Ouch…

So, Brooke and I drove up to St. Charles, MO today to go biking on the Katy Trail, in preparation for our trip this summer.? For those who don’t know (or don’t remember…), we’re planning on making a “vacation” out of biking the entirety of the Katy Trail, ~265 mi from end-to-end, starting near Sedalia, MO and ending in St. Charles.? So yeah, we went biking today ’cause a). the weather was gorgeous, and b). we hadn’t gotten to use Brooke’s new bike for an extended period yet, so it was about time to take ‘er out for a spin.

Anyway, we started at 1:20ish…got done around 4:20ish, so we spent about 3 hours…and biked for 30+ miles…and damn, does it hurt.? We weren’t really planning to go that far on our first outing this year (and I haven’t done a 30 mile-er since 2002…), but it was one of those “oh, we aren’t tired yet, so we’ll just keep going” situations…of course, just after we turned around, we were tired…and our butts hurt…

Regardless, it was a good trip and well-worth the pain to enjoy some good weather.? Needless to say, however, we’ve got some work to do before biking 265 miles…? 😛

Backpacking=schweeeeeeeet…

So, Nathan and I made it back alive from the backcountry in North Carolina…here are some pictures

Overall, the trip was really fun.? We made it in on Saturday night and camped at the park…took about 10 hrs to get there…? We got started on Sunday morning and made the ascent of Mt. Sterling…6.2 miles and 4100 feet up…and it sucked…? Believe you me, I almost didn’t make it…and once I sat down at the top, I couldn’t walk for a good 10 minutes…? The descent was split between the next two days, so I got some blisters on the way down…but the scenery was unbelievable, from scenic overlooks to waterfalls…everything was gorgeous…? The weather was generally 75 F for the first few days, but a T-storm came through on Monday night and cooled things down, yet it was still in the mid- to upper-40s for the remainder of the hike, so it was still quite comfortable.

Regardless, it was a great trip…thanks for going, Nathan…

Ready for the break…

Yeah, had a test today…went alright, generally… I had that presentation last week, which could have gone better, but is otherwise done… And, I’ve got an exam next Friday…

But…Spring Break awaits. And I’m going backpacking with Nathan again. Likely, we’re going to Mt. Sterling, which is close to Cherokee, NC. The interesting thing is that, as you may note from the link, there are bears at campsite 39. That should be fun. Nathan, bring your handgun.

Anyway, I’m more than ready for these next two weeks to be over so I can take a little break. Then, I’ve “only” got two more exams before the semester is over and I have summer vacation. On the other hand, I start lab work this summer, so I really don’t get a vacation…

Is it too early to be thinking of summer vacation?

On getting fit(ter)…

So yeah, Nathan and I are going backpacking over Spring Break again, so I’m trying to work out a bit more than I had been before. Last year, I did alright, but certainly should have been able to hike further and faster. I’m back to being able to jog for 20 min straight at a pace of 6.5 mph, which is a little over a nine minute mile. My goal is to be jogging for 20 min at 7.5 mph, which is about an eight minute mile. I think, by mid-March, that should be entirely attainable.

On a related note, my new frame pack arrived yesterday…5600 ci Kelty Red Cloud for about $100, so it was a steal ($75 less than at REI). I’m excited to get to use it! I still need to get a water filter though, since a). mine broke last year and b). I can’t trust Nathan to bring iodine tablets to cover our asses when we get stuck in the middle of nowhere and have to boil water to stay alive.

…but that’s another story…

…of tropical storms and homeless people…

I’ll try to make this mostly brief…but there is lots to tell… First of all, there are pictures posted in the Photos section now; click on “New Apartment” to see pictures of our mostly-set-up place and “New Orleans” for our trip down south… There are some pictures in “Hermann” of the B&B we stayed at a few weeks ago…

So yeah, we got down there in the middle of Tropical Storm Cindy…and needless to say, there was lots of water… There were over 250,000 people without power on Wednesday morning; thankfully we still had power, yet no cable…grrrrr… Anyway, the next day we walked around the French Quarter and explored a bit…went to a cafe, had some French food, etc… Essentially, we just explored a bit that first day…and it was gorgeous out, surprisingly… On Thursday morning, we went on the Nat’l Park Service historical tour, which was quite cool. We explored some more and then took the afternoon off (nice and humid), then went and got muffalettas (a New Orleans specialty…something like a Schlotsky’s sandwich, I think…but with lots of pickled olives)…which were also incredible… The cool thing about Thursday night was that we went to Preservation Hall and saw some really, really good jazz music…go buy a CD…it’s worth it… On Friday morning, we went on a cemetary tour, lectured by the guy who maintains the historic tombs. These tombs were above ground, so that was kinda cool…this is done for religious reasons, but also because the water table is very, very high in New Orleans. We also chilled Friday afternoon in the A/C and then went out to a nice place for dinner (mmmm…jambalaya…) and then walked around Bourbon Street for a bit…

Anyway, overall, the trip was good…the weather could have been a bit better, but I guess we did decide to go a). in hurricane season and b). when it’s really humid. It was certainly interesting to see people preparing for Hurricane Dennis; some people cared and others didn’t… The one thing I wasn’t expecting was all the homeless people. I mean, I’ve seen them before, but have never seen so many in a concentrated area and certainly had never walked by them before on the street…really kinda sad… Apparently, Louisiana has 1 in 4 people below the poverty line… Regardless, I guess it was a bit more shocking than I expected…

So yeah, check out the pictures…they’re online and all pretty-like… I’ll write more later…