Month: March 2020

Nose Hill Park from Berkley Gate March 29, 2020

When I was heading into retirement and even in retirement, I knew I did not want a routine or structure of any kind. Yet, I was O.K. with making plans so there were activities and outings to look forward to. I enjoy planning and the anticipation leading up to a plan. These past couple of weeks my life has been full of structure and has become so routine without any conscious effort of making it that way. I am only realizing now that it just happened! I know for sure this structure is exactly what I need in my life right now!
So, Deja Vu but a little bit different! Here we go again! No TV! No News! Just up and out the door for a two hour walk at Nose Hill Park but this time from Berkley Gate. It has been many years since I entered the Park at this location. Choosing to start the day in a way that is healthy and happy, it was only me and a biker. She at one end of the lot going in one direction, me at the other end going in the opposite direction. I raced up the trail to get high for the..

When I was heading into retirement and even in retirement, I knew I did not want a routine or structure of any kind. Yet, I was O.K. with making plans so there were activities and outings to look forward to. I enjoy planning and the anticipation leading up to a plan. These past couple of weeks my life has been full of structure and has become so routine without any conscious effort of making it that way. I am only realizing now that it just happened! I know for sure this structure is exactly what I need in my life right now!
So, Deja Vu but a little bit different! Here we go again! No TV! No News! Just up and out the door for a two hour walk at Nose Hill Park but this time from Berkley Gate. It has been many years since I entered the Park at this location. Choosing to start the day in a way that is healthy and happy, it was only me and a biker. She at one end of the lot going in one direction, me at the other end going in the opposite direction. I raced up the trail to get high for the sun rise.As I carried on further and higher, the glow began in front of me.Then POP! WOW!It takes getting up and out early to see sights like this. being one with the morning glowAs the red began to disappear in front of me, the golden glow grew behind me.I polished up a tiny piece of ice and used it as a prop.With the red now gone and the gold moved on, blue & white filled the sky.I roamed around enjoying the fresh air and scenery. I could see others off in the distance, a biker, a dog walker, a runner, another roamer like me. It was time to work on completing a loop and head on back. I saw these stairs from the parking lot when I started out. It looks deceiving here but they go on forever even higher and further than you can see. As I came down the stairs, a lady was going up. That tiny dot in the middle is the lady, she was doing stair laps.
With glowing cheeks, lungs full of fresh air, a happy heart, time now to get on with today's routine!
today's route

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Cradle Mountain – Tasmania

Cradle Mountain is a beautiful reason to visit Tasmania. Fairly remote with great hikes and wildlife, it was definitely a highlight of our tripPre-PlanningTravel Logistics: The closest airport is to fly into Launceston, which sits at the north of Tasmania. From there we rented a standard car and drove west 2 hours to Cradle Mountain. The roads are windy so it’s smart to do this drive during the day
Accommodation: We chose to stay at the Peppers Cradle Lodge. It’s a nice option with a decent but a little pricey restaurant. There aren’t a ton of lodging and restaurant options. Cradle Mountain is more remote and not like a Banff National Park, which has sizable towns nearby
Permits: If you want to hike the longer Overland Track, you will need to do a lot more planning before. Otherwise, just make sure you buy a park pass from the visitor center
Bus System: Cradle Mountain uses a mandatory bus system during peak hours. This means during those hours, you cannot take your car in. If you lik..

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Cradle Mountain is a beautiful reason to visit Tasmania. Fairly remote with great hikes and wildlife, it was definitely a highlight of our trip

Pre-Planning

  • Travel Logistics: The closest airport is to fly into Launceston, which sits at the north of Tasmania. From there we rented a standard car and drove west 2 hours to Cradle Mountain. The roads are windy so it’s smart to do this drive during the day

  • Accommodation: We chose to stay at the Peppers Cradle Lodge. It’s a nice option with a decent but a little pricey restaurant. There aren’t a ton of lodging and restaurant options. Cradle Mountain is more remote and not like a Banff National Park, which has sizable towns nearby

  • Permits: If you want to hike the longer Overland Track, you will need to do a lot more planning before. Otherwise, just make sure you buy a park pass from the visitor center

  • Bus System: Cradle Mountain uses a mandatory bus system during peak hours. This means during those hours, you cannot take your car in. If you like to wake up for sunrise and beat the crowds like us, it’s not an issue. Otherwise read the latest on the official website here

  • Trip Length: For us two days was perfect. We got in at night, had 2 full days, and then left in the morning. That was enough to do some hiking, visit the Devils @ Cradle, and not feel too rushed

  • Weather: More on this in the what to pack section.. but check the weather! I was not prepared for how rainy it was in peak summer

Hiking Options

There are a lot of good hiking options in the area, from easy hikes with no elevation to harder hikes. The good news is most of the good hikes leave from Dove Lake Carpark which makes for easy planning.

