Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So my roommate tells me he has never liked summer sausage. I have never met anyone who hasn't but I grew up very close to Wisconsin. Along with my German relatives almost half the population of Minnesota has roots back in Germany.

For Germans sausage is like water for the rest of the world. There are many different kinds, and I've never had a sausage I didn't like.

My roommate had a shaft of moose summer sausage in the freezer and it's been staring at me since I moved in last spring. I asked if I could try it and that's when I found out he didn't like it and that I should go ahead.

I tried it out and I now have had a sausage I didn't like. My old friend Craig would be so disappointed.

The sausage in question is gamy in the extreme. It might be my imagination but I keep thinking there are tufts of hide stuck in my teeth.

Since trying it I've discussed it with some hunters and they think it was made wrong. Sausage made wrong??? Who knew???

I used some suggestions to tame it a bit: I made a vat of spaghetti sauce (acid from the tomatoes) with lots of garlic, and added vinegar to further up the acid content (which is supposed to numb down the gamy-ness).

It still didn't work! I had some friends over and they were very polite about it, but I knew it was still too gamy.

I have since finished it off (too cheap to waste even this food). I meant to bring my roommate some fine sausage from http://www.louiesfinermeats.com/, but I forgot.

and the beat goes on...

Yep, still here. It's been a busy season. The Mrs. has joined me in Anchorage for the last days of my job. She will be driving with me back to Minnesota on Jan. 4, weather permitting.

She got to come to Lihue Hawaii with me for Christmas and we attended a nice glow-stick Christmas eve service. The facility owners did not allow candles.

It sure was nice in Hawaii because it's been COLD in Anchorage (I don't think it's gotten above 10F since the 19th). Today it was -40 C/F in Fairbanks when I was there. (I love that -40 is the same temp on both of those scales. My favorite conversion is 61F = 16C).

I've been trying to get the Mrs. out hiking but she is having a tough time with the cold. If it weren't for our soon to be lack of income I would buy her a fancy mask, but instead she suffers the cold she avoided for 20 some years in Texas.

I've gotten her up along the gasline trail a couple times. Today (-5F) we went up to the Denali lookout trail and back up the powerline trail back to the car. Probably a solid hour and she was hurting pretty good.

I made the mistake of pointing out that it's not just the cold but the fact that she's no longer in good shape...turns out that's not a good thing to say.

Tonight we are nursing our sore limbs with hot chocolate and maybe some post-Christmas cutout cookies if they are finished this evening.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Doom and Gloom

That's what airline folk say when we hit the lows of our roller coaster careers. I guess this time it is for real for me: I'm getting laid off in January.

So that's why I haven't posted in a while. The job market is bleak my friends. Turns out Obama doesn't want my help righting the ship, so I guess it's time to eek out a living doing a real job-type-job.

I've been using the MN Work Force Center to aide my job search. Not too many jobs I'm qualified for that meet our expenses (which we cut back to bare minimum a year ago to take my new job pay cut). The MWF has nothing to do with unemployment payments.

The MWF makes everyone attend an orientation meeting where they talk about some programs that interested me buuuut there's a catch (didn't see that coming didjya?): before you can sign up for the program you want you have to attend Employment U for five days a week for two weeks!

Today I found out that I can't do a week now and a week when I come back in January: all at once or nuthin! So when would the classes be in January? No one knows. They will call me when they have it figured out...or they won't...matterz.

So the hunt is on and I did find a snow shoveling job...if only my winter gear were here and not Anchorage (I don't think it got above 5F today and there are nasty windchills with the associated advisories going since last night).

The Mrs. will join me in January for the trek from Anchorage to Minneapolis in the mighty Saturn SC2! Yep, we're going over the Canadian Rockies in January. WOO HOO!

It will either be gorgeous, or miserable. Maybe we'll dress like this and see who can go the longest without car heat:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3.5 hours of fun

Today I had my long call out where I get 4 hours from the call to get to the airport. So I went for a big ski.

I've never gotten all the way to Powerline Pass and I gave it a go today. I skied for 2 hours and wasn't there yet, but it was in my sights. I chose to turn back, but now I know it can be done in about half a day.

