I almost used this picture for the cover of my book. Didn't quite work but its still one of my favorite shots and unknown places of the trip.
3/13 I stayed with Kent and Irene Orr in Red Lake. They proved to be very helpful on a stretch I had anticipated to be incredibly difficult. Kent helped me patch up Ruby’s right tire and for the time being it seems to be as good as new. It was 49 miles to Kayenta and I had every intention of covering the distance in one day. Unfortunately my body disagreed with me. The stories I will wait to share later in life seem to be adding up. However, I will say that the constant mix of different foods and the extreme mileage leaves certain pastimes uncomfortable and messy. If you are ever traveling up highway 160 through Red Lake do me a favor and don’t look behind the left foot of the elephant feet rock formation. By my fifth stop I was getting good at anticipating the sudden eruptions and took a small amount of joy and satisfaction in the fact that I was no longer completely ruining my running gear. Despite my muscles and insides completely hating the days activities my eyes were fascinated on the extraordinary new landscape. Patches of pure white snow lay on the cliffs equally revealing the vibrant red rocks.
I reached Tsegi Canyon an hour before sunset and was able to enjoy the suns rays finding holes in the breaking clouds as they shone down on the truly beautiful painted canyon. An old sheep dog slowly walked up and sat down next to me. I found comfort in his innocent approach and enjoyed the company. We sat together appreciating the unique moment when you can watch God’s beauty unfold.
This past week I had an interview with the Door County Adventure Center and decided to do a little camping on the peninsula while I was their. With summer being the peak season the spring peninsula was pretty quiet and I had most of it to myself. I decided to hike into a camp site on Europe Lake in Newport State Park which is located northeast of Ellison Bay. Newport is a 2,400-acre “wilderness park” with 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 3 miles of sand beaches. Newport has more than 40 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. The park features 16 backpack, walk-in campsites, including several along Europe Lake. The shore’s of lake Michigan can get pretty cold at night especially this early in the season so I brought two sleeping bags placing one inside the other and brought a light winter coat as well. Usually when I am expecting it to get cold I prefer using the ground set up for the Tent Hammock but it was a still evening and without much wind I figured I would be fine to hang it next to the lake and still stay warm. A tip for anyone who uses tent hammock (use a sleeping mat inside your hammock it does wonders for your insulation. I actually had two and was warm all night despite the under flow of air which usually keeps people away from the hammock set up in colder weather.) I went about the usual business of setting camp up before it got dark. Strung the hammock, rolled out the sleeping bags, filtered some water, and gathered fire wood. It was some quality alone time and as the sun set over Europe Lake it defiantly reminded me of why I think of the peninsula as on of the top 5 place in the U.S. I fell in love with this place back in 2009 when I had my Pearson 26 sailboat. Spending the summer exploring the islands, small walking towns, sea caves, high bluffs, state parks, and cookie cutter harbors was defiantly the best summer of my life. Door County is also known for their cherries and while sitting in a small café the previous day I over heard locals talking about how they might have lost 75% of this years cherries do to the unseasonably nice weather and a recent frost. Nevertheless there is more than enough to do in this Northern Paradise besides stuff your face with cherries. Check out the Adventure Center for some guided sea kayaking or zip line fun. Rumor has it that sailing lessons are new this year. Not only can you stop in with your family but they also have a lot of group team building programs so check it out for your group as well. Depending on how well I was able to communicate in the interview my love for adventure, people, and door county I might just see you there. For now here are a few photo’s I snapped to get you excited to visit that peninsula that I would consider Wisconsin’s heaven.
This is some of the coast line on the east side of the peninsula. I believe this was taken at Cave Point near Whitefish Dunes State park. One of the area's the Adventure Center explores by kayak
I spent a lot of time with my little brother this week and when that happens a good throw down of Cripple Creek is usually not to far behind. Enjoy!
I awoke to the sound of semi-trucks rumbling over the bridge at 4 a.m. Slightly board and a bit cold, I crawled out of the hammock to rebuild the fire. After watching the sunrise I packed up Ruby and hit the road. The camping site worked well and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll try the method again. It has been cold in the mornings, and I usually leave night gear on for the first few miles before slowly shedding layers as the day goes on. I occupy my time by playing games like trying to keep Ruby’s front wheel on the white line.
I had never been more excited to make it to a town where the population sign read 100 (I think they rounded up). I walked to the only place open, JB tire. The guy built the place himself in 1961, and I’m sure at one point the business had its glory years. Our dialogue went something like this, “do you have an outlet I can plug my phone into?” His reply, “right over there in the wall.” My response, “thanks.” His annoyed statement, “don’t park your buggy there I might get a customer.” The other 10 citizens of Essex may have been loyal customers of the old tire garage but I had my doubts that there was a customer within 100 miles.