Crater Lake Map

Dove Lake Circuit

The Dove Lake Circuit is a mostly flat, mostly platformed, 6.4km hike. It’s a loop hike so you can go either direction – we chose to go clockwise to finish by connecting some other hikes described below. The park is really beautifully maintained so it’s suitable for folks of all hiking ability. They have some type of metal on the ground to help give extra traction during wet/rainy weather

Cradle Mountain

Marion’s Lookout

Marion’s Lookout is a short, steep climb that gives you a beautiful view of Dove Lake and Crater Lake. You can either head there from Dove Lake Carpark, or as mentioned before we took Dove Lake Circuit clockwise and then went up Marion’s lookout from the east. Depending on which route you take, it’s around 2-3km.

It’s a steep, slippery climb with chains (kind of like Angel’s Landing in Zion) but once you reach the top it’s truly gorgeous..

Cradle Mountain

Crater Lake Circuit

From Marion’s Lookout, you can also hook onto Crater Lake Circuit, a 7.5km circuit that goes back to Dove Lake Carpark. This Circuit is fairly straightforward as well and passes by Wombat Pool. We unfortunately didn’t see any wombats while we were there.

We didn’t do the full circuit but took part of it back to Wombat, and returned to Dove Lake Carpark shortly after.

Wildlife

We were lucky to see some amazing wildlife while staying at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Right near the lodge, we saw some wallabies and wombats! We walked on The Enchanted Walk but unfortunately didn’t see any platypus. It took maybe 2-3 hikes on this trail to see all the wildlife we wanted to see, but the trail is a really relaxing pre-dinner walk so we were really happy to repeat it multiple times.

Cradle Mountain

What to Pack

I was surprised at how chilly it was in February. At night it dropped to around 40 and only peaked to mid-50’s during the day. It also on and off rained. We did get lucky with one sunny afternoon, but otherwise we didn’t get one good sunrise or sunset because of cloud coverage. With that said, packing the right gear is super important:


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Bay of Fires – Tasmania

The Bay of Fires is a must-stop destination on the East Coast of Tasmania. It sits along white sand beaches with plenty of camping or lodging options.

Pre-PlanningTravel Logistics: The closest airport is to fly into Launceston, which sits at the north of Tasmania. We made a stop to Cradle Mountain first and then drove to Bay of Fires. The Bay of Fires is a conversation area highlighted in red above. It’s a strip along the sand from The Garden to Saint Helens-ish.
Accommodation: Saint Helens is the biggest town that you’ll find close to the Bay of Fires. Some people stay at Binalong Bay, but there are very few food options there. There is also camping along the coves. We personally did an Airbnb in Saint Helens
Permits: None
Trip Length: 1.5 days is perfect here. Get in around sunset and go watch the sunset at Binalong Bay or Skeleton Bay (if you get lucky to have a sunset – it’s so cloudy here!). Then have a full day exploring the Bay of Fires area.
Weather: Cloudly and cold in Febr..

Bay of Fires

The Bay of Fires is a must-stop destination on the East Coast of Tasmania. It sits along white sand beaches with plenty of camping or lodging options.

Bay of Fires Map

Pre-Planning

  • Travel Logistics: The closest airport is to fly into Launceston, which sits at the north of Tasmania. We made a stop to Cradle Mountain first and then drove to Bay of Fires. The Bay of Fires is a conversation area highlighted in red above. It’s a strip along the sand from The Garden to Saint Helens-ish.