Here is a view of the mountains:

Here is the same view but from where I turned around:

This is a cool bridge that goes over the same creek that you may have seen in previous posts, but this one leads to Hidden Lake:
I saw a few dozen crows squawking over something in the distance. I suspect it was a moose kill from bear (they are still awake those bastards!).
I also found some bloody snow on the trail, but I suspect it was from a bloody nose of someone who needs more water in their diet.
Here is a picture of a trailing F-28. I tried to get my camera out to get the four which were flying in formation, but this is what I got. It also shows a good example of the valley walls I look at while I ski this trail:
Today is the most I've skied since I was on the ski team when I was 14. It felt good to know that I could do it, but I sure wish I had my 14 year old knees back. They took some ice when I got home and are doing pretty well. Have to see what they are like when I wake tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

another Tuesday hike

Last night I went to the local theater pub and watched Elegy for a whopping $3. It was really well acted, which is good since the story has been done, A LOT!
Today I decided to hike in Kincaid park and took some paths less trodden. I think people ride these in the summer when the Devil's club and other plants don't overcome the trail.
It was pretty cold out there today:
I saw what I thought was a dog on another trail below me. Turned out to be the biggest fox I'd ever seen. Sometimes it's hard to tell because they poof out their fur so much.
I watched it for a while and got to see it pounce on some sort of vermin off the trail! Pretty cool. Too bad no pix, it was too far away.
But, here is an owl I came across later in my walk:
After taking the photo I walked closer and it did the cool head swivel to check me out. I did my only owl call to see what would happen*. This owl left it's perch to do a flyby, staying a safe distance away and then returned to its perch. It was beautiful!
*When I was a kid I got taught the screech owl call when I was at camp one summer. The next summer I went on a canoe trip down the St. Croix river with a different bunch of kids.
Every night after we'd be sitting a while around the campfire I'd try this call, and nothing happened. The other kids were kind of snickering at me even though the councilors were telling them that I had it down.
On the last night I got done calling and we all returned to conversation when an owl swooped down over us and the fire and screeched really loudly! Everyone was scared and amazed. A few minutes later the kids who were previously snickering were now trying to do the call but the owl never came back. I felt pretty good.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Yesterday I returned to Anchorage after a couple days at home with the Mrs. While back in Minneapolis I took the ol' Murray on the http://hiawathacyclery.com/ Saturday morning ride.

I should have understood when my friend from http://3speedblog.blogspot.com/ said I was going to keep the pace down that the ride was not the cream puff it had once been.

It used to be 45' of easy riding, 20' of pastry and coffee consumption, and then back to the shop to open it up by 10AM. Now the shop opens at noon and that means longer riding, and more consumption.

The Murray was not pleased. In the end I was bringing up the rear and the group split in two, with only two of us in the slower group. That's what I get for not having the right gear (almost all my bike stuff is in Anchorage).

This morning I awoke to the end of a recurring dream. Every recurring dream I've ever had seems to happen over a period of weeks to months before I wake up and realize that the things happening in my head are only just that!

Today was the end of my 1st good recurring dream: it was about MTBing. Basically there was an amazing piece of land that was all twisty turny single track all taking place in a huge oval field.

Some of it was sand and some was through long prairie grass and wheat, some through dark forest.

Out of this field two epic double track trails sprouted into the mountains. If you took them you always had pristine views of the mountains and the sea.

I sure hope this dream will keep coming back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Yesterday we got about 5 more inches of snow! That will help make a nice base here in town, but we will need another 5+ to make skiing at the parks in town do-able.

Today I went back up to gasline and powerline trails and had a blast on the new snow. I tried something I've never done before: ski-music.

There is a long slog (about 30 minutes) uphill from the car and I thought maybe I'd spice it up with some tunes. It may have been the first time I've had a headset on while skiing, it won't be the last!

I've always enjoyed working out to music and today it really helped me keep a good pace going. It was weird hearing the Hellakopters and the Clash while looking at the mountains, but it was sooo worth it!

I got to a union meeting yesterday to hear the state of negotiations. 2 1/2 hours later I had a "free" lunch in me and no new news.

This morning I got together with some other FOs on call for breakfast and it was nice meeting and re-meeting some folks.

Don't stare at this too long or it will consume you!

Check out the last day of the beard for tomorrow it goes away (sometimes the snow won't stop clinging to the hair):

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another day another hike

Today I got out hiking while flakes of joy fell from the heavens! There was only a dusting when I was up there, but there were already people skiing and fat-biking on the new powder.

This is trying to capture the falling snow, but you have to look in the snaze of the background to tell it's snowing.

My legs are getting stronger and I'm getting faster. I've shaved 10 minutes off of my two hour route. I tried running downhill for a ways and nothing hurt or was sore. VERY HAPPY!