The next 10 miles felt like the earth had doubled its gravitational pull and my legs were heavier than logs. I kept thinking there were Ninjas hiding on the side of the road throwing knives into my legs. I don’t know where these shooting pains were coming from, but they had no rhyme or reason and usually left as quickly as they came. However, I had housing in Goffs and was determined not to spend another lonely night in the desert. When I got to interstate 40 there was a slightly normal gas station where I sat in the shade and stared out over the Mojave Desert for who knows how long. Before I left I bought a hot dog and snickers bar. It made for a good lunch when combined with a power bar and energy gel. A few minutes later I was flying down the road to Goffs and throwing my fists in the air to get a toot toot from the train conductor. I’m not sure what they put in those energy gels, but it was awfully powerful for 3 or 4 miles. I could see Goffs in the distance and was thrilled when two older men came out to meet me in their golf carts.
I awoke at sunrise and found that the wind had died down to a calm breeze. I later found out that the wind yesterday was gusting up to 45 mph. I slept a lot better compared to my evening at the wildlife refuge. I still get pretty cold at night, and wish I would have brought an extra layer. I had five t-shirts and wore every last one. My hammock location had worked well. Since there were no trees around I tied one end to a telephone pole and the other to Ruby’s wheel for a ground set up. The hum of the power lines put me right to sleep. It was 7am and I hit the road. Telephone poles turned into tooth picks as they disappeared over the horizon. It took me a long time to get loosened up, and I only made 12 miles before noon. Roys Gas Station on Route 66 was one of the surviors from the glory years. I was excited to have a sandwich at the, “cafe”. I guess that description on the sign was a work in progress. The lady working was as nice as could be. She would drive 75 miles from Yucca Valley to work at the Gas station for a couple of days before driving back. We took a picture in-front of the gas station sign for their facebook fan page. After I mailed a post card from the Amboy post office, finished my soda pop and orange I took off down Route 66.
I didn’t know what it was about the road but I was excited to be on it. Maybe it was all the strange items that peaked my interest along the route. There were not many trees but when I spotted one it usually held strange things like underwear and shoes. People would write their names on a mound that ran along the side of the road. They would use anything from colored rocks to clay pigeons. I thought it silly at first but after a couple of miles I started reading every single name written. I would wonder who they were and what they where doing. Throughout the day the roads were long and straighter than an arrow. I ran 34 miles only making two turns.
My body would go through these strange energy cycles. One minute I would be rattling off 5k’s like I had been training for a race. After about 25 minutes of this, I would slow to an awfully painful slow jog. Eventually, I would walk and then sit down on the side of the road, take a picture, have some kind of energy thing then 15 minutes later… It would start all over again. I did this all day long. The sun was getting low in the sky as I crossed a ridge and stepped into a vast bowl that looked exactly like the one that just took me a full day to cross. I ran three more miles shirtless then decided to set up camp under a bridge. It proved to be a good choice for a couple of reasons 1) It had a roof and two walls
2) strong poles to hang my hammock
3) I felt safe. I’m not sure why but I felt safe being connected to the road. Maybe I was spending so much time on it during the day my brain just assumed I should be under it at night. I built a giant fire, watched a distant train roll across the night desert and stared up at the biggest ring around the moon I had ever seen.
I woke at 6:30 to fill water bottles and mix my GU brew. After dropping the kids off at school with Chilto, we headed to where I had stopped running the day before. I started to put Ruby together when we both came to the horrible realization that Ruby’s wheels were left in there other car. Chilto was very nice about my mental lapse and drove us back to the house. By the time I was out and running it was 10am and I no longer had an early start to the day.
A locked gate blocked my entrance as I approached the Lake Perris State Recreation. I was hesitant to duck the gate and proceed but was left with little options. A sign on the ticket window read the list of fees for the park ($35 camping, $20 boating…) If the DNR stopped me, I would just kindly state, “their was no fee listed for run campers.” The park proved to be beautiful. With the whole road to myself, Ruby and I were off to a good start.
Eventually I wound my way out of the park, through Moreno Valley and over the Live Oak Canyon pass. The views were incredible with the San Bernardino Mountains as a backdrop. We were on a downhill course as Ruby and I rolled into Yucapia. Yucapia was in the shadow of a huge mountain with a dense population.