  • Accommodation: Saint Helens is the biggest town that you’ll find close to the Bay of Fires. Some people stay at Binalong Bay, but there are very few food options there. There is also camping along the coves. We personally did an Airbnb in Saint Helens

  • Permits: None

  • Trip Length: 1.5 days is perfect here. Get in around sunset and go watch the sunset at Binalong Bay or Skeleton Bay (if you get lucky to have a sunset – it’s so cloudy here!). Then have a full day exploring the Bay of Fires area.

  • Weather: Cloudly and cold in February (peak summer!). Not exactly a tan in your bikini type area, but beautiful nonetheless!

Bay of Fires

What to Do at the Bay of Fires

I was initially confused by what to do here when I was reading online blogs and then I realized the area is really simple. Start from Saint Helens in the morning and grab coffee at Coffee Away.

Pack a picnic basket or some snacks so you can spend the whole day there. There are no food options so it’s best to pack before so you don’t have to drive back and forth.

Drive North and stop at Swimcart Beach. Then hop on a couple hundred feet to Cosy Corner (both North and South).

Afterwards, take a 10 min drive to the Gardens.

The entire drive from Saint Helens to the Gardens is only 23 minutes! There’s really nothing “to do” here other than take pictures, relax and walk on the beach. But that’s the beauty of it!! Enjoy a slow, peaceful day here.

Bay of Fires

Have you been to Bay of Fires? What did you think?

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Green Space

We are in unprecedented times, never in my lifetime have I experienced such a global upheaval. With the current UK Government lock-down we are required to Stay At Home. However, we are permitted to leave the home for specific things, one of the those is to exercise once a day. Exercise is still important for … Continue reading Green Space

We are in unprecedented times, never in my lifetime have I experienced such a global upheaval. With the current UK Government lock-down we are required to Stay At Home. However, we are permitted to leave the home for specific things, one of the those is to exercise once a day. Exercise is still important for …

Continue reading Green Space

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Two PCT SJ Hikers Rescued Day After Fatality + Matterhorn Lit Up With Stay Home Message +

Two PCT hikers rescued a day after an injured hiker dies near San Jacinto – Desert Sun and PCT
Matterhorn is lit up with 'stay home' message – from MountainPlanet.com
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https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/local/2020/03/28/pacific-crest-trail-hikers-rescued-day-after-injured-hiker-dies/2934476001/ — Two PCT hikers rescued a day after an injured hiker dies.
Pacific Crest Trail Association — https://www.facebook.com/PCTAFan/ – Scroll down
Extremely dangerous conditions present a serious danger along the PCT on San Jacinto. One PCT hiker died in a fall and multiple other rescues of PCT hikers have occurred in the last 48 hours. This kind of rescue work is extremely dangerous for CAL FIRE and Riverside County Sheriff’s Office aircrews and Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit.

https://mountainplanet.com/blog/matterh … sage–7519 — Matterhorn is lit up with 'stay home&#0..

Two PCT hikers rescued a day after an injured hiker dies near San Jacinto – Desert Sun and PCT
Matterhorn is lit up with 'stay home' message – from MountainPlanet.com
————————————————————————————————————

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/local/2020/03/28/pacific-crest-trail-hikers-rescued-day-after-injured-hiker-dies/2934476001/ — Two PCT hikers rescued a day after an injured hiker dies.
Pacific Crest Trail Association — https://www.facebook.com/PCTAFan/ – Scroll down
Extremely dangerous conditions present a serious danger along the PCT on San Jacinto. One PCT hiker died in a fall and multiple other rescues of PCT hikers have occurred in the last 48 hours. This kind of rescue work is extremely dangerous for CAL FIRE and Riverside County Sheriff’s Office aircrews and Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit.


https://mountainplanet.com/blog/matterh … sage–7519 — Matterhorn is lit up with 'stay home' message
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my Ode to the Bears

Cross stitching has become a part of my life again at a most appropriate time. Little did I realize this past autumn when I took the craft up again thank you to my east coast friend, that it would fill as many hours as it has been. These days getting lost in a cross stitch project is my solace! I completed this grizzly bear on Thursday and it is now framed and ready to hang on my wall. The cross stitch work area is five inches by eight inches and framed it is eight by ten. Because it is stitched on perforated paper, there is no need for stretching. I call this work “my Ode to the Bears”.