Here is near the end for today and the snow, as it has up to now, is only coming down in the mountains and leaving the town free from fun powder (or at least a descent base!).

So what does sitting reserve and not getting called out for a couple weeks look like:

I like the way the flash made some of the red hairs glow.
After about a week or so I have to shave because it starts to bug me. I think tomorrow will be the day. There is a much nastier close-up but I'm trying to keep this PG.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hatcher Pass

Today my roommate and I tried out our new avalanche knowledge by doing some back country skiing. Maybe I should start with last night:
We (including my friend James) attended a free REI sponsored avalanche safety class last night. Afterwards we went out for a drink to decide how to best apply our new avalanche avoidance expertise.
One of the things they pointed out is that you need a minimum of three things in avalanche country: a transponder, a shovel and a pole to poke the victim with. Neither of us has any of these things unless you count a ski pole that isn't as long as the fancy pole we should carry.
So we decided to go to Hatcher Pass today (one of the examples from last night where there are avalanches) and try some back country skiing. There were plenty of folks out on this sunny Saturday and we felt pretty certain that if none of them had caused any avalanches, neither would we.
Oh how wrong we were!
Sorry, I'm kidding.
We had a lot of fun with him taking the lead with his fancy back country skis, and me following with my cheap non-back country skis:
We pretty much didn't go anywhere that hadn't been traveled before, but it worked much better with him packing down the snow with his wider skis.
As I was descending one hill an unleashed dog chose to run up it, at me. Luckily she veered off because I don't think she would have liked being hit by the big sack of meat descending on those sticks right into her snout!
The area is right next to the Independence Gold mine. Here we are looking from one of the buildings down onto some others:
Here is a shot with Palmer and my car in the distance:

I managed to not fall on any of the downhills (the ungroomed ones were sketchy!). And I was enjoying the groomed downhills very much until the very end when I decided I'd do the fancy downhill ski stop where you slide on both skis sideways, tips pointing in the same direction. I used to have this difficult maneuver down back-in-the-day. Not any more. My only fall of the day came as I got back to the car. Only my pride was hurt. No one else seemed to care.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yesterday I hiked up the Gasline trail to the place where I saw all the moose last month. I still found a cow and calf hanging out. I think they are more mellow when it's cooler out.

Here is a movie of the stream from the bridge near the moose. It's surreal watching the water freeze into bits of ice and then unfreeze before my eyes:

I really like seeing the pink mountains at sunset. These two pix are at the same spot:

This second one shows the difference in colors that are out there:

I saw that there was enough snow for a couple of high school ski teams to be practicing. Today I decided to take my skis up there, but I walked a ways before I thought the snow was good enough for my only set of skis.

It is common up here to have a set of "rock" skis for the conditions we have now. On my way back to the car I took off the skis and was hiking down a hill with lots of obstructions when one of the high schoolers zipped by me.

Must be nice having rock-skis which can get battered on the rocks and roots I heard her scraping over in the corners as she sailed on by. At least her parents will be helping the economy this season.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kincaid hike

The days are getting shorter (especially without daylight savings) so my hikes are now all ending closer to sunset. At some point soon I'll have to go at noon or take a headlamp.
These were taken in Kincaid park on Tuesday November 4th, or as I like to call it Obama Day!

Here is a panoramic view of the mudflats (caused by the 30+ foot tide, 3rd largest in the world) and Fire Island:

I really like the variety of colors in this one. The snow looks blue to me, maybe that was some sort of sign?

The mudflats are frozen enough to reflect the light nicely:

It was a really beautiful day.

Rabbit Creek Trail

Sunday I went for a hike on Rabbit Creek trail. It wasn't marked so I chose to stop where I saw all the other cars parked.

I chose to go up the left trail and got pretty tired going up a steep slope of rock. My achilles were getting so stretched that I actually needed to stop several times to get them to relax.
Near the top it got a little steeper and much more rocky. I decided to turn around because I was concerned if it got even more steep, I'd be stuck.

I was carefully picking my way back down in a crab walk fashion when I saw another hiker approaching from below.

She asked what I was doing. I told her about how high I'd gotten and was worried about coming down from higher. Turns out when you get to the top there is another trail which comes down the other side of a gully.

I'd been watching a bunch of other folks on the "down" trail without realizing I would soon be joining them. They were in the vicinity of three large moose, but based on their conversation, clearly had no idea that the animals were very close to them.

