discovered while cleaning up after post-event brunch, pretty much explains a lot.  Heh, heh...

If this all looks like fun to you, remember:  Coyote Two Moon is just two months away.  Happy New Year!!