With recent world happenings, all hiking and walking will now be done within the city limits in areas that can be accessed out my front door. As this is the case for tens of thousands of local mountain lovers, it only means the bears will enjoy full 100% outright ownership in our (or I should their) Rockies. They are now coming out of hibernation, the big dominant males first, then the solo smaller ma..

Cross stitching has become a part of my life again at a most appropriate time. Little did I realize this past autumn when I took the craft up again thank you to my east coast friend, that it would fill as many hours as it has been. These days getting lost in a cross stitch project is my solace! I completed this grizzly bear on Thursday and it is now framed and ready to hang on my wall. The cross stitch work area is five inches by eight inches and framed it is eight by ten. Because it is stitched on perforated paper, there is no need for stretching. I call this work "my Ode to the Bears".

With recent world happenings, all hiking and walking will now be done within the city limits in areas that can be accessed out my front door. As this is the case for tens of thousands of local mountain lovers, it only means the bears will enjoy full 100% outright ownership in our (or I should their) Rockies. They are now coming out of hibernation, the big dominant males first, then the solo smaller males and the females and after that the Mom's will come out with their new babies. They will enjoy the freedom of roaming without human interaction.
In my many years of being "out & about" I have had the great fortune of witnessing many grizzly bears and black bears in their natural environment. The photos posted here were all taken while out hiking along trails (except one which was while camping). These were opportunities to admire the bears from a safe distance and I zoomed in to capture the shots. Some of the experiences were while I was hiking solo and others while sharing adventures with friends.
walking out of parking lot to hike Buller Pass August 28, 2019
meadow near Chester Lake August 17, 2018
along trail from Wenkchemna Pass September 15, 2012
along trail of Valley of 5 Lakes near Jasper August 24, 2018
grassy area at Logan Pass Glacier Montana before hiking Piegan Pass July 1, 2016
Mom & 3 babies seen from along the trail back from Grizzly Col July 1, 2018
from the safety of my car, bear circled my tent at Crandal Campground Waterton August 21, 2010
along the trail from Lady MacDonald April 17, 2010 (photo by friend)
Mom along trail to Ptarmigan Tunnel Glacier Montana August 4, 2010
the Mom's 3 cubs following her August 4, 2010
on the way to Bullhead Lake Glacier Montana August 1, 2016
Parker Ridge August 26, 2013
trail back from Moose Mountain October 13, 2014
I had bear encounters that I have no photos to share. The priority in those cases was to focus on staying calm, staying safe and getting distance between us or waiting for them to move on.
-Eohippus Lake July 11, 2015 (Mom & 2 cubs)-Crandal Campground between washroom and tent August 6, 2012 (a black bear)-Hidden Trail from Ribbon Creek August long weekend, year = ? (1 large grizzly)-Route back from Packers Peak to just before the parking lot August 8, 2018 (Mom & Baby)
The number of bear sightings I had from the safety of a vehicle are countless and not worth talking about except for Bearmageddon on August 11, 2019. I have no bear photos to share of that experience, only my words.
I have had more than my fair share of bear sightings and encounters but would not change those for anything. I am fortunate they were all safe experiences where both us and the bears did the right thing. I don't know if or when we hikers will be sharing trails with the bears again. That makes me sad but I can only accept it and move forward finding other ways to fill that void!

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Are you going to live here forever?

The little kids next door have been having fun riding their bikes across my lawn and my driveway. In the past they have done adorable things like knock on my door and sprint away, leaving me with a bouquet of dandelions. Today I was getting out of my car after snowshoeing, and the youngest kid approached.
“Are you going to live here FOREVER?” he asked.
I hesitated. “Um, probably not? Are you going to live here forever?”
“Yes!” he answered.
I probably won't live in this house forever, in this neighborhood. But because I have been forced to stay close to home, I have been working on appreciating the local things. I had to cancel an Idaho backpacking trip that has a short window, so it won't happen this year. I threw a small tantrum (alone), felt silly, and decided to make the best of what I have here.
My backpack is still packed though. I'm not giving up hope that we will have a backpacking season.
Ruby and I went for a hike up the East Fork. I picked the fork with the lea..