Doug picked me up shortly after I called and took me back to the house for some homemade turkey soup! We discussed my plans of passing over the San Bernardino mountains and both agreed it would be wise to stay clear of the 9,000 foot elevation and recent snow fall. My new route will take me south to Beaumont, east to White Water then I’ll stay on hwy 62 through Twenty-nine Palms.
For the amount of mileage I put in the past 3 days, (86 mi) I feel pretty good. I have some minor swelling in my feet, sunburn on the back of my ankles, a sore back and my wrists are starting to develop blisters from the tension of Ruby. I’m ready to hit the hay but will try to get a few pictures posted.
The Mongol Derby is the longest, toughest horse race in the world. It’s the Khaan’s mother of equine adventures, a 1000 km multi-horse race across the epic wilderness of the Mongolian steppe. Its mammoth network of horse stations is a recreation of Chinggis Khaan’s legendary empire-busting postal system.
The planet’s toughest equine adventure across Mongolia with 26 riders and 700 horses has set a new and ground breaking benchmark! Recreating the network of horse stations Chinggis Khaan used to deliver messages across continents to facilitate a 1000 kilometre multi-horse race has raised many an eyebrow in the equine world.
Brüttisellen, 17.9.09 (mk) On 22nd August 26 riders saddled up to take on the wild and stunning Mongolian steppe, swapping horses and undergoing a veterinary inspection at each of the 23 horse stations positioned 20-40 km apart along the course. Well within the two weeks allowed the pioneering riders from around the world, including one Mongolian rider, made adventuring history.
Just over 7 days after the start from the Great Khaan’s ancient capital, Kharkorin, the first two riders completed what many thought was impossible.
South African architect Charles van Wyk, 28, was joint winner along with Mongolian rider Shiravsambo Galbadrakh, reaching the finish line in Dadal on Saturday 29th
Charles said: “The hospitality and welcome of the Mongolian people was amazing. We have been brought into their homes and looked after like members of their family, it felt like being at home. Overall it has been a great experience to live in the steppe and ride Mongolian horses”.
The two winning riders beat a field of26 highly experien- ced equestrians from ten different countries round the world including Argentina, Spain, USA and the UK. There we brilliant idea for an adventure and the horses were awesome. Some of the horses were pretty wild and feisty … but they were really fun to ride. “At the finish line if you’d have said ‘off you go, ride back 1000 km’ I would have done it, definitely! And it wasn’t just me – there were a few people that said that.”
27 year old Annelie Simmons from London, UK said at the end of the race: “I was consistently amazed and overwhelmed by the strength and tenacity of the Mongolian horses; they were tough,hardy and strong. There was never a single point whereby I felt we were asking too much of them, if anything we could have ridden harder and faster but I treated each horse as if it was my own – with care and respect.”
Two riders unfortunately suffered concussion and one of those also sustained back injuries after falling off their horses in the first stages of the race so they had to withdraw. Champion jockey Richard Dunwoody rode the first two legs of the race before returning to the UK due to prior commitments. A further rider received medical attention after a fall but was deemed fit and healthy to continue.
That left 23 riders in the Derby after two days of racing and they were all reunited when the final three riders crossed the finish line together on Wednesday September 2nd, just in time for the rescheduled party. The arrival ceremony and celebrations were brought forward after the riders finished the race faster than everyone expected.
All the other riders were on the finish line to welcome the final three in and witnessed the completion of an outstandingly successful first edition of the Mongol Derby.
Jenny Weston, an FEI accredited 4* endurance vet was one of the team of world class foreign vets flown into Mongolia to oversee the extensive horse welfare and veterinary provi- sions for the race. There were no equine emergencies during the Mongol Derby and all the vets involved had much posi- tive feedback for the organisers after the race.
What is better than a little weekend canoe trip with some friends? How about a 6 months, 4,300 mile journey across all of Canada! The college age group of six friends spent a year paddling the ambitious quest. Karine Houde, Katya Saulnier-Jutras, Xavier Giroux-Bougard, Ellorie McKnight, Dalal Hanna and Nicolas Desrochers dubbed the journey Team Trans CanEAUda (a play on words in French and English meaning “across Canada by water”). The team paddled 6 – 9 hours a day often covering 55 – 70 miles and camped out along the rivers and lakes across four Canadian provinces and one territory. Racing again the inevitable freezing temperatures the team paddle the last 2 weeks of their journey in snow and ice. “The cold is a very good motivator,” laughed Giroux-Bougard in a telephone interview with Canoe & Kayak from his home in Quebec. “We knew that winter was looming and we were going to cut it pretty close.” The team quest was in the name of watershed and wilderness preservation by supporting the nongovernmental environmental organizations Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Ottawa Riverkeeper. This adventure really fascinated me for a number of different reasons. First off they had a few good instruments along (fiddle, guitar) and looked to have a great time on a low budget adventure. Secondly they camped much of the way going through some very desolate stretches! (Hardcore) Below are a few pictures from the team’s journey across Canada. I also emailed them a few Q&A’s so I will post those if they get back to me!
