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Running – “The most expensive free sport in the world!” or “Running, the love/hate sport!”

Running – “The most expensive free sport in the world!” or “Running, the love/hate sport!”

on Oct 28, 2014

So I just bought my 5th pair of running shoes. Who knew, that me, a guy who wore the same shoes for 5 years until I literally wore through the soles until you could see my socks peaking out the bottom would eventually be buying a new pair of shoes about every 6 months.   It all started with this stupid running thing. Really, a few years ago, I was the guy that swore I would only run if something were chasing me.  Even then, it would have to be something with lots of fur, sharp pointy teeth, razor claws and probably some pretty hanus drool.  At this point, I would attempt to run from said creature, only to have my heart explode, my legs fall off, and then I would die a horrible sharp, pointy, drooly death.  I was resolved to this fact.  I knew my fate, if perchance, I were to happen upon a creature and I was okay with that. Then I met Princess and Biker #2, the runners.  (I know that Biker #2 implies a cyclist, and she does cycle, but her primary sport is running.)  They were convinced that they could turn me into a runner. Princess would state that he used to say the same thing, that he would only run if the cops were chasing him.  (I am less afraid of cops than I am of giant sharp drool monsters, FYI.)  Eventually they wore me down and I decided to try to do a 5k.  3.1 miles.  This was further than I had ever run in my life, but it seemed like an obtainable goal. Okay, well, not really.  I had never even run the full mile in school because I had no idea of how to properly pace myself or to run properly so I would sprint the first 100 ft, get out of breath and say screw it and walk/jog the rest of the mile and complain the whole way about how stupid it was. So, a 5k.  Why not?  What is the worst that could happen? I needed a plan, so I grabbed my smartphone and found the “Couch to 5k” app.  “The idea is to transform you from...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 6 Lolo Pass to Wahtum Lake

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 6 Lolo Pass to Wahtum Lake

on Aug 26, 2014

The next morning we got up and ate a modest breakfast as we were light on water.  We knew one the first things we needed to do in the morning was restock our aqua supply, fortunately it was only 1/4 mile up the trail. As we headed out we were greeted with the view above.  It was still a little crazy to think that the previous morning we had been on the side of that mountain and had traveled so far.  I enjoyed this view as I knew it was going to be one of the last few views we had of this mountain as we headed toward the Columbia River Gorge and closer to other mountains such as Mt St Helens and Mt Adams.  I felt a little sad leaving Mt Hood as it had provided me with such amazing views, but I figured I still had a lot more to see on the trail so I continued on. The water stop to fill all our packs and bottles was just a small stream that went across the trail.  During the few minutes it took to filter all the water we would need for the day I noticed something that made me quite unhappy.  Well, actually 2 things.  My awesome sunglasses I had found the previous day had left me, and there was giant hogweed on the trail, right next to our water source. Now it’s time for a PSA.  Giant hogweed is a nasty nasty plant.  It looks a lot like a few other plants out there but has lots of hairs on its stalk and some angry looking leaves.  We first encountered this plant on the Oregon Coast when one smacked me in the knee.  I had no idea that there was a problem until a couple days later I had blisters on my leg. Giant hogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as furanocoumarins. When these chemicals come into contact with the skin and are exposed to sunlight, they cause a condition called phytophotodermatitis, a reddening of the skin often followed by severe blistering and burns. These injuries can last for several months, and even after they have subsided the affected areas of skin can remain...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 5 Paradise Park to Lolo Pass

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 5 Paradise Park to Lolo Pass

on Aug 19, 2014

After a chilly night with some strange dreams at Paradise Park, I was ready for some coffee. The previous night I had set all the coffee making implements right outside my tent door inside my vestibule so that all I had to do was unzip the flap a bit, light my stove, boil the water and pour it into my coffee pouch.  My plan was executed perfectly the next morning and a few minutes after waking I had a nice hot cup of coffee. I had not yet heard anyone else stirring in camp, so I decided to get out of my tent and stretch my legs a bit.  It was very shaded in camp and quite chilly still, so I made the choice to seek out some warm sunlight.  Fortunately all the clouds and mist and fog had blown off the mountain and I could see the sun was out in full force.  All that was required of me was to climb up the mountain a bit to get to it.  I poured the rest of my coffee in my cup and took off.We were in a really nice spot where all you had to do was take a short trail up and then you were on your way up the mountain.  It wasn’t long before I was sitting on a rock in the sun enjoying a very quiet, amazingly beautiful morning on the mountain, soaking in the sun and enjoying life.  If I could have lived in that moment for the rest of my life I would have.  It was a good 20 minutes before I saw anyone stirring down at the camp.  It felt like I had the whole mountain and the whole world to myself. Suddenly there were no questions being asked, no restraints on my time, no having to carry a heavy pack up and down the hills.  I had absolutely nothing to do but just soak in the sunlight, sip my perfect cup of coffee and enjoy the moment.Then I ran out of coffee… Back to camp I went. Everyone finally woke up and we ate breakfast.  We took some time to relax and enjoy the stunning view of the mountain before finally...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 4 Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 4 Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park

on Aug 12, 2014

The rain was gone. We were dry and very happy to be back on the trail. I think we were all very happy to be back on the trail. We had all successfully lightened our packs a bit, dried everything off and gotten a good night’s sleep. I even ran to REI and got a new pair of shoes as my hiking boots I started out with would not have been dry in time and were doing horrible things to my feet. Good for day hikes apparently, not so much for backpacking. It was still a bit chilly starting out but we quickly warmed up. Today was going to be a shorter day as we only had 6 miles to get to Paradise Park, but that worked out since we were getting a bit of a late start having to drive back up to the mountain that morning. Most of the fog had blown away and we were able to get some pretty nice views of Mt Hood and surrounding areas at times. We finally got the to the section of the trail that went down the ZigZag River and were greeted with this amazing view. One of the best parts about this section of the PCT is the stunning view you get of rivers down in canyons. One of the worst parts is that, usually, after you get this jaw-dropping stunning view, you get to take the trail down to that river, cross it, and then climb back up the other side. Well, ok, it’s not really that bad. I honestly enjoyed every grueling minute of it. We began our descent down to the river. It was a very pretty trail and the further down we went the more beautiful it got. It reminded me a lot of the Eagle Creek Trail but steeper. When we got to the bottom of the trail we decided that it was a good time to take a break and eat something and just enjoy the view for a while. We had a bit of a sketchy river crossing but it wasn’t too bad and we all made it across unscathed. There was a pretty nice waterfall upstream so Stalker and I...

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