The little kids next door have been having fun riding their bikes across my lawn and my driveway. In the past they have done adorable things like knock on my door and sprint away, leaving me with a bouquet of dandelions. Today I was getting out of my car after snowshoeing, and the youngest kid approached.
"Are you going to live here FOREVER?" he asked.
I hesitated. "Um, probably not? Are you going to live here forever?"
"Yes!" he answered.
I probably won't live in this house forever, in this neighborhood. But because I have been forced to stay close to home, I have been working on appreciating the local things. I had to cancel an Idaho backpacking trip that has a short window, so it won't happen this year. I threw a small tantrum (alone), felt silly, and decided to make the best of what I have here.
My backpack is still packed though. I'm not giving up hope that we will have a backpacking season.
Ruby and I went for a hike up the East Fork. I picked the fork with the least footprints, and when I caught up to the hikers in front of me, I turned around. In my community there are still people camping by the river in large groups, and I don't want to be part of the problem and cause the trails to be closed (though I hear rumors they will be).
We also found that there was enough snow for snowshoeing, and the views aren't bad.
I've been thinking about how to reconfigure my life if there is no hiking this summer. Kayak laps around the lake (if the launch is open)? Ride my bike every day? Run more? It won't be ideal, but I will find a way to make it work.
I hope everyone is doing all right. I'm still working, and so my life has not changed that much. My work trips have been canceled and my writing workshop is in jeopardy, but those are small things in the face of what others are going through. Stay safe, friends.

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Wild Running

Book Review: Wild Running by Jen & Sim Benson For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight George Sheehan Jen and Sim Benson describe themselves … Continue reading Wild Running

Book Review: Wild Running by Jen & Sim Benson For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight George Sheehan Jen and Sim Benson describe themselves …

Continue reading Wild Running

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Hundreds of Trekkers Stranded in Nepal + New Lines in Patagonia (pre lockdown) + Uja di Ciamurella in Italy

Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after lockdown – MountainPlanet.com
Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva – from Rock and Ice Magazine
Uja di Ciamarella in Italy – Report with pictures from Summitpost.org
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https://mountainplanet.com/blog/hundreds-of-trekkers-stranded-on-nepals-mountain-trails-after-coronavirus-lockdown-7517 — Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after coronavirus lockdown.
https://explorersweb.com/2020/03/27/stranded-in-nepals-lockdown/

https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/nico-favresse-describes-new-lines-pre-covid-19-lockdown-in-patagonia-with-sean-villanueva-odriscoll/ — Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva

https://www.summitpost.org/uja-di-ciamarella/183040 — Uja di Ciamarella in Italy

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Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after lockdown – MountainPlanet.com
Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva – from Rock and Ice Magazine
Uja di Ciamarella in Italy – Report with pictures from Summitpost.org
————————————————————————————————————
https://mountainplanet.com/blog/hundreds-of-trekkers-stranded-on-nepals-mountain-trails-after-coronavirus-lockdown-7517 — Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after coronavirus lockdown.
https://explorersweb.com/2020/03/27/stranded-in-nepals-lockdown/



https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/nico-favresse-describes-new-lines-pre-covid-19-lockdown-in-patagonia-with-sean-villanueva-odriscoll/ — Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva


https://www.summitpost.org/uja-di-ciamarella/183040 — Uja di Ciamarella in Italy


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Hundreds of Trekkers Stranded in Nepal + New Lines in Patagonia (pre lockdown) +

Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after lockdown – MountainPlanet.com
Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva – from Rock and Ice Magazine
————————————————————————————————————
https://mountainplanet.com/blog/hundreds-of-trekkers-stranded-on-nepals-mountain-trails-after-coronavirus-lockdown-7517 — Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after coronavirus lockdown.
https://explorersweb.com/2020/03/27/stranded-in-nepals-lockdown/

https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/ni … odriscoll/ — Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva
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Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after lockdown – MountainPlanet.com
Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva – from Rock and Ice Magazine
————————————————————————————————————
https://mountainplanet.com/blog/hundreds-of-trekkers-stranded-on-nepals-mountain-trails-after-coronavirus-lockdown-7517 — Hundreds of trekkers stranded on Nepal's mountain trails after coronavirus lockdown.
https://explorersweb.com/2020/03/27/stranded-in-nepals-lockdown/


https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/ni … odriscoll/ — Nico Favresse : New lines in Patagonia with Sean Villanueva
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