Archive for June, 2011
Hi Everyone! For those of you who don’t know, I’m in New Zealand right now, and I’ll be here for almost two months. Nils and I arrived about a week ago, and then spent several days visiting his family–first in Christchurch, where we got to see firsthand some pretty dramatic earthquake damage. We went for some runs around different parts of the city, and would finish covered in weird silty mud that had basically just bubbled up all over the streets from the quake–liquefaction is what they call it.
Then we headed south to visit Nils’ grandma, who basically force-fed us porridge, toast, tea, meat pies, and all sort of other great kiwi favorites. On the way down there we stopped and I did some intervals up a rainforest mountain.
Next we headed south west to Lake Hawea, which will be our home base for the rest of our time here. On the way, we stopped for some cheap, greasy, delicious fish and chips, and then went for a trail run along lake Tekapo, which is the color of a chlorinated swimming pool–due apparently to lots of suspended glacial silt in the water. It was beautiful and I didn’t even notice the fish and chips in my tummy! A little after that, we stopped at a salmon farm and bought a fresh filleted salmon–it made a deeeelicious dinner when we got to Hawea!
The next day we woke up to rainy and yucky low clouds, but decided to stick to the plan and go for a hike anyway. After driving 15 minutes down the road along the lake to the trailhead, it was suddenly sunny! And sooo beautiful, and I’d forgotten my camera. But basically, the hike went up a mountain that is right between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka, and it is super steep, and the first part is through cow and deer and sheep pasture, and then the trail just switchbacks up and up and up the impossibly steep grassy face, and the water is right below, and there are crazy scraggly rocky ridges above. And then we went into a cloud, and couldn’t see anything from the ridgeline…except a crazy cloud bow thing, and occasionally some huge mountains through holes in the clouds. I felt very dumb not to have a camera, but we’ll have to hike it again anyway, when there aren’t any clouds.
So those have been most of my adventures so far, and hopefully soon I’ll have more better pictures! Also, there still isn’t really any snow here to speak of, which is really abnormal for this time of the year, so hopefully we’ll get some snow soon too! But for now, at least here are lots of awesome places to run and hike!
I have fully unpacked and moved into Elinor’s house with the rest of the GRP. Lately I’ve felt myself in a constant state of packing and unpacking as I repeatedly shuttle my belongings between Craftsbury, Hanover, home, Europe, and elsewhere. It has been over two years since I have stayed in one place for more than 2 or 3 months without packing up the car and moving to a new room. So I’m very excited to settle into life at Craftsbury! I’ll still be traveling a lot but it will be nice to finally have a more permanent home base!
I’m also excited to for our new housemates and teammates who have recently moved to Craftsbury. It’s great to have Clare Egan, Maria Stuber, and Bryan Cook joining our team. New team members refresh the energy of the whole group and training with Clare and Maria this week has been awesome!
And speaking of new housemates, my first morning in Craftsbury I woke up to a loud and constant chirping. I opened my shade and there was a robin’s nest with four baby robins sitting on the windowsill just opposite the pane of glass. I’ve since spent a lot of time watching and photographing my robin family. Robins are a monogamous species and both the mother and father robin take care of the young. The mother mostly protects the nest while the father brings home the worms. At first the parents would get very upset, frantically and loudly chirp, and fly in erratic circles whenever I was in my room. They have since become much more comfortable with my presence so I’ve been able to do a lot of observing (ahhh the life of a professional skier) and have witnessed the dad regurgitating a worm into a chick’s mouth as well as many of sibling squabbles. Clare did some research and learned that chicks stay in the nest for 13-15 days after hatching. We missed the hatching so we cannot predict exactly when this event will happen, but judging by how quickly the birds are growing, and the time that has already passed, it is likely that we will see some fledglings soon!
Spring at Dartmouth is the season for lots of road biking. On any given sunny afternoon in Hanover you will find a big group of Nordic skiers working together to haphazardly fix each others bikes and then heading out in a pack to explore all the great roads in the Upper Valley. Each spring I try to do as much biking as possible before I head to Craftsbury where the smoothly paved roads are much harder to find. This past week was the last week before graduation and my Dartmouth teammates and classmates wanted to do one last big ride together before we headed off across the globe to Alaska, New Zealand, California, and of course Vermont. Our plan was to ride a loop including the Kancamagus highway, starting and finishing in Lincoln, New Hampshire. One of our Dartmouth coaches, Ruff Patterson, organized a route that was over 80 miles in length and we decided on Thursday as it was the only day that worked for everyone. Of course we later saw the forecast for that day which was calling for mid -90s temperatures and thunderstorms but we had already set the plans. So despite waking up to a steamy downpour in Hanover, Pat, Hannah, Ruff, Rosie Brennan, John Gerstenberger, Eric Packer, Nils Koons, and I loaded up our bikes and drove to Lincoln.
The 4 H’s of the day: Hot, hazy, humid, and hilly
The ride started out uphill, climbing on the Kancamagus Highway towards North Conway.
John, Eric, and Pat starting up the climb
Franconia Ridge from the Kanc
Everyone was psyched to get to the top of the long ascent, especially Hannah
Instead of following the Kanc all the way to North Conway, we turned off onto Bear Notch Road over another smaller pass but the lack of any traffic, smooth pavement, and curvy descent into Bartlett, NH made this my favorite section of the ride. Then we rode over Crawford Notch which included the steepest ascent of the day.
After a quick lunch break we turned onto Rt. 3 and stayed on that road to Franconia Notch. This was a hard section with lots of false flat and long straight sections so I was psyched to be able to jump into the draft of the pack and get a break. We rode the bike path instead of the highway through the Notch which was a nice change of pace and fun to ride on the narrow and curvy path. Meanwhile the skies were darkening and the first rain drops were falling by the time we finished the bike path. It quickly turned into a thunderstorm but luckily we only had a few downhill miles left to get back to the car. The downpour was timed perfectly and a very refreshing way to finish the long day.
An awesome ride and the only disappointment of the day occurred when Fat Bob’s Ice Cream Shop in Warren, NH which is famous for lots of flavors and huge servings was closed when we were driving home. Just another reason to come back!