Here is a guy having some fun as we approached the peak:

I asked her if there was a name for the hill we were on, and it turns out we were climbing up the back of Flattop mountain! So I wasn't on Rabbit Creek trail as I had intended.
If I'd driven 100 more yards or so I'd have seen the start of Rabbit Creek trail.
Here is a view of Anchorage from the top:
The woman who let me tag along turned out to be from Minnesota and went to the school that the Mrs. attends now. Small world.
The next day I took a day of rest from hiking and my quads were so stiff it was painful going up and down stairs.
I've never been much of a hiker. I should say I've never gone out of my way to hike. But being this close to mountains with this abundance of trails has really turned me onto hiking.
Until we get more snow, it will be my workout. Next year I'll have studded tires for one of my bikes to add some variety.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Archangel road

I returned to the road which is groomed for my ski-pleasure today. I wasn't alone, and that's OK.
Check out my crazy-expensive set-up:

Yep, those are bamboo poles made in Norway, or as I call it the mother-country. Nothing says bamboo like Norway, right?
I don't mind sharing the trail, but dogs that jump on strangers are not my favorites (especially the lab that pawed me in the jewels yesterday!). Better that the strangers jumping on me, of course Jitsu works better on humans than K-9s.
Here is one of the many streams that hasn't frozen over yet. Some of them have huge "steps" of ice with water flowing down them.

It felt really good to get back out on skis on descent snow AND not fall going downhill. I think I have my legs back. My max speed downhill was 21 MPH. It took me 1 hour and 34 minutes to get up, and only 36 minutes to get back down.

At the end of the road-trail I found this gate:
It says: FEET ONLY. I think the land owner doesn't like ATVs.
This leads to an old mine that is on private property. The owner doesn't like trespassers and has been known to shoot warning shots at people climbing the rocks on his land.
Not to leave you on a sour note, here is a nice mountain panorama for you to click on:


Nothing says Halloween like this huh?

The natives have 50 different names for snow and this is why:

This would be bad snow. It's been sublimating and just like when stuff gets freezer burn, it tastes bad. Look at this poor fur-log:

Hopefully we can get more snow sometime soon (tired of hiking) or I'll have to rack up the miles going to Archangel road and Hatcher Pass. That would be an excellent excuse for amazing skiing!
I chose to not wallflower last night, but instead watched a little Buffy for the harvest celebration.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ryan Leach

I saw this guy the first time in the bike-movie Roam. He blew me away, I still can't get enough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wehmNVja_aI

Are you aware?

This is a test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay4

"knowing is half the battle

ultra-violence is the other half."

I'm bored today so I will share some catchy t-shirts that I found here:

Tonight I may go out into the raging energy that is downtown Anchorage to see what the kidz are wearing this year for Halloween (besides parkas, it's 16F). I'm on call, so no social lubricant for me. I'll probably be a wallflower as I can't find anyone interested in seeing the nightlife of this fine city. Not to worry, I'm good at being a wallflower.

A friend of mine from Minneapolis found a bottle of KARATE cologne when he was cleaning out what I hope were some very old boxes. He leads a Saturday bike ride and I suggested we do a KARATE ride where all the boys would wear this fine cologne.

I wish I had a bottle of that or this to see what kind of a ruckus it would cause tonight:

I'm pretty sure my flatulence will have the same effect.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

made a friend, lost a friend

It was a windless 20F today when I got outside for my hike. I tried skiing, but there have been so many hikers on the trails that the snow has been really packed down and is icy in many places.

I chose to leave gun at home today and managed to find a friend to protect me:

He was very friendly, had no collar or tags and just started following me. Once in a while he'd lead, but he always kept looking behind to make sure I was still coming along.
After a while we came up to the Powerline trail and he went his own way. I sure hope he found his way home because he's a real sweetheart.
When I got back to the car the same bitch from last week was doing her random bark at the world. Emboldened by meeting the other dog, I approached her and she took a few sniffs at my extended gloved hand. But she wasn't sure about petting, so I left her to her rant against the mountains and all who dared traverse them.

Here is Anchorage from the Tony Coastal Trail near the airport on this lovely day:

Here is a mighty freighter bound for the not-so-far-East:

My point in going down to the sea along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail was to see if I could see Denali and I wasn't disappointed. It's faint in the photo, but it's the definition of awesome in real life:

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This week, I decided to alternate my workout schedule with one day skiing, one day something else. Yesterday I took a nice walk and did some stuff in the apartment. Today I got back to skiing.