Thursday, July 7th we crossed yet another boarder, rolling past the great Lake Powell and into what is now known as southern Utah. We sleep in Kanab for the night before continuing on to the Canyons of Zion. Upon entering Zion I must admit that in all my travels have seen anything quite like this place. The red sandstone canyon walls tower above, sometimes so narrow that the road is shaded by a noonday sun. What amazes me the most is the green. Its contrast with the red sandstone saturates the landscape with dense color. It is a rare place, where there is no horizon only sky. As we descended down the flawlessly paved switchback road to the canyon floor, I thought the place heaven. The Virgin River speed along the canyon floor, carving and having its way with the soft yet firm sandstone. Dropping an average of 72 feet per mile its current is swift and its course, like ours, already decided.
Zion land of green canyons and waterfalls
We camped in this pure beauty for a full three nights time. I occupied my spare time by lounging in my hammock in the evenings, writing and reading between unexpected naps. On occasion when the canyon swelled with too much heat and I could bare it no more I made my way down to the river to swim. The river was cold yet pleasant and refreshing after spending an adequate amount of time in its company. One could spend weeks here hiking to waterfalls and deferent lookouts. I had my fill of views for the week and was quite content to spend the weekend analyzing the view from my hammock. However, Zion having much more then just view’s offered waterfalls that fell hundreds of feet off the canyon walls. A waterfall always intrigues me and is quite possibly the only natural, or unnatural occurrence that could pry my worn body from its stat of leisure.
A rising moon from a hammock view
This being said, I went with the others on a small morning excursion to find what they called the emerald pools. The hike was short in length and two miles later we came across the first of the three pools. Do to it being the dry season only a trickle of water fell from the cliff that jetted out so far that the hiking path actually went under the waterfall. The path of the water intrigued me more then the common hiking path and so I veered off it with every intention of finding streams source. A mile later the riverbed dried up completely, the last of the water bubbling out from under a large rock. I returned to the path and joined the others at the upper pool and quickly became content with simply walking around the area, climbing rocks and searching for the best view of the canyon and the turquoise pool.
The upper emerald pool from the view of the cliff wall. In the spring a waterfall crashes down onto the foreground rocks from hundreds of feet above.
The sun illuminated half the canyon shinning its ray’s on a single side leaving the other in shadow. However by evening it would completely switch sides illuminating the other in an equally impressive manor. I observed this pattern during our stay and by the sixth illumination we were packed and on the road again.
The miles that brought us away form the enchanted land where wet. It rained, not for long but long enough to watch it trickle off the end of my noise and turn cycling clothes from dry to wet. The following miles through Nevada remained quite uneventful. And although I always try my best to find beauty in a place, I found none. Only the sky intrigued me but the sky cannot be owned or confined. Therefore I find it hard to give Nevada credit for its beautiful sunset. Nevada has the most mountain ranges of any other state and when not climbing to anther summit we were flying down the other side or crawling across another twenty-mile blank valley floor. Conversation, influenced by the myths of area 51 and the extraterrestrial highway revolved around alien. However for a vast majority of the endless stretch I occupied my self by listening to “Around the world in 80 days” and “Pride and Prejudice” in there entirety. I am quite aware of the lack of safety this brings to a cyclist nevertheless the lack of cars and miles of infinite straight drove me to disregard the recommendation. Besides there were times I would have very much enjoyed being hit by a car thus putting me out of my current state of misery.
A setting sun over the endless road west
When we did find people they were kind and overly generous, intrigued by our mission and unable to fathom such a journey possible. We summated boundary pass, which skirts around the edge of the tallest point in Nevada, Boundary point 13,145 feet in elevation, and shot down the other side into California. From the state boarder we will go straight west over the White Mountains to the foot of the Sierra Nevada Range. The white caped mountains fascinate me and I anxiously wait being consumed by there overwhelming power and beauty. 28 days and 1,800 miles have brought us from the flat of Texas to within reach of the breathtaking Pacific Ocean. Only mountains and miles stand between us, both of which patience and persistence will erase completely.