I sprayed my skis so they would actually slide today and they worked well. I got much farther than two days ago, over 5 miles out from the car by my reckoning.

I made it up to the trail where I had my moose-a-graphs and sure enough, they are still hanging out. Forgot my camera today in my efforts to get out the door quickly.

On the way back down the gasline trail (which is all downhill back to the car) I got confused as I arrived at a fork in the trail and in a moment of indecision I fell, hard, face down. There isn't a lot of snow yet, so I basically pushed the snow aside and landed on the frozen earth.

I moved a good sized rock from it's resting place in the dirt, but I shook it off and nothing got broke. I was really in a negative mood after that, and it took me a while to realize it wasn't because I fell. It was because I fell onto my gun.

Up here a lot of folks carry guns. I do it in a chest holster for bears in the summer, and randy moose this time of year.

I recently had a Canadian acquaintance, who has never touched a gun, ask me if I worry about crashing my MTB with the gun on me. My response was that I always ride very conservatively when carrying the gun. The holster I use also has a strap that prevents the hammer from moving back which gives me another layer of protection against accidental discharge.

Today I could have been more conservative, and I failed. I should have descended slower, and stopped when I couldn't make up my mind on the fork in the trail. Turns out, that is why I was upset after the wipeout. Well, that and I lost my 11th toe, but I've been meaning to shoot that off for a long time. Now if I could just get these snow lice out of my chest hair!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


October in Anchorage and that means skiing...sort of. I went out of the O'Malley trail head today and started skiing up the gas line trail.

Temp was just above freezing and I had forgotten to use the fancy spray on my waxless skis so they started grabbing and collecting snow.

As I was taking this shot there was barking from behind me:

Up trotted a greyhound wearing a sweater/ saddle. That dog is going to have a tough time when the cold hits:

A little while after this I took off the skis and carried them as I hiked up the gas line. When I was ready to turn around, I put the skis back on and had a fun descent.

Here is looking back towards Anchorage:

The alder trees look really good in this snow and I tried to capture the vast puzzle that they form, but it's one of those things you have to see in person:
When I got back to my car there was a bitch barking in the middle of the street...at nothing. I felt bad for her, but her ears were back and she was not approachable, so I couldn't get a look at her tags (or let her take me to her owner down the well as Lassie would have). Hopefully her owner heard her.

CAMBA video part 2

I didn't take my still camera, so you are going to have to wait for my friends to send links to their pix.

Here is a video that isn't overly wobbly (trust me) where I'm following the good doctor and Herr Bacon. It gives a good sense of what the beauty of these trails is, unfortunately it is not as clear as I would have liked.


This past weekend I returned to the Chequamegon National Forest for some MTBing. I joined a group who goes there every October for a weekend, this was my 2nd year with them and I really enjoyed both times.

We stayed at a very nice "cabin" and as there were seven of us it was also pretty economical. My favorite part (besides the lack of mildew that we lived in last year) was that we could ride from the cabin to the trails (which were dry and in excellent condition!).

After not biking much this summer, and my last few rides being dirty, and costly, it was a real treat to get back to the old stomping grounds, and riding in the 50's most of the time. Thanks so much to Mr. and Mrs. Bacon http://3speedblog.blogspot.com/ for letting me use the Mrs. hard tail.

CAMBA is the organization that builds and maintains over 200 miles of MTB trails inside and outside of the Cheq. National Forest. There is a little over 60 miles of single track right now, and plans are to continue building single track until there will be over 100 miles of pure MTB bliss!!

60+ of those miles will be connected so one could ride 60 miles of single track without repeating one inch of trail! That would be over 120 miles out and back... if ever there was a thing that would be fun enough to kill ya.

We started on one of my favorite trails: Esker. It winds up a hill and then you ride a ridge of roller-coaster hills that ends in a large climb to an amazing vista. One of our group took a wrong turn and wound up skipping the hill+vista (he didn't mind) and got back to the cabin solo.

After a brief mission of seeking, he retraced his pedal-strokes to find us and we went into Cable for some supper.

The next day we went to Fish Hatchery trail to start what would be our day of single track. The following video shows me rubbing tires with Mr. Bacon (my helmet camera got whacked by a branch right at the start of the ride and I didn't realize it was loose the rest of the day):

Did you notice the orange vest? We found out when we got there that it was a special season for deer hunting because the DNR determined there are too many does and if we don't shoot them they will die.

We heard some gun shots, but nothing that was close enough to us to be of concern.

After a hearty lunch at my favorite Norske Nook in Hayward http://www.norskenook.com/ we spotted a bobcat on our way to the Rocklake trail!

We split into two groups for the afternoon ride. One of us was on trails for his first time and it wasn't really fair to him to take him on the longer route.

I was having a difficult time at the end and I felt really exhausted by my efforts, only to find out I'd been pedaling with the rear brake rubbing against the rim of the wheel! So my 36 miles on the day should have some factor added to it, but I'm not that smart.

Our group doctor had a run in with a stick at the very end of the trail that day and the stick won: it removed his rear derailleur and jammed it into his spokes. He had to walk less than 100 yards to the cars, very lucky in an unlucky kind of way.

That night we had a spaghetti feast and watched Terminator 2 (my favorite of the three) on the satellite TV.

The next day we rode briefly on the Ojibwe trail and took the Short&Fat/ Sleigh/ Birkibeiner trails back to the cabin. We were all pretty tired, next year we will not be doing single track on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Lots of bikers like to expound the virtues of snow biking. They look down their noses at those of us who would rather not ride our bikes in the cold, wet, slimiest of months.

For me it is not the discomfort of self, but the love for my trusty steed that I choose not to drive it through the muck. You see bikes, even MTBs, like to be clean. All those mechanical parts work best when they are clean AND not frozen in place by things like mud, or as I experienced today: snud (snow and mud).

It was a nice day here, about 32F when the 11 of us departed on our off road ride this evening. The first hour was great.

Biking on snow is pretty fun although my brain was having trouble believing that I was biking on snow. Snow is for skiing, sledding and so forth, soon my bike would prove my brain correct.

SEE! In the words of Hank Hill: "That ain't right:"

The mud was not completely frozen and is now coating my precious steed (too tired and lazy to attempt cleaning it tonight). An hour into the ride the snud froze in several places on the bike leaving me with two gears, the easiest gears, the gears that would make me pedal like a mad-man for the last 20 minutes of the ride to attempt to keep up, which I did not.

By the time I could no longer shift I also couldn't clip into my pedals and was lucky to not bash my shins repeatedly as my feet slipped off the snud balls that were my pedals.

Lesson: the right equipment makes things much more fun...OK safe if you will (platform pedals and a single speed would have been really fun out there today).

I think my brain was just never into the ride because I had cleaned my steed really well on Saturday and here I was getting it filthy when I could have just as well gone skiing and put the steed away until better days: when the ground is completely frozen, Spring perhaps, or at least days when it was just snow to deal with and not snud.

It was really nice riding with these folks tonight for the fact that I like meeting more people from here and these are a great group of active people. Next time I'm going to skip the ride and just go to the dinner after ; P

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yep, I'm making up words faster than a overwhelmed flight attendant (on my last trip I watched four of them become confused on how an elevator works, and no, not the kind on an airplane).

It's nice to be in a place that can offer things like this:

The city is in the background of this shot which means it took me less than an hour to be standing in the presence of The Harem (this was an awfully big bull):

I zoomed in til fuzzy so you could see his rack better and also one of his cows behind him that doesn't stand out as well in the other shots (you should be able to click on any photo to make it bigger):

On the way back I came across two bulls who thought I was curious. One kept walking closer to me, so I stopped taking pictures and retreated to a safer distance. Then I got to watch him rub his rack on some alders which made a good amount of noise after all had been silent for the last hour up there.

October 7, the day of ski

When I woke up I saw that it was bright through my blinds. "Could the trails be frozen and dry enough to ride today," I had hoped! When I pulled back the blinds and saw that snow was accumulating I was not happy.

Last week I biked four times trying to squeeze every bit of riding I could out of myself, my bike and the trails before the winter set in. As you can see my MTB is now an Alaskan: it's sporting fenders:

Why I was sad about not being able to do this to my bike I don't know:

I had to wash my bike after every ride last week, and replace a shifter that got wrecked by an infestation of mud. Not cool when I'm trying to save $$ right now. My four rides last week averaged $53 per ride in bike accessories/ repairs.

Today I decided to drive up to the Glen Alps parking lot and see if I could hike to where the moose are determining who gets to play in the harem and who has to wait for the big guy to kick the bucket.

I took along the skis just in case and I'm sure glad I did: 6+ inches of snow up there!

Here's a stream crossing on the Middlefork trail heading toward the moose:

This is where I was camped out checking out the Harem. Can you find the moose in the left of this pix (see my next post for moose-a-graph galore):